To start 2013 on the right foot, here are three things I recommend you do today.
2013 is upon us, and with it comes many resolutions that we aim to keep but deep down we know we'll probably abandon. Speaking to digital marketers last year, I saw a common theme evolving in their digital resolutions for 2013:
Easier said than done. How do we stick to these resolutions? Luckily I see three exciting developments in 2013 that will help achieve these resolutions and more.
1. Google Tag Manager to ease the deployment and management of tags.
2. Google Analytics Attribution Modeling for evaluating a marketing channel's true ROI.
3. Universal Analytics, that promises to move away from browsers to users.
Take control of your marketing and analytics tags
Tagging - it's the bane of every marketer. Unless you're lucky enough to have authority over your or your client's technical team, rolling out new tracking tags is always going to be a painful process that involves negotiation, delays, fixing the inevitable mistakes, tears, and finally, joy. 2013 promises to see a proliferation of tracking tags. Marketers will deploy and tweak many new types of tags, from Facebook conversion pixels, to consolidation of retargeting networks and their tags, to new affiliates. A graceful solution needs to be in place to manage these pains.
Tag management is nothing new, but has tended to be an expensive solution to pursue. Google Tag Manager ensures that tag management is now freely available to all websites small and large thanks to its $0 price tag.
What's more exciting for the e-commerce manager is that he can now deploy and configure tags at any time without having to worry about IT being a bottleneck.
Get to the true ROI with Attribution Modeling
In October last year Google released the Attribution Modeling tool to all Google Analytics users. Previously it was only available to Premium users. Attribution Modeling takes Multi-Channel Funnels to the next level.
Multi-Channel Funnels was the big Google Analytics story last year. It allows marketers to look beyond last-click attribution and truly appreciate to what extent each marketing channel plays in assisting conversions.
Attribution Modeling takes Multi-Channel Funnels one step further. With it marketers are better able to assign true ROI to their various marketing efforts. You can create different attribution models that assign value to channels depending on where they sat in the conversion funnel. Experiment with different weightings based on position (e.g., first-click wins), time decay, user engagement, generic vs. brand keywords, and more.
Modeling ROI under different scenarios allows you to quickly identify which channels have been under-valued or over-valued in the pursuit of conversions.
Attribution Modeling works out of the box with AdWords cost information. However, it's not limited to only working with AdWords data. You can use the new Cost Data Import functionality to upload cost information associated with your other marketing channels. You can then apply attribution modeling to these channels as well. More on this in the coming months.
Universal Analytics is a significant evolutionary leap for Google Analytics. It promises to move analysis from a browser-centric model to a user-centric model. This is an important need in today's multi-device world. Universal Analytics promises to provide insights on multi-device behavior. Imagine being able to understand how a user researches your product on her phone while she's on her morning commute, views your product videos on her work laptop at lunch, and then completes the purchase on her iPad at home two nights later.
What particularly excites me about Universal Analytics is the ability to send data to Google Analytics from anywhere. So what? It means you can start collating sales data offline and sending it back to Google Analytics in real time or in batches. If you have a concept of who the user is during the purchase (e.g., she used her loyalty card), you can then tie that back to her previous activity on your website. One thing to note is that the anonymity of visitors will still be maintained.
Universal Analytics is currently in limited beta. While it's not ready for primetime yet, it's worth becoming familiar with its capabilities and planning ahead for it with your various stakeholders.
Start 2013 on the right foot
The first month of 2013 is almost over, but it's never too late to start practicing good measurement habits. In the coming months I'll elaborate on these "resolution aids." But in the meantime here are three things I recommend you do today:
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Vinny is managing partner and co-founder of Sparkline, a consultancy focused on optimizing conversion rates. Sparkline is a Google Analytics Certified Partner, Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller, Google Tag Manager Specialist, Adobe Marketing Cloud Solution Partner, and Optimizely Certified Partner. Vinny specializes in maximizing revenues for businesses by optimizing their digital presence across desktop and mobile websites, paid advertising, social media, and search engines. His core expertise lies in measurement, data analysis, testing, and insights that deliver results. Prior to founding Sparkline, Vinny was a senior conversion specialist at Google Southeast Asia for 5 years. You can get in touch with Vinny on Twitter @vinoaj, LinkedIn, Google+ or his company's website.
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