By Ivana Djudic

Marketing analytics means using data to monitor the performance of your efforts, specifically your campaigns. These days, you can’t even imagine marketing without analytics. Naturally, the choice of marketing analytics plugins, tools and dedicated software is wider than ever. It’s great to have a choice, but we can’t really use all of these tools, can we? We need to pick one or several analytics solutions and stick with them. But how do we choose?

Why Do You Even Need Marketing Analytics Tools?

Marketing analytics tools include technologies and solutions that allow us to collect, organize and manage data with the goal of increasing efficiency in reaching our business goals. As such, they allow us to monitor how our campaigns do right now and over time, gaining insight into what drives our growth, what should our campaigns look like in the future, what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right.

All this information can be obtained without resorting to intelligence teams or hiring an army of people to crunch the numbers. Marketing analytics software is smart enough to do all this by itself and present us with the results. That is, if we pick the right software, of course.

What to Look for in a Marketing Analytics Tool?

Here’s a couple of things your ideal marketing analytics solution should have:

A Free Demo

This is a rather generalized rule that should apply to all kinds of software and technologies. Just like shoes, analytics tools should be tried on for size before buying. Also, make sure to allow enough time for your entire team to try it out too.

This is important since a tool can be a terrific piece of software but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily make a good fit for your company’s specific needs.

One Platform for All Your Channels

Most businesses have more than one marketing channel. Even the ones that have just one channel right now are likely to develop more over time, so naturally what is needed here is a marketing analytics solution that can cover them all, separately, of course.

Focus on the User

There are different kinds of analytic metrics you can use, not just one. For instance, one of the common mistakes beginner marketers make is focusing on the traffic volume alone. That kind of data rarely provides any valuable insights. Instead, if you focus on the individual customer or visitor, where he’s coming from, what technology he’s using to reach your site and what he does on your site will help you understand his process. This is particularly important for users that actually convert. So the right analytics tools should allow you to track individual user behavior as well.

Customizable Reporting

The main reason we use analytics tools in the first place is to be able to obtain and explore valuable data. However, if we truly want to make the best use of said tools, we need to be able to create custom dashboards for specific areas and issues, which would give us custom reports. Many tools allow for creating dozens of these dashboards and have the option of saving the report templates, which saves a lot of time.

Ability to Analyze Massive Amounts of Data

This one should go without saying but let’s say it anyways – your marketing analytics tool should be able to collect, organize and analyze massive amounts of data in an efficient manner, without a glitch. This is particularly vital for big businesses that only plan to grow further. The amount of data they’ll be generating and analyzing is only going to get bigger and if their analytics software can’t handle it, no valuable insights will come of it.

Integration Capabilities

It’s very important to note that not all analytics software can integrate seamlessly with all CRMs or CMSs. The ones that you are using probably have some tools they integrate with, and others they are not compatible with. So before you commit to an analytics tool, you need to check for integration capabilities, otherwise you’re going to have a lot of trouble with compatibility issues and bugs.

Ease of Use

It may sound banal, but ease of use is and should be an important factor in determining the value of any piece of software, and analytics tools are no exception. What is the purpose of having a highly advanced tool that yields valuable results if no one in your team can use it? Or if the learning curve is so steep it takes months to master the basic functions?

Bottom Line

The fact that there are so many marketing analytics solutions available these days is both a good thing and a bad thing. Yes, it’s great to have a wide choice of different solutions with all the features we could ever need. On the other hand, we may feel like we have too much choice, which can be paralyzing and hinder our ability to make a decision.

Still, there are factors, like the ones mentioned in this article, that should help you narrow your search and make the decision that will ultimately benefit your marketing efforts, your team and your entire business.

Ivana Djudic is a Serbia-based graphic designer and works in SEO on WPklik – A comprehensive database for everything WordPress related.

Marketing stock photo by Michael D Brown/Shutterstock