CHAPTER 7 The Data - In 2010, I was in a partnership with my brother and we thought we could make things move a little faster with growing the business.
The New Jersey Northeast Corridor train line travels all the way through our neighborhood from the greatest city in the world, New York City, to the state capital city, Trenton.
So many professionals get on and off this train all week during rush hours daily. These were the types of people we wanted as prospects for the business we were trying to build. So we thought why not print a bunch of flyers and give them out to all the people coming off the train at 5:45pm in the evening. Great idea right?
No it wasn’t. Let me explain. First of all, it was a gross assumption on our part that most people ever want to be sold unsolicited products even if it’s free. It's a red flag at best.
As they collected the flyers from us, which seems like it was done out of pity, they dumped them in the next visible garbage.
I understood it but damn; it hurt. Not only did we spend money on printing those flyers, we also spent time and even worse; a lot of emotional energy anticipating success.
Anyway, we did not get a single person from that terrible marketing to sign up. I don’t believe it was particularly because of the marketing channel. I think it was more so because there is no focused way of tracking the success or some type of progress from this activity at least for us at the time.
We just wanted to get the words out as soon as possible. But oftentimes, that’s the mindset of people who lack strategy. Marketing with no strategy? You might as well grab a lighter and burn down your money.
So we were talking about the list in the last chapter right? You learned about the mistake that has cost me millions of dollars over the years. By the way, I continue to have urges to mess with the same mistakes.
You learned that the timing is not always right for your prospect but you must set up in a way that the timing is always right for you to serve when they are ready.
How do you do that? It’s as simple as serving your prospect the old fashioned way by serving first in exchange for their contact information. That gives you the power to re-engage and re-market to them at a lesser cost.
The original discovery and exposure of your business to prospects cost you marketing dollars right? But when you focus on list building as the main objective of that front end campaign of your business, it offsets your marketing cost dramatically.
In that chapter, you learn the various ways to ensure that you are capturing leads (contact information) even when you are offering free shipping and handling. The ultimate goal is still to capture contact information and build a list of these highly targeted prospects.
This list we are talking about becomes the greatest asset of the company since money comes from only one place; from people.
You learned that it’s not just about the data, email addresses, phone numbers and people’s names. It’s more so about the fact that the individuals associated with this data have demonstrated high interest in what is being offered.
Remember. You learned that many people will attempt to sell you data online. But they will mostly be selling you useless data of prospects who haven’t shown or demonstrated interest in your offer.
At best, you will lose money in these types of activities. There are some hacks around retargeting purchased data online with major advertising platforms. It’s still a gamble.
But I wasn’t even talking about that type of data. There is a big problem.
There is nothing worse than getting excited about the extremely profitable opportunities that digital marketing presents and then losing your life savings to Facebook and Google trying to implement.
Remember that money I lost in 5 minutes? It is even easier to waste resources on marketing that doesn’t collect data. If you are not tracking the present status and performance of your marketing campaigns, how could you possibly create a plan to get you to a desired destination?
To jump on an advertising platform is one of the easiest things to do nowadays. It’s user friendly. But again, it’s just as easy to lose money. In fact, the more buoyant you are, the easier it is for you to lose money.
On the flip side, if you are broke, you would be watching every penny which takes your focus off collecting big enough samples to create a profitable business.
Most people initiating digital marketing campaigns might set up a $5 per day ad campaign and leave it running. By the time they get charged $150 on the 30th day, they suddenly realize that these advertising platforms know exactly what they are doing. They are not playing. They will take your money in a heartbeat.
At press time, Meta Platforms Inc (formerly Facebook) is worth USD $372.52 Billion and Alphabet Inc (The owner of Google) is worth a whopping USD $1.29 Trillion. They don’t need your money if you are not going to make money from advertising with them.
But also, they continue to make serious money because digital marketing works for many companies. One of the factors that separates the losers and the winners in digital marketing is data.
Every marketing activity creates some type of data. The question is are you collecting that data?
In our flyer story that I shared with you earlier, we couldn’t tell you how many flyers we printed and how many ended up in the garbage. That’s a major problem.
It’s not enough to just plan and execute a digital marketing campaign. You set a smart goal from inception right? But there are also so many stops before the destination which is probably a net profit.
How much did you spend on the campaign and how much was the revenue that was generated from it? That’s too wide of a gap to wait on executing in order to track and ensure success.
When a prospect encounters your ad for the first time, that is a discovery. An impression was created. That’s literally the first goal that we want to track.
How many impressions did your business, message or ad receive in the last 28 days, last 7 days and yesterday? The answer is data that we want to continue to collect because the more it is, the better; all things being equal. It means exposure.
When you are a novice in marketing like my brother and I were, you are marketing but you are not collecting data to measure success. And if you do, you are not doing so unless an actual sale has happened.
That’s not good enough because you are not able to troubleshoot and diagnose without involving so much emotion. But when you start collecting meaningful data as early as when an impression is created for an ad, an image, a copy or a message, you stand a better chance at tracking performance as early as possible all the way till success.
And even when data indicates an undesirable result, you are able to generate that data much faster and earlier. That also means that you are able to pivot and adjust much earlier in the direction of the results you want to create.
The answer is data and data collection. It’s just a fancy way of saying success tracking. With digital marketing, you are able to track micro-levels of success. Unmanaged expectations only lead to disappointments. So it is necessary to have ways to track and measure expectations, goals and objectives in order to avoid overall disappointments.
Without it, you will keep wasting a significant amount of your resources on marketing activities that, not just fail, but also leave you with a bad taste in your mouth; kinda like distributing a bunch of flyers that get thrown in the garbage right in front of you.
What if you are tracking how many of those flyers go in the garbage along with how many calls you get from the ones that were kept? More importantly, are you patient enough to be tracking this data? The more you add yourself physically into the process, the less chances that you even know how to track your marketing properly in the digital age.
Tracking these data allows you to identify benchmarks and baselines to track your marketing performance against. It facilitates exponential growth and reduces your chances of entertaining costly distractions across the board.
In business, there is often a confusion between methods of performance analysis. Between qualitative or quantitative analysis, which one is better? It depends on who you are asking and their general outlook on data-driven business decisions.
By tracking these numbers, you are better positioned to objectively orchestrate the results you are looking to create from your digital marketing campaigns. The data being collected becomes available for further analysis and competitive advantage. Your competitors will have a hard time matching your level of performance.
On the flip side, many emotions are involved and camouflaged as qualitative analysis when you put your heart and soul into dinosaur and old school marketing activities. You are telling yourself a lie that will consume your resources and return almost nothing.
So let’s break down 7 or 8 of the most important metrics you will encounter on a consistent basis when collecting digital marketing performance data over a period of time. The period is typically set as default at “last 28 days”. But it can also be “last 7 days”, last 90 days, last 365 days or even lifetime. Let’s identify the different metrics.
Impression - This is the number of times a digital creative (content, ad copy, image, video etc) is visible to the human eyes.
Users - This is the number of individuals that have seen a digital creative. If one person sees the same content twice, it is counted as one user because it’s the same user. On some platforms, the number of users is also called “reach”. This metric is also broken down to new and returning users. Ideally, you want both metrics to be increasing.
An increasing number of new users means you are doing a good job at attracting new eyeballs on a consistent basis. And increasing returning users means you are delivering value that’s highly engaging; potentially creating repeat customers.
Click - This is the number of times creatives are engaged with a mouse click or mobile's finger or stylus tap that actually redirects a loaded webpage to another.
View or Pageview - While the clicks we are mostly concerned about redirects the user to another webpage, it doesn’t always result in a full pageview. Pageview is the metric that measures the number of times a page is fully loaded by a user.
This is called a view if the main creative on the page is a video that autoplays at a full page load. However, not all page views lead to a video view because some videos are not set to auto play.
Lead Conversion - This the conversion metric that measures the number of user contacts that are captured for list building and future follow up; indicative of a higher interest.
Sale Conversion - This is the conversion metric that measures the number of transactions that increase revenue. On some data collection and tracking platforms, a conversion is also called an action or a goal.
Cost - This is the total amount of dollars spent on marketing and advertising. And here is a bonus but probably the most important metric.
Revenue - This is the total amount of money generated associated with, tracked or attributed to running a digital campaign.
Presently, we have two main digital marketing projects that I’d love to share with you. These are real life businesses and I’d love to share a few examples of data we are collecting with you at press time.
As a matter of fact, two email notifications came in as I am writing this chapter. They usually come in between the 1st and the 3rd day of every month from the Google Search Console team. This report is particularly received for sites that generate organic traffic from Google search.
So our first main project is myEmpirePRO.com which generated 19,700 impressions and 224 clicks in the whole of the last month. There were also 38 pages with their first impressions ever. That means Google showed these 38 webpages to their users for the first time ever.
New content achievements such as the top three growing pages generating more clicks from the search engine results page (SERP) ranking was also reported. The top two growing pages generated 5 more clicks than the previous month and the third runners up generated two more clicks than previous month’s.
Also top performing pages with the highest total number of clicks generated was also reported. The highest performing page generated 44 clicks, the second runners up generated 24 clicks and the third runners up generated 19 clicks. There is more data reported and also a button to take you into the full report hosted on the Google search console.
Our second project is LOLAandOLA.com which generated 24,600 impressions and 519 clicks in the whole of the previous month. There were also 15 pages with their first impressions ever. Again, that means Google showed these 15 webpages to their users for the first time ever.
New content achievements such as the top three growing pages generating more clicks from the search engine results page (SERP) ranking was also reported. The highest growing page generated 10 more clicks than the previous month’s, the second and third generated 8 more clicks each than the previous month’s.
Also top performing pages with the highest total number of clicks generated was also reported. The highest performing page generated 64 clicks, the second runners up generated 47 clicks and the third runners up generated 45 clicks.
We have access to these data and so much more which means we can track the performance of these digital marketing campaigns. That means we can scale the winners and kill the losers.
This is what I want you to do to start collecting these data-set for your digital marketing activities. I want you to set up two tools on your self hosted web projects. Two tracking tools set is perfect because there is no one single tracking tool that is perfect. They all have discrepancies in their collected data.
Google Search Console - These sets of tools and reports help you measure your site's search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.
The data sets I shared with you from the monthly reports of our two projects are from that console. It’s particularly good for you if you want to invest time and resources into generating organic traffic for the Google search engine.
Simply go to: https://search.google.com/search-console/
Add your website information, click continue, and follow the instructions to start collecting the data. It’s free like many Google tools and modules. If the interface is a little different by the time you are reading this, just follow the instructions on the screen.
For traffic that we are generating from sources other than organic, we use a third party tracking that helps us to, not only measure clicks data, but also optimize ads and the whole sales process.
Check it out at: myEmpirePRO.com/clickmagick
It comes with more flexibility if you don’t want to depend on the reports from the ad platforms selling your traffic; avoiding conflict of interest.
What do we do with the data we are collecting? How do we leverage them to facilitate growth and better performance? That’s what we will cover in the next chapter.
We will get into generating useful information from these data sets to make better business decisions.
Do I need to remind you that 95% of businesses fail within their first 5 years? A lot of the business decisions they make are emotions-driven; that’s why. And it gets worse when they notice that they are losing money.
So you will be learning how to generate useful and presentable information that business decision makers leverage to grow sales and revenue in a digital age.
We might also talk about how to flip information into a $204,555 monthly revenue business. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. But then that means there is a little probability left to assess right?
After all in this digital era, it’s all numbers, data, ones and zeros. If you are not leveraging this opportunity, it’s okay. Being average is pretty normal too.
And by the way, you can also overdo data collection and analysis. Overkill does exist when you are obsessed with tracking everything trackable.
Just like in every endeavor, modesty is key when tracking performance at every level of your digital marketing campaigns. Every performance tracking activity consumes energy and therefore must be managed.