As a marketer in the digital landscape, I get a great many questions about Google Analytics from friends, family and colleagues. And as numerous modern marketers have found, I had to become somewhat familiar with Google Analytics, so as not to look like a total idiot. And what I found was surprising — not in what was being reported, but in what was being left out. And it has made me realize just how powerful true marketing automation technology can be.
To review, Google Analytics tells you information about your website — how many page views did you have on a particular page, how many people visited your site on a particular day, how many clicked on a particular link. You can see how many unique users visited, and whether they were new or returning visitors. You can also see information about what devices are being used to access your site and get a sense of geographic locations. All of these things give you lots of ammunition to optimize your website and even some other website content, like banner ads.
The downside is that Google Analytics only tells you about your website — not about the individual people visiting your website. And that is where marketing automation technology can really shine.
Who visited? What did they do?
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations, to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. But to simplify that more, marketing automation tells you who visited and what they did — in a much more individualized way.
So Jessica Smith, not a number indecipherable from the other numbers, visited your website. Jessica visited the Financial Aid page yesterday at 5:35 p.m. She visited eight pages before the Financial Aid page, and two pages after. Jessica has visited your site 12 times this month, and 30 times overall. If and when Jessica applies, you will know exactly what actions she took on your website before doing so.
And with marketing automation technologies like Capture’s Behavioral Engagement, you can also automate communications to Jessica at various points during her visits. Perhaps she should receive an email about scholarships after visiting the Financial Aid page, or maybe a pop-up message encouraging her to visit campus and talk to a Financial Aid adviser. All of these things become part of Jessica’s individual journey, and show the awesome potential of marketing automation.
Now when someone asks me about Google Analytics, I find it to be the perfect time to say something like, “Google Analytics is good … but marketing automation is great!”
By Geoff Broome, Enrollment Management Solutions Consultant, Capture Higher Ed