Marketing Analytics: Definition, Tools, & Best Practices

marketing analytics on computers

Pro tip! Tracking your marketing analytics is the best thing you can do for your business.

It's a way to monitor the success of your brand while targeting key areas. With analytical data, brands can improve productivity, measure their competition, and complete other related actions. 

The power is yours when you can interpret these website analytics!

But measuring digital marketing analytics is easier said than done. For example, what platform is best? What should you track? Most importantly, how can you use this information? 

Below, we compiled recommendations from marketing professionals and their best advice for how to maximize marketing efforts with data. 

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What is Marketing Analytics? (And Their Value)

Marketing analytics is the practice of tracking and analyzing data to measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts such as PPC, blogs, emails, and more.

Long gone are the days when marketing was this soft, fuzzy, and ethereal discipline in which you couldn't track results or ROI. 

With the introduction and evolution of advanced CRM platforms, web-based tracking tools, mobile marketing, and even insights that arise from consumer-driven data like reviews – today's marketing professionals and CMOs have a vast array of ways to measure the success of their efforts, improve and refine messaging, adjust course, allocate resources, and more.

In fact, 21% of business decision-makers agree that data analytics is the single most effective way to gain a competitive edge.

Far from something to fear in a field known for celebrating creativity and gut instinct, it can actually be quite empowering. 

John Hoeschele, Executive Vice President & Co-Creative Director at Cowley, Inc.

21% of business decision-makers agree that data analytics is the single most effective way to gain a competitive edge

Make a Plan

Every company will find value in different data points.

I can’t tell you precisely what metrics to focus on, but I can share an overall process for starting with analytics that will be useful for everyone.

  1. Plan your work (Know what you need to know)
  2. Break company goals into measurable stepping stones
  3. Fully set up tools (I use Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Ahrefs)
  4. Start using Looker Studio to visualize the data
  5. Regularly review and act on the data

You'll also find out data about who is looking at your content. 

Tracking analytics is important because it sheds light on who's visiting your website, how they found it, and what they’re doing there.

With this information, you can focus on what marketing strategies are working and find which ones need to be changed.

Kayle Larkin, SEM Strategist at 

Utilize Marketing Analytics Tools

Perhaps the most popular platform to track this data is Google. But wait--there's more! 

Some of the best marketing analytics tools are Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Mixpanel (for more complicated analysis). 

These tools will tell you the following:

  • What’s the first interaction your users have?
  • What are the flows? 
  • Where are they dropping off? 
  • What’s the second step? 
  • How far down do users scroll? 
  • Why do they do it? 

You can also reach out directly to users to ask if they found what they were looking for and gather more feedback.

Marco D’Emilia, Design Manager at Hotjar

Recommended Reading: Campaign Evaluation Surveys: How Marketers Are Measuring Their Efforts

Example of Using Google Analytics to Measure Marketing Metrics

How you measure analytics in digital marketing depends on what you want to discover.

To measure the success of our editorial strategy at We Are Rosie, I find Google Analytics helpful for tracking some of our KPIs, like page views and time spent on the page. 

And they’re not alone. Google Analytics is used by approximately 55% of all websites.

Marketing Analytics: Definition, Tools, & Best Practices

But those alone don’t capture the layers of the editorial strategy and the different goals we’re working toward. 

Community growth and brand awareness via SEO are also important, so I gather data from SEO-specific tools.

If a story is aimed at engaging our existing community members, then I might consider how that content performed when it was promoted on social media or in our newsletter.

Briana Palma, Creative Content Lead at We Are Rosie

Track Marketing Metrics That Matter to Your Goals

By using marketing analytics to identify key metrics, you're investing in the success of your business. From there, you can develop innovative strategies. 

When a business comes to us for help, we review its existing analytics reports and typically find a need for more focus on the business's health.

The analytics process should start with business goals: 100 leads, 15 positive reviews, and a 45% increase in revenue.

Then, you develop marketing strategies to reach the goals. Analytics reporting can be used to measure the strategy's success.

Two or three metrics are all you need to determine if a strategy is working. Any more than three, and you're better off going to a psychic.

Scott Friedberg, CEO at Gilded Social

Use Marketing Analytics to Drive Decision-Making

There are tons of metrics you can measure once you've got a software system set up. The goal here is to use those metrics to your advantage. What can you learn from them? 

No matter the marketing analytics tools you choose to invest in, it's always worth it.  

For content marketing, the best metrics depend on the business goals and initiatives you’re supporting. 

According to 72% of marketers, content marketing increases engagement and business development, so maybe your goal is to use it to fill the top of the funnel with new leads.

72% of marketers say that content marketing increases engagement and leads

Or maybe you’re focused on keeping current customers engaged with your brand. Those each require a different set of metrics.

Any solid content marketing strategy will probably support a few different goals. The most important thing is to identify which metrics will shed light on your performance and areas of opportunity. To get to the heart of this, I like to ask myself, “how can I measure success?” for any project or initiative.  

Aaron Templer, Founder & Strategist at Three Over Four

All stakeholders should be on the same page

Marketers today should be interested in business results. 


Without measuring events that drive business results—sales, form submissions, inquiries, event registrations—most website metrics are just data theater.

Cost Per Lead, and ultimately Cost Per Sale (or event, if you're driving something other than sales) can't be calculated without website metrics that map to business results.

Understanding how much to spend on filling the top of the funnel requires the ability to measure business results.

Brands — and their agencies — need to get around a table (or Zoom) and not leave it until they agree on what events on a website map [lead] to business results and what it will take to measure them. 

Aaron Templer, Founder & Strategist at Three Over Four

Recommended Reading: 3 Ways to Use Research to Improve Your Marketing Creative

Timing is Everything

Another important thing to consider is when you should measure or collect the data. For example, SEO content can be slower to build impact than a thought-leadership article on a trending topic. 

So, you wouldn’t want to gauge the success of that SEO content by reviewing the data a week or two after it’s been published–you need to give it more time.

Briana Palma, Creative Content Lead at We Are Rosie

Common Marketing Metrics to Look At

I don’t think anyone can have preferred metrics, as it depends a lot on the project you are working on. The most recurring metric, in my experience, is conversion rate. 

Although it can be associated with several things, this is the main factor determining if users are converting. 

Something I like to look at, mainly when talking about a flow, is the drop-off rate. 

In most cases, this is where your users will encounter some problems with your flow/screens.

You then can utilize interviews and user experience market research to get the “why.” I love using several data points to validate my assumptions from different angles.

You would be surprised to know how many companies don't use data or that their data set is all over the place. I've worked with some of them in the past--sigh!

When talking about data and analytics, I refer to any piece of data from Qual (talking to users) to Quant (hard metrics such as conversion rate, for example). Nowadays, it’s extremely simple to start with analytics or data in general. 

You have tons of free tools you can use and test out.

Check out our blog post, Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Market Research for more information.

Marco D’Emilia, Design Manager at Hotjar

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Data Chart

Understand Marketing Analytics Change Based on the Medium

As a creative person and a content producer, it’s hard to know how to actually measure if something is working.

We want to make things that other humans connect with. We want to make things that are meaningful, but measurable too. 

Even more difficult? Actually trying to use that data to make creative decisions going forward. 

  • What works? 
  • What should we do more of? 
  • Less of? 

For digital content, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube have plenty of data to choose from. For us, likes and views aren’t as meaningful as shares and comments. 

How long are they watching? Stats that measure how engaged the audience is are the most useful. 

Ad concept testing surveys are also great vehicles for understanding what consumers think of marketing campaigns before they go live. Watch our video for more information.

When it comes to traditional media, things get cloudy. Ratings are valuable, but it’s the interactions from the content that really resonate with us. But they’re harder to track. 

Media and audience engagement can be a tricky science. You have to keep creating, be flexible and agile, look at different data regularly and make the best decisions you can.

Matt Read, Co-Founder at Spatchcock Funk

Evolve Your Marketing Strategies Overtime 

At Drive Research, we’re big fans of hybrid researchthe combination of using qualitative and quantitative data. It's typically the best route for your company, too. 

That's because creativity is critical but it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. 

It’s inspired by the insights you have about your brand and community, whether those come from quantitative or qualitative data — but probably a bit of both. 

Measurement is an essential component of any successful marketing strategy, and it helps create a never-ending feedback loop. You build your strategy, execute, measure, and then feed the insights from that measurement into a refined version of your strategy.  

The marketing industry is constantly evolving, so strategies must evolve too. 

The most efficient way to do that is by consulting the data. If you’re not informing your strategy with data and insights, then you’re risking wasted time, energy, and money.  

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing analytics. It has to be tailored to your brand and business goals. 

That may mean using multiple platforms, in which case, building custom dashboards can be really helpful--and a huge time saver! 

Briana Palma, Creative Content Lead at We Are Rosie

marketing analytics quote

Final Thoughts

If you think you can get away without using digital marketing analytics in your business, think again! 

If you don’t use data and analytics in your business, it is like working blindfolded.

You could do whatever you want because it doesn’t matter at all! You will never know if what you do is the right thing or has made an impact.

Marco D’Emilia, Design Manager at Hotjar

Recommended Reading: How Digital Marketing Research Will Change Your Advertising Strategy for Good

Contact Our Marketing Research Company

Marketing analytics is central to the success of any good company. Once you know what to look for, the sky’s the limit. 

Drive Research is a market research company located in New York. Our team partners with organizations, brands, and agencies across the nation to provide data-driven insights that fuel marketing and advertising campaigns. 

From ad concept testing to content surveys to website measurement and tracking, we can help.

To learn more about our services, let's talk!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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