Digital Marketing Resolutions: Measuring and Proving ROI in 2018

digital marketing analytics
Digital marketing is powerful for many reasons beyond the fact that digital is how most people communicate these days.
One of those reasons is because you can track and prove results with digital better than you can with any other medium.
Digital marketing gives you the power to track, measure, and analyze data. It gives you the chance to know exactly where your traffic and leads are coming from, what campaign is leading to which result, and how your targets are interacting with you.
And how we use data these days goes far beyond Google Analytics, which is the bare minimum of what is possible.
The best application of digital marketing analytics? Doing something that many marketers have traditionally struggled with: proving ROI.
Here, we’ll talk about how you can create a robust analytics process to measure and prove ROI for your digital marketing campaign, giving you the chance to show success from start to finish.

What’s Possible with Google Analytics

We could write an entire blog series on what you can do with Google Analytics, but instead we’ll stick to what is coming down the pipeline for this platform in 2018.
Google Analytics is undergoing four big changes in 2018:

  • User-level reporting
  • Lifetime metrics for User Explorer
  • Audience reporting
  • Conversion probability

User-level reporting is something that was actually introduced earlier but is being refined in 2018. Formerly, Analytics reported everything by sessions. But a single user can have multiple sessions, even within one day. So it makes more sense to look at users in addition to session data.

The two red boxes above show how you can select users by certain segments (the second box), which lets you look at people who converted, or didn’t convert, or had multiple session, or a variety of other segments.
User Explorer – what you see above – now also lets you look at lifetime metrics. Before, you could look at data for a particular user – anonymously labeled, so you don’t know their name or any other personally identifiable information. Now, you can access all of that but also take a look at everything they do as long as they’ve had one of your cookies on their device. Using this feature, you can more easily identify patterns and also incorporate other features like retargeting (or remarketing) to maximize value.
One change we’re excited about is audience reporting. Formerly, you couldn’t create custom audiences (groups of similar users) in Analytics. Now, you can. You can create custom groups of customers that all share certain characteristics. For example, you could take a look at all users who purchased multiple times last quarter, and compare them to a group of users who have only made one purchase – or no purchases – during the same quarter.
You can also upload these custom audiences to other Google properties, namely Google AdWords.
Finally, the update that makes us most excited is conversion probability. Google Analytics now has the capability to crunch all of the data your website has generated and actually predict which users will be most likely to convert.
You could do this previously with a hodgepodge of other software and tech options, but it was often convoluted and available only to those who paid serious money for the capability. Now, though, it’s a standard feature within Analytics.
One immediate application is that you can identify the channels that will, in theory, result in the most conversions – or will be most likely to convert users into customers.
Not every account has this feature at the moment. Expect more accounts to be granted this in beta over the first quarter of 2018.

Call Tracking in 2018

Outside of Google Analytics, there are things you can do in order to better prove ROI.
One of the best ways is through call tracking. Call tracking records whenever someone contacts you via the phone. It’s all done through phone numbers that you add to the system and track. So, if 205-333-4444 is one of our call-tracking numbers, and it’s on, say, an AdWords landing page, and someone calls it, we’ll know that this particular lead came from AdWords.
Call tracking has been around. What will become more mainstream this year is dynamic call tracking, which automatically changes the phone number listed on your website depending on who is viewing it, where they’re viewing it, and where it came from. That way, you can have really detailed conversion tracking on particular keywords, ads, ad sources, you name it.
Dynamic call tracking will become more commonplace in 2018 as digital marketers figure out how to maximize its use. If you depend on phone calls from potential customers, you’ll want to dynamically track these calls and be able to attribute them to your marketing campaign.

Making Use of the Facebook Pixel

Social media advertising is hugely important for many businesses, and Facebook advertising is no exception. Facebook offers the most robust set of options for advertisers and is a must for any B2C company (and many B2B).
Of course, if you are paying to run ads, you need to know if they work. And you need to know more than just the number of people who clicked and went to your website. You need to know precisely how many conversions you generated from an ad.
With Facebook Pixel, you can know that information. Simply install it on your website – installation is quick and easy – and Facebook will begin telling you the information you want to know about your visitors. You can then use this information to tweak your ads, optimize your website, or – better yet – create a retargeting campaign to target visitors who didn’t convert.

This kind of information will be recorded in Google Analytics, but Google Analytics won’t tell you anything about the ads themselves – just that their traffic came from Facebook. With this tool, you can figure out just how effective your ads are, in dollars and cents, which is the goal.
You can also create different events that activate the pixel based on what your users do once they click on an ad. You can have the following:

  • Generate lead
  • Complete registration
  • Purchase
  • Add payment info
  • Add to cart
  • Add to wishlist
  • Initiate checkout
  • Search
  • View content

If you want to track purchases from a Facebook ad, for example, you can set up a Purchase event. If you want to know how many people downloaded a whitepaper and gave you their email address from an ad, you can choose Generate Lead. If you want to see how many views you received on a blog from an ad, you can create a View Content event.
We could have an entire seminar on how to best use Facebook Pixel, but what we’ll say here is that it’s worth taking time to explore. If you use Facebook advertising in any capacity and you don’t have Pixel installed, you should – it is a treasure trove of ROI-specific data.

Determining ROI from Your Marketing

If you use the aforementioned platforms and incorporate other analytics and reporting into your marketing strategy, you can tell where your money is going and how it’s being put to good use. Then you can easily calculate ROI by seeing how much revenue your marketing generated and how much it cost.
Digital marketing analytics allows you to do this in a way that ordinary marketing and advertising just can’t. There are many powerful ways to prove that your marketing dollars are being put to good use – which is what any marketing exec or business owner wants. You just have to have the tools, team, and training to take advantage.
Our team at Uptick is skilled at using analytics and reporting to prove ROI for our clients. If you’re interested in knowing more about how your budget is working – and how it isn’t – contact us, and we’ll help you optimize your tracking system in 2018.
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About Anne

Uptick’s Vice President of Operations, Anne studied Advertising and Public Relations and Spanish at the University of Alabama, spending one semester abroad at La Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain. Her love for the art of language has translated into four published works, multiple speaking engagements, and also, marketing. At Uptick, Anne oversees Uptick’s internal operations, including four production teams (content marketing, digital advertising, SEO, and support), process development and management, and internal business strategy. The Birmingham Business Journal also named Anne the 2022 Business Leader of the Year.

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