What does Tracking and Analytics mean?

Tracking and analytics is an under-appreciated aspect of digital marketing. However, all of your marketing efforts and money will be wasted if you don’t spend developing and implementing a tracking and analytic strategy.

In the golden era of marketing, tracking a campaign’s success was difficult. There are many reasons for someone to buy a product. So it was hard to know if a TV commercial or a newspaper advertisement was effective.

That’s why you’ll often hear marketers from that era talk about direct marketing because it was the only form of marketing at the time that had a clear effect on sales.

We can implement tracking, set up A/B tests, and substantially improve our ads and campaigns in real-time. This is the power of digital marketing. And if you want to learn more, continue reading, and if you need help developing a tracking and analytics strategy for your campaigns, we can help. Use our contact form, and we’ll happily discuss what would work best for you.

Why do you need tracking?

Tracking on the internet has gotten very good. Yes, some laws and changes have made it challenging in the last few years, but overall the information you can get on your customer’s behavior is unmatched. With a proper tracking and analytics strategy, you can pinpoint exactly where in your customer’s journey you need to make improvements.

Do you want to know which ad has the best copy? You can test and find that out easily. In less than a week, you can find out which ad drives the most traffic and begin testing other ads.

Want to know what articles are getting you the most traffic from Google? With a free tool like Google Analytics, you can find the top pages by traffic source and know what’s moving the needle for your site.

Is your landing page converting? Setting up and understanding your conversions is critical for having a high-quality website. Discover which pages are generating for you the most customers.

These questions and many more can be answered for you using analytics. Tracking and analytics are powerful tools for you to optimize your marketing efforts.

The Aqueduct Marketing Tracking and Analytics framework

We have years of experience analyzing and working with marketing data at Aqueduct Marketing. And we’ve developed a framework to help sort and break down what can be complicated and overwhelming marketing data.

Most marketing tactics or strategies can be broken down into two parts: what happens before they get to your website and after they get to your site. We call this pre-click and post-click because a user must click on an ad or a link to get to your site.

You want to split your analysis into these two groups because your goals are different. Initially, your goal is to get someone to your website. But once they get to your website, the goal changes, and now you want them to convert, which can be anything from making a purchase or completing a form.

It’s worth noting that while we separate our analysis into these two groups, they are closely related. For example, if you were running ads for tacos but then linked to a website that sells perfume, you would see great pre-click results, but the outcomes post-click would be horrendous. Pre-click and post-click strategies, while separated for analysis, need to work together for you to have a successful campaign.

In fact, we think this framework is the best way to spot if your campaign does have a disconnect. While that example about tacos and perfume is extreme, It’s not uncommon to see ads perform well only not to have anything happen on your website. Usually, it’s a targeting error. The ads don’t find the right people at the right time.

It’s a frustrating problem to have, but one you would never be able to fix without a good tracking and analytics strategy.

Tracking vs. Analytics

Tracking and analytics are often paired together, but there is a difference between the two that’s rather important.

Tracking is the practice of implementing technology on your website or marketing so that you can observe how users interact with your website or marketing. It usually involves adding code snippets to your website. Perhaps the most common is utilizing UTM parameters in links, so Google Analytics can record where your traffic is coming from. Proper tracking is foundational and requires you to know how your marketing is performing. However, tracking alone isn’t enough.

Analytics is the process of taking the information from the tracking, understanding it, and forming opinions based on that understanding. Analytics is where the human element comes in. If tracking tells you the what, analytics tells you the why. Analytics is also where expertise, trust, and intuition come into play.

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
-Mark Twain

Tracking Tools:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the gold standard for digital marketing analytics. In the past, Google would call it Universal Analytics. However, in the summer of 2023, they officially switched to Google Analytics 4(usually shortened to GA4), which was a much-needed improvement.

Google Analytics is a free software provided by Google to help you track how users interact with your site. It’s easy to install, and there are multiple ways to do it. If you have a WordPress site, we recommend using the Site Kit add-on provided by Google.

Once you have it installed, you’ll be able to see how people use your site. It answers the key questions about what pages get the most traffic and where that traffic is coming from. and with a few modifications, it can answer more advanced questions like what people are purchasing and how many people click on specific buttons.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager(GTM) is a free tool developed by Google. GTM allows you to go one step further than Google Analytics by letting you track the actions people take on your site.

At its simplest, Google Tag Manager consists of Triggers and Tags.

Triggers are predefined events that activate when a person does that event. Common triggers are button clicks, form completions, scroll depth, video views, etc. Most actions taken by a user on your site can be set as a trigger. Tags pieces of data that send information to Google Analytics, but in this case, Meta about what just happened on your site. So say you wanted to track how often someone fills out a contact form on your site. You would set up a trigger when someone clicks “submit” on the form. And that would fire the tag with information like form name, URL, time, date, and any other predetermined data to Google Analytics or Meta to use in tracking.

This is a brief overview of one way to use Google Tag Manager. It’s a powerful tool that I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with.

Marketing Platforms: Facebook, Google, & YouTube

Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are great for gathering information about what users do when they get on your site, but to see how your ads perform, the place to go is the ad platform. Google Ads, Facebook, YouTube, Google Search Console, and so many more provide excellent dashboards and metrics for understanding how your campaign is performing.

If you want to A/B test ads, find which ads perform best. These platforms are where you would turn.

While there is some variation between the platforms as to what information they offer, they all provide the basis for what you need to get started. They’ll all provide you with the standard metrics: impressions, clicks, click-through rate, CPM, cost-per-click, and many more.

Some of the platforms will give you platform-specific metrics. YouTube will give you the percentage completed of a video ad. At the same time, Google Ads will provide you with search terms used that triggered your search ad. Each platform has what feels like an infinite number of options. But with the metrics mentioned here, you should be on your way to analyzing your ads.

And if this is all too overwhelming, Aqueduct Marketing will be more than happy to help you understand your campaigns. Fill out our contact form, and we’ll happily discuss what would work best for you.

Analytics Tools:

Analytics are for when you need to take the next step in your presentations at your company. The truth is many of the built-in graphs and charts in the previously mentioned platforms are good enough. We’ve seen too many agencies recommend expensive dashboards to clients that they end up never using. There is a time and a place for dashboards, and if you are in need of one here are the tools we recommend.

Looker Studio

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio is a dashboarding product provided by Google. It’s a robust piece of software that easily connects to Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Search Console. And with the help of some add-ons you can also connect the other marketing platforms.

The best part of Google Looker Studio is that it’s free. Dashboarding tools can be very expensive with required tech and licensing fees. The fact that Google Looker Studio is free makes it an excellent option, even if it lacks some customization options.

Tableau

For people who want to take their dashboarding to the next level, there’s the Salesforce product called Tableau. Tableau has a robust community at Tableau Public. Tableau listening can get expensive for individuals it costs $70 a month. But if you have the need for highly customizable dashboards, it’s hard to find a better tool.

Work with an Analytics Agency

Because we’ve built this Analytics agency on these foundations:

Transparency: Our clients get the truth. We believe that relationships are built on honest communication, and we do this by being transparent. We provide comprehensive monthly reports and status updates.

Results: Zig Ziglar said it best, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” We’re here to help you get what you want.

Relationships: We believe in building client relationships. We go the extra mile and treat every customer’s business like our own. We want to see you have long term success.

These foundations set us apart.

We’ve been in the marketing industry long enough to know that you’ve likely been burned in the past by other agencies and freelancers. Those agencies will promise you the moon and charge you through the nose. But when it comes time to deliver results, it’s always excuses and underwhelming.

If you own or are starting a business, it’s vital to have a digital marketing team on your side with experience. There is no better Agency than Aqueduct Marketing.

Fill out this form below to work with Aqueduct Marketing and get started with your search engine ranking.