One of the most important benefits of digital marketing lies in the fact that it is a channel that produces reams and reams of data about your customers and how they interact with your brand and campaigns.
Paid search, display ads, rich media, mobile, social - every digital channel produces information from which you can glean actionable insights that will help you to market your brand and products more effectively.
It's not just about measuring impressions and click-throughs, but tracking how all the elements of your digital marketing strategy contribute to your business objectives and how they interact with each other to create value for your business.
Tracking your customer's journey
You can track the customer's journey from initial contact to the point where he or she completes the action you desire - some examples might include registering on your website, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase through your website. Equipped with this information, you will be able to make a path to conversion smoother and faster to the benefit of your business.
Knowing that a customer clicked through to your website from a Google search and then ordered a digital camera is just the beginning. You'd also be interested to know if he or she saw your display ad at a Web portal two weeks before or encountered your paid search ad when searching for the search term "digital cameras".
From this data, you could start forming a picture of how the client's journey to conversion started with exposure to a display ad. You'll have insight into the creative messaging and website that helped to bring the customer to you. You'd know which paid and natural search terms are enticing users that convert to your Web properties.
And you are also able to compare the tools and tactics that are working hard for you with those that aren't. Once you understand which placements and creative executions are more than paying themselves and which are draining your cash for no return, you can begin to optimise your campaigns to achieve the best results at the lowest cost.
Fine-tuning your campaigns
For example, if you know a particular website or message isn't delivering leads or conversions, you can cut it from your campaign so that you can refocus budget on the ones that are producing results. And you can continuously fine-tune your campaigns across all channels for optimal results, learning and improving all the time.
Data by itself is useless - what really matters is having the tools to analyse it and extract actionable insight from it. To make the most of the data, you must have a clear idea of the metrics you want to measure and how they map to your business.
With actionable insight, you can identify what is working and what isn't, and quickly make the changes that will ensure optimal performance, value for money and return on investment. It is not easy to achieve that level of sophistication in your use of your digital data but the results will be worth it.
Stephanie Houslay is General Manager at Acceleration Media. She leads the company's growth in the Western Cape region and she has extensive experience in managing global and local multichannel accounts across industries as diverse as fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and telecoms, and is passionate about branding, strategic communications, social marketing and business sustainability.
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