For many in the US, this winter felt brutal. Snow that only seemed to pile up further, day after day spent shoveling driveways, convinced that winter would never end. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released data indicating that the first quarter of 2014 was the seventh-warmest on record. Furthermore, though much of North America did experience a colder than average March, overall the month was the 349th month in a row with at or above average global temperatures.
The obvious implications of climate change and global warming aside, this teaches us an important lesson: we must put everything in perspective before we can make a valid judgment, especially when comes to our digital marketing performance.
Putting It In Perspective
Take a Step Back:
It’s easy to feel disappointed – or elated – after a quick glance at Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, but before you make a snap judgment, take a step back. Ensure that you’re looking at the correct time period and take some time to compare it to previous periods. You may find that a month with what you thought was “low” traffic actually shows growth. Only by delving deeper into the metrics can we truly measure our performance.
Go Beyond the First Page:
Surface level statistics can be misleading. For instance, perhaps your overall traffic is down slightly. If you only look at the top level statistics, this is all you’ll know. You’ll miss what caused the dip and how you can improve in the next period. However, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that your direct traffic has decreased, but your organic traffic is up. Thus, you’ll see that your SEM campaigns are effective, but you may want to send an eblast in the following month to boost direct traffic.
Compare Apples to Apples:
Take things a step further when digging into your data by comparing strategic periods. See how you performed this month compared to last month, then look at this month compared to the same month in the previous year. You may even want to analyze the last quarter over the quarter before. The key here is to always ensure that you are looking at comparable periods. Reviewing this March over last July isn’t going to reveal much insight, whereas looking at this March over the same month in 2014 will show the changes of the last year.
Consider the Circumstances:
You’re not done once you have the proper data. Then you must analyze the data and determine what caused these outcomes. If your engagement on Facebook is down, do some research to see if Facebook has made any changes – recently they adjusted their algorithm to decrease the organic reach of page posts. Consider all of the factors that may have impacted your metrics, both internal and external, prior to making a final ruling and deciding where to go from here.
Need more help putting your digital marketing metrics into perspective? Reach out to us for a free consultation. Together we’ll look at what you’re currently doing, determine how well it is working, and create a plan for where to go from here!