Becoming a Data-Driven Marketer

By: Owen Hawver

What does it mean to be data-driven?

Companies are adopting data-driven marketing strategies in order to better understand their customer base and improve profitability. Data-driven marketing involves making decisions based on the analysis and interpretation of hard data, rather than emotion or observations. Through this analysis, companies are able to understand which investments and strategies garner the largest return, utilizing this insight to shape future business decisions. 

Why is data collection growing in importance?

Now, more than ever before, it’s imperative that businesses begin collecting data through their current marketing initiatives. Without the usage of data, how do you know if your marketing efforts are leading people to your content, convert, and lead to a positive ROI?

Data collection allows businesses to learn more about their audience, like what content they are interested in and which platforms they engage with the most. Throughout this article, you will learn about opportunities to learn from and utilize data to make meaningful enhancements to current marketing initiatives. More than likely, your biggest competition is using a data-driven approach in their marketing efforts. If they are learning from their data, they are able to make more informed decisions quicker. 

Enhancing your social media presence with data

The world of data can be extensive and highly complex. When moving to implement data-driven marketing tactics, it is important to first define specific objectives that allow you to narrow in on key metrics. This allows brands to narrow in on the key metrics that are most relevant to the business. Smaller organizations may only need to begin by tracking a few key metrics based on the unique needs of the organization.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when posting on social media:

  • At what time of day, and what days of the week, am I seeing the most engagement?
  • What type of content receives the highest number of impressions and engagement rates? (Such as sharing videos, blog posts, or even re-sharing relevant news)
  • Are people actually clicking links or completing the desired action?

For starters, it may be beneficial to select a handful of objectives you hope to achieve through posting on your social media profiles. Goals could include increasing conversions, impressions, or traffic to your website. By establishing these objectives, you will be able to determine which metrics are most practical to track and improve upon.

Objective One: Increase Conversions via Social Media

With the goal of increasing conversions through social media marketing efforts, it is necessary to understand which social media networks your target audience is on. If your goal is lead generation, for example, Google Analytics allows businesses to see which platforms are leading their viewers to complete the action.


Objective Two: Improve Brand Awareness

When aiming to improve brand awareness, brands should pay special attention to impressions and the engagement rate. For example, you may notice that 7 out of the 10 top-performing posts (most impressions or highest engagement rates) involve a particular topic, product or is a certain post-type. By analyzing this data, we’re able to tailor new content to these specifics.

Objective Three: Locate Potential Customers

It may be determined that a majority of people viewing your content have a specific job title or live in a specific location. The more information that is known, the easier it will be to reach the target audience. Future marketing efforts can be directed towards people with similar characteristics.

Objective Four: Increase Web Traffic

A website is often thought of as the central point for digital marketing. Increased web traffic leads tend to lead to increased conversions. Buffer reports that three in five marketers use social media to distribute content and drive traffic to their website. Key metrics include time users spend on your website or conversion rates from social channels. By doing so, businesses are able to understand whether having a social media presence is a beneficial gateway for bringing viewers to your site (Hint: it is!).

Paid Advertising

Paid Search Advertising

Data-driven marketing can allow advertisers to understand key components of an ad campaign that are resonating with their target audience, whether that be X, Y or Z. When keywords are found to be successful (generate a large number of clicks & conversions), they can be prioritized in future advertising campaigns to build on that success. Smart & data-forward agencies will use these keywords to support or inform SEO efforts.

Paid Social Advertising

Sprout Social reports that 28% of consumers discover new products directly through social media; social media advertising is growing in popularity and importance. Data can be utilized within these campaigns to target users in specific geographic areas, fall within a particular income range, or have previously visited your site. After placing paid social media advertisements, you’re able to compare results to organic results, and learn which promotions result in the most engagements. Not only will you be improving upon brand awareness, but you will also be able to build larger audiences. Building a social audience is imperative to improving upon the results of your digital marketing efforts.

Email Marketing

Constant Contact reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses can expect a return of $36. If you’re looking to move potential customers down the sales funnel, email marketing is the perfect tool. Not only is email marketing both efficient and effective for reaching a wide audience, companies will also be able to learn more about their customers by analyzing email engagement. At what time of day do subscribers open and click more often? What links are clicked on the most? Are customers making a purchase after receiving this email?

Email campaign results can be used to direct future campaign strategy, to effectively persuade audiences to complete desired actions. This can be done through:

  • Sending email campaigns on specific days of the week and times of day
  • Developing subject lines with topics and sentence structures that drive open rates
  • Featuring products or services that have been popular recently
  • Segmenting email lists to target groups of customers based on their behavior

Email is often regarded as one of the most cost-effective marketing tools. Rather than sending out an email that you think will perform well, take a look at which recent emails garnered the most attention from recipients and work to replicate the most successful components.

How can your brand begin making data-driven decisions?

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to know where to start in the vast world of data. With often complex and evolving digital marketing processes, it can be overwhelming to take on with a small team. Below, we outline several opportunities to begin making data-driven decisions:

Develop your goals. Whether increasing followers count, web traffic, or email open-rates, it is important to outline goals in order to eliminate wasted time spent tracking the wrong metrics.

More data, the better. We recommend that companies begin collecting data as soon as possible. The longer that this data is collected, trends can be identified and used to shape future digital marketing decisions. This could look like:

  • Tracking your website traffic monthly
  • How many followers, or likes, is the profile receiving each month?
  • Contact information for current and potential customers (email, phone number, transaction history, location)

Never stop trying new things. This is the perfect way to see what is working. Perhaps higher click rates are garnered when using specific CTAs. The only way to know if a new idea is worthwhile is to actually try it! This could include attempting different send times, headlines, or topics. These results can then be used to compare against previous performance. 

Collecting data over time is necessary to best understand how your audiences are engaging with your brand. Larger time periods of data collection allow companies to discover and analyze long-term or seasonal trends, build detailed customer profiles, and document changes over time.
Overall, businesses must adapt data-driven strategies in order to make profitable marketing decisions and remain competitive in their markets. In an age where data collection is becoming increasingly common (and easy!), it is imperative that brands take advantage of the resources that are available to them.

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