Budgeting for Analytics; What's important?

Posted by Netmatters
30th July 2015

Budgeting for analytics; what do I need to keep in mind?

When you think about your marketing budget for the foreseeable future there are probably a few things that jump out at you, and a few things you think are absolutely necessary and need to take a big chunk of your budget. Is analytics one of them? Possibly, but it is an afterthought for many. Analytics is a huge aspect to how your business operates, and if you do not do analytics then you will likely find yourself running into an impenetrable brick wall where analytics holds the key to making progress.

The main thing you have to think about when budgeting for analytics is not the cost for the analytics software itself; it is actually the cost of your employees using the software. Analytics is completely worth this time. You can better understand how effective your business model is, and you can improve any aspects to your campaign that you are already marketing but are not performing as well as they should, and this is priceless. Analytics offers huge potential for business model improvements.

Analytics is not an optional part of any business model, and for a business to know what to do to improve their services they have to see what is working and what is not within an analytics program. Analytics is not actually something hugely expensive, with Google Analytics which is a vast, rich analytics tool being available free as soon as you place a snippet of code within the HTML header of your web page, or at least it is free until you hit a large amount of traffic in a certain time frame. When you hit this cut off point you must purchase the enterprise version of Google Analytics, called Analytics premium.

One of the problems with using analytics is actually your employee’s ability to use it. You don’t only need to provide them with the tool, but you actually need to empower your employees to use it. If you can educate your entire employee base with knowledge of how to use analytics, and how to understand what that actually means then you are on your way to success. Understanding analytics will transfer over to not only gaining knowledge about what is working in your campaign, but it will also give an insight into what could possibly be done better to make the campaign more cost effective.

What can I actually do with my analytics data?

While a lot of companies to collect analytics data about their sites, it is also common for this data to be pushed into a large database and then placed deep into an archive somewhere, then unsurprisingly left untouched and unused. Some companies put their data into an auto generated report “business report” but this is also an incredibly wasteful way of using all of that data which, in the right hands, could hold the key to business growth.

You should be assigning data analysis to your employees, and when data is being scrutinised you should ensure that it is actually going somewhere. Analytics provides vast waves of information that show you how effective every part of your digital marketing strategy is, and while it can be hard to understand and apply into a real world beneficial strategic plan, if you can do it then you are leaps and bounds ahead of where you were.

With Google Analytics you can actually find a huge amount of very useful, key strategic data with very little effort. You can see information such as which parts of your marketing campaign are bringing in traffic, and which of these traffic sources are converting the most. This is useful, as it can give you an idea of how effective your different methods are and you can base this comparison on cost.

Is there anything else I should know?

What you need to know is that it is very unlikely that you will ever reach a point with analytics that you cannot do any more with it. Analytics is in real time, and it gives you so much information that it would be very challenging to make full use of every single feature it offers without a dedicated member of staff doing this full time. Analytics are a great business tool, and if you still are not using analytics to track the performance of your brands online presence then you are simply missing out on the what is possibly the most empowering piece of software available to marketers on the internet.

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