Data-driven Marketing: How to Use the Data You Already Have to Generate More Traffic and Leads
It is necessary to use data to reverse what is not good, enhance what is generating results and support new actions
A few years ago, when I started working with Digital Marketing, I was impressed with the amount and ease of information possible to obtain.
However, for some time, I made a very common mistake: I accessed the data to see what happened, I enthusiastically explored the tools and tried to make cute reports.
And when defining the next actions? Basically, I bet on feeling. I left active what was working, stopped what was not and thought about new campaigns to improve results.
Can’t say it was a bad way to work. Many of these actions worked and generated positive results. But many joined the group that didn’t work out.
But all this information can’t be just for cute reports, do you agree?
After taking courses, gaining experience and studying each channel and web analytics better, I understood everything I was giving up.
All this data and information is important to look back and understand what happened. However, its great importance is to look to the future and direct the next actions.
It is necessary to use data to reverse what is not good, enhance what is generating results and support new actions.
Thus, you no longer act based on guesswork and enter the path of data-driven marketing.
Data-driven, in a literal translation, means “data-driven”. This means that decisions and actions are made in numbers and data, not “guessing”. In this way, data-driven marketing is to drive your marketing actions by data.
According to certain, companies that implemented data-driven marketing had, on average, a 10-20% increase in ROI.
As mentioned in the title, the examples of analyzing data to leverage your results are with data you already have. For this Sky marketing are going to use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics can be considered the brain of your website, counting access and user information.
I could spend the whole day here talking about the tool, but we have a post that explains a little more: Google Analytics: what it is and how to do the initial setup.
Remembering that there are several other tools that contribute to your analysis and to leverage your results.
If you already have Google Analytics and are in a moment when you need to go further, I recommend evaluating RD Station Marketing, Digital Marketing platform by Resultados Digitais.
How to generate more traffic and conversions with the data you already have
Before setting out to find a solution to all the problems, it is important to understand where they are.
Assess the status of your company’s marketing funnel. How your traffic generation, conversion is Leads, classification and closing sales opportunities? Where do you need to leverage your results?
For this, I highly recommend the Sales Funnel Benchmarking tool. With it, you can compare the current situation of your Marketing funnel with the average of companies in your segment.
You might even think: “I don’t need to look at the funnel, I need more Leads!” But without looking at your funnel’s situation and comparing it with metrics from other companies, it’s hard to know where stronger action is really needed.
If you already have good traffic, but a low conversion rate for Leads, you need to act on conversion optimization. If you have a great conversion rate but little traffic, it won’t be very productive to improve your lead generation.
What if you have positive traffic and great metrics throughout your funnel? By increasing traffic at one end, the trend is to generate more sales at the other. If we hit a traffic limit (which is pretty tough), we’ll “widen” the funnel, improving conversion rates, qualifications, and sales.
Here we come to a basic rule of data analytics in a data-driven marketing company: start from a macro view to go micro. Look at the bigger data and drill down until you find the point of improvement you need to leverage your results.
And how do you find improvement points in the data you already have? As in the funnel, we go in stages.
Since companies starting data-driven marketing need more attention on traffic generation and lead conversion, let’s focus on these steps in the funnel.
Acquisition of traffic with data-driven marketing
Without further ado, let’s go into your Google Analytics account.
Remembering that all the examples used here were taken from the demo account that Google offers.
Access the reports screen and the Acquisition menu, where we will assess how each channel’s traffic is being generated. Access the “Overview” report to have a broader view of channel performance.
I recommend putting a comparison between periods, to assess which channel is losing share in total traffic generation.
In the example below, comparing one month to another, we had a drop of almost 10% in the volume of users generated via organic traffic and a 15% drop in traffic obtained by social media.
We have already found two channels that need to be evaluated in isolation to understand the reasons for the drop from one month to another.
In the example, we also have a significant increase in traffic generation via Paid Media, through Paid Search and Display. Here, it is also worth evaluating the campaigns in isolation and understanding what happened differently to be replicated.
Now we are going to start deepening the analysis, raising the actions that will leverage the channels that are in decline and leverage those that are doing well.
Under Acquisition, access the Channels report under all traffic. Then click Organic Search, so we’ll only isolate organic traffic.
In this case, the main dimension displayed will be Keyword, but we can switch to Landing page, which is the page that users logged into the site from. So, let’s look at which pages we dropped from one month to the next and identify where we need to improve:
It is important here to identify the pages with the sharpest drops, for further analysis in Google Search Console, where we get more complete data on organic search.
I know I said I would only use data presented by Google Analytics, but most companies also have Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). If you don’t have a registration, it’s simple and free. In Search Console, you can use the Performance report (formerly Search Analytics) to filter the results by page. The data presented by the tool are: clicks, impressions, average CTR and average position.
In case of drop in clicks and CTR, you can optimize the title, description and URL of the pages to reverse the situation.
If the drop is in impressions, it may be due to seasonality. In that case you can use Google Trends to confirm the theory.
If the drop is in placement, Google probably doesn’t find your content as interesting as before, or the competition has improved. In this case, it is worth updating the content, making it more attractive and republishing it.
Do this with all relevant pages that are dropping What if the organic traffic scenario was positive? How to make it even better?
If organic traffic is already positive and growing consistently, you can also use the data offered by Search Console to optimize pages that do well for some keywords but can improve for others.
It is very well placed for this keyword (and many others). However, among them, there was the term “most used social networks”, with a high volume of searches (in this case, verified by the number of impressions), but even with an excerpt of the page addressing the subject, it did not stand out in the ranking for this search.
Therefore, we have developed a new post, specifically talking about the most used social networks in Brazil , which is currently in the top positions for its main keyword (and secondary terms as well).
This content stood out so much that it also competes with our social media page for the first position of its main keyword.
See how the data offered by Google Search Console can boost your organic traffic?
Keywords with a good volume of impressions that you are already positioning, but with little prominence, can become optimization ideas for the content that is positioned or even agenda for new content.
Social Network Traffic
To analyze the reasons for the drop in traffic on social networks, it is not only possible to work with the data presented in Google Analytics, but also through what is made available by the social networks themselves.
Important: to facilitate the analysis of social networks in Google Analytics, it is important to use tags in the links posted on social networks. This will generate, in addition to Source and Media data, information such as Campaign, Content and Word, for example.
In Analytics, the process is similar to organic traffic analysis. From the Acquisition Menu, go to All Traffic and Channels. In the presented report, click on Social to isolate the channel. The following report will present the social networks that generate traffic to your website.
In the example below, you can see that the most impactful drop overall was YouTube, with a drop of over a thousand users from one month to the next. You can also notice on the line chart that the beginning of the previous month performed better.
By clicking on the YouTube social network to isolate your results, you can see that the positive traffic curve at the beginning of the previous month was really the responsibility of the social network.
Thus, it is now possible to access the YouTube channel and evaluate what was done in that period that generated favorable results to be replicated in the next actions.
What subjects are covered? Where links to the site are made available? How were the videos released? Everything that was done in the period must be evaluated to generate learning for the next actions on the social network (and to reverse the scenario).
However, not all companies have a consistent work on YouTube. So, let’s go deeper into the analysis of traffic on Facebook, the most popular social network in the world and where your company most likely has a page.
The beginning of the analysis is similar to what was done on YouTube, but in this case, let’s click on Facebook. Now, we will have the chart showing the days with peaks of access originating on the social network, in addition to the list of campaigns created, configured by marking the URLs.
In the example shown, Facebook URL tagging was not used, so a list of campaigns is not displayed. However, in the graph it is possible to notice that the previous month had a more consistent start, which ensured a higher traffic generation.
However, in the last month, in blue, it is possible to notice traffic peaks, especially at the beginning and end of the month. These peaks outperformed any of the days in the previous month. What was done these days? What campaigns do these spikes represent (if configured in the URL)?
Assessing the positive situations, it is possible to draw up an action plan based on the success stories (and also on the campaigns that did not have a positive performance) to leverage the channel’s performance in the coming months.
Remembering that in the reports it is possible to include the dimensions of time and days of the week, to cross-reference with the campaign’s identifications, deepen the analysis and understand the success (and failure) criteria of the publications.
If you’ve made it this far, you already understand the logic of channel analysis for interpreting traffic acquisition patterns.
The process for other channels is very similar to what we’ve done so far: isolate the channel in the analysis, identify what worked – and what didn’t – and go to the channel’s own tool.
In the case of Sponsored Links, identify campaigns, ad groups and ads with positive and negative performance, understanding their particularities. Type of image, terms used, time, day of the week, all this information can make a difference. Remembering that AdWords has automatic URL tagging, just activate it.
In the case of Email Marketing, some tools also mark the links automatically, as in RD Station Marketing, sending the campaign data to Analytics.
Identifying the positive campaigns, it is necessary to understand what made the difference: the subject of the email? The shipping time? Targeting the list? What were the Email Marketing metrics for the campaigns?
Lead Conversion with data-driven marketing
What if traffic generation is positive but you can’t convert it to leads? This is a very common challenge for companies with consistent performance in Digital Marketing that start betting on Inbound Marketing.
Before any analysis, it is important to ensure that Lead conversions are being tracked in Google Analytics. To do this, you need to set up goal completions.
Tip: If you use RD Station Marketing to create Landing Pages, when generating a conversion, a page view is generated including /conversation at the end of the link. That way, a target goal completion in Google Analytics including this information is enough to track Leads conversions on your Landing Pages.
Now let’s improve your lead generation!
Within the Google Analytics reports, we go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. This report presents the pages users accessed when logging into the site, crossing traffic data with conversion data (which is what we need at the moment).
If you have more than one goal completion set up in your account, you can select the one that represents Lead generation. If all represent Leads, select all goals.
For the sake of productivity, we can use advanced filters to only target pages with relevant traffic and conversion rate below your average. Thus, we will have a list of pages that already have traffic, but can be optimized to generate more leads.
If you have several different lead conversion sites, such as Landing Pages, blog and institutional website, for example, it is also worth targeting this. The conversion rate of Leads from a Landing Page, for example, doesn’t even compare to the conversion rate of a blog. So if you include their conversion average, most blog pages will be below.
Let’s assume that the blog’s average conversion rate is 3%, and considering pages with more than a thousand sessions per month already have good traffic. The advanced filter would look like this:
Now, you need to optimize the conversion of pages with the potential to generate more leads. In the case of a blog, do you explore the full lead generation potential of a post?
Take as an example the RD blog page you are currently on: we have banners disclosing rich material related to the content, conversion forms in the middle of the content, newsletter registration in the footer of the page, exit pop-up (also exploring related content ), as well as links indicating educational materials for download.
In some posts, we even have audio content and a video add-on, available to users who convert (as in the post “How to be a good seller”).
Well, but what if the content has traffic, has conversion points, and still doesn’t convert? In this case, two situations can answer the question:
- The conversion points used are not efficient
- Although related, the content offered does not take into account the user’s intention when accessing the page.
If conversion points aren’t efficient, your overall conversion average will be low. This can happen because you have turned the material dissemination and lead generation sites into a “landscape” on your website.
To solve this, it’s worth testing new conversion points or performing A/B tests by making some changes to the conversion points you already have.
Conversion point cases unrelated to the subject of the page also lead to a lower conversion rate. Therefore, simply avoid newsletter registration invitations or the dissemination of standard material.
In cases of pages with conversion points related to the content and following a good performance pattern, a possible problem is that the user’s search intention is not taken into account.
To understand users’ search intent, use the Google Search Console Performance report, filtering by page URL.
Evaluate the top keywords that are driving traffic to the content to understand what is driving the user to it. Use this information to provide complementary content that is fully related to your searches.
To make it easier, I’m going to use an example from the Resultados Digitais blog:
Doing this same conversion rate improvement process, we identified a post with high traffic (one of the best on the blog, included).
The content had the top conversion points we use in blog posts, but a conversion rate well below average.
Assessing the surveys that took the user to the page and crossing with the content we were offering, we identified that the user actually had no interest in those subjects, even though they were related to the content.
In fact, we didn’t have any content ready to meet users’ needs and offer as supplemental content. So we created it.
By posting the content in the post, our conversion rate was above the blog average and also pulled up engagement metrics (like bounce rate, session length and pages per session). Just look:
Increase in the conversion rate of a post after adapting the offers to the users’ search intention.
As I said, it was one of the most trafficked pages on the entire blog. You can imagine the impact this simple optimization had on the total volume of Leads generated.
What about landing pages?
When you identify conversion pages with positive traffic but below average conversion rate, it’s worth testing.
In addition to content conversion optimizations, it is important to first look at the channels that are generating the most conversions, to maximize your results.
All of this can be seen in the Google Analytics Channels report, which we evaluated at the beginning of the post, but this time analyzing the rate and volume of conversions:
In the example, the Referral (traffic coming from links on other sites) and Organic channels stand out in volume.
Referral also stands out in conversion rate, proving to be a very positive channel. By clicking on Referral (to isolate the channel), you can see the sites that are converting the most:
In this case, as the account is Google’s own demo, the main reference channels are from the company. A good practice here is to have them in the same account, using Analytics’ multi-domain tracking, to be able to assess the source of traffic when accessing these sites and follow the entire lead trajectory, until its conversion.
If the websites presented were from third parties, we could include a Secondary Dimension of “Reference Path”, to see which page of the website the user came from, where the website link is on the page and intensify this partnership through link actions building and Referral Marketing.
By evaluating the Social channel, it is possible to see which social networks convert the most, to optimize those that already have a good performance and improve those that are below their potential.
The logic is again the same as at the beginning of the post, but now we are evaluating conversions. Identify the Social Networks that contribute the most to the channel’s conversions and which were the campaigns that influenced it.
Again you can use secondary dimensions of time and day of the week to better understand the performance of your posts, as in the example below:
In the case of paid media, if a certain Facebook Ads campaign generates more Leads with a lower cost per Lead, for example, why not increase your investment? And what is special about her that makes her stand out in performance? Which audience is converting more to it?
If certain keywords convert and others only generate traffic on Google Ads, are we going to invest in what is converting?
In the end, we continued with the same logic of identifying what is having the greatest impact on the metrics within each channel, in order to leverage what is already good and correct what is going wrong. The difference is that we are looking at conversions.
Now that you know how to initiate data-driven processes and analysis in your company, let’s get down to business?
To recap, I recommend you follow these steps:
- Ensure your Google Analytics account is set up correctly, with active demographics and conversions configured;
- Start using the URL builder in campaigns that are not automatically identified, such as: Social Media, Email Marketing and Sponsored Links (except AdWords);
- Register your site on Google Search Console and evaluate other tools that can generate even more results for your company;
- Use the Sales Funnel Benchmarking tool to understand where you need to improve;
- Perform the analyzes taught here, according to the point of improvement;
- Don’t stop here: all these analyzes presented are just examples of what is possible to do. But you can go even deeper, cross data between tools, and set an incredible call to action.
If you already base your Marketing actions on data, share your tips with us. And if you want to delve even further into the subject of this post, download the eBook Web Analytics in Practice.
It is necessary to use data to reverse what is not good, enhance what is generating results and support new actions A few years ago, when I started working with Digital Marketing, I was impressed with the amount and ease of information possible to obtain. However, for some time, I made a very common mistake: I accessed…