Data driven in digital marketing

1. Digital marketing is data driven

To be successful in digital marketing having a high level overview of your data isn't enough. You have to be willing to study the data at each point in the customer's journey. It's more than how many likes a post has or how many visits to your website. It's a quest to understand why your consumer is doing what they're doing. The data will paint a picture and it might not be obvious at first, but when you become extremely familiar with your data it'll be a lot clearer.

Start every morning by looking over your metrics, familiarizing yourself with the information, exploring ideas that are new and foreign, and trying to correlate things that might be seemingly unrelated. Look at everything from your social media metrics to your customer service email volumes, it all counts for something. And once you think you've learned enough, dig deeper, it's an incredibly valuable skill to hone and you'll want to practice it as much as possible. Over time, you'll come to identify patterns and you'll begin to evaluate what metrics are really the most important.

But digital marketing requires a data first mindset. I want you to start getting in the habit of saying, "Show me the data." Your data is going to dictate the experiments you try. And whether those experiments succeeded in growing your business. Your data will help you evolve your messaging and help you resolve issues. Just about every digital platform you interact with has analytics capabilities built in, explore them. And, if you haven't already, I encourage you to get started with Google Analytics. Out of the box, you can bolt Google Analytics onto your website and get incredible insights into who your customers are, what they're looking for, and where they're falling out of your funnel. There's an endless amount of data that you can interact with. The moral is to not trust your gut, avoid leaning on instinct, and instead, let the data do the talking.

2. How online analytics work

Every action you take on the web is tracked one way or another. The pages you view, the files you download, and even demographic and interest data can be recorded. Now, most of this data is captured through the use of what are called cookies and pixels.

A cookie is a small file that a website stores on your computer. And this might contain the pages you visited and when plus a unique identifier. Now the website itself will store its own corresponding file and then match your cookie to the records collected on the web server. And this can be useful for knowing, say, whether a visitor is returning for the second time or to load items that you had left behind in your shopping cart. As you continue to browse the web and load advertisements from the same publisher, well, they'll see a list of the type of sites you visit and how you've interacted with these ads. This information can then be used to sell ads that you're likely to engage with. And this is why you're able to use Google ads to buy targeted placements for people interested in say sports.

So beyond cookies, we have the tracking pixel or web beacon. And a tracking pixel stores information on a web server, now your computer. Pixel is usually just a one by one transparent image, and they're often used to see if users convert after visiting a particular advertisement. And here's how they work. The server is going to store a small image file, call it "pixel.gif". And every time the server asks for the file it's going to log that request. Now, instead of just asking for "pixel.gif" will instead add parameters to the request. Now the server is going to keep a log of that unique request and it can use those variables to then match a transaction back to that particular user or advertising event.

Digital marketing has a tremendous reliance on cookies and tracking pixels. It's how you gain visibility into what someone is up to as they interact with your marketing campaigns. You'll encounter pixel tracking tags with just about every major platform you choose to leverage within your marketing efforts.

Source: Linkedin Solution (8/4/2020)

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