Success in communications has never been easier to quantify. Every online interaction leaves a distinct digital footprint and marketing and communications professionals can target these large volumes of data to monitor, track and analyse their campaigns.
But how can these numbers be channeled into truly actionable insights?
Statistics show that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Therefore, it's absolutely essential for comms teams to leverage the right analytics tools to track, measure and analyse key audience data.
Data science, artificial intelligence and analytics might seem like an added layer of administration to even the most seasoned comms professionals. While at first glance they could be viewed as a threat to creativity, they're in fact the opposite.
They offer a huge opportunity to automate tasks and define practical benchmarks and can actually unlock creativity by freeing up time. Planners can then focus on what they're best at - mapping the best-performing content to the most receptive and relevant audiences.
How can data be managed?
Comms professionals can sometimes find themselves navigating through an endless sea of audience data in today’s ever-evolving digital world. How can they sift through the statistics and get to the metrics that matter?
It's simple. Don't silo. Instead of holding information on unstructured spreadsheets and databases, take the opportunity to use the cloud and present it all on a single dashboard to better observe audience trends, preferences and patterns.
Done well, this data will transform from a record of the past to a clear snapshot of the present and a glimpse of the future. The best marketers and comms professionals can then deploy these insights to craft data-driven stories, cut through the clutter and create a lasting impression.
Tracking audience data - Metrics that matter
When leveraging data analytics to measure impact, it’s vital to remember that metrics shouldn’t be tracked arbitrarily. Communicators need to be intuitive and discerning in terms of what metrics, topics and platforms are actually relevant to each campaign.
For example, tracking ad impressions as one of the primary metrics for an e-commerce campaign is futile. What's much more important is to monitor key customer journey touch points between engagement and conversion.
Furthermore, steering clear of vanity metrics, and instead having sight of those that add tangible value to a brand's communication campaign at every stage of the customer journey is crucial.
Mapping data at every stage of the journey
Tracking valuable metrics throughout your campaign has never been easier - or more essential. Monitoring campaign health at every step to determine the next plan of action should be a priority.
Planning: Media monitoring data can help teams target top-ranking journalists, influencers and the best-performing channels ahead of a campaign launch.
Execution: Keyword analytics and monitoring of trending topics can help to refine message targeting and ensure that campaigns occupy the most appropriate space.
Optimisation: By monitoring mentions, engagement and audience reactions, teams can optimise live campaigns and respond quickly to tailor content into bitesize video, infographic or short-format messaging across social channels.
Evaluation: Hard data is key when it comes to demonstrating clear objective ROI to clients.
With digital campaigns, there’s always a footprint. PR teams can track all imminent, live and historic campaigns from a single dashboard. The metrics that matter include:
Completed goals: These are the number of conversions measured against KPI benchmarks, such as website visits, video views, downloads or customer enquiries.
Click-throughs: This measures the percentage of the audience who saw content and opted to learn more via the call to action.
Impressions/Views: Did the selected channels actually get the content in front of enough eyes? And for how long?
Traffic to website: Google Analytics will show the sources of traffic, dwell time and whether traffic was from unique or repeat visitors, but the interface can be complicated and attribution is not always precise. Access to an alternative dashboard that draws on more data sources can give a competitive edge.
Share of voice: Media monitoring tools can give a precise picture of how far a particular campaign has ‘moved the needle’ for a chosen audience and resonated with their pain points compared to competitor brands.
Sales: This might be the first metric C-Suite executives consults, but it’s not always the primary goal. Creating awareness, for example, might be the first milestone. Either way, PR teams need a reliable tool for sales attribution.
Domain authority: What's the relative influence of the sites and outlets that share or link to campaign content?
As part of their campaign measurement strategy, comms professionals also have the option of competitor analysis, in which case AI-powered deep social listening tools are crucial for picking up spikes and chatter around key topics.
The more teams can understand the industry, the better they are positioned to spark and nurture conversations that are perceived as important by the available audience.
Capitalising on audience data
Having the tools doesn’t automatically mean getting results. Brands need to be focused on what metrics matter as part of their wider conversations. A surge in share of voice, for example, is hardly something to celebrate if audience sentiment shows a negative turn. In that case, the priority becomes crisis management and should yet again be informed by actionable data.
For brands looking to explore a truly data-driven approach to campaign planning and gain a clearer understanding of their target audience’s needs, preferences and opinions, Cision’s suite of tools and advisory services are indispensable.
Get in touch to learn more about Cision’s industry-leading Monitoring and Analytics Tools - they'll put Audience Data at the heart of your campaigns to help you to deliver the best results. Request a demo now.