With big data seemingly on everyone's minds, the question is no longer, "Should we use big data analytics to guide our marketing strategies?" but rather, "How can we best use big data to guide our marketing strategies?" For many, the answer to that second question is clear: Google Analytics, end of story.
There is no question that Google Analytics provides a wealth of invaluable tools. With it, we can easily create multiple dashboards and add widgets galore. We can use it to understand our worldwide stats and to figure out what our best (and worst) content is.
However, perhaps because Google Analytics is so competent at helping us make sense of our data, many in the marketing world get a little complacent and fail to think outside of the Google box.
Innovation is the name of the game in big data, and not taking advantage of all of that innovation in the form of tools outside of Google Analytics means marketers miss an important opportunity to gain insights from multiple platforms. Below are some tools outside of GA that can help you make sense of data and develop strategies that are responsive to it.
Twitter is a powerful marketing tool, but too often marketers fail to use it strategically and ask questions such as:
- Who are the most influential though leaders in my business niche?
- Are any of them of following me?
- Do any of my followers know any of those thought leaders?
- When is the best time for me Tweet if I'm looking for shares?
These questions can help get your content in front of thought leaders and increase audience engagement—key components for a successful Twitter campaign. However, answering those questions requires analytic help beyond Google. Luckily, there is Followerwonk, a powerful segmentation tool that can help you use your Twitter following strategically and effectively.
Use Followerwonk to identify prominent thought leaders in your niche, compare your follower stats with those of a competitor, and analyze your followers' behavior on Twitter. When you use even the free version of Followerwonk to analyze your followers, you can unearth a data goldmine, including:
- Social authority scores
- Follower counts
- Frequency of tweets
- Total tweets
- Most active hours
- Retweet stats
This data can point you towards individual influencers in your niche, but it can also give you a holistic view of when your followers are active and the likelihood they'll retweet your content—making your campaign more likely to succeed than if you have just tweeted blindly.
Follerwonk Case Study
Some social media analysis with Followerwonk quickly shed some light on the issue. It turned out even though he had all of those followers, over half of them hadn't tweeted in over a month. Further, 78 percent of those had fewer than 499 tweets to their names. Finally, most of his followers were in an entirely different time zone, which meant he wasn't tweeting when his followers were actually on Twitter.
This data was used to determine that while on "paper," Folds may have had 500,000 followers, in reality he had maybe 30,000 active followers. This information can then be used to develop strategies optimized to reach active followers and connect with the people who really wanted to engage.
2. Tag Manager
Tag Manager bills itself as the solution for busy marketers who don't want to spend their time "bugging the IT folks," which is a pretty good sell. This tool allows you to easily add and update tags yourself without getting involved in all the coding.
If you don't know, you can add tags to get a better look at things like web traffic to different parts of your site, visitor behavior on your social media channels, and A/B testing data, for example. And note, you can use these tags in other platforms than just GA.
Simply put, while you need tags in order to understand what is really happening with your sites, bad or duplicate tags can skew your results and fatally slow down your load time. This tool aims to provide a seamless and efficient way to manage and create new tags so you can spend more time analyzing data and implementing responsive strategies.
Tag Manager Case Study
Brazilian fashion retailer dafiti was managing more than 100 tags across their various sites. This caused a slew of problems, but the two most vexing problems were
- All of those tags were dragging down load time.
- IT staff was spending too much time responding to tag-related issues.
The company brought in Tag Manager to streamline their tagging system. First, they migrated all of their tags to one central location, which helped with load time. Currently, it is the tool and not the IT folks, who manage those 100 tags, which means that IT can focus on other issues, like site development.
Marketers are always looking to narrow down target markets so they can create hyper relevant and focused campaigns. Fliptop can help with that process: it's a social analytics tool that helps marketers integrate social data (demographics, identifiers, social profiles) in order to better segment and target customers.
While marketers have tended to segment audiences along sociographic lines (income level, political affiliations, gender), Fliptop allows you to be more thorough in your segmentation, so you can use groups relevant to your specific business.
"Fliptop helps brands understand who their subscribers are, what the overlap is between their Twitter, Facebook and email subscribers, and who is most engaged socially with their brand," Dan Chiao, VP of Engineering at Fliptop, explained.
Knowing who is most engaged allows marketers to reach out to main influencers, prioritize audiences, and then group them into relevant lists.
Fliptop Case Study
Pardot, a B2B marketing automation service, wanted their marketing clients to have the ability to integrate their existing email lists with public social data, so they could:
- More accurately segment and personalize tough points.
- Create new channels through which they could reach out to target audiences.
To resolve this, Pardot used the Fliptop API to integrate social data with email lists for their clients. The results? In less than six months after integrating Fliptop, Pardot's customers performed over 10,000,000 social lookups. Not only that, but the number of Pardot's customers who subscribed to the premium service grew by more than 20 percent.
For a long time, it seemed like big data was a treasure trove only the largest and most resource-rich companies could mine. However, times have changed and big data analytics is no longer out of reach for the rest of us. While Google Analytics has been a boon to marketers starting out in big data, we need to take a look at what tools are available and decide which tools will present us with the best information about our audiences.
For more ideas of Google, specific products to check out for marketing functions, check out Mike Tekula's post over on Moz.