It’s easy to hit a rut in your analysis. Problems become stale, questions feel like they will never be resolved, and there isn’t anything left to find in the data. This is where adding extra data sources or facets can help.
More often than not, this will come down to your unique situation and needs. This means there is no perfect system for getting this right. Some of these examples should help you rework your current approach and come closer. Each approach takes a different set of skills and knowledge and varying levels of time commitment.
Utilize Currently Available Metrics
New metrics can come from other platforms, channels, or data sources. You can use these numbers to enhance your data or compare performance. This could include adding page traffic for organic traffic. The goal here is to establish baselines or distinctions you can’t see in your PPC data alone.
For example, adding organic traffic to your PPC data can help you uncover if changes in performance are mirror across channels or localized to a single one.
Other valuable initiatives include,
- The impact of social or display ads on brand traffic
- Compare ratings (like quality score) to actual data to understand the ranges.
- Compare page speeds and conversion rates
- Compare top performers across channels
Add New Features and Create new Data
Sometimes you need an extra segment or category to help make sense of your data. While the ad platforms provide a wealth of data it might not always match up with your needs or meet every use case.
There are three options. You can align your data with your business, you can align your ad data with third-party sources, or you can research and create your own data points.
Ad data from the platform can feel sterile. It’s created to provide baseline metrics for a wide swath of users. It’s not customized or created to align with any business or industry. Reshaping, labeling, and augmenting your ad data unlocks new potential and insights.
This could include adding,
- Call center data to campaign reports
- Lead qualification grades to conversions
- Categories for initiatives or labels for other tests
- Aligning platform metrics with internal reporting metrics
Some of these require advanced tracking for set up but they may be just what you need to move beyond a rut. These initiatives create better alignment between your work and the company. This can improve buy-in from stakeholders and add context to your work.
External Data Sources
External data is a welcome addition but can be hard to come by. Outside of areas like census data, you’ll need some business knowledge to know what or where to look. This could be industry information, general digital marketing data, or
A good first source is census data. This can be as simple as adding metro/state level information to your geo reports. This gives you a sense of scope and how closely the distribution of your traffic aligns with the region.
One of my favorite guides is Join Google Analytics Data to Other Data for Fun and Profit by Sayf Sharif. This post shares a data set with population info that you can merge with your own data. I’ve found the quartiles useful in particular. In one case I found a huge mismatch in performance for the top quartile. We took this insight and reworked a few campaigns to specifically target the largest cities.
This is by far the most fun of the groups. Research can take the same approach to the other sections but focuses on finding a way to answer the question. The first challenge here is finding the question!
This section is brief due to the unique nature. My best recommendation is to pick an idea of technique you’d like to implement and start chipping away. Sometimes it not even important that you answer the original question because you’ll discover something valuable along the way.
Sample problems for context,
- Does the number of presenters or role of the presenters change event signups?
- Does the length of on-page text change conversion rates?
- Does ad title length impact CTR?
- Do pages with few products lead to higher bounce rates?
Each of these may require additional tools or skills. The but provide additional insights into performance and adjustments you can make to engage users and create more successful marketing efforts.