Do you have a “report card” for your digital marketing?  Do you have a way of determining if your marketing campaigns are working? Do you know which campaigns need more attention because they are not hitting important milestones?

If not, then you need to set up Google Analytics to report on your key metrics.  Here’s why…


Why You Need a “Report Card” For Your Digital Marketing

My daughter Violet is  about 3.5 years old and and my son Emmett is just over one, and while my wife and I are at work, they both go to a nearby day care.  What’s interesting about this day care is that they send home report cards about midway through the regular academic calendar year and then another one at the end.

It sounds crazy for a 3.5 year old and a one year old to get a report card, but I have to admit I love it.

In the report card I learn how they are progressing through the key developmental stages.  For example, on a recent report, I saw that Violet has mastered focusing on a single task until it’s complete (versus getting easily distracted).  I’ll take some of the credit for this since one of my favorite activities with Violet is working on puzzles.  I also saw the areas they are still trying to master.

It’s very helpful to get a snapshot of my kids’ progress so I can assist and encourage them to reach the next milestone. Without it, I wouldn’t know if they were hitting the developmental stages that are critical for future success.

The same is true with managing your digital marketing campaigns.  If you don’t know how your campaigns are performing and if they are progressing through the key stages, then it’s impossible to know where you should focus to improve.  A digital marketing report card takes the guesswork out of managing your marketing dollars.

In order to create a report card, you must first answer this next question…

Which Metrics Matter?

Not every metric that you can measure is important.  Some are what we call “vanity” metrics.

A vanity metric is something that looks great on paper, but doesn’t really translate to more money in the bank.  For example, revenue is actually a vanity metric.  Revenue does flow into your bank, but it can quickly flow back out if your business is not profitable.  That’s why profit is the real metric that matters, not revenue.

Digital marketing is flooded with vanity metrics from Facebook Likes to email list size to total website visitors per month.  That’s right, total website visitors is a vanity metric!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many visitors you get from any given marketing channel.  What matters is how many of those visitors convert.  That’s why conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in digital marketing.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t track website visitors; I’m simply highlighting the fact that traffic does not equal sales.  Just because your report card says one marketing channel drives the most traffic doesn’t necessarily mean that channel is better than all the others.


Which Analytics Program Should You Use?

If you do not already have an analytics program set up, then I recommend installing Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is completely free and fairly easy to install.

By default Google Analytics will track just about everything except the most important metric I highlighted above: Conversions.  Conversions, or Goals as they are called in Google Analytics, need to be configured after the Google Analytics tracking code is installed on your website.

Again, if you do not track your conversions, then your report card will be missing the most important information.  It would be like my day care telling me everything Violet is doing well without providing the necessary context for me to see how that stacks up to where kids her age should be developmentally.  The report would make me feel good, but I wouldn’t know if there were any problems.  That’s like reporting on traffic without the conversion data.


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