Note: RBA is a BMA Minnesota Sponsor
As business marketers, how do we know if our online efforts are meaningful? We measure them! While cliché, the old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” still rings true. By analyzing what we do, we become smarter, more disciplined marketers.
So, what is important for business marketers (and our bosses) to measure—and how can we track and leverage those things? In my experience, marketing analytics usually tie back to a few main objectives:
• Sell more products or services;
• Generate more leads, more inquiries from potential customers; and/or
• Increase efficiency of marketing or corporate processes.
The good news is we don’t need to spend money on expensive solutions; there are excellent, free tools already in existence, which can help us accomplish our goals. To get the most of your marketing data, here is a list of three FREE tools and tricks for getting started.
To better understand how your website visitors interact with your marketing efforts online and to monitor conversions on your website or application, use Google Analytics. It’s web-based, and the only thing you need to do to start gathering data is to install a small snippet of tracking code on every page of your website.
Google Analytics claims to be the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet—and for good reason. It is an incredibly powerful solution for tracking and reporting website traffic.
It’s easy to use and understand and helps you track customer insights, which you can use to connect your website KPIs to your business objectives. There are so many small things, too, that you can do to make your use of Google Analytics even better. Here is one of my favorite tricks:
- Google Analytics Tip: Set all of your URLs to be written in lowercase so pages with the same names will all appear together. Here’s how it looks in Google Analytics if you don’t do that:
2) Google Tag Manager
With the more recent Google offering of Tag Manager, your analytics efforts can be even more streamlined. Think of Google Tag Manager as your middleman – it complements your Google Analytics. Plus, it’s easy; you typically don’t have to involve IT or your development team.
With our RBA digital marketing team, I can’t think of a single website for which we wouldn’t use Google Tag Manager (alongside Google Analytics).
Here’s why: From paid ads to simple web tracking tools, it seems every plug-in wants you to put its unique tag in the code of your website. Google Tag Manager lets you add new tags to your website without altering source code, so you never miss a measurement or marketing opportunity. It also manages Google Analytics upgrades seamlessly - no extra work needed from you. Once you’ve gotten the hang of Google Tag Manager, also consider this plug-in:
- Google Tag Manager Tip: Add scroll depth tracking via Google Tag Manager to learn how your website visitors are scrolling and engaging with your website pages. Maybe your “About Us” page bounce rate stinks, but 60 percent of users are scrolling all the way down the page and consuming your content. That’s a good thing even if they are bouncing.
3) Microsoft Power BI
And last, but certainly not least, please, marketers, do not overlook the power of Microsoft Power BI. Here's how you can really impress your boss.
With Microsoft Power BI, you can generate a real-time dashboard of widgets, charts, graphs and physical maps to see all of your data in one place.
The free data visualization tool allows you to collect and organize marketing metrics that matter most to you from other analytics programs, such as Google Analytics, email marketing services, paid advertising analytics, and more. Here’s an example of its power:
- Microsoft Power BI Tip: Use the map visualization capabilities of Microsoft Power BI to present data points interrelated by geography. We use this capability with our client International Trucks to track where there is interest in purchasing trucks. For example, we can click on “Georgia” on the map, and Power BI automatically filters to show only data in Georgia.
Try out Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Microsoft Power BI—and hopefully impress your boss with your new analytics skills! To learn even more about these free tools, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks during "Get Amazing Insights Using Three Free Platforms" at the Minneapolis Digital Summit in late July. I’ll be going through – step-by-step – how to build a scroll tracking dashboard using a combination of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Microsoft Power BI.
Which of these tools are you already using—and which do you want to add or expand? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section, below.
Andy Block is Digital Insights Strategist for RBA, a digital and technology consultancy based in Minneapolis. With a focus on aligning client business objectives with measureable results, Andy brings extensive first-hand experience with measuring every data source under the sun, including CSV files, Adobe and Google Analytics, CRM data, email data, and paid search data. He is Google Analytics certified and specializes in Microsoft Power BI to create always-on data visualizations.