Successful B2B marketing isn’t accomplished based on gut instinct or feelings. Even the most experienced marketers rely on more than just their expertise. They rely on data.
Marketing data tells you where and how you’re successful. With data, you can determine how well your landing pages are performing, what your ads are doing, if your SEO is bringing in new potential clients, and if you need to be doing more for your lead nurturing.
Marketing analytics helps you gather this data, which is essential to your ultimate success. It can tell you everything you need to know about your B2B online marketing strategy—how it’s currently performing and how you can improve.
What is B2B Marketing Analytics, and why is it Important?
Marketing analytics uses technologies and processes to evaluate the success of your marketing initiatives. It’s charts, numbers, data points, and other metrics that help measure the performance of your blogging, social media, email, lead nurturing, SEO, referral sources, and more.
Marketing analytics helps you answer questions such as:
- How are our marketing initiatives performing today and in the long run?
- What improvements can I make to my marketing initiatives?
- How do our marketing activities compare to our competitors in terms of where we spend our time and money?
- What should we do next to enhance our marketing efforts?
- Are we allocating our marketing resources properly?
By gathering metrics such as ROI, marketing attribution, and engagement from across all marketing channels and consolidating it into one standard view, marketing analytics helps you create an effective and efficient marketing program. It ensures that your efforts aren’t just a hodgepodge mix of disconnected ideas and strategies. Instead, it helps you make data-driven decisions that take into account the entire marketing picture.
With B2B marketing analytics, you can discover if your social media efforts are enough and how to combine them with your website for a multi-channel marketing approach. You can also learn such things as where your customers spend the most time, what type of content they enjoy, and what actions indicate they are preparing for purchase.
Marketing analytics not only helps you understand your customer funnel but improve upon it.
Benefits of Marketing Analytics
39 percent of marketers say that proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their top marketing challenge, according to HubSpot. The good news is that’s what B2B marketing analytics is for.
In particular, there are five benefits to marketing analytics that B2B marketer needs to know. These benefits come from knowing how to measure the appropriate actionable metrics, instead of vanity metrics.
1. Maximize Ad Spends
You can use analytics to monitor your advertising campaigns across social media, email, search, and more. Based on their respective outcomes, you can change where you spend your money and how, increasing the chance of maximizing your investment.
For example, let’s say the data reveals that your Facebook ads result in more clicks, but your Google paid ads result in more conversions. You can use analytics to determine why each ad is getting those results and update your efforts on Facebook to increase conversions while increasing your spend on Google for even more conversions.
2. Leverage Competitor’s Data
Understanding your competition, who their customers are (demographics), and how they behave can help you better understand your own company. It can tell you which marketing actions are more likely to be successful based on how successful those same actions were for your competitors. You can use this competitor data to avoid costly mistakes when creating marketing campaigns and to adjust your strategy accordingly.
3. Gather User Behavior Data
Every user is unique and behaves differently. When it comes to your website, you want to use marketing analytics to get to the heart of what makes each user unique and why they behave as they do. By collecting data about your users’ behaviors, you can create a more efficient target audience for your campaigns and integrate their behavior into your marketing efforts.
For example, marketing analytics can help you understand the type of content your target audience most wants. You can then use this information on user behavior to create better blogs, social media posts, and ads to drive metrics such as average time on site, click-through rate, conversions, etc.
4. Understand the Relationships Between Different Marketing Channels
Not all marketing channels are created equal. Some channels will work better for your customers than others and some work best in combination with each other. For example, your blog might improve time on site the most when a customer reaches it via email. Or your Facebook followers might be your most dedicated eBook downloaders.
Analytics can help you uncover whether there are specific channels, users, or CTAs that work better for a particular audience, so you can create whole campaigns that perform better.
5. Improve ROI
Ultimately, B2B marketing analytics helps you make better business decisions. By connecting your data points, you can measure your B2B marketing ROI and maximize your efforts across channels, target audiences, and campaigns.
Types of Marketing Analytic Metrics
The key to realizing the benefits outlined above is measuring the appropriate marketing KPIs and metrics. If you don’t measure the right data, your analytics won’t tell you any crucial information. Instead, you’ll be stuck on the surface level with vanity metrics that are worthless for improving your B2B marketing efforts.
You need to focus on actionable metrics such as the comprehensive list we’ve put together below.
The following metrics are associated with your website activity, much of which are available in Google Analytics.
- Visitors: Someone who visits your site.
- Page Views: When a page is loaded on a browser.
- Session: The series of activities taken by a visitor on your website (page views, CTAs, events, etc.).
- Traffic: The total number of site of page visits over a period of time.
- Traffic by Channel: Total number of site/page visits per referral channel.
- Traffic by Device: Total number of site/page visits per device type.
- New Traffic/Returning Traffic: Percentage of new site/page visits compared to returning traffic.
- Time on Page: Average time a visitor spends on your website/page.
- Interactions per Visit: Actions your visitors took while on your site.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of people who visited your page/site but didn’t take any action.
These are metrics associated with lead magnets and content offers.
- CTA Click-Through Rate: Percentage of total clicks on a CTA compared to the total number of page/site visits.
- Submissions: Percentage of people who filled out or submitted a web form.
- Conversion Rate: Total number of actions taken (download, sign-up, etc.) compared to the number of visits. It can also be used to see the percentage of free trial users who converted to customers or pop-up conversions.
- Generated Leads to Marketing-Qualified Leads: Ratio of “good fit” leads compared to total leads generated.
- Leads to Close Ratio: Percentage of leads converted to customers compare to total leads.
These are the metrics associated with your email marketing.
- Open Rate: Percentage of opened emails compared to the total emails sent.
- Opens by Device: Number of email opens based on device type.
- Click-Through Rate: Percentage of total clicks on an email link based on total number of opens.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of undeliverable emails compared to total emails sent.
- Unsubscribe Rate: Percentage of people who unsubscribed from your email list over time.
Content and Social Media Metrics
These are the metrics associated with your content (including blogs) and social media.
- Engagement Rate: The total number of engagements (likes, comments, clicks, watches, etc.) based on the total number of page/post views.
- Follows and Subscribes: Total number of people who have followed or subscribed to your content.
- Shares: Total number of times a post/page has been shared somewhere else.
Making the Right Analytical Approach
There are various analytical approaches you can adopt. Knowing your approach is essential for helping evaluate and choose the right marketing analytics tool as well as for designing your core marketing strategy. Your approach will determine everything from your marketing attribution to data collection, spend optimization, and more.
There are three basic approaches:
- Marketing-Mix Modeling: This approach is favored by B2B marketers because it leverages big data when you spend money on various channels. It will help you base your marketing activities on user behavior, marketing segmentation, and interactions in the marketplace.
- Heuristics Analytical Approach: This approach helps you make decisions and form judgments based on “rule of thumb” guidelines, which is valuable when big data isn’t available.
- Attribution Modeling Approach: This final approach uses a set of rules to credit different marketing efforts for leads, sales, and other conversions. It helps you estimate how well your marketing campaigns are going based on predetermined touch points.
3 Steps to Use Analytics for Improved Performance and Growth
So, how do you take all of this information on marketing analytics and transform it into something that helps you make better decisions for improving performance and growth? You just have to follow three simple steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Analytical Approach
As we already explained above, you have to know your analytical approach to your marketing efforts first and foremost before you can do anything else. Based on your approach, you’ll choose the right tools and methods for evaluating your marketing strategy, implement the appropriate marketing campaigns, and track the right metrics.
Step 2: Take an Integrative Approach to Generate the Best Insights
The most successful marketers don’t just choose one analytical approach and one tool. Instead, they use multiple approaches and tools in concert, so they have the flexibility to shift their activities and budget to where they’ll get the greatest ROI. By taking an integrative approach to your marketing analytics, you can track and share your marketing performance on a near real-time basis and fine-tune your strategy as needed based on your performance.
Step 3: Understand and Take Action on the Insights
It’s tempting to outsource your marketing analytics and wait for them to send back insights/numbers that you can work with. Unfortunately, this often results in an inability to understand and trust the metrics, so no action is taken. Instead, you need to cultivate an individual or team to be the translators for your marketing analytics, so that actions can be taken based on the data.
Speed and agility in response to analytics are essential, so you need someone internally who knows your business and can make the best decisions possible for your marketing efforts.
There’s a lot of pressure on B2B marketing teams to demonstrate powerful ROI and significant results for their efforts. Real-time marketing analytics helps you see the overall marketing picture and make actionable improvements to your activities for better ROI across all your marketing channels. With analytics, you can prove that you’re spending your time and resources on activities that are actually getting you results you can take to the bank.