What Successful Digital Marketing Analytics Looks Like for a Marketing Agency

The number of data-driven marketing agencies seems to be declining. Why?

The number of data-driven marketing agencies seems to be declining. Why? In my opinion, it is harder than it has ever been. There is some evidence to back this up here. The new GA4 is another example of reengineering a complex tool… and in no way making it less complex. The enterprise has the expensive tools and teams to make it possible. For small businesses, it is hard to impossible. And the mid-market where it could do the most good in many ways the gap between the people to tools and the value is hard to cross. Getting people trained on complex tools and then interpreting the data for business purposes is costly and often misses the mark, as each business has differing needs. 

However, the right measurement, analysis, and business interpretations can be performed. The best value may be in outsourcing to a marketing agency.

The Two Major Roles Of Analytics

Analytics and reporting have two roles: one is to improve campaigns, and two is to inform better business decisions. These are not the same thing. You can improve campaign A all you want, but it may never yield the ROI needed to be a good business decision. This is key, and so many marketing agencies never consider it. The ones that do have much higher-value clients and keep those clients much longer, giving the agency better potential for higher profitability.

See my article, “One Metric To Rule Them All For Digital Marketing — ROI!” ROI is the most important metric we can use for smart decisions.

Analytics for Performance Monitoring & Improvement

This is the analytics part, where we measure and monitor KPIs (key performance indicators) to improve and manage campaigns. Click-through, page views, engagement, forms completed, rates, etc. are all very important for sure. Use them properly, and you will have good data to inform campaign decisions.

Never use the same complex KPI reports you use internally to give to clients. Their eyes will glaze over. The #1 mistake agencies make is not showing value to clients. This is at the heart of all the reasons a digital marketing agency loses a client. KPIs are actions, not results, not value. And frankly, for most of us, they just seem confusing as we are not part of the process.

Analytics for Client Engagement & Reporting

Most people, even experts, say metrics measure your marketing success. To me, that is very misleading. Measured metrics and KPIs are usually not enough for business decisions. You need ROI, customer acquisition costs (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), lead/customer flows, and time periods to make good decisions at the business level. 


Simply put success is in doing both well. Analysis for campaign improvement and interpretation for client engagement and reporting to make the right business decisions.

Should You Outsource Digital Marketing Analytics?

Digital marketing analytics has three parts: measurement set up to capture the right data, analysis and making decisions and judgments based on the data, and reporting on the results. Without the data properly collected, we cannot correctly segment and compare, and sometimes even measure the desired results… a conversion. Then comes the correlation, connecting, segmenting, and conversion analysis. Finally comes the business reporting and recommendations.

The skills and tools to do this can be complex. 

Google Analytics has long been regarded as the benchmark for web analytics, renowned for its extensive capabilities. However, as organizations scale up, the need for more specialized tools to conduct in-depth data analysis becomes apparent. While there are so many tools available, they all require deep technical skills.

  • Cross-Channel Attribution: Identifying the original source of conversion, tracing back through the various touchpoints a customer interacts with.
  • Customer Segmentation: This involves breaking down your audience into smaller groups or identifying new potential audiences based on specific criteria.
  • Customer Journey Analysis: Tracks the entire path of a customer from their initial interaction to the point of conversion, providing insights into their experiences and behaviors.
  • And Beyond: This encompasses a wide range of other analytical tools designed to meet various specific needs within digital marketing and data analysis.