Data in Digital Marketing: Everything You Need To Know

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many digital marketers use data, such as website traffic and social media analytics, to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Data can help marketing professionals with many parts of their jobs, such as determining how to reach potential customers on different digital platforms. If you're a digital marketing professional, you may want to learn more about how to use data effectively in your campaigns to identify trends, reach targeted audiences and generate revenue.

In this article, we explain the importance of data in digital marketing, describe the benefits of data, list some ways to use it effectively and outline steps to begin using data in digital marketing.

What is the importance of data in digital marketing?

Using data in digital marketing can help businesses understand their customers, predict consumer trends and improve their return on investment for marketing campaigns. Data analysis, which is the process of collecting and analyzing data to gain insights, can help digital marketers determine their goals and promote a company's services to targeted audiences. In digital marketing, data may include metrics related to social media, website and blog content, email marketing, online advertisements and mobile downloads. When used effectively, this data can help marketers gain insights into effective strategies so they can improve the performance of their digital campaigns.

Related: What Does a Digital Marketer Do? (And How To Become One)

Benefits of using data in digital marketing

Data can help digital marketers understand their target audiences so they can market a company's product or service successfully. Collecting, analyzing and measuring different types of data can have many benefits for these professionals. Specifically, this information can help digital marketers:

  • Understand customers: Data can help digital marketing professionals collect information to understand a company's current and potential customers. They can use data to review customer demographics, interests and purchasing habits so they can reach audiences through targeted marketing campaigns.

  • Budget effectively: Digital marketers can use data to measure the effectiveness of their paid strategies to help them budget effectively. For example, if data shows social media ads generate more website traffic than search ads, marketers may decide to reallocate their budget in future campaigns.

  • Make predictions: Many digital marketers review data consistently to help them identify patterns over time, which can help them make future predictions. For example, they may study social media data to make predictions about purchasing trends for a new product or service.

  • Create a personalized experience: Data can help digital marketers create a personalized experience for customers through marketing campaigns. For example, they can use data to identify the target audience for a new campaign and create content marketed specifically toward that audience.

  • Improve marketing outcomes: By reviewing data for marketing campaigns, these professionals can determine the success of different strategies, such as social media posts and website advertisements. They can use this information to make adjustments to future campaigns to improve their marketing outcomes.

Related: 15 Digital Marketing Metrics and How To Use Them

Ways to use data in digital marketing

Digital marketers can use various data to measure and improve their promotional efforts. Here are some ways you can use different types of data in digital marketing:

Website statistics

You can use data to understand how users interact with a company's website. There are various analytics tools you can use to help you collect and measure these website statistics. These resources can provide the demographics of users on a website, such as their ages and locations. Evaluating website statistics can help you understand how users reach the website and what pages they view while on the site. For example, website data can show you that a user clicked on a social media post to access the website and then navigated to two other webpages.

Read more: 7 Types of Web Analytics Tools (And What They Tell You)

Social media analytics

This type of data can help you analyze a company's social media followers and understand how they engage with social content. You can track social media analytics by using third-party applications or built-in tools on social media sites. These analytics can provide different data, such as the number of people who interact with a post and the demographics of followers. You can use this information to identify trends and target different audiences effectively. For example, if one social media platform has a high number of young followers, you can use that information to target messages directly to that audience.

Email marketing metrics

Data can help you measure the success of your email marketing efforts. Many email platforms provide metrics on open rates and bounce rates. You can also see the number of clicks on each link. You can use this data to understand how your company compares with the industry average for email marketing. Once you begin measuring this data consistently, you can compare campaigns internally. For example, you may send an email with a 27% open rate. If the industry average is 19% but the internal average is 23%, you can use your own data to evaluate the campaign's performance.

Keyword data

This type of data can help you determine how potential customers search for information related to a company's product or service. Analyzing keyword data can help you understand the search habits of consumers. You can use this data to target those specific keywords in your marketing content so customers are more likely to find your company's website when searching for relevant information. By determining keywords, you can use them in blogs, social media posts and other digital content to help you improve a company's search engine rankings and increase website traffic.

Related: 19 Types of Keywords

How to start using data in digital marketing

Here are some steps you can take to start using data in your digital marketing campaigns:

1. Determine your goals

When you first use data in digital marketing campaigns, it's important to determine your goals to establish a benchmark for your efforts. Consider the company's strategic plan to ensure your marketing goals align with those objectives. For example, if company leaders have a goal to increase revenue, your goal may be to use data to calculate the number of new leads or conversions a marketing campaign generates. Establishing these goals can help provide direction for the ways you collect and use data for digital marketing campaigns.

2. Identify KPIs

Once you've determined your goals for using data, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you plan to use to evaluate the data you collect. Use the SMART method, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, to determine your KPIs. Make sure you choose KPIs that align with your marketing goals. For example, if your marketing goal is to increase brand awareness, you may choose KPIs related to social media reach or total website visits. Some other common examples of KPIs related to digital marketing data include:

  • Conversion rates

  • Click-through rates

  • Email subscriptions

  • Search engine rankings

  • Ad impressions

  • Social media followers

  • Social media shares

Related: A Complete Guide to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

3. Create customer personas

As you track and measure the KPIs related to your marketing goals, create customer personas to help you understand your audience. A customer persona is a fictional character who represents your target audience. For example, a customer persona may include their age, location, income level, job title, personal or professional beliefs, interests, hobbies or purchasing habits. Once you develop a persona, study the data you're collecting to see if the customers you're reaching match the persona you've created. Use this information to change or optimize the channels and methods you're using to reach your target audience.

4. Evaluate data

When you start using data in your digital marketing campaigns, it's important to evaluate this information consistently to help you measure the success of your efforts. Track your KPIs and record metrics related to each area of your campaigns, such as social media and email marketing. Analyze the data to determine areas where you can adjust your marketing efforts to improve the campaign's performance. Create reports for stakeholders, such as company leaders or department managers, to show them the results of the data. By continuing to evaluate data, you can optimize your campaigns to reach your digital marketing goals.

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