Data Detective: Building the Big Picture with Analytics

Written by

Carrie Von Rosen

Digital Business Analyst

As our chief data detective, Carrie’s typical day bears some resemblance to the call to the machines at the end of the Matrix—with a mess of numbers and patterns everywhere. She spends her time reading and interpreting these numbers, with an assist from Google. She looks for opportunities to leverage these behavioral insights into improved results for our clients’ digital campaigns and properties. Carrie took a winding path to her current position. She literally may have done and seen it all!

In my 11+ years with BFT, I’ve worked in accounting, media buying and even HR and administration. Previously, I built a strong foundation in both data wrangling and analyzing and in modifying human behavior as a psychotherapist, elementary science teacher and crime analyst. Suffice it to say, I have skills!

Fast Facts:

  • Driven by unrelenting curiosity.
  • Reiki master and shamanic energy healer.
  • The best mysteries may be the unsolved ones.

Dream big? Start small.

We’ve all been there: an annual or quarterly meeting, a state-of-the-organization address, a corporate debriefing. Leadership carefully reviews where the company has been and boldly plots the course for where it will go. Visions are shared. Goals are set. Then, the rallying cry goes out to the troops:

“Engage customers!”
“Become a thought leader!”
“Onward and upward! Heave ho!”

And then what? You get back to your desk and few, if any, of these goals seem to make sense in light of your day-to-day tasks. Sure, as a marketer you believe that your campaigns and initiatives are contributing to the above organizational goals (or at least they should be). But, how can you tell if they really are? More importantly, how can you show your corporate leadership that your efforts are valuable in contributing to achieving those goals?

One word: analytics.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

When it comes to Analytics, most people think of hard-and-fast quantitative goals—CPC, KPIs, CRO—expressed in concrete quantities. Success is typically measured in terms of numbers, percentage increases, etc. Indeed, these types of numbers are the very foundation data we use in analytics.

Organizational goals, on the other hand, tend to be more touchy-feely, expressing the vision that the company is striving to achieve. Measuring qualitative success is at often anecdotal and usually subjective.

If only there was a way to marry this odd couple, allowing effective tracking and holistic attribution of your marketing efforts toward the company’s goals.

Case File: Profiling the Unusual Suspects

A client came to us looking for help with setting annual marketing objectives. They had their tried-and-true set of digital metrics, which they wanted continued reporting on: sessions, returning users, bounce rate, downloads, etc.

They also had some new initiatives they needed to track, such as an e-newsetter and digital and print ads, as well as a new set of annual corporate goals: increase brand awareness, engagement and thought leadership. All of which needed to be rolled together into a single, usable, simple-to-understand report.

All the pieces were there. Like any puzzle, I started with the big picture (in this case the annual corporate goals) and worked through the small detail pieces (tried-and-true metrics, plus some new ones) to figure out which fit best.

To determine which piece belonged where, I did some behavioral profiling on each goal. I then selected the metrics that best demonstrated that profile and, therefore, would ultimately support progress toward that goal.

For example, a company that has a high level of brand awareness has a behavioral profile exhibiting high numbers of:

  • Users that are actively looking for the company (demonstrated by high numbers of organic search impressions, organic traffic and global searches of branded keywords);
  • Users that are actively talking about the company (social mentions/shares, social traffic);
  • Users that are exposed to the brand via campaigns (paid search impressions, paid search traffic, digital ad impressions, digital traffic); and
  • New users.

If the goal is to increase brand awareness, then our target should look to increase the numbers for each of the above metrics.

I repeated the process for each of the other corporate goals and, in the end, had a comprehensive list of metrics (complete with target numbers based on previous rates of growth) to support each goal.

When it comes to reporting on the qualitative corporate goals, the progress of each related metric toward its quantitative target is weighted based on importance. Then, all weighted metrics are compiled into an overall goal progress score, which is simple to understand and accurately expresses how marketing efforts are supporting the big-picture objectives.

Analytics: Putting the Pieces Together

Analytics can help you see how your marketing initiatives fit into the big picture of your company’s corporate objectives, determine which are providing the most value…and find your better.

Holistically speaking, how valuable are your marketing efforts to your company’s organizational goals and objectives? See what we’ve found for other clients.