Marketing analytics - analysing marketing data
23 Sep 2021 | by Kristina Boschenriedter
Analytics is defined as ‘a maths-based discipline that seeks to find patterns in data to increase actionable knowledge. Analytics employs statistics, predictive modelling, and machine learning to reveal insights and answer questions.’
In the world of marketing, analytics is used to demonstrate marketing impact and predict trends. Plus, it can also be used to understand and predict customer behaviour and optimise the user experience.
Overall, marketing analytics is used for three main purposes:
- To calculate how current marketing activities are performing and measure their effectiveness
- To determine how these campaigns can improve and provide better results
- To increase the cost-effectiveness of a marketing budget
All good marketers analyse and evaluate the success of their marketing campaigns regularly and then make improvements based on the data they’re shown. This is a vitally important step because, by effectively measuring the performance of your marketing activities using real-world data, you can accurately analyse how your campaigns are performing. Using the marketing insights you generate, you can then drive growth through campaign improvements.
One of the easiest ways to convert business data into actionable insights quickly is to use marketing analytics software. When working effectively, this software will help you truly understand your audience. It can also help you assess the performance of your activities against a number of important business metrics, such as return on investment.
When conducting marketing analytics effectively, you can use software to gather data from across all your marketing channels and consolidate it into a single view.
Then, you can extract marketing insights from your data that will power your marketing efforts. As well as allowing you to dig deeper into your data, you’ll also find that several top data analysis tools like Apteco FastStats® allow you to visualise the data and show stakeholders how effective your marketing efforts have been.
With this in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at the benefits of analysing marketing data and how powerful engines like Apteco FastStats® can help.
Analysing marketing data
Effectively analysing marketing data creates a number of competitive advantages for your business. This is because the process is essential for understanding the journey of your customers and finding out what’s working in your campaigns and what you can improve on. As a result, the information provided by marketing analytics is crucial for shaping your future marketing efforts.
As businesses grow, they also expand their marketing activities. However, this usually leads to marketers making decisions based on the data they’ve received from individual channels. This means that data provided by social channels, the website, and email activity is usually analysed separately.
Although this seems logical to most marketers, it’s actually a strategic error. This is because the process fails to take into account the entire marketing picture and creates knowledge gaps. In contrast though, by analysing marketing data collectively in one central location, you can analyse all of your marketing efforts across all channels and across any period of time. This means you can make sound and effective decisions about how your campaigns are performing and which channels and campaigns have been most effective.
In addition to this, by really digging into the details of your marketing efforts, you can answer key questions that will help propel the performance of your marketing campaigns. By analysing market data, you can assess:
- How your marketing campaigns are performing today
- How your campaigns have performed in the long run
- What’s changed to improve them and what further improvements can be made
- Whether your marketing resources are properly allocated
- How you can prioritise your upcoming marketing investments
Overall, effectively analysing marketing data allows you to:
- Show stakeholders in your organisation how effective your marketing efforts have been and why they’ve been successful
- Turn the data you’ve received into actionable insights that can further improve the efficiency of your campaigns and boost your return on investment even further
- Compare and contrast your data sets with each other to see which of your channels and campaigns is most effective
- Segment your customer data
Crucially though, when you have analysed the marketing activities of your business, you then need to take action. If your analysis simply sits on a server or remains unused, then it cannot help the performance of your business. Remember, the data is only useful if it is effectively analysed. If you fail to analyse the data, you’ll instead act on hunches that may be inaccurate.
For example, if your business usually generates £10,000 of revenue a month but you find that monthly revenue has risen to £12,000 per month at the end of a three-month pay-per-click advertising campaign, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the campaign itself has been successful. This is because your campaign may have been impacted by other factors, such as seasonal trends, industry-wide news, or other marketing activities. Due to this, before you run the same campaign again, you need to establish how many customers came to your website directly from the campaign and how much they spent. Only then will you know the true value of the campaign.
By performing data analysis and interpreting the data effectively, you can gain a thorough understanding of the factors that influenced the rise in revenue. Based on the information you have, you can then make an informed decision about whether you should run the pay-per-click campaign again, or whether making changes to it could boost its effectiveness. You may even discover that a different campaign was more effective and provided a better return on investment.
Selecting marketing analysis software
When you use a piece of marketing analysis software like Apteco FastStats® to help you conduct your data analysis, you’ll be able to rapidly organise all your customer data and then generate insights that will power high-performing campaigns. A number of different pieces of marketing analysis software are available on the market, but the best will allow you to segment your data, improve relevance, and help you understand your audience.
In order to turn data into genuinely helpful insights, you’ll need to utilise a wide variety of analytic techniques. As a result, you’ll need to use software that allows you to report on past performance, analyse what’s happening in the present, and assess how you can predict or influence the future. By quickly mining your customer data in this way, you’ll be able to fine-tune your campaigns.
However, before you decide which piece of marketing analysis software is right for you, you’ll first need to assess the current analytic capabilities of your business. Once you have a firm idea of what your business can already report on and analyse, you can select a piece of marketing analysis software that helps you fill in the gaps. By filling in these gaps, you’ll always be able to ensure that your marketing campaigns are truly data-driven.
Crucially though, once you’ve plugged the gaps in your reporting and analysed the data provided by the marketing analysis software, you need to act on the insights it provides.
Test, report, learn - repeat!
After all, effective marketing requires a constant process of testing, reporting, and learning in order to be successful. If you don’t have the ability to test and report on your marketing efforts, you’ll have no idea which of your campaigns are successful. By closing the loop between your marketing investments and your results with the help of software, you’ll be able to see which investments are contributing to your company’s bottom line. Ultimately, this will allow you to create better and more successful marketing campaigns that will lead to more revenue and greater profitability.
In summary, as a marketing professional, it’s vital you understand that your marketing activities are a process. As a result, you should always view your activities as a cycle that requires continual action, evaluation, and improvement.
Analysing marketing data with the help of data analysis software will help determine where your attention should go within that process. By considering past successes, present campaign performance, and where your business would like to be in the future, your marketing analysis will show you where your efforts are successful and where they can be boosted.
Then, as soon as you’ve made the changes your analysis has highlighted, you can continue to analyse the data and build on your improvements, fuelling growth and improving return on investment in the process.
If you would like to learn more about how you can start using marketing analytics to generate actionable insights, download our free eGuide on interactive marketing dashboards. This eGuide provides detailed information on how you can use various types of data visualisations to generate new insights from your data - no statistical background needed!