Marketing Analytics Basics: A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to marketing analytics, one can easily get lost in the weeds of hundreds of different metrics. For the purpose of this beginner’s guide, we will define marketing analytics and then provide a high-level overview of why it’s important to your business.

What is Marketing Analytics?

Marketing analytics is any effort devoted to measuring the effectiveness of any and all marketing tasks.

Analytics rose to prominence as a result of digital marketing, wherein large volumes of consumer data emerged from web traffic and link clicks. There is so much data, in fact, that professional marketing analysts can obtain graduate degrees in marketing analytics.

The complexity of data analytics intimidates most business owners. As a result, they ignore the data (because they don’t know what it means), or they outsource it to an agency without any clarity about what their expectations should be.

That said, you can incorporate marketing analytics into non-digital channels, such as direct mail or telemarketing. In order to measure marketing success using analytics techniques, you need ways to track each medium.

How is Data Analytics Used in Marketing?

There are technically way more than three categories in marketing analytics. However, understanding an analytics framework like the 3-stage marketing funnel can greatly enhance your knowledge about why data analytics is critical to your marketing ROI.

Some agencies refer to the buyer’s journey or the marketing funnel. And while each framework is slightly different, they all seek to understand how an individual becomes a prospect/lead and then how that prospect/lead becomes a customer.

End Goal – Conversions

The reason why you would ever invest in marketing in the first place is to contribute to your bottom line. You want sales. To get sales, you have to identify your target audience, create a plan to draw that audience, and then process transactions with that audience.

When using the term “marketing ROI,” you are comparing your marketing costs against your sales conversions. Ideally, you enjoy returns several times the amount you invested. Without conversion metrics, you have no way of knowing whether or not your marketing is working.


If you have the bandwidth to track customer behavior (which you do if you invest in digital marketing), then you have additional data showing what actions customers took several steps before they converted.

When you examine buyer behavior in the consideration stage of the marketing funnel, then you gain invaluable insights about your audience. You can track which of your web pages or branded ads they viewed before they spent money

Data analytics follows the path (or journey) that your customers take long before they complete their buying decision. When you can identify this path by organizing the data, you can leverage that information to enhance your bottom line (conversions).


Continuing to work backwards from the point of sale, marketing analytics can show you when customers learned about your brand for the first time. By examining where these customers come from and why they notice your brand, you can replicate successful marketing efforts to push more individuals into the consideration stage.

This final stage (awareness) demonstrates that investing only in those sales or marketing efforts that produce a sale is a bit short sighted. There are many more customers that may not be ready to buy right away. But if you know the buyer’s journey for your target audience, you can nurture those prospects toward future sales and brand loyalty.

Applications of Marketing Analytics

Using marketing analytics to scale your business means gaining clarity about who your audience is, how you want your audience to respond, and how to break down your objectives into actionable steps.

Marketing Objectives

Your marketing objectives define your desired end state. These goals demonstrate your knowledge of your target audience and how you want them to respond to your brand messaging.

It’s a good idea to develop marketing objectives for each stage of the marketing funnel. For example, you may want to define your brand awareness marketing objectives as ad/page views, web traffic, and increased follower counts on social media.

Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) break each marketing objective into actionable steps. Continuing with the example above (brand awareness objectives), let’s say that you want to increase your following on Instagram.

To increase your follower count, you might create the following KPIs:

  • Create three pieces of compelling content each day on Instagram
  • Achieve 25 new Instagram followers each week
  • Nurture five Instagram post engagements for each post
  • Partner with three Instagram influencers to drive more engagement
  • Boost Instagram follower count from 200 to 2,000 in 30 days

You should create KPIs under each marketing objective. By defining reasonable and specific KPIs, you can hold your marketing team accountable to reaching your marketing objectives and establishing ROI.

Recap: Marketing Analytics Basics

If after this beginner’s guide you are interested in learning more about marketing analytics, we strongly recommend checking out free courses at Google Analytics Academy. But if the concept of marketing analytics still feels intimidating, we encourage you to employ the help of a reputable digital marketing agency

When engaging an agency about expectations, focusing on objectives and KPIs will ensure that you achieve maximum ROI across all your marketing initiatives.

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