How Important Is Data in Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

If you’re an entrepreneur in 2018, chances are you’re using a digital marketing strategy to promote your business – be it social media ads, email marketing or search engine optimization. Digital marketing in all its forms is at the heart of advertising for most businesses, but how important is the acquisition of data to your overall strategy?

The answer is straightforward: a data-driven marketing campaign is fundamental if you want to generate leads and maximize revenue. However, not all business owners know how to collect and use data to their advantage.

A 2015 Forbes Insights Report indicates found that a mere 22% of marketers have data-driven initiatives that achieved significant results. It’s unclear whether this stems from lack of knowledge on marketing analytics or lack of business funding, but one thing’s for sure: businesses that don’t use data are missing out on opportunities for growth and exposure.

Why data is important

The ability to collect, aggregate and calculate data provides insight into what’s working, what can be improved and the return on your marketing methods. In essence, data provides insights that, until now, have not been possible for marketers, while also saving you time and money.

Imagine a system that could make all your marketing decisions for you – where your target customers are, what they like, what kinds of ads they click on and how long it takes them to make a purchase. Analytics software does all this and more by providing real-time insights into your marketing reach.

What are data metrics?

If you want to know more about data and how it can inform your digital marketing strategy, you need first to understand the different metrics of data and how to utilize them.

Traffic metrics

As a business owner in the digital age, most of your marketing efforts will be directing traffic to your website in the hope that users will convert into customers. Traffic metrics are an important part of this stage, as they provide the ability to measure and monitor the users looking at your site. Traffic metrics include:

• Overall site traffic

This metric gives you insight into how your site is performing as a whole, including page views, click-throughs, and the unique visitors your site gets per week or month. This metric is useful for monitoring the curve of your “reach,” as well as any changes to your traffic flow.

• Traffic sources

Knowing how many visitors your site gets is no use if you don’t see where that traffic came from. When generating leads to your website, you will no doubt use methods such as search engine optimization, keywords, and content marketing. Insight into how well these strategies are performing will allow you to analyze the results of your efforts and adjust your methods accordingly. Using this metric, you can also monitor whether the majority of your traffic comes from desktops or mobile devices, which will give you insight into how to structure and plan your content for mobile and non-mobile visitors.

• Click-through rate (CTR)

Many businesses use ads to generate leads, whether they’re social media ads, PPC ads (pay-per-click) or paid search engine ads. However, taking up space on the Internet is only so effective if you can’t track the impressions your ads make. When you use PPC advertising, data is essential to keeping your costs down. In other words, the higher your click-through rate, the lower your PPC costs will be due to pricing discounts from platforms like Google and Adwords.

Conversion metrics

As a business owner, your main concern should be converting website traffic into outright sales. Conversion metrics can help you do just that by measuring how many visitors actually get translated into leads to determine the success or failure of your marketing methods. Conversion metrics include:

• Conversion rate

Measuring your conversion rate (CVR) means finding out how many of your website visitors get converted into leads or sales. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to get more page views or tangible sales – monitoring your conversion rates gives you insight into the particular aspects of your digital marketing campaign and what results they deliver.

• Cost per view

Businesses invest significant time and money into paid marketing channels, and cost-per-view metrics can help them see how much revenue is earned back from particular pages. As a rule, your cost-per-view should be much lower than the revenue you earn from the page, meaning you gain profit.

Revenue metrics

The goal of your marketing campaign is to see an increase in revenue, which is where revenue metrics come in. These metrics include:

• Rate of return visitors

Website popularity is defined not only by the amount of traffic your site gets and the number of sales you make but also by the rate of your return visitors. Analyzing these metrics gives you the opportunities to better tailor your content to long-term customers and keep them coming back.

• Return on investment

This metric will help you identify which area in your digital marketing campaign is driving sales and revenue, and which areas or website pages need improvement.

How to start tracking

Free tools like Google Analytics will track your website data for you in real time. When it comes to social media, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have their own analytics tools, or you can use an app like Buffer or Hootsuite for a complete solution. It is possible to get all your online data in a single space, but it will cost you depending on your needs and the depth of insight you require.

The impact of GDPR on digital marketing

Since the GDPR laws came into force, businesses need to make sure their data collection is compliant to avoid incurring penalty fines. This means you need to obtain explicit consent from users before using their data if you’re collecting data from the EU – even if your company is based outside of Europe. Opt-ins need to be clear and easy to understand, and they shouldn’t be hidden in terms and conditions or other areas of your site.


As marketing continues to evolve, it’s increasingly important to evaluate and improve your efforts – which is why data analytics software is so invaluable to businesses of every size. However, for data to be effective, it needs to be viewed over an extended period so you can see trends and make adjustments. There is plenty of software out there to help you track your site activity whatever your budget.

Data is making marketing decisions for businesses all over the world, saving them time and money – so don’t get left behind.

Charles Groome

Charles Groome

Charles Groome is a contributor to SmallBizStar. Charles is a Digital Marketing Specialist and presently serves as Director of Marketing at Biz2Credit. Having worked with established companies and startups for most of his career, Charles brings powerful insights to the challenges of succeeding in the digital marketplace. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Email Charles at