Digital marketing analysis is the starting point for any digital marketing executive to build a strategy. In fact, without an analysis, one is merely lost in a sea of questions and potential answers. Find out why you need a digital marketing analysis, and learn how to understand your business’s position from a digital marketing point of view.
Digital Marketing Analysis: The Why
A digital marketing analysis is an essential skill to master. It allows you to find answers to the very basic questions of where you stand and who your target audience is. But more importantly, it teaches you to ask the right questions, which is key for successful marketing decisions.
Only by asking the right questions, a marketer is able to define the problem and come up with a creative answer.
Great brands listen to their consumers and therefore, they make the right decisions. The process of analyzing is by nature a process of active listening. Active listening includes listening to the market needs, consumer behavior, economic situation, trends, reviews, competitors, and many more.
Digital marketing analysis is an overview of the brand’s position on all digital channels; where no detail is too small.
Data Driven Marketing
Although most people consider marketing and advertising to be purely creative, intuitive processes, this isn’t the way things are in reality. Marketing is a combination of both science and art. Creativity never comes from randomness.
Therefore, data always guides the creative part of marketing, and one of them wouldn’t survive without the other. Data is like the horse that carries the creative aspect in the marketing race.
In the recent years, when the social and digital media revolution has taken over, the focus on data driven marketing has grown bigger.
Now that people are able to measure everything through the number of views, likes, shares, comments, and clicks, numbers are exceedingly becoming a part of the conversation.
Data is now the motivation to favour one decision over the other, and the way to measure success and return of investment.
What Is Market Research?
Market research is a scientific, or structured, process of gathering specific data and analyzing it to best assess a situation.
In the case of digital marketing analysis, you must focus on two perspectives: the internal brand you’re in charge of and the competitors.
Digital Marketing Analysis: Focused on the Business
Digital Marketing Analysis: Target Audience
You should always start with identifying who your target audience is. The most common mistake that business owners make is assuming that their product targets everybody. There is no single product that targets everybody.
Even brands that have a huge portfolio of products that truly target different types of people, they still customise every product to meet the specific needs of one segment.
Therefore, the characteristics of every product define its target audience. Factors like price, function, style, purpose, language, etc. define the target audience for a brand.
Your target audience should be specific, in other words, you should identify all the details: age group, gender, social class, profession, lifestyle, interests, preferences, and pain points. The more you know about the behavior of your consumer, the better your marketing strategy will be.
It’ll enable you to tailor a campaign that grabs the attention of your audience.
Digital Marketing Analysis: Market Need
Here, you need to get into the details of the drivers of demand for your product or services. Why would consumers go for your brand in particular? Marketing experts call it the edge of a brand.
The same product may have different drivers according to different buyers. For instance, someone may buy a watch because he/she likes to be timely, while another may buy the same watch because it looks cool.
Analyzing the market needs and what drives consumers to buy a specific product or brand helps you while building the communication strategy for your business.
When you think about the market need or why consumers go for a specific brand, you should also keep your competition in mind.
Digital Marketing Analysis: History
If you’re working on an old brand, you should definitely include its history in your research. There are many stories about marketing campaigns which had an epic fail because they ignored the history of the brand.
Each business name has a huge collection of memories with the audience. If you simply ignore the past, your target audience will feel disconnected.
The core messages of your brand’s communication strategy, its look and feel, and its ambassadors, all contribute to the identity of the brand.
For instance, Coca Cola’s messages have always been about having the time of your life and living the moment. Let’s imagine that the company decided to make an ad about how Coca Cola can save the world. Sounds dubious, right?
Even though the idea sounds noble, it doesn’t resonate with Coca Cola’s history. Therefore, such campaign may backfire.
To build a solid digital marketing strategy, you need to understand the history and take it one step forward.
Digital Marketing Analysis: Focused on the External Effects
Digital Marketing Analysis: Competitors
There are different types of competitors that you should consider while preparing your digital marketing analysis. Remember that, on digital media, the whole world is using one platform. That makes the market cluttered and more competitive than ever.
Therefore, you must consider every business competing for the same customer you’re targeting.
The first category of competition is defined by location: local and international competitors. Local and International competitors are divided into direct and indirect ones.
Indirect competition is the conflict between vendors whose products or services are not the same but that could satisfy the same consumer need.
That contrasts with direct competition, in which businesses are selling products or services that are essentially the same.
For instance, a thirsty consumer may go for a Coke, or he/she can go for fresh juice. Although the products are not the same, they are alternatives for each other; so they do compete indirectly.
Digital Marketing Analysis: Barriers
Barriers are also an external factor that surrounds the business; one that the business cannot change or control, but can only respond to correctly.
Barriers could be political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological. In marketing books, it’s often called a PEST analysis.
Political factors could be government policies, political instability, corruption, foreign trade policy, tax policy, labor law, etc.
Meanwhile, economic factors have a huge impact on the whole marketing mix of the business. Economic factors have an impact on pricing strategy, advertising budget, and product portfolio as well.
Economic factors include economic growth, exchange rates, inflation rates, interest rates, disposable income of consumers and unemployment rates. All these aspects affect the purchasing power of the consumer.
Next comes social factors which include the demographics of the market: norms, customs, values, age distribution, lifestyle, and cultural barriers.
Finally, there are technological factors which affect the future of the industry. These factors pertain to innovations in technology that may affect the operations of the industry and the market favorably or unfavorably.
Digital Marketing Analysis: Internal and for Competition
Social Media Platforms
The analysis should start with social media platforms since they form the biggest part of any digital presence. Every brand now has different accounts on different platforms.
The most popular platforms that this article will tackle are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
There are four aspects that you should evaluate when you analyze the performance of any brand on different social platforms.
Community is all about the people that the business attracts. That involves the number of followers on the page, their age, gender, interests, and the language they use.
You can analyze what they love or hate the most about the brand. Social media changed the target audience from being imaginary personas that marketers come up with to real profiles for real people.
Moreover, you should analyze how the brand responds to the community. How does the business respond to negative comments and reviews? How fast do they reply? To what extent are their call to action buttons efficient? Is social media a part of a seamless experience that the customers have across all other platforms?
Crisis management is also a part of the community analysis. The way the brand responds to huge problems on social media says a lot about its digital presence. It can make or break the brand reputation.
That’s how you can figure out if the company needs a new crisis management strategy.
These are all good questions to ask when you’re doing a digital marketing analysis.
Community analysis on social media is a great chance for you to know more about the audience to be able to tailor your digital presence for them. In addition, it will be the main guidance when you set up a strategy for how the brand will respond to the audience online.
Content composes the most important part of social media. Users come for social media platforms for content. From a business point of view, content is the main method to deliver their messages to the target customer.
Every word a business uses on social media counts. Therefore, when performing an analysis, you should pay close attention to all the details. Language, tone, wording, repeated messages, grammar and spelling mistakes are all a part of the analysis.
Publishing strategy is also a part of the content analysis.
Publishing strategy refers to how often the company posts new content and at what time it publishes content.
In addition, the purpose of every post should also be taken into consideration. What’s the purpose of the post? Is it creating brand awareness, engagement, or attracting sales?
Examine the content with the highest engagement rates; that gives you a sign towards the right direction.
One should take a close look on content as it forms the biggest part of the digital marketing strategy.
Visuals are part of the content for sure, but one should take a look at it separately. Most studies would tell you that images and videos attract the highest engagement.
That’s a well-known fact by now.
Colors, forms, fonts, and all artwork are the identity of the brand. You see the yellow “M” and you know immediately it’s McDonald’s. What comes to your mind when you see this color?
Right, Pepsi’s blue. Those examples show that visuals have the strongest effect on humans. By studying your consumer, you should know what appeals to them visually.
Do they like simplicity and minimal shapes? Or, would they rather see loud and bright colors on their timeline? Do they love photos of nature and landscapes, or would they rather see humans that look like them? Geometric figures or animated graphics? There are endless options when it comes to visuals.
When you’re analyzing visuals, you must also consider the different types of visuals out there on social media.
The good news is there are multiple formats for visuals on social media: still images, GIFs, videos, carousels, canvas, 360 photos. You should always have a variety of them on your page to always have the audience coming back for more.
Website & SEO
Having a website now is like having a retail store in the good old days. If you don’t have it, people can’t trust your business. It has a huge impact on gaining credibility and trust.
Your website shows your portfolio of products, success stories with previous customers, and it has all your contact info and location. These are important for new customers looking forward to do business with you.
In addition, your website also has your blog which is supposed to attract visitors to your website by giving them valuable information. This sets you as a market expert in the field you’re working in.
Your website’s visual aspect also indicates how big your business it. As you might have heard, building a website isn’t cheap. So, having a good-looking, optimized website shows that you’re willing to invest in your digital presence.
- Is the website informative?
- From the visual point of view, is it appealing to the visitors and has a sense of style?
- Does it follow the brand’s guidelines?
- Is it mobile friendly?
- Is it fast and responsive?
- Are there any missing details that you want your visitors to know?
- If the business has a product that you can sell online, you can also consider if your website has an e-commerce section.
The simple definition of search engine optimization is how attractive a website is to search engines, especially Google. There are many factors that influence SEO performance for websites. You can read about them here.
Google and other search engines are powerful marketing tools that contribute to many conversions. Researchers go to these search engines willingly to look for topics they are interested in.
For that reason, it’s highly likely that someone searching for “shoes stores in Belfast”, actually wants to buy a new pair of shoes.
One can’t say the same thing about social media platforms; people don’t go for social media because they want to buy something. They may just bump into it.
During your digital marketing analysis, you must remember that SEO is an important part of the assessment. If the brand you’re in charge of doesn’t put any effort into its SEO, it definitely needs a facelift.
For some businesses, having an application is a must; meanwhile, for others, it may be secondary.
The nature of the business and the trends of the industry it operates in determine how important having an application is. If all the competitors have one, you should have one, too.
An application is an owned platform that gives you space to share your content and give your loyal customers benefits and remind them of you.
Ads on Different Platforms
While this is the last item on the list, it’s surely not least. One cannot put enough stress on how important it is to use digital ads.
There are different types of ads: social media ads, Google Display Network, applications, and search engine marketing.
Social Media Ads
Every social platform offers promoting sponsored posts. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube; they should all be a part of the analysis. Now, businesses cannot rely on organic reach, therefore, they must spend money on social media ads in order to reach their target audience and create brand awareness.
One of the best things about social media ads is that they tailor your ad based on the objectives you set. For example, if you want people to engage with your content, you can select “engagement” as your objective. In that case, you will pay only for every time someone engages with your content.
The budget which the business allocates for social media ads plays a huge part in the results the brand gets. Therefore, you should always do your research on how much your brand spends compared to the KPIs you achieve.
Search Engine Marketing and Google Display Network
The first two or three sponsored results that you find whenever you do a search inquiry on Google are the simple definition of search engine marketing.
In brief, businesses pay money to appear at the top of the search engine results when users search for keywords relevant to their businesses. These are called paid search results. They are different from organic search results which play by the rules of SEO.
Google Display Network, known as GDN, is a network of websites which run Google ads. GDN sites comprise of YouTube, Gmail and more than a million Google web display partners.
Google AdWords is split into two networks, the Search Network and the Display Network. When advertising on the Search Network, businesses place text ads in the search engine results. On the Display Network, businesses instead place display ads on a huge network of sites across the internet.
While doing a digital marketing analysis, you should consider all the different types of ads that the brand spends money on.
What Does the Digital Marketing Strategy Include?
Clear Target Audience
First things first, a digital marketing strategy should identify the target audience. Any message delivered to the market should have a specific target consumer in mind.
One brand can have multiple personas to target, but the message should not be delivered in the same way to all. That’s why some brands create different versions of the same concept. That should speak to different personas.
You can choose to include only the highlights of the target audience, or go through a detailed list of personas.
The more details you include, the better. A persona includes the name, age, social class, profession, interests, pain points, and goals of the consumer in mind.
See also: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
There are specific objectives for any communication between a brand and its audience. Usually, it’s one or more of four objectives: creating brand awareness, disseminate information, change attitudes, or change behaviour.
Digitally speaking, there are also objectives that different platforms suggest when you create an advertising campaign. Those are categorized as engagement, brand awareness, video views, conversions, app installs, lead generation, conversions, etc.
Designing the communication to achieve the desired response will require answering three problems.
The first problem is what to say, which is about deciding on the message strategy. The second is how to say it, which is selecting the creative strategy. The last one is who should say it, which is choosing the message source.
In determining message strategy, you need to decide on the story and the appeals you will use and tie these into the brand positioning, so that you can establish points of parity and points of difference for your brand.
Now, there are many digital channels and social media platforms to get in touch with your customers. You need to determine what the best option is for your brand. That depends on your target audience and the type of content you wish to deliver.
You have to analyze the audience on every platform and understand their nature to be able to select the right channel and the right form of content.
Media Mix and Samples
Once you select the channels, you need to decide on the media mix. Companies allocate their marketing communications budget over the multiple modes of communication.
There many alternatives, such as advertising, email marketing, online public relations, search engine optimization, and many more. Companies, within their limited budgets, need to target the modes of communication that will suit their target audience and their brand promise and their brand message. Everyone wants to use limited resources in the most effective and efficient way.
Media Plan and KPIs
Your media plan should elaborate how you will use the allocated budget for advertising on different platforms. This is one of the most important parts of the digital marketing strategy, as most of the spending goes to online paid advertising.
One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is that all results are measurable. This part should clarify, through numbers, what you expects to achieve in terms of engagement, views, conversions, etc. according to the objectives.
You should also present specific KPIs to be able to measure against them after the campaign is over. Remember that these will be the numbers you will be accountable for to achieve, so you must be realistic and honest.
Finally, you should wrap up with a time frame for the execution of your digital marketing strategy. That includes when content will be published, how long your campaigns will last, and the entire scope of the strategy.
Of course, a yearly digital marketing strategy is different than a monthly strategy. However, the same concept applies; which is breaking down the whole duration to shorter sprints and achievements.