Google Analytics has recently announced a new Data Import Tool which promises to make it easier for B2B marketers to measure the ever-elusive ROI not just on Analytics, but on various platforms. Google also announced the launch of Universal Analytics, which allows marketers to customize Analytics according to their needs and be able to integrate their own data sets for a more holistic view of their marketing performance.
The Data Import Tool and Universal Analytics are just two among a whole set of new features that were announced during the Google Analytics Summit on Monday, October 29. The new innovations address long-standing challenges faced by marketers in the midst of a major shift with how customers interact with businesses.
For one, customers now use multiple devices to search for products or shop online. The Universal Analytics tool allows marketers to see how users interact with their brand from different touchpoints, including phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices, through the integration of mobile data to the Analytics dashboard.
The Data Import Tool on the other hand enables users to import cost data from any digital source including email, social media, display providers, paid search, and even organic traffic. The data may be viewed through an executive dashboard, either through the new Cost Analysis section under Traffic Sources on your Google Analytics account; or through the recently launched Attribution Modeling Tool.
Data for analysis may be uploaded via a self-service API or through applications by providers such as NEXT Analytics, AutomateAnalytics.com, ShufflePoint, and Analytics Canvas. The Data Import Tool is currently in public beta and will be rolled out over the next month.
The new Google Analytics Data Import Tool and Universal Analytics are definitely a step towards convergence analytics as defined by Technology Leaders CEO Andrew Edwards. They, along with similar apps being offered by other vendors, will be the beginning of overcoming some of the most common challenges faced by B2B marketers in integrating and analyzing relevant metrics and optimizing marketing strategies.
The B2B buying process is much too complex that measuring social media impact has always been a difficult area for B2B marketers with unique challenges such as:
- Last-click attribution. A customer’s multiple exposure to ads on various platforms – social media, trade shows, print ads, blogs, or press releases – before making that last click makes it difficult to designate track points for a prospective customer’s exposure to your brand before being identified as a lead.
- Social media not as a direct-response marketing platform. Social media’s ultimate purpose include building credibility, establishing authority, building relationships with customers, and branding; and may not be the most effective as a direct promotional tool.
- B2B is not about reaching customers directly. B2B companies are more geared towards influencing analysts, consultants, journalists, bloggers, and other “influencers” that will not directly buy your products but serve to affect the buying decisions of your market. Measuring the impact of these influencers to your sales is almost impossible.
With the recent announcement by Google, it may just be the beginning of more upcoming solutions to address these B2B marketing hurdles. One thing’s for certain; the tools will provide a more robust view of ad effectiveness, keyword performance, and campaign metrics for B2B marketers to be able to come up with more detailed analysis of media performance across all channels. Uncertainty of B2B companies in ROI measurement and planning marketing budgets is likely to be reduced.
If you are already using these and any of the new Google Analytics tools, we would be glad to hear your feedback. Do come back and tell us how they have affected your B2B marketing strategies and performance; and what you think or guess Google should/would come up with in 2013.