The Importance of Data Analytics in Digital Marketing

By Madison Taylor
January 28, 2023
Phone next to a laptop

The digitization of the marketing world has completely changed the way we do business. It wasn’t so long ago that marketers would place a TV ad and wait to see if sales numbers went up in the weeks after the ad ran — in terms of ROI, that was the best they could do.

Now, every element of your marketing and your business is analyzed and quantified.

The wealth of data can be extremely powerful, informing your strategy and execution to maximize the efficiency of your business.

The challenge with using marketing data and analytics is sifting through the noise for relevant information, and finding patterns and actionable insights that can lead to more efficient and effective campaigns.

While writers often pair them together, it’s important to distinguish between data and analytics. Data is raw information. There’s no limit to the amount you can gather, but data collection is only half the picture Analytics is the examination of that data and the ability to draw conclusions about patterns, predictions, and cause-effect relationships. To succeed in today’s data-driven marketplace, marketers must be competent at both collecting and analyzing data to drive results.

Using Data to Inform Strategy

Starting with a clear marketing strategy is essential to ensure that your efforts will not be inefficient, wasteful, and ineffective. Before you launch any campaign, a firm grasp of your goals, audience, and marketing channels is required. From there, data and analytics are the most powerful tools you have to inform the way you communicate with your customers.

Customer Journey Analysis

Your content strategy should evolve depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey your prospective customers occupy. Early in the research process, customers need information about their problems and potential solutions, while customers on the verge of purchase need hard numbers like pricing and specifications.

With the collection of thousands of customer interactions, you can start to narrow down the most common paths that your customers take toward purchasing your product. Every customer is different. Some prefer to do research online, while others prefer live demonstrations. Some want to read about your product on your website, while others prefer third-party reviews or testimonials from your existing customers. With enough information, you can start to find patterns in the way that people discover, consider, and decide to make a purchase.

Once you’ve established these patterns, you can adjust your approach to focus on the channels that your customers use to conduct research. If your customers like to read blogs expounding the features of a product before they buy, for example, you can ramp up investment in your blogging efforts. If your customers prefer the word of other buyers, you can put more effort into soliciting feedback and reviews from your most satisfied customers.

Evolution of Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are valuable tools that provide a picture of the type of customer you want to engage — if your marketing department doesn’t know who your ideal customer is, you can’t create messaging that appeals to that person’s unique pain points and needs.

Buyer personas are not static. You might build a buyer persona for a new product, then find once launched that you made erroneous assumptions about the people to whom the product most appeals. Environmental shifts in your industry might completely change the picture of your average consumer — millennials have fled Facebook in droves after initially comprising its core user base, for example.

Your customer data is the most useful tool you have for adapting or expanding your buyer personas.

Analyze who’s buying which products, how long they stay subscribed, whether they refer new people, and whether they become repeat customers. Find what your most successful customers have in common, then look for that in future customers.

We often find that a more in-depth analysis of the data lends itself to the creation of multiple buyer personas. You might notice that the people paying for your premium service aren’t the same as those paying for the basic tier. Repeat buyers may have different behaviors or characteristics than one-time buyers. You may find that this analysis leads to the creation of different personas for each path along the buyer’s journey, expanding your understanding of your current customers.

Customer Segmentation

Segmentation starts with essential characteristics — demographics, job titles, income, location, and similar high-level data. You can find this information through social networks, order forms, and lead generation forms.

Once you start gathering some sales records, data collection and analysis can generate far more nuanced segmentation. Identify patterns that connect specific segments to unique sales behavior. For example, you might find that people or companies over a particular range of income are more likely to buy a particular product or that some segments of your customer base are more receptive to specific marketing materials.

Customer Behavior

Understanding how your customers interact with your website is crucial for optimizing your site and other materials. With tools like Google Analytics and HotJar, a heatmapping tool, you can dig deeper into how far your customers scroll down individual pages, which buttons and links they click, how long they linger in certain areas, and where their attention goes first.

As you gather more data about how your users interact with your site, you can adjust your site to accommodate your users. In one case study, we found that users were clicking on an unclickable header in a block of text. In response, we made the text clickable, directing them to another relevant page.

SEO Optimization

Any SEO strategy will start with educated assumptions about the search terms that your users are employing to find your content, but as user data starts to accumulate, you can refine your technique. Tools like Google Analytics will show you the search terms that lead users to your site to optimize strategies to match your target audience’s pain points and priorities.

It’s All in the Data

When people think marketing, their minds tend to shift to the emotional side, and what their intuition likes to tell them. Data Analytics should be used to drive results, your customer knows themselves the best, and trends will always give you the answer you’re looking for. It’s all in the numbers, all in the data.