5 Features You Need in an Ideal Marketing Metrics Tool

This post originally appeared on the oneforty blog. It’s being reposted here as part of my blogging portfolio.

Let’s face it: you probably have not found the perfect tool to measure all your online marketing activities. True, you may have found one that was ‘just good enough’ but still doesn’t give you exactly what you need.

Truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, social media and internet marketing is generally still new. With that comes developing metrics tools that do not quite fit our exact needs yet.

The great part about being in an awesome city like Boston is that we all know we’re in it together to figure out the best ways to use social media, optimize internet marketing campaigns, hone in on our funnel, and optimize conversion rates. We all want the same thing. We all work together to help get the results we need.

A few months ago, I was searching for that ‘perfect’ metrics tool, so I went to oneforty’s Managing and Measuring Social Media LinkedIn group to find an awesome group of people suggesting many tools. After an exhaustive search through, I decided write an article on my website about the Pros and Cons of Social Media Metrics Tools to give members my honest feedback on each tool I tested.

Through the process, I tested about 20 different tools, and found a few that actually fit the bill. While I did settle for a few ideal ones, none were perfect – even when combined.

As a marketer myself, I’ve identified the five critical metrics an ideal solution should have to help you become better at your job.

  • Middle of the funnel statistics: Sure, Google Analytics can show you what referral traffic brought people to your site and your checkout system can tell you how much revenue you received – but what about in between those activities? What steps did these people take between visiting an outside link, to getting on your website, to purchasing? Did they visit the blog? Did they watch a demo video? Did they engage in a chat with a support representative? If you can figure out which activities people perform most that convert to sales, then you can optimize that funnel to get even more conversions.
  • Customizable charts and reports: If you are a visual marketer like me and/or need to report marketing metrics to your boss or your advisory board, you need an easy way to compile specific bits of data. If a tool gives you the ability to create custom reports with specific data points, great! On top of that, if they can provide you with bar, pie, and graph charts (among others) to depict this data visually, even better! The easier you can present this data to others, the better your work looks.
  • Percent changes amongst data points: Want to know how many people came to your site and purchased between April and May? Even better, wouldn’t it be great to know the increase or decrease in this traffic month to month? This can help you determine what you did right and wrong and how to optimize each channel with specific content and sales drivers.
  • Dashboard activity: Wouldn’t it be great to log onto your metric tool to see a customized page of all the data you need to know up front? Some tools I currently use do this (Raven SEO Tools for example) but not for every aspect of my marketing program. It’d be great to choose the top 4-5 KPIs (key performance indicators) they need to know at a given time and be presented with that data as soon as they log in. That would make my day SO much easier, and probably yours as well.
  • Ability to visually see conversion rates across mediums: You may have multiple tools in place that can track social media traffic conversions, email campaign metrics, and press-related data. What if there was one single tool that showed traffic, conversions, and percentage change across all these channels at any given time period? To me, this would be the absolute most critical piece of data to know. That way, not only can I better understand the overall performance of our marketing activities, but so can everyone else in a visually pleasing way.

Of course, this list can go on and can be altered depending on the industry you’re in, marketing challenges you face, and marketing programs you are running. This serves as a guideline for some of the most important aspects of a metrics tool you should look for before settling for the one that seems to be ‘good enough’.

If you have other major KPIs you are tracking and metrics features you need to correlate with them, please leave your feedback below to add to this list.

Just like in Boston, if we can all help each other figure out the main things we need to track as marketers, hopefully the ideal solution will appear sooner than expected to satisfy our needs and help us all become better at our jobs.