Digital Dialogue: Digital Analytics and Data Analysis

Digital Dialogue: Digital Analytics and Data Analysis

By: Phil Seibel, Mankato Free Press

One underutilized tool that newspaper sales reps can use to their advantage is introducing their advertisers to 3rd party measurement tools such as Google Analytics. Used in conjunction with your standard reporting, robust reporting programs can introduce your advertiser, and you, to a whole new level of information.

Standard digital reporting has long been as simple as number of impressions, number of clicks and click through rate. Unfortunately, this tells a one sided story that only measures efficacy in one range. The truth of the matter is that the measure doesn’t match the tendencies of the audience.

For example, when online users are searching for information, watching videos or perusing social media, advertising tends to take a back seat to the purpose at hand. It doesn’t mean it’s not effective, it just means that unless you’re giving away free gold plated Ferraris it’s unlikely you will get the user to deviate from their current action at that time.

The good news is that studies have shown that when show the right message at the right times, audiences respond up to 70% of the time*, even if it’s not at the exact moment they see the advertising. They do this in a variety of methods, but primarily it’s through a branded search for the particular business sometime after they see the advertising.

This is where we see the failing of relying on a singular method of reporting- the impression is shown, but because the consumer does a branded search at a different time, no click can be reported, and your click through looks dismal.

However, when you track additional responses to your advertisers website via analytics you gain insight into where their incoming traffic originates, what words are used in searches that drive traffic to their site, and also data on bounce rate and time on site (engagement). These statistics tell the other side of the story and can be used side by side with your standard reporting to show correlations between campaign changes and traffic spikes, ad copy and engagement, and even help you pick up trends that can help you plan future campaigns.

The key to all of this is education for both you and the advertiser and knowing how you can read the data to glean different bits of information out of similar reports. You must be cautious that you don’t simply bend the data to fit your desired results, but experience with these types of analytics comparisons always prove useful whether it’s for adjusting a campaign or for showing results.

Thank you to Phil Seibel, Advertising Director, Mankato Free Press, for submitting this content. Check back monthly for new topics. Have a question you’d like answered or column idea? Email Dan Lind (