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Measure Your Marketing to Unlock Valuable Insights

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Measuring your marketing and communication is one of the important things you will do. It will help you fine-tune your efforts so you can get the most out of your marketing.

But first, let’s talk about what this post is not.

It’s not about how to analyze your data. If that’s what you’re looking for, I highly recommend visiting Trust Insights.

This is not about how to use Google Analytics but this is a good time to remind you that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be replacing Google Analytics 3, otherwise known as Universal Analytics, on July 1, 2023. So, if you haven’t already updated to GA4, now would be a good time.

This is about giving you some tools to help you find insights in your data that will help you improve your marketing and communication program.

It doesn’t have to be complicated but there are a few things that you need to do that will help you get on the path to using your data to make decisions.

Today, we’ll talk about what you should track, how you should track it, how to turn it into something that can be not only a good way to see your data but report it to your organization, and finally how to turn it into action.

What Should You Track?

Let’s jump in by talking about what you should track.

What you tracking should align with the marketing goals and objectives you came with while you were planning. And of course, your marketing goals should be tied to business goals.  

This is a nice way of saying, it depends. 

While there may be many similarities between what you track and what I track, it’s likely not that it’s going to look exactly the same because we have different goals. 

With that in mind, these are some examples of what I track. 

For the website: 

  • Web Traffic
  • Referrals
  • Events per session
  • Conversions

For social media: 

  • Impressions
  • Bio/Profile Views

For media relations: 

  • The number of stories placed
  • Traffic driven

For paid media:

  • Ad spend
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Click-through rate (CTR)

Some of these metrics, such as web traffic, impressions, and profile views could be considered vanity metrics. These are metrics that make you look good but don’t really give much insight into performance.

Impressions are a good example. This is something that has been known to be used heavily in media relations.

I got your story in the local newspaper which has 100,000 subscribers so I got you 100,000 impressions. 

It sounds great but it’s not helpful because you don’t have any idea how many people actually read the story or what action they may or may not have taken if they did read it. 

So, why track something that is considered a vanity metric? 

Because it may actually help give you a high-level idea of how your marketing is working.

Here’s an example.

Awareness isn’t the end of the game but it is necessary. Nobody will buy from me if they don’t know who I am or what I do. Since I run my business through my website, it’s nice to know how many people are visiting.

If only five people are visiting the site every month, I know have a problem.

I don’t have a goal of 5000 visitors per day. I just want a general idea if a fair amount of people are showing up. 

Here’s another example.

Social media impressions don’t tell me if people are actually reading social media posts or if they visit the website afterward but it does tell me that people are at least seeing them which can help with awareness.  

I measure bio/profile views because it’s people taking an interest. It’s also a reminder that I need to make sure I have a killer bio/profile in place to help move people past interest into an action that is more valuable. 

Most of your metrics are going to be snapshots and it will be up to you to put the pieces together to get a well-rounded view of what’s happening.

Keep this in mind: Everything you measure needs to be giving you a piece of information that ties to your marketing goals and objectives. 

If it doesn’t you are wasting your time.

Develop a Marketing Scorecard

You should check your metrics at least once a week. You can check more than once if you want but I only check mine weekly. 

The idea isn’t to live inside your data nor is it a way to micromanage. 

It’s to take a snapshot of what is happening with your marketing and communication. 

I spend 30 minutes to an hour going through the metrics just to see what’s happening.

At the end of the month, I spend a day taking a deep dive into the metrics. 

I record the data on a scorecard. 

Again, it’s not complicated.

I have my scorecard in Google Sheets and there is a tab for every channel I’m working with. There is also a tab for key performance indicators (KPIs)

Your scorecard is likely going to look a little different than mine but here is a screenshot of the tabs I have: 

This makes complete sense to me but let me break down how I’ve sorted this because there is a method to my madness. I’m sharing this to give you ideas on how to look at your data. 

I’m a proponent of integrated marketing communication. This breaks down into four categories: 

  • Owned Media
  • Earned Media
  • Social Media
  • Paid media

Owned media is your website and email list. 

Earned media, also known as media relations, is when you work with the media to publish a story. 

I’m sure you know what social media is but it’s the platforms you use to communicate and share information such as TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

Paid media is ads.  

The first tab is the KPIs which is self-explanatory. 

The next two tabs correlate to owned media. It’s the website and email. 

Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are social media channels. 

The Google Business Profile, which used to be called Google My Business is kind of the outlier. It doesn’t fit cleanly anywhere. Because I’m sharing information through that profile and people can communicate with me through it, I lump it in as a social media channel. 

Media relations is any earned media that I’ve had. To clarify, it’s what’s been published. I do not currently track how many pitches there have been. It could be used to track the podcasts you’re appearing on and the impact of this as well.

And finally, paid is digital ads. 

You don’t have to organize it the way I’ve organized mine.

Create it in a way that makes sense to you.

The key isn’t how you represent this information in the scorecard. It’s that you have a scorecard where you’re actively recording the metrics of channels you’re using. 

My scorecard is a monthly endeavor. You could make it weekly if this works better for you. 

Discover Insights and Act on Them

A scorecard is a great snapshot of a particular area of your marketing and communication but I don’t find it conducive to understanding how everything is working together.

I’ve found that writing a monthly report helps me see and understand the data in a way the scorecard doesn’t/

The structure is simple. I break it into five sections:

  • Summary
  • Owned Media
  • Earned Media
  • Social Media
  • Paid Media

The summary is an overview of everything in the report.

Each section after is an overview of the data for those categories.

I’ve found two benefits to this.

The first is writing is thinking and it helps me clarify what I’ve found. Sometimes I find connections that I missed when I originally analyzed the data.

Second, writing the report pulls everything together. I can still reference the scorecard for quick view but the report tells me what happened and the insights I’ve learned.

Outside of the summary, each section has a list of opportunities and recommendations.

Overviews of the data are great but they have to lead to something.

It’s there to help you discover insights so you can take action.

For example, you may find that certain subjects that your write about on your blog drives more traffic than others.

That’s an important insight into what your audience cares about.

If I was going through your data I would list it as both an opportunity and a recommendation of what topics you should be writing about.

I decide what opportunities and recommendations I’m going to pursue and add them to my to-do list which has a due date and shows the current status of where I’m at with a particular task.

Measuring isn’t a passive activity. If you’re doing it right, you are using the data that you get when you measure which leads to insights that lead to action.

This in turn will lead to better marketing and communication results for your company.

I’m talking. It’s time for you to get to work.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation on Twitter.

*Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

This post was created by a human without the aid of AI.

Shane Carpenter
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