“Information is only as powerful as what you do with it,” said Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google. In his keynote at SES New York 2012, he talked about how marketers can achieve business goal optimization with marketing budgets by being smart about analytics that measure the success of various multichannel campaigns.
Three-quarters of marketers struggle to gauge the effectiveness of their SEO and social marketing campaigns, Kaushik offered five tips for measuring multichannel marketing success and investing in the right content for search, social, email and other campaigns.
1. Focus on measuring holistic success
If internet marketers are doing a good job of creating integrated web marketing campaigns, consumers have multiple touch points for any brand. And yet, the average website sees a 2 percent conversion rate from combined web marketing efforts. But Kaushik told SES New York attendees that the economic value of web and content marketing offers businesses is bigger than 2 percent.
Marketers need to consider the “assist value” of their various marketing initiatives. First and last touch points in single visits that result in conversions aren’t sufficient attribution models. Indeed, Brafton recently reported more than 70 percent of marketers undervalue SEO in terms of driving web conversions by focusing on direct brand visits. He said, “Even if organic phrases don’t seem to convert, the generic to brand search behavior is proven to be huge!” Think big picture. Kaushik also discussed the need for brands to remember that they shouldn’t rely too much on any one channel (not even his company, Google).
2. Be “less wrong over time” in your marketing portfolio
To effectively understand how to “optimize for economic value – not just conversions,” companies have to perform sophisticated analysis of their campaigns. “It’s easy to say, ‘Display ads offer no conversions,’ but ask, ‘do they provide brand exposure for ultimate conversions?'” he recommended.
Kaushik said that marketers often have to think about long-term (versus short term) value. Maybe paid search is generating more last clicks to conversions, but another channel in the marketing mix might be producing leads with stronger economic value over time. To know where the right – and wrong – marketing investments are in a portfolio, Kaushik advised marketers to run tests and be mindful of the broader internet landscape. (He also provided a site – Zqi.me/vizd3 – that can help companies make visuals to help them understand their Google Analytics data.)
He thought of this as a two-step process:
A. Apply optimal attribution
Time decay model: Explore which channels might offer upfront traffic but not sustainable interaction?
Personalized model: Build company-specific own models to go beyond first- and last-click studies.
B. Understand that influence evolves.
Be ready to shift investment focus: Analytics should be regularly checked as important channels can shift over time.
3. Rethink social
Marketers often get caught up in playing the numbers game at social: How many Likes? How many Retweets? Volume is good, but quality is better. Investment in social marketing can’t be faith-based: It must be rooted in an understanding of the economic value.
Kaushik advised marketers to strive to understand the intention of shares as well as the real value of social traffic. He encouraged marketers to explore the social referrals under “Standard Reporting” in Google Analytics to see social actions.
“Examine what content gets engagement. How can we create more content like that?” he said.
Ultimately, marketers who want to optimize their marketing efforts for conversions need to understand three things about their social outreach:
A. So what? What is the economic value of a social visit?
B. Where? Where are people sharing and where is the key social traffic coming from? Which shared content is driving or assisting conversions?
C. Why? What content did people love – why did they share? Create more.
The web is becoming a more social space, but it might offer more top-of-funnel value, and analyzing it must adapt accordingly.
4. Stop guessing: Control experiments
“Don’t become a data puker – be smart about how you look at web analytics,” Kaushik said.
While he was quick to explain that every company will need to be running unique tests to ensure they are considering their specific campaigns and business goals, he offered three steps to follow when running analytics experiments:
A. Scientific method
B. Structure experiments
C. Statistical analysis
5. Have insane focus.
At the end of the day, marketers should never lose sight of the bottom line with marketing. It’s all about “price and cost margins, as well as share and size volumes,” he said. Marketers who remember this will avoid wasting marketing dollars and be able to put conversion optimization at the core of marketing initiatives.
Kaushik’s tips should come in handy for a number of marketers who are trying to streamline their site and campaign analysis for more results-driven marketing strategies in 2012. As Brafton has reported, marketers who are “happy” with their web conversions perform 40 percent more site tests than those who are “unhappy.”