I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s REALLY hard to figure out what marketing analytics tools is right for you.
Or is it?
It turns out you can dramatically increase your marketing campaigns performance, by using a few simple tools…
…tools I’ve used to turn several failing campaigns into profitable campaigns just by making a few simple tweaks.
And in today’s post I’m going to show you exactly which tools to use and how they can benefit you.
For those that don’t know…
What Is Marketing Analytics?
Marketing analytics is the collection of data that can later be measured, managed and analyzed to improve marketing performance. For performance based marketers it’s crucial to understand marketing analytics. The more data you’re able to capture, the more KPI’s (Key performance indicators) you can optimize based on.
Not only does marketing analytics help you improve your marketing efforts financially. Analytics can also help in other parts of the business as well, for example by identifying pain points certain customers are experiencing with using your product or service.
If you have your own website it’s quite possible you’re already using a very common marketing analytics tool, called: Google Analytics.
Types of Marketing Analytics Tools
There are several types of marketing tools but in this post I am going to be focusing on tools that will help you become better at paid marketing.
The different kinds of tools that we’ll be going over in this post are:
- Front-end tracker – Captures data about the user before they load your site or app.
- Back-end trackers – Tracks where visitors go on your site or app.
- Heat map tracking – The ability to see where users click visually.
- Auto Optimization – Tools that optimize your campaign automatically based on performance.
- Data Visualization – Helps you understand all this awesome data you’ve been collecting.
The first type of marketing tool we’ll be covering is what I call “front end tracking”.
A front-end tracker is used to capture data that is passed from the ad network, through url parameters. Most front-end trackers these days, help identify even more metrics about the type of traffic you’re getting. They do this by gathering data through the user agent of the visitor’s browser.
A few KPI’s that front-end trackers allow you to capture are:
- Device Type (Desktop, Mobile, Tablet)
- ISP (Is the user using Comcast Cable or Verizon Wireless)
- Device OS (Android, iOS, etc)
- Device Manufacture (Apple, Samsung, HTC)
- and much more!
Why is this data important to you?
The more data you collect the better your chances of finding a winning combination.
…if you’re NOT using a front-end tracker in 2015, you’re throwing money out the window.
Want to know the best part?
The majority of these trackers don’t only allow you to capture the data, but they also allow you to redirect post click.
What I mean by that is once a user clicks, if they’re on a Verizon iPhone I can send them to a custom page specifically tailored to them. While users on an Android can still be sent to a page that is custom to them.
In other words, this is a HUGE advantage!
I’ll get more into post-click optimization in another post, but I’ll leave you with this…
…post click optimization is the future of performance marketing.
But here’s the kicker:
Even though front end trackers have been out for quite a few years now… The only marketers really taking advantage of the technology is affiliates. In-house teams are still living in the stone age by using excel to manipulate their data.
Top Front End Trackers:
Updated: FunnelFlux is my new favorite tracking tool for most projects. The interface is super clean and the stats update in real time (bye bye F5 spam). Not only that but as the name suggests building complex funnels is extremely easy, with the visual funnel builder. This is great for those of you looking to do more advanced stuff with your landing pages, based on what your visitors click, etc.
The only downside of FunnelFlux is that I’ve had a ton of problems with it for pop traffic and certain traffic sources that blank the referr.
My personal favorite when running mobile pops & redirect traffic is called iMobiTrax. It may not be the most stylish front-end tracker out there. But I’ve been using it for 3 years now and must it’s post click optimization is by far the best. I have done a TON of traffic volume with iMobiTrax and I have several friends that have as well. Now as a disclaimer I’m good friends with the owners of iMobiTrax so I may be a little bias. But one thing unique about iMobiTrax is YOU own the data. This means it won’t be shared with your competitors or sold in the future. I may have some trust issues but using a tracker built by the same company you’re buying the traffic from is just idiotic. There is a reason your traffic reps “know” what is doing well vs. whats not.
The “new kid” on the block is AdsBridge. The key advantages to AdsBridge is it has a nice clean interface and a unique landing page builder, with quite a few templates to get you started. AdsBridge is a cloud hosted solution however which means, if AdsBridge really wanted to, they could see all of your data. However, the final advantage to AdsBridge is it has a completely free tier currently… Meaning you have NO excuse not to be using a front end tracker….
Similar to AdsBridge in the sense that it’s a “cloud tracker” so you don’t “own” your data. Voluum is a great tracker to start with, if you’re new to marketing. The interface is also relatively clean which should make it easier to use. I have worked with a few marketers that use Voluum and it has worked out great for them. Voluum is gaining more and more popularity in the affiliate marketing space and has been introducing some nice features.
Personally I’ve been really impressed with AdsBridge as far as cloud trackers go. However, I still to this day use iMobiTrax for most of my campaigns. The reason for this, is I’m a huge fan of owning my own data and having the ability to optimize my server as I see fit. Also, because of how iMobiTrax is setup I am able to use a few ninja tactics that are a pain in the ass with the other trackers mentioned.
Regardless of which tracker YOU choose ANY tracker is better than NO tracker.
Pro Tip: In case you haven’t noticed, I REALLY recommend getting a tracker. Without one you’re making it rain on those ad networks by wasting marketing budgets.
Now this part may become a little confusing to some, so let me try to explain.
Front-End trackers allow you to track data between the Ad-Server and your landing page, while Back-End trackers, are able to track what the visitors do on your site.
By using “Back-End Tracking” you’re able to determine the behavior and demographics of each of your visitors. You can see which pages you visited on your site and even which events they performed (made a sale, turned into a lead, read a post, etc).
This data allows you to edit your site, moving your best converting & most helpful content to easier locations to find.
Back-End Trackers also help you keep track of of returning visitors which can help you learn more about your purchase funnel.
Top Back-End Trackers:
One of my personal favorites is mixpanel. It’s true power comes from it’s “people” insight & engage functions. It allows you to dig deep into individual vistors on your site, while not only being able see where they went and what they did. But also, which device type they’re on, which browser & even what their current geo location is. Another powerful feature of mixpanel, is it’s ability to create custom funnels. This allows you to see how well you’re funneling your visitors into sales and leads.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you’ve heard of Google Analytics. Unlike other tools listed in this post, most of your competitors are likely using Google Analytics on their site. Google also has a rep for giving marketers less and less data… Keywords anyone? Even with all that said Google Analytics is a powerful tool, that allows you to see geo location of users, time on site, bounce rate and how many page views they had. You may also setup conversion data & funnels so you can see how your entire site converts or even specific paths. Pro Tip: Don’t ever let Google Analytics be the only tracker you use on this list, or you will be at a severe disadvantage.
Heat Map Tracking
While Heap Map Tracking could be considered a “Back-End Tracker” I like to separate the two.. Back-End Trackers allow you to see where people went on your site with numbers.
Heat Map Tracking does it visually. By allowing you to track user clicks regardless if they click on an actual link or not. The power of this comes from knowing exactly where users are clicking allowing you to move elements of your site around, to not only improve user experience but also helps you improve conversion.
Top Heat Map Tracking
Crazyegg is currently the only heat map tracker that I know about. I’ve been using it for almost a year now and I must say, heat map tracking is a HUGE deal. Being able to track where users clicks the most has really helped me improve my conversion rate of the site overall. This comes in handy for making things clickable that your visitors are clicking on, even if it currently isn’t clickable. Crazyegg also allows you to do scroll tracking which allows you to see how many of your users actually read your blog posts. This can help you split test different copywriting methods to help improve your time on site and get your visitors to actually read all of your content.
While all the other tools mentioned in this post, allow you to collect data, very few of them actually do anything with it. What I mean by that, is you have to look at the data yourself and then make decisions based on it. Auto Optimization tools however do exactly how the sound, they will make decisions from the data for you based on different algorithms or rules.
** The tool I was using Maya for some reason has shut down… I’ll update this post when I find new auto optimization tools I like.
Collecting all this data is great, but if you’re not doing anything with it… then whats the point of having it? Several marketers use Excel to manipulate their data and make sense of it all. But unless you know what to look for even this can be tough to setup. Let alone the pain in learning pivot tables and using a Microsoft Product ;).
Mac Wizard is awesome if you want to analyze large data sets I highly recommend Wizard from Evan Miller. Wizard allows you to import your data, everything from Excel, MySQl or even R workspaces can be manipulated in Wizard. Wizard is also extremely fast which is important because nothing is more frustrating than using a slow tool. Building charts to help visualize your data has never been easier.
Evan Miller has also created some kick ass online calculators to identify statical significance. Take a look at his blog here.
In today’s world data is power the more you collect, the more you know. The better informed you are about your visitors the higher your chances are of having a successful marketing campaign.