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Online Marketing

Data Tracking Essentials – Which tools do I actually need?

17th Juni 2019

Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’re probably considering setting up your data, or are already in the process of doing so. This article should give you an insight into why you most definitely should track your Data (if you’re on the fence about it) and which tools to consider.

Why should I track data?

In the last couple of years I’ve worked with a lot of clients in both the B2B and B2C area who’ve sold their products and services across many different industries. These businesses have come in all shapes and sizes, from less than 100 employees, to more than 1000 employees. Now, maybe it was because most of those businesses were medium sized businesses, but what I’ve found pretty consistently was that the common denominator was the missed potential in data tracking and data usage.

Why is data tracking important you ask? Well, imagine this: You’ve just launched a new product, set up the marketing campaign on- and offline, spent lots of money and your boss wants to see results. After a week you realize that sales or engagement numbers aren’t as high as you thought. What are you gonna do? Go with your gut or rely on data that tells you where the issue lies? Let’s pretend you go with option one. What does your gut tell you? Are the visuals you used not appealing enough? Is your reach not big enough? Is the landing page you used flawed? Is there a CTA missing or misplaced? Is there a substantial flaw in the customer journey you worked out? There’s literally hundreds of options.

The thing is that marketing campaigns consist of a variety of components that must function cooperatively to ensure the success of a campaign. To be able to make sure this is the case, one of the most important factors (and most often overlooked) is collecting and managing the data that results from a marketing campaign’s activities. So even though setting up these tools and learning to understand their output can be tedious, one look at the results would’ve shown you exactly where you needed to optimize regarding the problem laid out above.

What tools should I use?

First off: That’s up to you.

But let me put in my two cents anyways. These days there are so many tools out there tracking everything from page visitors to search terms to eye movement.

Google Analytics / Matomo

The most important part is tracking your website traffic to gain an insight into how your website performs. Generally I would advise to use a standard tool such as Google Analytics or Matomo to track your data.

These two tools are both open source and offer a lot of options for analyzing your data. I always advice clients to go for the larger, more well-known tools. Mainly, because there’s a lot of support out there if you ever have a question. In general these two tools offer you the basic and advanced data you need to make informed decisions on your online marketing activities. For example, regarding the big picture you’ll get information on which URL on your website is the most visited or has the most drop-offs. If you want to get information on the micro level, these tools will also show you things such as the way visitors behave on your website, how they navigate the pages, how they got there (referral) etc. You also have the option to set up events, like signing up for a newsletter or downloading a PDF. The options are endless. Of course you can apply this to your website or online shop in general, or break it down to look at a specific campaign you set up.

Be sure to collect clean data! This means filtering out internal traffic, spam bots etc. Usually my advice is to set up multiple data layers or properties to make sure you have all possible data. Secret tip: set up a property for internal traffic only. This will show you how your own colleagues interact with the website and will give you some interesting insights on how their behavior differs from those of customers.

Heatmap / Recording

Another kind of tool that I advise my clients to use, especially when the campaign includes a landing page or we’ve relaunched a website/shop, is a session replay / recording and website heatmap tool.

Simply put, heatmaps are visual guides that reveal a user’s habits. They will show you which areas of your landing page or website are clicked (or hovered over) most frequently. This is great to get an idea about your site structure, the CTAs or even learn about what you might not have considered to be important so far. This is also a super interesting tool to use during focus groups!

HotJar and Mouseflow are my go-to options here. Both offer about the same functions so if you’re considering using such a tool, just get a demo of both and see which one you like better.

B2B visitor tracking

Now, if you’re a B2B business you’re most likely interested in which other businesses have visited your website or online shop. Obviously this is important for your sales team, because leads are like diamonds. If you’re wondering if there’s a way for you to find out exactly who those business were, the answer is yes, there most definitely is. Two tools I’ve worked with a wiredminds and SalesViewer. Both tools will be able to tell you which company a visitor belonged to, their location and many more details that you can use to actively approach them.

SEO Tools

While I guess this is not necessarily ‘tracking’ data, it’s definitely something you should invest in. Tools like Xovi, Sistrix or Searchmetrics allow you to increase your businesses online visibility, grow traffic and ultimately increase revenues by search and content performance optimization. Basically these tools are focused on your SEO efforts and help you determine which areas of your website need work and have potential to grow your traffic. Out of the three tools mentioned above I’ve worked with all, my favourite is Searchmetrics, but it is also the most expensive option.

Ok, so I hope this short article gave you an insight into why data tracking is most definitely important and why you should do it. There are many more tools and possibilities out there that help you to set up your tracking in a way that suits you and gets you the output you need to make decisions. In the end it’s not about what works for someone else, it’s about what works for you!

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