Prevent data overload by letting your goals select what you measure
If you’re a marketer, you know we live in a data-driven world. The Internet and has unlocked a level of statistical analysis that can tell us a considerable amount about the people who come to visit on the web or on our hosted apps. It’s so much data that we can be easily overwhelmed. How much information is too much?
Then there’s the FOMO (fear of missing out) aspect of data collection. You hear that a competitor is gathering and using data that you are not. Will that give them the leg up? Rather than feeling like you’re in control of all this customer engagement data, it’s easy to feel that it has taken control of you. Here’s how to tame the data beast:
Pick your goals
It doesn’t matter what collection software you use. The options on what to gather probably outnumber what you need. The ones you should pick will depend on how you answer this type of question:
What do you want social media to do for your organization?
If you’re not sure, it’s not even time to be collecting data yet. Often, your goals will turn out to be uncomplicated, such as:
• You want to collect email addresses
• You have digital products that you want to give to people who sign up for them
• You want to increase brand awareness
These are key objectives. Measuring them gives you the metrics you need to gauge successful usage of social media and other online efforts. Goals come first. Tracking data comes after.
Understand that having data doesn’t mean having solutions
Before all these ways to measure engagement came along, marketing was considered a success because people told you they thought it was creative. But following creativity is like falling down a rabbit hole. You might end up with success, but you could also just get a whole bunch of useless compliments.
Yes, creativity can sell. You don’t want to measure it. What should be measured through engagement data is likability and trust. Creativity can’t get you to your goals if users believe you have a bad product or service. And mundane marketing messages won’t prevent you from attaining those goals, either.
The data you decide to collect should give you the ability to challenge or validate what customers think of your brand – not your marketing. It’s your audience and their engagement that generates this data. And speaking of challenges, the way to measure this information keeps splitting into subsets. It can be a full time job just keeping up with what’s new.
It may seem like you’re dragging your feet, but consider taking a wait-and-see attitude about new customer engagement data measurement. At least pause to find out whether it develops from a fad into a bona fide trend.
Take a realistic approach
A billion people have Facebook accounts. Individuals from all over the world can visit your company page. It takes just a single click to like your page and become a fan, and that person may never become a customer. Social media is simply a barometer.
At the macro level, a measurement of likes may not provide much insight, but this ties in nicely with your goal setting. Measure what matters, and know why it matters. Otherwise, what difference does it make if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of likes, but there’s no correlation to sales (meaning you’re not making any)?
A realistic approach also means that you’ll set reachable goals that matter. We all want explosive growth. But first, it’s wise to use data to measure the level of increase needed for growth and then extrapolate where you’d like to be.
It’s just data
Collect as much of it as you want. Amassing customer engagement data is not going to produce your own magic oracle. You’ll need more than just information streams.
This might seem like it contradicts the earlier warning of skirting macro measurements. It’s not. Instead, it’s a reminder that data must be augmented with the insights gained by qualitative and contextual research. The information needs a tool for interpretation.
Finally, your customers know that you’re collecting their data and you might want to share your insights with them. It’s a courteous and subtle way to show that you’re being an appropriate custodian of the information you collect. TMI goes both ways. You don’t want to be overwhelmed, and they don’t want to be left feeling like their online privacy has been abused.
For more information about how to effectively gather and leverage usage data, contact the online strategy and design experts at Creative Technology Partners.