Guest blog: Attributing online success

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There is little excuse these days for not tracking your website’s performance, says search marketing expert, Tom Telford.

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In a room of over 400 digital marketing types at a recent conference, delegates were asked to raise their hand if they felt they had tracked online attribution. The response was woefully low.

Web analytics has progressed leaps and bounds in recent times and there is little excuse not to be better informed of your website’s performance. Indeed, there is a plethora of analytical packages out there, but our clients large and small will always fall back to Google Analytics. Why wouldn’t you, it’s free!

Attributing success to your marketing spend isn’t just about immediate ROI and you need to be thinking about more than just immediate sales, leads or contact. A newsletter signup, a return visitor, remarketing additions, video views, social sharing or engagement, as well downloads of PDFs are all examples of conversion that aren’t yet leads or sales, but people who are warming up to your offering.

Don’t fixate on the absolute win of a lead or sale and keep an open mind as to the role all of your marketing channels play in the build up to digital success. Multi-channel attribution in Google Analytics will help here – use events and goals to your advantage and understand what channels are driving consumption through your site.

Finally, remember to tag your emails, social links and other outbound activity using UTM variables to gain a deeper understanding of the role your website plays in the sales process.

Web Analytics has a long way to go, but with the right setup, an open mind and some healthy cynicism it will provide the best evidence to your digital decisions. Use data in 2014 to drive your website and online ROI harder.

About the author

Tom Telford is MD of Falmouth-based creative digital marketing agency, 3WhiteHats.