At the dawn of the computer age, there were many individuals that truly believed that while the Internet might be valuable, that it would not have a lasting impact on human civilization. Paul Krugman famously wrote in 1998 that the effect of the Internet on the world economy would be “no greater than the fax machine’s”. When one considers that Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, you start to realize that not everyone truly understood the digital transformation that was actually about to take place. Of course, now we completely understand that every business that takes itself seriously has to have some sort of an online presence, and that the Internet has forever transformed the way that human beings connect, consume, and interact.
The days of discovering the right keywords and optimizing them are not over by any means, but the truth is that we now have more data than ever to truly understand what consumers are looking for, and take advantage of it. While there are many businesses out there that certainly are luring in new customers thanks to SEO-focused content, blog posts, and linking out to authority sites - the truth is that digital marketing requires actual analytics more than ever. This is a bit of a “crisis” that the entire sector is facing, as digital marketers are increasingly struggling to improve ROI for businesses and brands, and corporations are shelling out more money than ever to try to figure out how to digitally market their products and services.
Digital marketers require a much more comprehensive view of what is happening with consumers than traffic and conversion. That’s why actual analytics are more essential to digital marketers than before, which is only natural considering that digital marketing has been utilizing some of the same tactics now for years. This is examining what device that your consumers are on, how much time they spend on which web pages, and interactions per visit. Is the consumer actually interested in your company’s services, or do they just find your blog posts valuable? You thought that your landing page was incredible, and laid out your price points quite eloquently - but why are consumers not spending more time on that page? What is your ratio of new traffic to returning traffic, and what are the reasons that it might be fluctuating? These are the kind of new questions that digital marketers have to constantly ask themselves in order to improve ROI for their clients.
This also just simply isn’t about a website anymore. We all know that there are more ways than ever to communicate with the customer. It might be through Instagram lives, influencers, Facebook messages, apps that companies create, newsletters that corporations send, and more. There has to be much more to learn about than simply traffic, because there is more consumer data out there than ever, and more ways for consumers to engage with organizations of all sizes. This begs the question: what should digital marketers be thinking about? While it’s always great to know more about how much web traffic you are getting, what more can be done to make sure that more potential customers know about you, and are interested in what you have to offer?
In the past, digital marketers simply believed that the more content that was put out there, the more would be consumed. That’s why techniques such as “keyword stuffing” rose in popularity, because digital marketers knew that if they mentioned certain words, web rankings would improve, and that would mean profit for their clients. Of course, this simply isn’t nowhere near as effective as it used to be. These days, digital marketers are more interested in knowing WHAT KIND of marketing strategies work more than others.
Let’s say that your company is a startup that is in an extremely competitive sector. As a digital marketer, both you and your client understand that gaining market share might take some time. You start strategizing about how to provide some value, and create a Youtube channel for potential clients to learn more about what you do. You might even hire an influencer to make sure that the videos reach a certain amount of people, as well. In addition, you also reach out to industry experts and ask if they might be interested in appearing on a podcast. Your organization has made it clear that they want as meaningful content as possible, and you are making sure that this is the case. Months might pass by, without any real metrics changing. After this time, all of a sudden, the startup is receiving more traffic than ever, and being discussed on social media.
You might check the Youtube videos only to find that no real progress has been made, despite the fact that the influencer is actively posting about your client. You switch over to find that the podcast has more listens than ever, because of a specific guest that is has been in the headlines because his company just got acquired by a major corporation. As a result, there are thousands of people listening in to the advice that he gave on the recent podcast. Now, your startup is receiving more traffic, and your client is actually gaining business.
A digital marketer has to be conscious of these immediate changes. While this story is obviously an anecdotal one, the truth is that digital marketers have to find out new ways to create content that fit with industry trends. It’s no secret that podcasting is a budding industry, as evidenced by the fact that one of the most powerful and influential tech companies in the world, Apple, is actively investing in the space. The Joe Rogan Podcast has grown tremendously over the past decade, and now regularly features presidential candidates attempting to spread their message. This is all just a testament to the way that content trends are changing. If digital marketers want to truly help their clients, they have to be aware of these trends and take advantage of them, because it could mean very real profit for them.
It’s no secret that companies and organizations have always wanted to know more about their customer, to figure out how to keep them happy. While customer retention has always been a focus, the truth is that digital marketers will have to zero in on the consumer journey more than ever. We all have taken a survey where a company asks us “How did you hear about us?”, but that simply isn’t going to cut it in the future.
Digital marketers will have to know more and more about where these consumers are coming from. Are they visiting your client’s website because of a recent news article? Was it a positive news article, and why? Are potential customers visiting your website because of a press release that was recently circulated? Is it because it was discussed on social media by an influencer, or because your client’s app is rising up the stores? This kind of information will help to shape your content marketing strategy going forward.
The truth is that while digital marketers have been creating content in many different channels for some time now, their analytics will have to expand, as well. It’s no longer just about web traffic or customer retention. It’s about whether customers are visiting your website and mobile. Are they staying long enough? If so, what are they looking at? If they aren’t staying and your bounce rate is high, is it because of your load time? There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a website to load, and if that’s the reason your customers are leaving - that’s important information, because it doesn’t really have to do with your product or customer service. If a digital marketer is truly on top of their client’s analytics, it can be an invaluable tool to creating new streams of revenue and saving massive amounts of money elsewhere, as well.
You can learn more about which social media platform ad campaigns are working, and why. Is it because of the copywriter that was hired? Is it because of the graphics or overall message that was conveyed? Why are many people adding products to a cart but the cart abandonment rate so high? Does this mean that your client is missing out on money by insisting on a price point? Would an effective sales promotion or newsletter change that situation and help your client make more profit than ever? Is one micro-influencer providing much more value for your client than the more expensive high-profile influencer that you previously hired, and why? In a world of ever-changing analytics, digital marketers have to understand that tracking all sorts of metrics might lead to insight that wasn’t previously available. While this doesn’t mean that ALL information is essential, it does require much more analysis on the part of digital marketers. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”, and certainly, when it comes to the digital marketing sector, “analytics are power”, as well.