Making sense of digital marketing data – are you overwhelmed with metrics and stats?

New research has indicated that digital marketing technologies and solutions could be too complex for many marketing professionals. The tools available to marketers are producing so much data that some marketers simply don’t know where to start analysing and making sense of it all.

The report, ‘Connected Consumers, Disconnected Solutions – Performance Marketing at a Crossroads’, was produced by Swedish marketing company Tradedoubler. Its findings showed that 37% of consumer brands don’t know how to use the data they collect to inform strategies for targeting consumers in future marketing efforts. In other words, brands aren’t able to use the information gathered through analytics tools to make marketing campaigns more effective, to turn marketing into sales.

Summarising the results of the research, Tradedoubler’s regional director Dan Cohen said:

“Brands are struggling with the sheer number of digital marketing platforms available and as a result are relying on instinct rather than testing their campaigns and trusting what the data can tell them. New innovative technology has created an immense opportunity for digital marketers but the trick lies in identifying and reacting to the right information at the right time.

“Three-quarters of consumer brands say that engaging connected customers is a priority. However, reports show that only 29 per cent of marketing departments have strategies in place to target and sell to this audience.”

This research, and the suggestion that digital marketers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data analytics tools generate, is also supported by other studies, such as a recent survey by Eloqua which found that only 37% of marketers are tracking ‘beyond the click’ information.

How to make sense of your digital marketing data

Whilst the huge number of tools, apps and technologies for generating consumer data may have caused, or at lease contributing to the data ‘snow-blindness’ that some marketers feel, it could also be the solution.

Industry insiders such as Cohen recommend solutions that collate data from a number of sources, but that also provide marketers with the data that really matters to them and that can help them to make smart business decisions. This part is down to you – it is crucial to decide what data is important to you before you start using any new tools or technologies.

The data you prioritise has to relate and feed in directly to the key objectives of your brand or of a particular campaign. Being very clear about your objectives from the outset will help you narrow the field in terms of what you track and analyse, bring the data you gather into perspective and it can also help you choose the right tools to track your progress. For a more in-depth look at how brands can make sense of data, Andy Walker writing in Digital Marketing Magazine has some excellent advice for marketers.

How do you keep on top of data? Do you feel that analytics tools actually help you to track the progress of campaigns and strategies, or is much of the data you gather actually useless? We’d love to hear your thoughts.