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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsLISA HARRIS: I've got Tom here with me. And he's going to be telling us about some of the free tools that are out there to help marketers to analyse the effectiveness of their digital marketing activities. So Tom, what's the best way to get started with all of this?

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsTOM CHAPMAN: I would say to small businesses, especially, who may not have what they believe the budget to do large scale stuff, is use free analytical tools. Test your sites if you're using websites. Go to websites that provide information. Social media is not just about the Facebooks of this world. It's about going to sites where you can communicate with other people that have similar problems. So I would look at Alexa.com. It will give you an idea of what sort of sites you might compete with. It provides free information. There are not necessarily free, but freely available tools such as Screaming Frog SEO. I love the internet. It's full of silly names. But Screaming Frog SEO, it's a very straightforward tool.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 secondsIt basically looks at websites. It indexes websites and creates a spreadsheet. So I can open it up, run an address into it, and say go and have a look. And it will come back and tell me, based on general guidelines, if it's found anything that it thinks may not be quite right. And it's brilliant for finding broken links on your website, for images that maybe too big, things like that. There's lots of talk in the industry about responsive design, and should we have websites that react to the size of the device. But essentially, for those that read about it, responsive design is if you like an argument.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 secondsIf I've got a mobile device like this, do I pinch and zoom on it to zoom in and out of websites, or do I scroll up and down? That's basically what responsive is about. It's about moving content to fit the screen. The issue we've got with that is that we're doing research into whether or not it's responsive design that is making the real difference, or whether or not, by going through the process of changing your website, you're actually just writing better content and you're providing better information. And therefore, the experience the consumer goes through on your website now it is responsive, is better. So there's lots of things to do. But I would say test.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 secondsTest things, test things, test things, know your customer. Use the analytics. Be careful of what we call the HIPPO in the room-- Higher Paid People's Opinions-- because too often, especially in the SME market, the website is designed because the boss likes it. Well actually, the boss isn't the customer.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 secondsLISA HARRIS: Do you think that there's a catch to using free tools? Nothing's ever really free, is it?

Skip to 2 minutes and 46 secondsTOM CHAPMAN: Nothing's ever really free. The important thing to understand is if you want to succeed in this arena then you are going to have to invest in this arena, no differently than you invest in anything else that may be physical.

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 secondLISA HARRIS: OK, so if you do have a budget for this kind of thing, is there any advantage in paying for a commercial analytics tool? Or is the free stuff good enough for everyone?

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 secondsTOM CHAPMAN: As an SME, as a smaller scale- even larger scale-- I would suggest that you're better off, at the moment, probably investing the money, if you have the budget, in the training on how to use the tool than spending the money on the tool.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 secondsTake Google Analytics for an example. It's an incredibly powerful tool. But most people will put in a bit of code, add it to their website, will use a standard dashboard that's provided, and they end up just spending all day looking at the dashboard. They're not actually doing anything with the information it provides. Put things in place both offline as well as online that make the analytics useful. So if you're writing a brochure, have a slightly different link, tag it with something else. So you, therefore, know people who've look at the brochure have come to this space. Change pages, just change little things at a time. Do what we call AB multivariant testing.

Skip to 4 minutes and 4 secondsBut basically have two homepages, one with a different colour. See if that affects, make a decision, then change something else. Small changes, monitor, decide, go through an iterative process, and things will work for you. But understand what these tools can do before you spend lots of money on a tool. It's the training and the staff, and their appreciation of the analytics, that will provide the insight, not necessarily the tool itself.

Skip to 4 minutes and 31 secondsLISA HARRIS: OK, that's great, Tom. Thank you very much.

Why is marketing analytics important?

In this interview video, Tom explains why analytics is an important aspect of digital marketing and points you towards some free tools that you can use to analyse the effectiveness of your digital marketing activities.


What stories do you have about your experiences so far using marketing analytics tools?

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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights

University of Southampton

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