Marketing Science: Metrics for the Digital Experience Age

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The practice of measuring the digital experience is complicated and fraught with poor and misguided planning, exacerbated over time by fuzzy logic. Worst of all, perhaps, is that our own objectives can influence the insights we obtain. As French social-philosopher Jean Baudrillard once said, “Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.”

It is not enough to gather insights essential to understanding performance. Today, digital enterprises must dig deep and turn insights into positive, realworld results. Yet few are fully exploring the nuances within the virtual realm of performance analytics, even though big data is increasingly accessible and has all but become a common term around the business water cooler.

While most are likely confident in (and content with) the analytics reports available to their enterprise right now, there are many ways to measure the digital experience. Perhaps it is time to throw out the old (or at least not rely on it so much) and consider other options.

Let’s explore a few new ways to look at Web-related data, and how (and if) to implement within your ‘Net enterprise’s digital efforts.

Social Media Metrics

Share of voice is so 2012! There are far more actionable metrics to monitor than data points that confirm only how influential the social media elite have become.

Amplification Rate, for example, is one such new, more holistic and useful in nature, social media metric to consider. While most brand messages/ updates are limited to an existing following, what’s typically forgotten (thus, not measured) is the following of current followers. In short, what brands need to analyze is how far a message traveled. Having access to this information is a surefire way to grow a social following.

Every retweet, every share and every referral is an opportunity to expand a social network following, and an opportunity to determine just how well the messaging strategy is performing (from the time of day to the message style itself).

The most perceptive brands are in pursuit of metrics that reveal engagement beyond what is immediately apparent (and available within popular software tools). Any new metric that more fully explains social performance in this regard must be adopted.

Organic Search Metrics

Digital enterprises can measure the performance of their natural search visibility campaigns in a diverse number of ways. Yet, most use rudimentary data points to understand just how well their SEO campaigns are doing.

Some common metrics in use today are revenue per keyword and conversions by keyword, but there’s so much more that can and should be considered. Perhaps it is time your enterprise started analyzing its data in a broader fashion.

For example, the concept of Correlation (how the goals, audience, engagement and ROI actually correlate to an SEO strategy) is an approach that is gaining ground within the savvy digital enterprise. The basic idea is to examine a keyword group by ranking its various search terms for each of the above analysis points in addition to their rank on the SERP, and then run a correlation analysis to learn about the relationships between each attribution. You might learn that one particular keyword group has a low correlation between engagement and ROI, which means that you need to optimize for faster conversion and quick touch.

Correlating data points is certainly useful, but the number of individual pages that yield search traffic each month can be a powerful indicator of long-tail dynamics and can be an accurate barometer of your content efforts. Page Yield is therefore an excellent metric for assessing a website’s overall search engine optimization performance.

If you have a large percentage of pages that aren’t driving traffic, then it’s time to audit each underperforming page. There are many reasons why a page might not yield search traffic. Perhaps the problem is as simple as a lack of keyword density, or maybe the page has been optimized for the wrong keyword phrases. It’s also possible that the page hasn’t even been properly indexed. Whatever the root cause is that you happen to find, know that Page Yield is the path to making significant SEO improvements.

Blinded by Marketing Science?

There’s more. Search and social are likely the biggest drivers of visitors to your digital Web presence, but they are far from the only ones. Video, affiliate/performance marketing, advertising — each has emerging types of highly useful metrics, which can be set up and monitored over time to accelerate the success of your organization. Learn more at http://wsm.co/NewDigitalMetrics.

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