These three important challenges must be met by any brand hoping to get more value out of its digital properties.
It's August 2013. Do you know where your markets are?
In terms of digital analytics, that is.
With content focus shifting rapidly to mobile (as if the web was going anywhere!), and multi-channel analytics all the rage, it's important to note that whatever the platform, three principles remain key to brand success.
The larger the brand, the more important these items become. And with added layers of measurement complexity, they become that much more difficult to achieve - as well as that much more essential to success.
Time to get the woodwinds playing with the strings; and the brass playing along, too. If you miss this opportunity to make a symphony, you'll have an awful time getting control of it later when it's even more complex. And by then the hall will be empty - your audience will have gone home.
Here are three important challenges that must be met by any brand hoping to get more value out of its digital properties.
1. Analytics governance. Far-flung content owners? One big, rather dated and rather expensive measurement solution that seemed to be the answer to everything back in 2007 (but that most business users don't like or don't use)? Lots of agencies each making the case they should measure their own success? Rogue sites with non-standard tools measuring in non-standard ways? And no way to roll up reporting because nobody seems to have any measurements in common anymore? It's a poorly tended garden indeed, but it's more common than you'd think among big brands.
There's a way to get this under control, but that's the keyword: control. Some call it "governance." Governance requires at least the following:
2. Data integrity. They don't trust the numbers. And they won't take action (see below) because they don't trust the numbers.
Adoption remains low.
Millions of dollars may be lost because no one's keeping track of the data till.
In order to establish data integrity, institute governance, then:
3. Content actionability. Does a digital campaign make noise in cyberspace if no one is there to hear it?
The answer is "no." There's no value to content that doesn't drive conversion.
And that's why you measure. To optimize content. To get better conversion rates.
This suggests rather strongly that you may need to do something different once you see the data gathered by measuring user interaction with your content.
There are two ways "actionability" works. One is indirect via human intervention. The other is automatic via sophisticated content delivery strategies supported by algorithms and what's often called "real-time" data.
Whether by human hands or robot power, the feedback loop from data to content and back again is essential to digital marketing success - and now is the time to get a handle on it.
Managing the digital brand experience is only going to get more complex; and the cost of reining in the wild analytics horses is going to get higher, quickly.
Best get out the lariat.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Andrew V. Edwards is a digital marketing executive with 20 years of experience serving large organizations, and has been an operating executive and digital marketing consultant since the 1980s. Currently he is a partner at Efectyv Digital, a digital analytics consulting firm. Andrew combines extensive technical knowledge with a broad strategic understanding of digital marketing and especially digital measurement, plus hands-on creative in the form of writing and design.
In 2004 Edwards co-founded the Digital Analytics Association and is currently a director emeritus. He has designed analytics training curricula for business teams and has led seminars on digital marketing subjects.
Besides writing a regular column about analytics for ClickZ, Andrew wrote the groundbreaking "Dawn of Convergence Analytics" report, which was featured at the SES show in New York (2013).
His book Digital Is Destroying Everything, published by Rowman & Littlefield, will be released on June 15, 2015.
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