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The Value of Consistency in Your Marketing Reporting
December 20, 2022 - By Hawke Media

The Value of Consistency in Your Marketing Reporting

Online marketers don’t just need data from their analytics software, but they need informative data. That starts with having consistent data across the entire duration of a business’ online marketing efforts. We’ve made consistent and informative data the centerpoint of HawkeAI digital marketing insights tool. Here’s how to ensure the data you take action on is consistent (whether you use this software or not).

The Value of Consistent Marketing Data

Online marketing is done in the real world. Data drives decisions, and then is used to evaluate the effectiveness of those decisions. There are few things more foundational to online marketing than the data that’s used.

Thus, consistent marketing data is needed if you’re to make informed decisions and evaluations. Any inconsistencies in the underlying data will cause decisions to be less informed, and therefore likely less effective. You won’t necessarily know that they’re less effective, though, because the data you’re using won’t accurately capture the same information.

When you have consistent data across time, departments, campaigns, tactics and outcomes, you can accurately evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. You then can make informed decisions that should maximize your marketing effectiveness.

Stay With One Analytics Platform

Consistency begins with the analytics reporting product that you use. Not that you use any particular one, but rather that you consistently stay with whichever analytics program you choose. 

If you ever change analytics reporting products, you’ll lose all of the data that was collected by the previous product. These products don’t offer easy comparisons with other products’ data.

Not being able to easily compare, of course, greatly limits the usefulness of any analytics program. While you undoubtedly have target metrics that you want to meet, it’s ultimately the comparisons that show you whether changes are having a positive, negative, or negligible impact on results.

As a general rule, pick whichever analytics reporting product most closely tracks the web performance/sales of your web platform. Shopify, Universal Analytics and the other products will all give you actionable data. You might have to sift through a lot of data to find what’s actionable, but all of the information that’s needed will be available to you. Just keep using whichever of these you initially choose.

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Keep One Attribution Model

The same comparison issue arises anytime you change attribution models within a digital marketing insights tool. When you change the parameters that determine how conversions are attributed (counted), then you’re inherently changing the number of attributions.

If you’re tracking a specific conversion (e.g. sales) but redefined what constitutes that conversion, then you won’t actually be tracking the same thing in your digital marketing insights tool. 

For an obvious example, consider a membership site that changes their trial membership. Assume the trial membership switched from requiring only an email address, to also requiring a credit card even though it’s not initially charged. Both sign-ups might be reported as trial membership conversions, but they aren’t the same. Reports may not capture the fundamental change in what constitutes a sign-up.

The same can happen even if you just internal reporting methods. The clicks that are attributed to online membership might be weighted several ways: last click (overweight the last click), first click (overweight the first click), linear (weight all clicks equally), position-based (overweight the first and last clicks) or time decay (progressively increase weight with time). Even if the customer journey never changes, switching the reporting method will greatly disrupt the data.

Make any sorts of changes to an attribution model, and you certainly won’t have consistent data on the variables that impact the conversion. Your data before and after the redefining will be fundamentally different.

Several good analytics reporting products have multiple attribution model options, and several models have advantages that make them well-suited for particular applications. Pick whichever attribution model will give you the most relevant data. Just be sure to stick with whichever model you initially pick.

Carefully Select and Define Your KPIs

In order to maintain long-term consistency without making changes, you should make informed and intelligent initial decisions about what you’ll track. 

Give careful consideration to what key performance indicators, whether they’re they’re goal completions (for web performance) or conversions (for ad performance), you’ll use. Educate yourself on the various KPIs that marketers use, and then think through which would give the best data in your particular application.

Should you decide to change your completions or conversions in the future, you’ll again lose consistency. The data won’t match up well, and you again certainly won’t understand the variables behind the data well.

The only way to accurately compare KPIs is to always use the same completions or conversions, so your PPC benchmarking data doesn’t change.

(If you don’t know which KPIs to track, Gartner recommends traffic-focused KPIs, conversion-focused ones, and revenue-focused ones. You should have a few in each of these areas.)

Get Actionable Data You Can Use

These tips will help ensure the consistency of your data, but they won’t necessarily show you the most pertinent data first. For that, check out our HawkeAI Digital Marketing Insights Tool.

At HawkeAI, we developed the Digital Marketing Insights Tool to collate data from multiple analytics reporting products (including Shopify, Google Analytics, Meta Analytics and more). We can ensure that your data remains consistent regardless of what reporting product you use.

Our Digital Marketing Insights Tool then identifies the most important data that you need to know. We’ll show you the most useful data, so you can identify what changes to make and immediately take action.

To learn more about the Digital Marketing Insights Tool and see how it could help you, start a free trial of HawekAI.