Your institution’s website is likely the centerpiece of your marketing and communications efforts, and as a digital platform, allows you to quantify a massive amount of data. That includes how many people clicked a call to action button on a page, whether the third banner in a rotation actually got visibility, or even how far people are scrolling on your page.
It’s all available for you to geek out a bit. Unfortunately, many financial marketers are stretched too thin or lack the internal resources to help plan or understand their digital analytics needs. Further, what typically comes “out of the box” from Google Analytics isn’t enough for most institutions to be able to accurately measure success and ROI.
As marketers begin to look ahead to 2022 and attempt to plan and budget for what’s next, they will likely be doing so by evaluating what worked and what didn’t. If you haven’t already invested in defining and executing a digital analytics strategy for your institution, now is the time.
With a comprehensive digital analytics tracking plan, you can better understand how people interact with your site, how your efforts are supporting conversions and, importantly, how to justify your requested budget. Below are four simple, but powerful ways to achieve that.
1. Defining Goals in Google Analytics
All marketing campaigns begin with one or more goals. Perhaps you’re trying to increase loan applications, acquire customers or even increase brand awareness. Most marketing goals are quantifiable and, as such, can be defined within your analytics platform. However, each one of these goals has to be custom defined in your Google Analytics account — a vital step when planning any marketing campaign and trying to measure success.
Google Analytics — which the vast majority of bank and credit union marketers use — is a powerful, free program that is highly customizable. Most institutions are not using it as effectively as they could, however. An important step toward doing that is to set up goals in Google Analytics that define exactly what your institution’s marketing goals are. That way you can measure conversions.
Three of the most common goals for bank or credit union websites are “submitted forms,” “clicks to apply” and “clicks to open an account,” so defining these is a great place to start.
When planning a campaign, be sure to define your exact goals so you can track results both in real-time and after the campaign is fully complete.
2. Adding Events to Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a another powerful tool in your analytics toolkit. This is where all events live, and allows you to track many interactions on your site and understand engagement. Once the Google Tag Manager container code is on your site, you don’t need a developer to help. Google Tag Manager works seamlessly with other platforms as well, from the HotJar heatmapping tool, to LinkedIn.
As a minimum you will want to create events to track all button and link clicks and perhaps scroll tracking. Ideally you will also want to coordinate with your third-parties — such as loan application vendors, chat vendors and online banking vendors — to implement cross-domain tracking, allowing you to understand what happens to traffic you drive to these parties’ sites.
By doing so, you can tell if a Google Ads click to a landing page resulted in a loan application, or if a consumer abandoned the application at some point, and much more. In short, you’re tracking ROI, something financial marketers need to do whenever they can.
3. Using UTM Tracking
Using UTM tracking is a way for marketers to understand where external traffic comes from and how visitors behave on your site. UTM (“Urchin Tracking Module”) is a simple code that gets appended to your URLs and then automatically added to Google Analytics.
Done correctly, UTM codes can help provide additional insight into the source of traffic (e.g., Facebook), the medium (e.g., social media marketing) and even a specific campaign (e.g. Q3 Auto Loans).
UTM codes can provide valuable data, but be sure to use them only to track external traffic — i.e, don’t add them to links within your site.
4. Setting Up Reporting Within Google Data Studio
Once you have all the data being collected in Google Analytics, you may wonder what the heck do with it. This is where Google Data Studio comes into play. This platform allows you put data you already have into custom reports that are most meaningful to you.
Want to know the source of your mortgage loan applications? Create a Data Studio report. Want to understand the new customer or member application funnel? Visualize it in Data Studio. Want to compare how organic versus paid traffic supports conversions? Well, you get the point.
Google Data Studio also integrates with other platform APIs and has a drag-and-drop interface, filters, rules and more to help you report on exactly what you need.
Each financial institution will have unique goals, events and reports so the first step in your analytics journey is to determine exactly what you need in order to evaluate success. Then, working with in-house or agency resources, make that plan happen. An investment in tracking initially and on an ongoing basis will give you the intelligence you need to make informed decisions and (not insignificantly) look good to your boss.