Gartner predicted that by 2015 there would be 4.4 million big data jobs, but that only one third of them would be successfully filled. This presents a huge opportunity for marketing professionals to advance in their roles by learning more about digital analytics, as well as how to accurately interpret and implement data to improve their company’s performance.

Here's an overview of several Google Analytics reports that in-house marketers can use to glean insight to develop new strategies, prove digital marketing’s worth in relation to the company’s overall growth and assist other departments in successfully reaching their goals.

New & Refined Strategies

Marketers are a naturally creative and strategic group. But when you’ve been working at the same organization for years or you’re introducing a new product to a new audience, it can be difficult to develop fresh and innovative campaign tactics that work.

And that’s where analytics steps in. Before jumping to conclusions or settling on a tired strategy, marketers can turn to analytics to identify what’s working, what isn’t and where untapped opportunities may lie. Analytics can help you uncover your current audience is, where it's coming from and what content engages people. This data can spark ideas for new campaigns and improvements to existing strategies.

For example, if the Google Analytics Channels report (Acquisition > Channels) indicates that a majority of your web traffic is derived from social media, but your boss has been hesitant to dedicate staff in this area, showing how social media has led to increased page views and conversion can help make your case.


The Social > Conversions report within Google Analytics can take this insight even further, breaking down data by network for conversions that are coming from social users.


Supporting Other Departments

Perhaps one of the most overlooked roles analytics can play is to open the door for cross-departmental wins and insights. That is, taking analytics out of the IT department (or wherever it currently sits) and sharing it among the rest of your organization — advising various departments, executive stakeholders and internal teams on not only what the data says, but what it means to their jobs.

One of the easiest ways to engage other departments in regular conversations about analytics is to provide and review regular reports customized with useful information. For example, when you open up a conversation with the sales team about how their efforts are performing, they can then continue or change tactics based on data. In addition, if they know how prospective customers are finding the website and where they get engaged, then the sales team will have a more in-depth understanding of the sales funnel.

Compiling a report for the sales team is another good use of the Google Analytics Channels report (Acquisition > Channels). This report breaks down traffic stats by acquisition channel and will help the sales team understand how visitors find the website and where the most engaged customers come from. In the example below, it would be beneficial to explain to the sales team that Referrals are bringing less total sessions, but that they’re more engaged.

These particular customers are spending more time on the site (higher Average Session Duration), and are visiting more pages (higher Pages/Session), therefore are familiarizing themselves with the brand and its products/services. These people are more likely to make a purchase, so the sales team will want to use this information as fodder to develop tactics that increase Referral traffic. This may lead to a strategic conversation with the marketing team about spending more resources on affiliate marketing, content marketing, link building and other ways to generate Referrals.


Proving ROI

There’s a reason analytics is the rising star of digital marketing. Your executive board needs proof as to whether or not the investment in marketing is paying off. The number of followers on Twitter or views of a banner ad are no longer satisfactory measures of success. Are these followers converting to customers? Are the ads driving qualified traffic to the website? Analytics helps you to effectively respond to these questions.

Beyond answering these fundamental questions, Google Analytics can provide more in-depth insight into your marketing campaigns. For example, you may know that your campaign results are good, but do you know how you’ve improved from last year? To find out whether traffic and engagement have successfully grown, you can use the Audience Overview report (Audience > Overview). Data like this helps you to develop a true understanding of your campaign’s performance compared with the year prior.


In this example of an Audience Overview report, the sessions and users increased quite a bit. However, engagement suffered with the rise in traffic, as indicated by significantly lower Pages/Session and Average Session Duration. After seeing this report, the company’s marketer would likely want to better promote content on the site in order to encourage users to stay longer after just reading one or two blog posts.

The Attraction of Analytics

As companies spend more on digital marketing, Google Analytics will continue to become more important.

Marketers will increasingly rely on analytics to improve and refine tasks throughout the organization. A few key reports have been outlined in this post, but there are hundreds that can be enlisted to provide data to help prove ROI, develop more amazing campaigns and improve the brand overall.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by Vicky Brock.