While web analytics suites such as Webtrends and Google Analytics have been tracking owned digital properties for decades, it’s taken a while longer to link their data to the demand generation activity that drives traffic, or to the CRM software businesses use to manage their customer relationships.
But great strides have been made in how online activity is tracked. End-to-end tracking is now commonplace: from the first impression of content on demand generation channels through to a desired outcome that impacts the bottom line.
Linking user activity in this way lets marketers demonstrate the precise impact their activity has on their business. Failing to do this is dereliction of duty: nowadays it simply isn’t acceptable if marketers don’t know exactly what impact their digital marketing activity is having.
A practical example of how this shift helps marketers can be found in social media advertising.
Firstly, because social networks provide advertisers with vast quantities of data, near-live – and this data can be linked to website analytics and CRM software to show the business impact each stream of activity is having.
Secondly, because social media advertising requires no upfront commitment in budget. Advertisers are charged by the click, and can start and stop activity immediately.
This mean that campaigns can be led by data – ensuring a marketer’s investment generates real, measurable returns.
With earned media traditionally the hardest to generate, and owned media generally the most expensive, paid media such as social media advertising presents a unique opportunity to B2B marketers: an affordable and practical way to drive measurable returns for their business.
This is no secret. Social media advertising is big business. Global spending is forecast to reach $29.9bn in 2016. And it’s rising fast, predicted to grow a further 20% in 2017 – reaching $36bn and representing 16% of all digital ad spending1.
Social media advertising is now an integral part of the B2B marketing mix, and is one of the best tools through which brands can add value to their bottom line. But to generate returns marketers need to be able to execute, measure, and optimise their campaigns with a great degree of precision.