3 last-minute Analytics tips for the holiday season

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 | 5:53 PM

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If you're a marketing professional, you've probably spent months preparing your holiday campaigns. But have you focused so much on great creative that you've neglected your measurement plan? Don’t despair: there’s still time to make the most of your holiday marketing and measurement. Here’s some food for thought to help you make sure your Analytics is adding value this season and setting you up for success next year.

1. Stuffing your stockings: all the best treats for your marketing funnel

Online shoppers are increasingly taking a considered, comparative approach to making purchases. Consumers are now consulting an average of 10.7 sources when making a buying decision - double the rate of 2010. That means that all steps of the marketing funnel are more important than ever. So make sure to take all the steps to conversion into account when measuring your campaigns this season.

With Multi-Channel Funnels reports in the new version of Google Analytics, you can see not just the last click prior to conversion, but also how earlier interactions influenced the purchase decision. For instance, your customer may have clicked on an organic search link immediately prior to purchasing, but in the weeks before to the purchase, he clicked on a display ad, followed links from a post on a social network, and later visited your site directly. With Multi-Channel Funnels, you can see these earlier assists and take this influence into account when optimizing campaigns throughout the holiday season. You’ll also have a rich set of data to plan next year’s campaigns, as you can plan around those channels that drive awareness and consideration earlier in the purchase process.




2. Jingle bells, mobile’s ringing

It’s hard to overstate the enormity of the mobile opportunity this holiday season as consumers turn to smartphones and tablets for both product research and purchases. Mobile searches have grown dramatically in the last two years, and it’s predicted that 44% of searches for last-minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices.

Providing a great mobile experience is now expected, or you will lose customers. With mobile reporting in Google Analytics, you can see how users are able (or not able) to make purchase decisions. You can segment visitors based on criteria like device types and operating systems. For instance, you can compare if there are different conversion rate for iOS and Android, and make adjustments accordingly. Google offers resources to help you make your site mobile-ready, so you can take action if you find roadblocks. Finally, when measuring your marketing channels, make sure to take mobile ads into account. You can get deeper insights by segmenting out mobile advertising using the recently updated AdWords reports in Google Analytics.




3. Follow Santa’s sleigh in real time

You may have time-sensitive marketing events planned this quarter - whether it’s a daily deal marketing program, viral content that suddenly takes off, or even press coverage. Data that arrives days or even hours later is too late to make decisions during the fast-paced holiday season. With Real-Time reporting in Google Analytics, you can see the impact of these events within seconds. This can be particularly useful for social media efforts. If you post a tweet linking to your site, for example, you can see the immediate visits resulting from the post, and engage in the conversation with your customers. You can also use Real-Time to monitor the immediate impact of email offers and other campaigns that offer customers deals to purchase quickly.




So, grab those reindeer reins and have a great holiday season with Google Analytics. Best wishes for very merry marketing measurement!