Jennifer asks, “How do I know, based on my analytics, when it’s time to change tactics?”
For questions like this, we look outside of marketing to a discipline that is supremely well-practiced in changing tactics as soon as indicators go sour: financial trading. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of techniques for quickly spotting trends that require a rapid change in tactics. In this video, we’ll look at one of the most time-tested techniques and how to apply it to marketing data.
For reference, the R library used in the video is the tidyquant library available on Github and CRAN.
If you’d like the Excel workbook version of this, please join our free Analytics for Marketers Slack group.
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
Listen to the audio here:
- Got a question for You Ask, I’ll Answer? Submit it here!
- Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more useful marketing tips.
- Find older episodes of You Ask, I Answer on my YouTube channel.
- Need help with your company’s data and analytics? Let me know!
- Join my free Slack group for marketers interested in analytics!
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s video, Jennifer asks, How do I know based on my analytics when it’s time to change tactics? This is a great question because marketers typically don’t spend a lot of time using their analytics to drive change using the analytics to make decisions on a rapid basis. And so for this we’re going to need to look outside of marketing we’re going to need to look at a different discipline a different set of technologies and techniques that are well tuned and time tested time proven for changing tactics as soon as an indicator or data series go sour what discipline financial trading financial trading the stock market investments and things like that has hundreds if not thousands of techniques were very quickly spotting something’s going wrong or something’s going right in your data. Now, market traders use these techniques to do
Things like buy and sell stocks, hey, if an indicator is going the right way, bye, bye bye. And of course, it’s going the wrong way. sell, sell, sell,
we can apply these same ideas and the same concepts to marketing data. And they actually work better in marketing. The reason why is that the stock market is so volatile. And the stock market has so many confounding variables that these techniques sometimes struggle in the stock market. But if you think about something like your web analytics, there’s no shadow website that’s secretly sending you traffic or things like that, right? It’s just your website, you own it. And and your data is your data.
And our companies are compared to the stock market so small, and so not real time that these mathematical techniques shine brilliantly. So we’re going to look at a technique today called the moving average convergence divergence indicator. That is a mouthful, but what it basically means is that if we were to look at your Google Analytics data, here’s the number of users that have been to my website.
site in the last year if I were to take a short term moving average sec a seven day moving average, smoothing out the the number of users that would give me a trend of an average of the last seven days that rolls that as as time goes on. Now if I were to also take a longer term moving average say like 28 days, four weeks
and plot that out as well I would have a less volatile less choppy line the way the moving average convergence divergence indicator works is that when the short term average crosses over and then is above the long term average that means your site is growing have gotten more traffic on average in the last seven days they have in the last 28 days so great job whatever you’re doing is working the converse is also true either seven day moving average is below your 28 day moving average mean that you’ve gotten less traffic in the last seven days then you have in the last 28 days time change tactics now what’s going
about this is that you don’t need to wait for monthly reports or quarterly reports or anything, you can run this sort of data on a weekly or even a daily basis. If if you’re doing some high stakes stuff to very quickly figure out i think is going in the right direction or the wrong direction.
And because we’re using Google Analytics data, if you wanted to, you could segment this out by things like channels, or sources or mediums. If you wanted to just just measure email, you could specify I just want to track email traffic and see how it’s fluctuating or on a track social media traffic or even just Facebook traffic. I could track that over time. So let’s put this into action. I’ve got my data series here. I’m using the our programming language because it’s easier for me, you can do this and something as simple as Excel. It just takes a long time a long time. It doesn’t scale very well with our you can vacuum in your data and immediately begin using it. So I’m going to run the moving average convergence divergence. And again, I’m going to plot it
It’s going to do its thing and now let’s make this chart bigger
and see that zero line this is the this is a signal line which means that this is a look at how quickly is that moving average convergence differences and fluctuating is it above or below so anytime this line is above zero things are working. My short term average is above my longer term average life is good anytime it’s below this line. I’m bad things happening, need to do something immediately. Of course, there are some things that are seasonal for example, like this is the holidays. No one was on my website during holidays. I don’t blame them. And so I lost a lot of traffic then. But now after the holidays spike back up. And then a few days ago, I was down and now I’m back up. Now if I were to run this tracker every single day. And you could because when you write things in code vacuums, and the data just runs it relatively quickly. The moment this indicator starts to hit zero or start to go below the zero line, you know
Okay, adds more dollars to the ad budget or
change content tactics, maybe run a predictive forecast like what else are people talking about right now that we should be participating in to get this number back above zero.
Now if you are going to have ups and downs in the zeros above and below the zero line that is natural know site perpetually grows up into the right never happens, you will always have fluctuations. What you want to avoid are prolonged periods of time when you’re below that zero line when your longer term average is higher than the short term because that means your site is on a steady decline. So little spikes are okay. Longer term like this going down, not not as, okay,
so this is one indicator as one of many, many that you could use to figure out. Hey, my stuff is growing. My stuff is shrinking. I need to either double down on what tactics I’m already using or I need to change
tactics a great question, Jennifer for look to other disciplines besides marketing to apply proven techniques to your marketing data, and you’ll be surprised at just how rich a toolkit you will have. After just a few months of testing things out and trying them for extracting new insights and telling you that you need to do something differently. As always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter will talk to you soon want help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. This is trust insights.ai today and let us know how we can help you
You might also enjoy:
- B2B Email Marketers: Stop Blocking Personal Emails
- Retiring Old Email Marketing Strategies
- Marketing Data Science: Introduction to Data Blending
- How To Set Your Consulting Billing Rates and Fees
- What Is The Difference Between Analysis and Insight?
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of AI For Marketers