The Winning Curve

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Deborah Kilpatrick

How To Be A Data-Driven Marketer (When You're Not A Data Expert)

Scaling user acquisition online requires a multi-tiered marketing approach, especially if you're running a linear attribution model where multiple consumer touch points will lead to sign-ups and sales. Data will play a key role in your success, but knowing which data is important can be challenging. If data is not your area of expertise, focus on these metrics.

Display Advertising and Targeting

Effectively targeted display advertising is crucial to building a user base, and bid cost is an important metric when measuring targeting performance.

Display ad units differ by desired action, whether you’re driving awareness with a CPM (Cost Per Mille, or 1,000 impressions) campaign or website clicks with a CPC (Cost Per Click) campaign. Your benchmark for these campaigns is your Cost of Customer Acquisition. If campaign spend is outpacing your user growth, it may indicate that your targeted audience is too narrow and expensive.

These metrics become more powerful when combined with programmatic (i.e. automated) ad buying. Programmatic buying can reveal which targeting segments are yielding the best results, allowing you to shift ad spending to the places it’s most effective.

Social Engagement

Online marketers put a premium on engagements as a measure of social media content success. This makes sense considering that consumers are more likely to recommend a brand they’ve engaged with on social media, and they’re more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s recommendation. It's also why marketers have moved towards video advertising on social media, which has proven to be significantly more engaging than written content.

Use engagement rate (engagements/ impressions) as a barometer for how your content is resonating with your audience, with the industry standard at 1%. This metric is even more important for mobile marketing since the majority of social media users access platforms on a mobile device.

Bounce Rate and Time on Site

Once you’ve driven users to your website, Bounce Rate and Time on Site are two metrics that measure the effectiveness of your site design. Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who close your site without clicking deeper than the homepage, Time on Site is the total time they spend while they’re there. A high Bounce Rate and low Time on Site can both be caused by poor website design, but each metric only tells half the story. A 2013 infront study compared Bounce Rates across six companies and found that the company with a higher bounce rate could still be more successful due to the high volume of traffic their site received. In this case, Time on Site would help determine if users were leaving quickly or staying and digesting the homepage content.

Don't Over-Optimize

Fueled by data, it can be tempting to shift your marketing strategy frequently. But over-optimization will make your campaign sporadic and leave you spinning your wheels. Instead, focus on your broad strategy and make small data-driven tweaks throughout a campaign, and you'll quickly scale your user base no matter your level of data expertise.


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