For many Google Analytics users, the prospect of achieving 360 degrees of inbound search visibility suddenly became impossible during the fall of 2011. On October 18th of that year—a day that SEOs will forever consider infamous—Google announced that organic search query results from users signed into Google would be hidden from all web analytics services, including Google Analytics (complete keyword insight remained for Google’s paid search customers). I know I was hardly the only marketer who went home that day looking like Charlie Brown after Lucy yanked the football away. But as in any sport, the goal shouldn’t be to play a perfect game, but rather to win consistently and decisively.
Take heart: you can still gain complete visibility so long as you (1) have the right tools, and (2) focus on the metrics that matter most.
What is 360-Degree Marketing Visibility?
So what is 360-degree marketing visibility exactly? Like most marketing terms, its meaning is likely to change depending on who you ask. Some marketers are content as long as they can connect efforts to an outcome, while others merely want the ability to report growth across every channel. Since we subscribe to an ROI culture, we define 360 degrees of marketing visibility as the ability to track the full impact of every marketing effort all the way through the sales cycle. By our definition, a marketer with 360 degrees of visibility would therefore see, in real time, how every promotion and keyword is impacting clicks, calls, leads, opportunities and—most importantly— revenue.
Whether or not 360-degree visibility is attainable by your definition, there are likely ways that you can gain unprecedented insight into customer behavior. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some ways that you can get as close to as possible to full marketing visibility.
Track Marketing Influence
As we learned from our recent intervew with Full Circle CRM’s Andrea Wildt, there are often multiple efforts that go into closing a deal. Especially in the B2B world, with its oft-arduous sales cycles, it’s not uncommon for a lead to click through from a paid search keyword, download several whitepapers, watch videos and read multiple blog posts before signing a contract. If you want to measure influence, you can use Salesforce.com’s native features or get more granular by investing in a third-party solution like Full Circle.
Track Social Media ROI
It’s ubiquitously understood that social media advertising has the power to drive sales. But getting credit for social efforts can be a challenge for social media managers. Beyond tracking behavioral metrics such as likes, retweets and shares, there are some ways that social marketers can get prove the value of their efforts. One way is by using social promotions and coupons. This can give insight into social media ROI. For example, Facebook Offers, allows marketers to track the impact of promotions using coupon codes. Another way that social marketers can get credit for their efforts is by using social media call tracking. Our call tracking system can enable marketers to provision a unique phone number associated with social media channels or even posts. When customers click through to your site from social, they’ll see the unique number and you’ll get instant visibility into which social media efforts impact leads, opportunities and revenue.
Track Every Call
Does your company close any business over the telephone? If so, you can invest in the most sophisticated marketing automation solution available, but if you can’t report how ads and organic keywords impact phone calls you’re losing crucial visibility. Without tracking calls, it can be impossible to know the ROI of radio ads, television commercials, event collateral and direct mailings. Not only that, but you’ll only have a partial view of how your online efforts drive ROI. What if, for example, a certain AdWords keyword doesn’t drive a lot of ROI online, but directly caused some lucrative deals that closed over the phone? Without measuring calls, a marketer might have decided not to reinvest in that keyword. Revenue.io was founded by a team of marketing technologists and consultants who regularly used call tracking software, but found that none of the available solutions integrated with Salesforce.com well enough to provide real-time visibility into how efforts impact revenue from calls. If the phone call is missing from your marketing automation solution, then CRM-based call tracking will be a giant leap toward full visibility.
Maximize Organic Traffic Visibility
As we mentioned, now that Google conceals signed-in users’ search data, it’s impossible to capture 100% of your leads’ organic search behavior in Google Analytics. Paid search data remains available (likely in hopes marketers will up their AdWords investments). Even with this limited visibility, intelligent search marketers are using alternative methods to bolster organic visibility. Claire Broadley’s post on Kissmetrics offers some advice for how marketers can unlock “Not Provided” results. Some of her suggestions include using landing page reports, Google’s Queries report and Webmaster tools to help crack the not provided code. Tech-savvy search marketers can get even more granular by parsing out traffic based on variables in Google search strings. Check out this post on the Moz Blog for a detailed explanation.
Marketers should always strive for the maximum amount of visibility. By investing in the right tools and employing the right strategies, you can not only drive more revenue, but concretely prove the impact of your efforts. And even if, by your definition, that only amounts to only 350 degrees of visibility, you’ll still be far ahead of the curve.
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.