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How To Turn Marketing Data Into Actionable Insights


Marketing Data

If you work in marketing you no doubt work with a lot of data too. While data can be your best friend, it can also be your biggest burden.

In fact, data causes a lot of emotional stress for marketing teams who are confronted with thousands of numbers daily. Add to that the fact that everyone’s busy. And no one has the time to sit crunching the numbers all day. 

On top of that, a lot of teams are still working in data silos (we know, still, in this day and age!)

Data is supposed to be reliable and guide us to decide what move to make next in a campaign, tell us whether or not performance was positive, and help us prove ROI to the wider business. Instead, there’s a lot of marketers out there essentially playing a guessing game. They pick and choose what data they want to present in meetings, despite knowing it might not be painting a true picture of the state of marketing’s effectiveness. 

At the same time, there’s others who take so long trying to figure out what the data is telling them that they don’t do anything at all. They delay taking action and progress is thwarted as a result. 

On one hand, data is king. On the other hand, it causes a lot of confusion. And for a lot of teams it causes a lot of anxiety too. 

Many marketers are data-rich, but insight poor. And we are here to change that. If you’ve already heard enough and are ready to see how Mediatool can help you discover actionable insights from your data, then skip the small talk and book a demo

If you want to learn the steps you can take today to turn your marketing data into actionable insights, keep reading.

Main challenges when generating insights from marketing data 

Turning data into insights comes with it’s own list of obstacles. As marketers we have so much data but not many know how to turn it into insights. Those who might feel like they know how to turn it into insights, don’t trust their data. Many marketers claim issues such as: poor quality of data, not knowing if it’s reliable, and reactive decision making due to the pressure to show ROI. 

When performance drops, there are so many different factors that could have led to that drop. Did a competitor increase their ad budget, meaning yours performed worse? Could your content have been in a different format? Or did Apple bring in another privacy update, scuppering your success?

In fact, because of recent privacy updates and lack of access to personalized consumer data, pulling solid insights from data has become even more important.

“Legacy approaches to advertising and marketing technology simply won’t work in the future state. Brands and the ecosystems that support them need to… start thinking about measurement in the absence of user-level data.”

Jess Simpson from Publicis Media states “legacy approaches to advertising and marketing technology simply won’t work in the future state. Brands and the ecosystems that support them need to… start thinking about measurement in the absence of user-level data.” 

Instead of focusing on the loss of personalized data, marketing teams need to find a better way to talk to the users and form closer relationships with consumers who are happy to share their information. 

Now that we’ve painted the all-too-familiar picture of the struggle of garnering insights from marketing data, let’s take a look at what you can do to combat this. 

9 Steps to Turn Marketing Data Into Actionable Insights

When it comes to pulling value from data, marketers need to think like scientists. As daunting as that sounds, the principle is actually pretty simple. And scientists have been generating insights from data for hundreds of years.

1. Stop getting in your own way

Before we get into the science of data-driven insights, we want to first acknowledge a pivotal step in being able to find insights and opportunity. And that starts with your mindset and overthinking.

In order to make the decisions that help you reach your targets, it’s important to take a step back and change how you approach the data. A reactive marketing team is not a good one! Instead of letting your team fall into bad habits, you need to establish what is meaningful to your campaign (and deserves your attention) and what is just a simple fluctuation in results (and can be left alone). 

Teams that use data to learn and improve are far more successful than those who are laser-focused on each and every number. Knowing how to turn the data into the right action is the secret sauce that you could be missing. And getting it right starts with your mindset. 

So this means yes take the data into consideration, but don’t overthink every aspect of what it might mean. You’ll only be getting in your own way and stop you and your team from reaching your objectives in the long run. 

2. Consolidate your marketing data

Trying to find insights in your data without first storing it in one place, is a big waste of your time. We all know how detrimental siloed data can be–from losing important information, missing lucrative opportunities, to human error. But if that isn’t enough to convince you, at least think of how much time–time you’ll never get back–it takes your team to scour through different platforms trying to make sense of it. Yikes!

Turning data into insights is all about finding stories within it that help you improve. By bringing all your sources together in one platform, you have the full picture to work with. 

Lucky for you, Mediatool does just that! 

Create your own data taxonomy and rules that your whole team sticks to and your data will never risk being unreliable again. Once you’ve set up your custom-made plans, plug in the channels you want to track and watch the data roll on in. Product level, campaign level or overall strategy level–you can rest assured your data is clean and correct. 

Media management software tracking

(Mediatool’s data dashboard)

3. Ask the right questions

Before you delve into the data, you need to set a clear intention of what you want out of it. What do you want the data to tell you? 

Like an interview, always come prepared with questions. That way, you stay on track, review the data that is needed at that moment in time, and focus on the insights that will make a true impact on your marketing goals. 

For example, for a cosmetics brand, some questions might be: 

  • How many people who clicked through from an Instagram ad abandoned cart? 
  • What is the average amount of products visitors buy per visit? 
  • Does this number differ when the traffic was generated through TikTok compared to traffic from Youtube?

4. Make sure you’re tracking the right metrics 

Staring at the wrong metrics is a big waste of everybody’s time and is not going to generate groundbreaking results anytime soon.  

We are of course referring to vanity metrics. You know the type, the figures you put into reports because you know it’ll make you look good? Examples include page views, sessions and social media followers. While they may make you look good, they’re generally not worth spending your time on as they don’t usually help answer questions that will move a campaign forward.

So, once you’ve found the questions you want to answer (step 2), figure out what metrics are going to help you answer these questions and track those instead. We can’t tell you what the metrics should be as it is specific to your campaign, goals, company and industry.


5. Segment your marketing data

Dividing up your data into segments can help you better understand the insights from it. There are a lot of different ways you can segment your data, explained further by Lotame here

Decide on one way you’re going to segment it, for example Generational, where you group your audience depending on shared preferences, personality traits, behaviors and where they hang out online. 

By segmenting your audience and the data you currently have on how they engage with your product or marketing, you can find insights specific to that group and create a more personalized experience.

image shows 5 benefits of audience segmentation in marketing


6. Take time frames and context into consideration

A big error many make is being reactive to data that was only viewed in a specific time frame, for example as it’s happening in real time. To pull valuable insights from the data, you need to instead consider what was happening in the rest of the world at that time. 

Going back to our cosmetics example, was there a dramatic slump because of the pandemic and no one was leaving the house, therefore not buying makeup? Or was there an increase in sales because Kate Middleton was cited as wearing one of your eye-shadows?

This is important because neither were a direct result of your campaign. So while they could generate positive or negative performance, it’s still important to zoom out and look at the whole wider time period to understand context and other possible influences. 

You might think your new email campaign is incredible and think that is the insight, but it could just be that Kate Middleton’s makeup artist is a fan.

photo shows kate middleton and Prince Will

(Getty Images)

7. Outline your hypothesis

Your campaign will be part of a wider marketing strategy and objectives, which will be working towards the even-wider business goal. 

You’ve decided what questions you want to answer and what metrics you’ll use to find the right data to answer it. But, before you dig into the data to find your answers, you need to create a hypothesis

Let’s say we take the question from step 2: How many people who clicked through from an Instagram ad abandoned cart

A good hypothesis provides insights whether it is proved, disproved or inconclusive, meaning that either way you’re gaining valuable information to help you reach your marketing objectives. 

In order to write your hypothesis, you need to follow these steps: 

  • It should be a statement, not a question 
  • It should be a statement that can be confirmed or disproved 
  • The aim of the statement should be to learn
  • The statement should be followed by a reason 

So using our question, some examples might be: 

  • Reducing the amount of clicks from the product landing page to the shopping cart will reduce cart abandonment, because those who are keen to buy will be able to purchase quicker.
  • Changing the Instagram Feed ad to an Instagram Story ad will increase sales because our target audience are more engaged on Stories. 
  • Focusing ads on TikTok instead of Instagram will not increase cart abandonment because our click through rate is similar on both.    

The hypothesis should help you learn more about your customers, marketing funnel and guide you to make better decisions moving forward. They’re also a great way to make sure you’re always thinking ahead to the end goal, instead of wasting time on data that won’t help you get there.

8. Test the hypothesis to draw insights

So you’ve got your questions, metrics, segments, time periods and hypotheses ready. Now it’s time to test your hypotheses in line with the questions you want to answer. 

Review the data to find whether your hypothesis is correct or not. To experiment even further, use this as a chance to A/B test the campaign and track the new data to find out what it’s really telling you and where there’s room for improvement. 

Regardless of if your hypothesis is right or wrong, you’ll be able to draw conclusions and make decisions on what action to take next based on these insights. 

This may have got a bit science-y but it works to help you reach your goals, in a way that many scientists already do but most marketers don’t!

9. Showcase your data visually 

Now that you have your insights and have run tests to prove what move to make next, you’ll want to report the results to back up your decisions. 

Raw data means nothing to most people, but like we said before, data should be used to tell a story. Displaying it in a visually appealing report will help you to not only tell the story but also help you and the wider team better understand it.

There are lots of tools out there that can create marketing reports. But Mediatool ties them together in custom-made dashboards to help you find and understand insights quicker, so you have more time to take action. And it all ticks away in the background, generating reports while your data is tracking in real-time, meaning you don’t have to build it, it’s simply there waiting for you. 

Mediatool's reporting dashboard

(Mediatool’s reporting dashboard)

Wrapping up

Getting insights from your data is a continuous process. And the more you practice this, the better you’ll get at it, and the better your performance will be. 

If you take anything away from this blog we hope you understand how to navigate your data and turn it into insights, rather than being overwhelmed by it. 

We built Mediatool to give marketers like you confidence and control over your data. With Mediatool by your side, this process is streamlined and simple, enabling you to learn and pivot much faster.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Why don’t you see it for yourself? 

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