How Marketing Analytics Helps Businesses Make Data-Driven Decisions and Grow
Lately, everyone has been talking about marketing analytics. But what is it exactly and why is it so important? Web analytics helps you build the right marketing strategy, allowing you to optimize costs, increase sales, and accelerate business growth.
In this article, we sort out everything you need to know about analytics in marketing. We’ve collected best practices for marketers who want to make decisions based on data rather than guesswork.
Marketing analytics from OWOX BI helped hundreds of projects of various sizes solve their challenges: increase ROI, reduce advertising costs, and boost sales. Sign up for a demo — and we’ll discuss how OWOX BI can be useful to your business.
Table of contents
- What is marketing analytics?
- Why marketing analytics is necessary
- Who needs marketing analytics?
- Why it’s important to collect quality marketing analytics data
- Why it’s important to combine marketing analytics data
- 1. Find and scale profitable ad campaigns
- 2. Achieve sales growth
- 3. Increase market share and attract new customers
- 4. Increase the number of applications from the site
- 5. Increase the speed and quality of decision-making
- Top marketing analytics tools on G2 Crowd
What is marketing analytics?
According to Gartner, marketing analytics is the process of collecting, analyzing, modeling, and visualizing data to optimize marketing campaigns by better understanding users’ behavior across channels. Marketing analytics is also about measuring and optimizing marketing efforts. It helps you assess the impact of marketing on the business as a whole. The principle is to combine marketing data with data from your CRM and ERP systems and consider the impact of all marketing efforts, both online and offline, on your business metrics.
Why marketing analytics is necessary
Thanks to marketing analytics, you can avoid guesswork and pay special attention to unprofitable marketing campaigns, uncover patterns and valuable insights in your marketing strategy, adjust your advertising campaigns, and get more revenue.
The importance of marketing analytics is illustrated by recent researches by Gartner, Adage, and The Trade Desk:
- For the second year in a row, businesses around the world are reducing spending on marketing. At the same time, the share of spending on analytics is growing. Now it’s about 9% of the advertising budget.
- 37% of company executives who don’t meet the growth plan believe the CMO should be changed first of all. Therefore, it’s crucial for marketing directors to implement plans and achieve growth goals.
- 78% of marketing directors have raised ROMI by using marketing analytics to shape their strategy.
How to set up an analytics system and what tools to use depend on the goals you set for your company. But two rules apply to everyone: You should ensure the quality of your data and combine it in a single system.
Who needs marketing analytics?
Marketing analytics is necessary for all data-driven companies, and in particular for:
- startups and small online projects
- medium-sized online stores
- omnichannel retailers and marketplaces
- banks, financial companies, telecom companies, restaurants, etc
Why it’s important to collect quality marketing analytics data
Marketing analytics starts with quality data. The KPIs in your reports and the management decisions you make based on them depend on the completeness and reliability of your collected data. Consequently, poor data quality is the primary reason for erroneous business decisions, which can lead to losses of time and money.
What are the most common challenges marketers face?
- In Google Analytics, 10% to 20% of conversions are lost, data is aggregated by the API, and data in reports is sampled.
- Combining data in Google Sheets or a standard database leads to regular system failures and subtle errors.
- Data in advertising services is collected in different formats and can change retrospectively, leading to discrepancies in reports.
As a result of the above problems, businesses lose time and money. Marketers waste 21% of their budgets due to data errors.
Therefore, the first thing to do when building analytics is to automate data collection. We recommend using OWOX BI Pipeline for this.
Why it’s important to combine marketing analytics data
Marketing is not an independent business function. Metrics only have value and meaning when combined with primary business data. If marketing indicators exist in isolation from business data — for example, in Google Analytics — their value is low.
Now let’s take a look at how marketing analytics helps businesses grow when faced with specific challenges.
1. Find and scale profitable ad campaigns
Typically, startups and small online projects want to scale profitable campaigns.
- The advertising budget is up to $100,000 a year.
- There is no dedicated marketing analytics team on staff yet. These functions are performed by a marketer or agency.
- There is no allocated budget for analytics. Most likely, the budget for advertising is allocated with a horizon of one month.
- The annual marketing budget is constantly reviewed because it depends on the operational results of the business.
- Decisions are made intuitively due to a lack of data.
- Analytics implementation is postponed until “better times.”
- Study the best market practices: what tools to use, KPIs to calculate, and reports to build first.
- Watch the benchmarks. Most of the top ones are known: they are conversions, traffic, and the cost of attracting a customer. Focus your marketing team on surpassing these benchmarks.
- Set up advanced ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics and automate reports in Google Sheets.
- Automatically import costs from advertising sources into Google Analytics. Compare the ROAS of all ad campaigns in one report to efficiently allocate your budget.
- Transfer sales information from your CRM to Google Analytics using the Measurement Protocol.
Example of implementation
To speed up the process of preparing reports for clients, the digital agency has automated reporting in Google Data Studio with the help of OWOX BI Pipeline. This service automatically imports expense data from various advertising services into Google Analytics, then transfers that data to Data Studio and updates reports without the involvement of data specialists.
Here’s what this data scheme look like:
This solution isn’t a full-fledged analytics system, but it’s enough for the initial stage. It allows you to get accurate data on advertising campaigns. However, this data is flat without considering the mutual influence of channels and your business’s funnel.
- Do you track events and goals in Google Analytics?
- Do you know how Google Analytics metrics relate to your business metrics? (Obviously, revenue and profit in the CRM will be different from online data.)
2. Achieve sales growth
Medium-sized online stores tend to prioritize sales growth. That’s what helps the store survive. When the profitability threshold is already defined, it’s necessary to maintain the growth rate with the specified CPA or ROAS.
- Advertising budget from $100,000 to $1 million per year.
- There is an analyst who does not only marketing but also product analytics, business reports, etc.
- Marketing reports are collected manually in Google Sheets or Excel once a week or on demand.
- There are not enough resources to implement analytics. For example, developers or specialists who work with reports don’t have time for analytical tasks.
- There is an understandable budget for marketing, but no one separately budgets martech and experiments.
- There is a popular belief that to increase sales, it’s enough to simply attract more traffic, set up Google Analytics, or work with an advertising agency.
To solve these problems, it’s no longer enough to simply transfer orders from your CRM to Google Analytics through the Measurement Protocol.
- Formulate and measure online and offline metrics. This will allow marketers to focus their goals and advertising budgets on the growth of the company as a whole.
- Collect raw data in Google BigQuery cloud storage to combine marketing and business metrics.
- Create a single marketing dashboard that’s available to all members of your team so they can find out at any time what’s happening with advertising campaigns and how the sales plan is being implemented.
A dashboard may not answer all questions, and insights can be generated based on more in-depth data. But at least at the top level, it’s desirable to create a single marketing dashboard.
Example of implementation
Analysts segment orders by the number of sessions before making these orders (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5+). Long chains of interactions (5+ sessions) are handled similarly to short chains: the first two and the last two sessions are the most important.
During these first and last sessions, a user gets acquainted with the product and makes a purchase decision. The contribution of other sessions is lower, so the rest of the sessions are considered as one item. As a result, marketers received a dashboard where orders are segmented by advertising source, region, product category, and number of sessions before registration.
This dashboard gives answers to the following questions:
- Which channels are more likely to be triggered at the beginning/middle/end of the funnel?
- Which channels are more likely to be triggered in a particular Region segment?
- Which Region segment has the largest number of orders?
- Do all marketing department employees know how the business evaluates their effectiveness and where they can see the results of their work? Company management shouldn’t require the marketing director to attract new customers or increase ROAS while advertising campaign specialists think their main goal is to increase conversions.
- Do you know where the data you need is stored and how to use it?
3. Increase market share and attract new customers
Omnichannel retailers and marketplaces often face this challenge. The goal is no longer just growth but the market share that the retailer occupies. It is measured by external indicators, for example, by GFK. The goals also include attracting new clients.
- The advertising budget of $1 million to $10 million per year. The amounts are so high because online advertising brings results not only on the Internet but also in physical stores.
- Such businesses already have a marketing analyst. Google Analytics 360 is used by 30% of companies.
- Retailers and marketplaces usually work with several advertising agencies, each of which is responsible for a specific advertising channel.
- Marketers who need to increase market share and attract new customers often work with several advertising agencies, and each agency is responsible for a specific advertising channel.
- The number of new customers is difficult to measure with Google Analytics: there’s no indication if a user has made an order before. In Google Analytics, a new visit is just a cookie that hasn’t appeared on the site before, so it’s hard to set a goal like new customer orders.
- This leads to contradictions between the goals of the advertising service and the business. An ad service analyzes the overall contribution to the business and measures conversions in general. But for the business, it’s important to know who placed the order — a new client or an existing client. You won’t be able to understand this without CRM data.
- Analytics is built retrospectively. That is, it looks at numbers when they can no longer be influenced. Plans are made in a table based on expert opinions or, at best, using logistic regression. Market trends are not taken into account.
- Focusing only on brand traffic can play a cruel joke with businesses. Yes, driving more traffic leads to more conversions, but this strategy scales poorly.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns doesn’t take into account ROPO sales. This can lead to inefficient solutions: The better an advertising campaign stimulates offline purchases, the more undervalued it looks online. In response, it’s allocated a lower budget, which contradicts the goal of the business to grow overall sales.
- The sales and customer information that a company collects in its CRM isn’t enough to grow sales. An internal system lacks data on sessions, traffic sources, and regional breakdowns — everything that allows you to attract a target audience.
- Collect and aggregate raw data from your website, advertising sources, CRM, call tracking services, and Google BigQuery emails to link marketing metrics to business goals.
- Identify key metrics for each online marketing area. For example, the top-level task to attract the maximum number of orders with the given ROAS and CRR can be decomposed into different channels: paid search, social networks, and email.
- Set up funnel based attribution that matches your business model and takes into account all online and offline user actions and real profit from your CRM while also showing the mutual influence of channels on conversions and user promotion through the AIDA funnel. Reports based on attribution data from OWOX BI allow you to evaluate acquisition channels separately for new and returning customer cohorts and effectively allocate your budget to target cohorts.
- Create a forecast for each metric and track its deviation from the plan. Moreover, you should compare not the fact with the plan but the forecast with the plan. If your forecast is automatically updated based on market trends, you’ll learn about risks and growth zones before the plan turns into reality — that is, before too much time passes and you’re no longer able to influence it.
Example of implementation
This approach helps companies develop a culture of predictive analytics that allows them to influence the future rather than analyze the past. If you see that the plan is not being fulfilled, you can build a pivot table in advance for those segments and metrics that marketing can influence.
- Do you know how digital advertising affects your company’s overall sales?
- Do your managers trust the dashboards the marketing department prepares?
- How many decisions do you make based on predictions, not facts?
4. Increase the number of applications from the site
Separately we will focus on leading businesses: banks, financial companies, telecom companies etc. They also include restaurants to some extent if their job is to create a stream of customers who fill in application forms on the site.
- A large number of calls and leads are received from the site. It is not net income.
- For online in such businesses, less than 20% of the total advertising budget is allocated to analytics. Most of it goes to TV, outdoor advertising, and online — works as support.
- Google Analytics 360, according to our observations, is used by 22% of companies that spend more than $100,000 a year on advertising.
- Requirements of security service. Since the work is with finance and personal data, any changes in tracking systems and data services should be confirmed with a security service.
- You can only change something on the site in Q5. The resources of the team that implements changes on the site is very limited. Marketing needs to make many prompt changes to the site. And for telecom companies and banks, this most often involves approvals and large-scale plans.
- There is a misconception that online is not needed, as it does not make a significant contribution to the business.
- Save Client ID to internal requisition database.
- Upload the result and value of online applications to Google BigQuery. You must use an anonymous requisition ID to upload. Personal data is certainly not needed here, even a financial result is optional. But some criterion is needed that will compare the value of applications with each other, for example, on a scale of one to five.
Do you know how much money online advertising has brought to businesses in general and can you prove it?
5. Increase the speed and quality of decision-making
This goal is relevant for all data-driven companies.
Analytics helps marketers:
- Quickly find a common language with colleagues from other departments, argue opinions, and focus on common goals.
- Save time. Previously, it was necessary to spend hours compiling tables with data from different sources in Excel. Now, you can get a report in Google Sheets, Smart Data, or Google Data Studio in a couple of clicks.
- Strengthen the team with individual reports. Each employee can receive effective reports so they can see the results of their efforts, make timely decisions, and adjust advertising campaigns.
If you want to build an effective marketing strategy but aren’t sure where to start, book a free demo of OWOX BI.
Top marketing analytics tools on G2 Crowd
One way to choose analytics tools is to scroll through ratings websites. On these sites, you can find tools with many different capabilities and at many different price points, but you won’t find all tools available on the market. Tools that aren’t connected with big corporations and don’t solve a particular problem may be not included. Also, you should remember that universal tools might not fit your needs, especially if they’re free. And expensive tools aren’t necessarily worth buying, because you may not use all the functionality.
Our best advice is to choose tools that solve your tasks. Let’s take a look at the top-rated marketing analytics tools on G2 Crowd and consider what companies can use them efficiently and what they’ll cost.
OWOX BI is an all-in-one analytics tool that collects data from all kinds of sources for any kind of business, merges marketing data neatly and clearly, and prepares reports based on collected data, including forecasts, data-driven attribution, and predictions.
With OWOX BI, you can tune your marketing mix more efficiently, implement instant reporting, send triggered emails, check the quality of website pages, find the growth zones of ROI, and decrease ad costs.
OWOX products are pain relievers for companies in the retail, ecommerce, financial, and other domains. You can try a free version of OWOX BI with all basic functionality and select a paid plan starting from $55 a month.
HubSpot Marketing Hub
The master of inbound marketing, HubSpot changed the game in 2006 and has grown significantly since then. Today, HubSpot Marketing Hub is one of the most famous all-in-one marketing, sales, and service tools. It even includes a free CRM. HubSpot integrates with Salesforce, though some popular online ad services (for example, Twitter) are not supported. At the end of the day, HubSpot can’t honestly be considered one of the best marketing analytics tools because its analytics features play only a supporting role.
HubSpot is designed mainly for small and medium-sized businesses with the aim of marketing automation. There’s a free basic version, and the Starter plan costs $50 a month.
Looker is positioned as a business intelligence (BI) system containing both sales and marketing data, reporting, and dashboarding functionality. It uses SQL Runner for advanced access to data when configuring reports and has a complicated setup process. Even those who are quite tech-savvy will find it takes some time to get along with this tool. But for true analysts, the limit of 5,000 search results included in reports is not enough.
Looker is often used by medium-sized businesses and enterprises that are ready to introduce BI systems. A free version is available, but advanced features come at a high price.
Mailchimp marketing platform
Mailchimp, founded in 2001, is one of the most famous email service providers. It’s no surprise that the company has created a full-fledged marketing platform. This platform is now included in the list of digital analytics tools on G2 Crowd for its unique abilities to analyze your audience from email and other channels, help you enhance your content according to your brand demands, and help you launch improved ad campaigns.
Mailchimp’s all-in-one marketing platform is built around email marketing and aims to help small businesses grow. So if your strategy includes a lot of email communication, try out Mailchimp. There’s a free version, and paid versions start from $9.99 per month.
Insider focuses on funnel and conversion optimization, A/B testing, and personalization of the customer experience. It’s rather fresh on G2 Crowd and doesn’t have tons of reviews. Support is a strong side of this service. Also, Insider has strong analytics capabilities for reviewing results. The killer feature is predictive segmentation, which is key for efficient personalization.
Reviews on G2 Crowd suggest that Insider is created for medium-sized and large businesses. The pricing is unclear, however, as it’s not published on G2 Crowd or elsewhere.
You can find the full list of digital analytics tools on G2 Crowd here.
Marketing is like pinning the tail on the donkey. Analysts remove the blindfold and show you what’s in front of you. What matters isn’t the mere availability of reports but the fact that they’re built on complete and accurate data and not only analyze the past but predict the future.