Virtually every software platform used by marketers can output some sort of data. Whether it’s your website analytics software, or a social media page, data is available from pretty much all of it. Unfortunately, for many people looking to analyze this data, the collection process stops there. Each platform is analyzed independently, and the insights derived from this analysis will accordingly be limited to that one platform. This leaves potentially valuable information on the table.
To avoid missing these possible insights, it is important to integrate your data as best you can. Of course, the numerous fields and categories available from each piece of software will not mesh automatically, and you will need to customize your reporting to the KPIs that best suit your business. However, there are multiple ways to organize data that comes from the various platforms that your business uses. Consider organizing all paid advertising data together. Social media data from different platforms can also be pooled together relatively easily.
There is one factor, I would argue, that can be effectively used to organize your data across platforms: Time. Time is the common denominator for pretty much all of the data that you can collect, regardless of the software that produces the information. Organizing your metrics by time is also the best way to link your offline data with your online data.
By no means is this method of organizing data all that difficult, or even unique. In fact, you are probably already organizing some of your online data by various units of time. What is important to implement is a system that uses the same units of time across all of your KPIs. By monitoring what is going on in each platform over equivalent units of time, you can quickly identify how visitors engaging with these platforms respond to actions in other areas. For example, you may have a promotion or campaign running that is strictly offline. However, you may notice a subsequent increase in visitors to your website, or engagement on your social media profiles. Without integrating your data, it would be much more difficult to identify how a change in one platform affects another. The simple process of overlaying all of your data on a temporal basis greatly increases the likelihood that you will notice these effects.
I don’t want to suggest that only looking at your data over time will solve all of your problems and reveal every valuable insight. There are multiple ways to segment your data that will further reveal the relationships between the actions your business takes and the effect on your digital presence. For website data in particular, good segmentation can identify demographic and engagement trends with potentially significant impacts on your business, your online presence, and hopefully both. Some easily implemented segments include:
- Visitors to the blog section of your website
- Website visits that include a certain number of pageviews
- Visitors referred to your site by social media or PPC
There are numerous others, but I recommend creating a basic segmentation strategy from the get go. This will prevent hiccups including the need to retroactively adjust your reporting to accommodate these segments.
How to use this Information
The process of pulling and organizing your online data in a way that provides the greatest insight (and value) is not always intuitive. There are lots of KPIs to monitor, and across all of programs that you use. In order to go about running your web analytics effectively, the first step is to use a common unit of time, and to organize all of your data according to this unit. Once this is accomplished, it will be much easier to relate actions and observations in one platform to effects in another.
Here at Webolutions digital marketing agency, we utilize the model described above to collect and organize our clients’ online data, as well as our own. Of course, the specific units of time and segmentation strategies you choose to employ will be specific to your business. As a full-service marketing agency, Webolutions can offer assistance in starting this process within your organization. If you would like to learn more about how Webolutions® can help you with this or any other digital marketing questions, contact us online or give us a call at 720-746-2732.