Life After Google Analytics – How to Optimize Your Reporting

Author Laura Carrick

Measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts is one of the most important, and difficult aspects of any strategy. According to HubSpot, 46% of marketers cited “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” as one of the biggest challenges they face within their company.

Google Analytics is a platform synonymous with digital marketing analytics and measurement. Most marketers have at least a rudimentary understanding of GA’s interface and main functionality. However, if you’re relying solely on Google Analytics, or any other web analytics platform, you’ll be depriving yourself of a lot of invaluable insights that could help to inform and improve your strategy.

There is life after Google Analytics! And for any digital marketers interested in enhancing their reporting, we’ve outlined some of the additional sources you should be considering below:

1. Social media marketing analytics

Social media marketing is a powerful channel for any business whose primary goals are to increase brand visibility or drive website traffic. In some instances, social can even assist in e-commerce sales!

Social channels make it easy for you to instantly build and nurture customer relationships, foster a strong sense of community and encourage brand advocacy and trust.

Through social, you can position your business as an authoritative industry expert, which will ensure you’re front of mind amongst your target audience. Because of this, it’s important to regularly evaluate your social media marketing activity. You can use a variety of metrics to gauge your performance:

Shares: probably the most notable engagement metric, this will include shares on Facebook and LinkedIn, retweets on Twitter, repins on Pinterest or any other channel-specific share. Shares will give you an insight into the reach of your content, and what topics in particular your target audience engages with.

Comments: an extension of ‘shares’, this metric demonstrates the extent to which your audience are engaged. If a user takes the time to comment, they are predisposed to interacting with you.

Follower growth: you should always monitor any new social media followers on a monthly basis. If a social media user makes the conscious effort to follow or connect with your brand, it means they are already invested in it, and will be easier to convert.

Conversions: Using conversion tracking for your Facebook and Twitter accounts will take your social media reporting to the next level. You can measure the ROI of your social media posts by seeing which follow-up actions users took after they looked at your content.

All of this data can be collected by using the native analytics platform of each of your social channels, be it Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. However, accessing and collating information from these individual apps can be an onerous process, especially if you plan on reporting monthly. Below, we’ve listed some tools that you can use to make the process a bit less painstaking:

Followerwonk: this tool for Twitter will provide you with detailed insights into your followers and their activity. You can analyze your own Twitter account, or a competitor’s, and view categorized on your followers, and how interactive and influential they are.

SproutSocial: lets you simplify your social media reporting by analyzing and aggregating data for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+. You’ll be able to identify your most popular posts by measuring clicks, reach and engagement.

Quintly: with Quintly, you can track Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. Create custom dashboards to track your KPIs and follower growth, and find out how well you’re engaging your target audiences.

Cyfe: this super dashboard can pull in stats from all major social channels and lets you easily create both overview and individual reports, either for your own accounts, or your competitors. 

Cyfe can pull in stats from all major social channels and lets you easily create both overview and individual reports.

2. Email marketing analytics

Email marketing, though viewed as one of the more traditional digital marketing channels, is still one of the most impactful. A carefully crafted, strategically distributed email, sent to a subscriber who, presumably, is already invested in your brand to an extent, can help you to generate and nurture quality leads, and drive more revenue. In fact, 66% of internet users have made an online purchase as a direct result of email marketing, versus 20% who purchased because of social.

Tailored, targeted communications can have a powerful effect on any digital campaign, and we’ve listed the key metrics that you can leverage to measure their success:

  • Open rates: first impressions count. You can A/B test your subject lines to try and pique your subscribers’ interest and generate more opens.
  • Click through rate: how many recipients click the links in your email, and which ones attract them the most? For example, if you’ve included links to a number of product pages, this could give you a unique insight into your most popular offerings.
  • Signups: the number of users who consciously choose to opt-in to receive your marketing emails can be considered leads. They’re ready and willing – now all you need to do is nurture them.
  • Unsubscribes: the aim is to keep this number as low as possible. Nevertheless, your rate of unsubscribes will give you an idea of what is working and what’s not.

You’ll be able to gather this information from your chosen Email Service Provider and a number of other tools, including the following:  

Litmus: provides you with advanced analytics, including data on who read, skim read, or deleted your email, how many times your emails was forwarded or printed, and which email clients were used to open it.

Email on Acid: this analytics suite includes heat map and click track functionality, which identifies patterns of reader activity and will help you to better strategically place Calls-To-Action.

G-Lock Email Analytics: among other standard features, this tool enables you to use custom tracking domains so you don’t confuse your subscribers with lengthy tracking links which may deter your recipients. 

Litmus provides you with advanced analytics for email.

3. Paid search metrics

Paid search marketing, is an essential complement to any organic activity that comprises your digital strategy, especially if your overall aim is to maximize conversions. An optimized Pay-Per Click campaign can generate impressive ROI, as advanced targeting options and bid management mean that you are in control of, and can account for every penny spent.

When executed effectively, paid search can produce incredibly positive results for large organizations and small startups alike. Quench is a business that seeks to combat the environmental impact of traditional five gallon water coolers, but offering a green, bottleless alternative. When the company adopted PPC marketing in 2009, over the course of two years, they experienced these results:

  • 100% growth in revenue
  • 75% increase in employee base
  • Increased operations from 15 local markets to 35 of the top 50 US markets
  • 2/3 of all Quench’s sales are now online 

Search ads that are run through advertising platforms such as Google AdWords or the Yahoo! Bing network are 50% more likely to encourage visitors to purchase, rather than organic channels. In order to track your success, use your ad platform to monitor the following metrics:

Click-Through Rate: this shows the amount of people who view your ad and proceed to click on it. This will give you an idea of how compelling your ads are. By testing elements such as copy, keywords, imagery and positioning, you will be able to improve your CTR and find a combination that works best for you.

Conversion Rate: are your landing pages actually working? Measuring your conversion rate will enable you to ascertain whether your need to further optimize the pages you’re sending your target audience to. A high volume of clicks and a low volume of conversions would suggest there’s something wrong.

Cost Per Click: the amount you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. Your CPC will be determined by the maximum bid you set, and you will usually be charged less.

Cost Per Acquisition (Return on Ad Spend): every PPC campaign you manage should have a ROAS target against which you can measure your performance. While conversions are integral to the success of your campaign, you need to know that they’re cost-effective.

Search ads that are run through advertising platforms such as Google AdWords or the Yahoo! Bing network are 50% more likely to encourage visitors to purchase,

Which digital marketing metrics and analytics tools do you value most? Let us know in the comments below!

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Laura Carrick