What are my tea leaves, and how should I read them?

As marketers we are faced with the pressures of campaign performance, but what determines if a campaign is successful, especially when the focus is on the brand’s website? Everyone thinks they have the answer...it’s easy to say “data.” The question is, what data and can it be trusted?

Before a campaign is launched, a brand’s website should have a measurement plan and implementation plan developed and established. After all, a brand’s website is more than an online presence. It’s the brand’s digital marketing platform.

What are your tea leaves, or in other words, what do you want to measure and track?

To help us determine what we should be measuring and tracking, we develop a Measurement Plan.

A measurement plan documents our top business goals and objectives as well as the metrics and dimensions that support them. These goals and objectives will be measured utilizing our digital marketing platform: our website. This plan provides the foundation of how we customize and configure our website analytics, but also helps shape our overall digital marketing strategy.

A measurement plan will pose many questions that we should be asking, as our targeted website evolves now and in the future. When addressing these questions, we think beyond the measurement of a website and we think about the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for the client. With the answers to these questions, we will be able to determine how the website can alleviate any measurement and organizational issues.

To summarize what we do in a measurement plan:

  • Document business objectives
  • Identify the strategies and tactics to support the objectives
  • Choose the metrics that will be the Key Performance Indicators
  • Decide how to segment data

Now that we know what our “tea leaves” are, we need to launch an implementation plan.

An Implementation Plan documents the technical environment of our digital platform/website, and a plan that is specific to the analytics tools and features that we will utilize. Examples of how we can categorize items in this technical document would include:

  1. Tracking codes
  2. Tag Management
  3. Profiles and Filters
  4. Settings and Configuration
  5. Goals / Conversions / Funnels
  6. Events, Virtual Pageviews, and Social Actions
  7. Campaign Tracking
  8. Advanced Segments and Custom Reports
  9. Intelligence Alerts and Dashboards

Each category would include the steps, details, and progress of each item.

How should you “Read the Tea Leaves?”

The first step to understanding your data is to ensure you’re looking at the data that tells the whole story (the good, the bad, the ugly).

Why do I reference “the good, the bad, the ugly?” Because it is not always good news that we get to report back to the client. Too many times I have seen other marketers hide their underperformance by only providing clients with the data that tells a better story but not the whole story. We owe it to our clients to be honest and not be misleading with the data we are providing them. By presenting the entire story we can learn from the data and work to better our campaigns as well as our website.

When reporting on metrics like new or unique visitor conversion, sources of incoming traffic, interactions per visit, bounce rate, cost per conversion, exit pages, page views, average session duration, etc., make sure the metrics apply to the story you are telling.

So, how should you “Read the Tea Leaves?” With honesty. Tell the whole story, and nothing but the whole story.

  • eric
    Eric Procopio
    Chief Web Development Officer
    Eric designs and builds digital marketing worlds that have increased the ROI of brands to a point where outsiders have called him a magician. As Director of Web Development with 18+ years of experience, he knows that a well-designed website is only half the battle, and enters the marketing battlefield wielding his SEO expertise and analytical insight.