When it comes to evaluating what’s working in your online strategy, knowing what to measure and how to interpret your marketing data is a useful skill have.
In this lesson we’ll explain what the data cycle is, its benefits, and how you can use it in day to day activities to help achieve your goals.
The data cycle is a popular way to help you make the most of the information collected from various online marketing activities. Use it to help you prepare, action, and inform your business decisions online. The four main stages of a data cycle are: Plan, Do, Check and Act.
Let’s explore the data cycle in action. Imagine a marketing team working at the local town hall want to organise a digital advertising campaign to encourage people to cycle to work.
In the “Plan” stage, the team would identify their goal for this campaign and outline how they plan to promote it. They decide their goal is to see a 25% reduction in commuter traffic over the next three months using search advertising and social media marketing.
Next up is the “Do” stage of the cycle. This is when the team designs the ads and launches the campaign.
A few weeks after the campaign has ended, the team measures how many people clicked on the ads and assess whether the campaign had an impact on the number of people cycling to work. They notice that while the search ads drove a substantial amount of new traffic to the website, very few people saw or engaged with the social media campaign. This insight highlights that the town hall’s social media campaign should be reassessed and optimised for improvements. This is the “Check” stage of the data cycle.
Finally, the “Act” stage reveals where a business can use their findings to improve future campaigns. In this case, the marketing team could decide to vary the social platforms used, review the content they’re publishing, or post at different times of the day and see if these changes help improve engagement.
Now that we’ve discussed the data cycle, let’s look at some tips to help you get the best results from the data you collect.
Don’t get overwhelmed trying to collect as much data as possible. Focus your efforts on the data sets that are most relevant to your goals and work to capture the right information at the right time.
Review the information you gather at periodic intervals. This will help you stay aware of any data anomalies that may appear during the year, such as spikes or drops in sales due to seasonal dates like national holidays.
Utilise online tools to help you gather the data you need and draw out the relevant insights. Tools such as Google Analytics , Adobe Analytics and Webtrends can provide data on website visits, including pages visited, time spent on site, and whether users have completed a target action, like completing a contact form.
Finally, if you have access to historical data or data of past trends, use it and learn from past experiences.
When it comes to your business scenario, think about how you can apply data to inform your decisions. How could the data cycle support you in optimising future marketing campaigns?
- how the data cycle can help improve your efforts online
- which tools can be used to capture your data
- best practices to help you get the best results from the data collected.