With increasing customer demands and competition a click away, access to data-driven responses in real time has become a necessity for business users and marketers. Today, the market is full of digital analytics tools for measuring your customer experience across web and mobile applications, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and point of sales (POS). When used correctly, these digital analytics tools can provide businesses a wealth of insight into the performance of their digital platforms.

To best leverage digital analytics, you will first need to set clear business objectives and define how your organization intends to measure success on your digital platforms. An in-depth look into your current measurement strategy—if one exists—including metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) will reveal if digital analytics is providing the data and insights necessary to ensure business and customers’ needs are met.

Identifying Metrics 

Organizations often make the mistake of using out-of-the-box metrics like page views, sessions, bounce rates and session duration as KPIs. These basic metrics are not representative of actual business objectives and can prove useless without the right context. For example, if a marketer wanted to understand the value of a landing page, they would want to look at the number of leads generated by the page or the long term business impact customers who came to the site through that page brought. Instead, reports focus on the number of people that saw the page or the bounce rate for the content. While this is helpful information, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t tie the analysis to ultimate business success.

Regardless of industry, website visits and page views do not increase bottom lines, nor should they be used as key performance indicators (KPIs). If these are the types of metrics you’re seeing in reports or using in your analysis instead of relying on KPIs like leads, transactions, revenue or conversions, then it may be time to re-examine your digital measurement strategy.

Developing a Measurement Strategy

Successfully integrating digital analytics into business processes requires a clear measurement strategy. A measurement strategy outlines business objectives, what should be tracked on the website or mobile app that will inform these objectives, the types of reporting that will be available and to whom it will be exposed to once the implementation is complete. Depending on current processes, analytics tools, technology and available resources, the process of uncovering this information can take several months, but it is a vital step that should not be overlooked or rushed, as the end result is a digital measurement model that provides the framework to align digital analytics with business strategy.

The Digital Measurement Model

A digital measurement model is a high-level, visual summary that links your core business objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition or increasing sales, to the digital strategies used to achieve these objectives and their requisite goals. From there, specific KPI and targets will be identified for each digital strategy, helping business and marketing stakeholders understand whether their efforts are trending in the right direction. These elements should be captured in a matrix that can be used to inform the tracking strategy, reporting development and ultimately gauging the health of your digital practice.

Benefits of a Measurement Strategy

Creating a measurement strategy that aligns your business goals with the activities of the digital teams can have a significant impact on how the business operates. With clearly defined objectives and KPIs for measuring digital outcomes, digital teams can focus their efforts on producing measurable value, instead of opting for a shotgun approach that hopes some portion of their efforts will drive outcomes. A well-defined digital measurement strategy encourages an environment of accountability; with KPIs to measure the gap between real-time digital outcomes and targets, executives gain greater visibility into the progress (or lack thereof) being made toward business objectives. It also creates a baseline of expectations, helping digital team members to better prioritize work to produce measurable value.

Most importantly, developing a digital measurement strategy gets people talking; shaping strategy to reflect business objectives encourages collaboration among business operatives and leaders across the board, from marketing analysts to the CMO. Gaining alignment on what matters most an organization instills confidence in teams and helps team members gain a better understanding of how their day-to-day work contributes to the overall mission of the company.

Final Thoughts

All too often, digital analytics is completely overlooked within marketing teams. This could be due to lack of expertise around robust measurement implementations, or analytics has been under-prioritized in favor of more tactical activities. Whichever the case, overcoming hurdles to generate actionable business insights from your digital platforms is vital to the health of your digital practice and the needs of your customers. To successfully leverage digital analytics, organizations need to take a deep look into their current measurement strategy and re-frame as needed to align their implementations with their established business strategy. Ultimately, having a clearly-defined digital measurement strategy paves the way for receiving lasting, meaningful insights from your digital platforms and provides a system of accountability for team members and leadership to unite around.