Ep 111 | Where to Start With Tracking Data with Chris Mercer

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Data can be powerful but it can also be overwhelming. Chris Mercer joins me on this episode to talk about how to get started with collecting your data and some amazing free tools to help make it easier.

In this episode you'll learn:

→ why you shouldn't be scared or overwhelmed by data.
→ how to reverse engineer your data.
→ what free tools are out there to help you.
→ how long to collect date before you analyze it.

Want to skip ahead?  Here are some key takeaways:

[7:58] The word data can be polarizing and scared but the best way to think about it is how you can use it to tell a story. Thinking about what you need the data to show you before you start looking at it can help you digest it in smaller amounts and use it to make meaningful decisions.[11:34] There are three steps to the process. 1) Plan 2) Build out your tools 3) Take action
[19:42] Google has a lot of great free tools you can use to help you collect the information you need. Google Analytics helps to collet, store and report your data. Google Tag Manager allows you to refine and get more specific data and Google Data Studio helps you with reviewing the data so you can take action.
[28:39] It's not about how long it's about patterns. Measuring how things change over time and trends is more impactful.


Facebook Community
Google Analytics 4
Google Tag Manager
Google Data Studio
Microsoft Clarity

Chric Mercer

Chric Mercer

Co-Founder, Measurement Marketing

Chris “Mercer” Mercer, co-founder of MeasurementMarketing.io, is a sought after measurement marketing expert and has been helping marketers, marketing teams, and agencies, plan out what’s important to measure in their marketing, build measurement systems (using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics), create actionable dashboard reports, and finally use those reports to forecast and optimize their marketing results.

In short, Mercer helps marketers know, trust, and grow their numbers.

We love creating the podcast. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.

When you leave a review it helps this podcast get in front of other nonprofits that could use the support. If you liked what you heard here, please leave us a review.

Full Transcript

[INTRO] Hey, hey, Sami here, your host, the digital marketing therapy podcast. So I want to ask you a question. When you hear the word data, like, what does that do? Like? How do you feel inside? I know for me, I start to feel a little overwhelmed. I feel a little guilty, like, I know that I should be tracking this, why am I not tracking this? Why am I not doing better? All the things. And I know I'm not alone in that feeling. So I thought it was time we have a conversation about what kinds of data should we be tracking? What does that mean? How does it help us and really growing and building our organization, getting more visibility, reaching our goals, getting more donors, all of those types of things. And so I'm super excited to have Chris Mercer or Mercer as he likes to go by on the podcast today.

Mercer is the co founder of measurementmarketing.io, and is a sought after measurement marketing expert, and has been helping marketers marketing teams and agencies plan out what's important to measure in their marketing, build measurement systems, using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, create actionable dashboard reports. And finally, use those reports to forecast and optimize their marketing results. In short, Mercer helps marketers know trust and grow their numbers.

And before you think that this is going to be super overwhelming, and you're hearing Google Tag Manager and have no idea what that is, we have a great conversation about kind of getting to the basics, and really where to start. And then talking about some incredible tools that you can utilize to help you along the way. And by the way, the tools are free. So who doesn't love free tools. So I think that this is going to be a great baseline for you guys to get started. And as he mentioned in the podcast, you know, get started and then take little baby steps each step of the way. But he gives you a great foundation and a great place to start with collecting the information that you need for what makes the most sense for your organization. Because everybody's going to be a little bit different, right? We all have different goals, we're all a different, you know, have different growing pains, we're all trying to get to a different spot in our growth in our organization. And, and this is a way to kind of help us do that help us do more of what's working and do less of what is not. So I hope that you enjoyed this episode, it was super fun. And it was definitely inspiring for me to remind me to continue to keep doing better in our efforts as well. It's always a work in progress.

Before we get to it, this episode is brought to you by our private Facebook community. So if you have more questions on these resources, or you, you know, kind of want to know what other things other nonprofits are tracking, head on over to facebook.com/groups/thefirstclick. Join us there, where we have conversations, we do trainings we have, you know, we're here as a resource to help support you guys in this journey as you keep moving forward. So I hope you'll join us there and we'll link it up at thefirstclick.net/podcast as well in the show notes, along with all of the incredible resources that Mercer shares with us today. Let's get to it.

[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Hey, Mercer, welcome to the podcast. Thank you for joining me.

[CHRIS MERCER] Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah, um, I know you're kind of a data junkie. So I wanted to ask you, you know, like, how you kind of got into the world of of data and helping people and why that's a passion because I think it's it's separate brain functionality that I don't have. And so I've always loved having conversations with people that can just see data and turn it into amazing things.

[CHRIS MERCER] Absolutely. Well, let's let's definitely come back to that. Because I've got a really good thing to think through on that part, too, about how people think that it's like they're not numbers, people, but they are, we'll talk about that.

But the way that we got started was I created a WordPress site to show people basically how to do WordPress stuff. It was like a little membership site to train people WordPress, that very quickly led into people saying, Hey, this is a lot of work, how much for you to do it. So then I learned outsourcing. And we've got a little agency that built WordPress sites. I wanted to separate ourselves out from the marketplace. And back then, this thing called CRO conversion rate optimization was just starting to hit the States, where it was like people were starting to learn to optimize stuff, it wasn't just about putting up the page, it was about optimizing the page better. So we've said, Okay, we're gonna build your site, but then we'll also optimize it. That's how we'll differentiate ourselves. And of course, in order to optimize something to make it better, you first have to measure it to see how it's currently performing. And so that's where we got into Google Analytics and setting that up.

What we did not realize this was going on all the almost eight or nine years ago. Now. What we did not realize at the time was that we were setting it up in a way that was a lot more useful than what other people were doing. So we would come in and we would show a client who just got a new site. We're like, oh, here's your site. And by the way, here's the analytics, here's how you can see how many people you know became a lead or what traffic sources were causing sales and all this stuff that we just set up analytics in the way that we knew how to do it. And very quickly, they all stopped asking about their site. And they all started asking about Google Analytics. And then the key for us was, they would start referring people who would come to us now and it'd be like, Oh, hey, such and such got a site from you. We already have a site, but I was wondering if you could set up our analytics. And it was like, Okay, here's the pivot. Because nobody understands measurement. They they've turned on these tools, there's a big differences. they've, they've turned them on, you put the script on the page, or you turn on the little Shopify box that says, oh, yeah, install analytics. And that just activates the thing. But it didn't actually set it up. And it wasn't really telling a story. And it wasn't easy to use. It's not easy to use if you do that. And so that's what we realized, you know, we're gonna pivot into measurement and teaching marketers how to actually use these tools that are all free, that just require a little bit of steps. But then ultimately, and so they can see the story that's there. Yeah.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I definitely, you know, we set up our websites while the tracking stuff, but you're absolutely right, and that we don't then teach them how to take a look at that to figure out what that's actually doing. And, and I think, and I know, we're gonna dive deeper into a lot of these things. But I just want to say like Google Analytics has done so much in the last even like six months to a year to improving the visuals of their dashboard to make it easy for you to at least get quick snapshots. Even if you don't know how to dive deep like it. They're making it a lot more user friendly. I feel like,

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, they absolutely are. And in fact, there's a new analytics out, which is Google Analytics 4 and that's kind of the the newest that's like the new hotness that's out there is what in the analytics world is ga for. And it's a whole other platform. They they completely literally rebuilt Google Analytics from the ground up with that platform. And so it's and it's impressive, I agree with you that they're they built it to be the platform of tomorrow, which is really good. Because you know, if you think about years and years ago, when these platforms first came out, like Google Analytics, there wasn't a there wasn't a nest hub that you had in your house for, you know, there wasn't things, nobody knew that was even a thing Internet of Things, right? Barely people had mobile phones, that we're connected to the internet, you know, years ago, they in the 90s, when this stuff it was it was hit counters, it was literally that was refreshing their pages and watching the hit counter go up by one. You know, I think that's why they call everything hits and Google Analytics because it was like the page. So it was like that that sort of was the world that analytics was born in. And it just the world outgrew it. And so they needed a new platform. And that's where Google that export came from. And, and they are doing substantial, like just incredible progress with that platform.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah. So before we get into kind of some of the platforms that we can use. You know, before we started this, I was kind of talking with you a little bit about how like, sometimes we get bogged down by the data, or we can't process the data. But having and tracking that information can really give us more insight into what we're doing and what we're not doing. You alluded to just a little bit ago about how you have a story about how we are all data people.

[CHRIS MERCER] You see data is a strong word, because it's one of those polarizing words like you're just the data, you know, it turns off people, right, like, Oh, right, it's like right up there with the word analytics and numbers, you know, and it's like, I'm just not a numbers person. And so here's the way to think about, here's the way to think about Google Analytics, this is the best way and just with any tool, regardless of analytics, any measurement tool that's out there, it's kind of where your focus on measurement as a rule.

If I gave you a children's book, right, like Goldilocks and three bears, and I gave you this book, and I say, Hey, could you read this childrens book to me, chances are excellent, you'd be able to read the book to me. Now, if I take that book back, I rip out the pages, I take those pages, and I rip those up into pieces. And then I hand you back the book with all the ripped up pages. And I say, please read me this children's book. Could you read me the children's book? And the answer is technically yes. Because I didn't change your ability to read, you're not a worse reader now. But it's a whole heck of a lot harder to figure out what that story's about. Because all the pages are ripped up. So you got to take a lot more time, stitch the pages back together, maybe you miss a piece or two, and you got to sort of make some assumptions, because you don't have the piece that you need in order to tell the story properly. And so you kind of guess and fumble your way through it. But you could do it, right? It's just not as efficient. Google Analytics is a platform and other tools, anything in measurement is like anything, they are all ripped up pieces of pages. To start all of them, you have to set that up, you have to structure it in a way that it will tell you a story. And then when you do that, all of a sudden, you look in your analytics, you're like, Oh, this is the traffic source that makes people aware of my product. This is the traffic source that helps people to engage with my product. Oh, and this traffic source helps close the deal. Oh, and this traffic source gets them to buy it again. Oh, and this traffic source gets them to share on social media. You know, and you can actually see these very simple to read stories, but you have to make sure the pages are stitched together properly. That's why setup is so important.

And, and it's the thing that everybody skips because Google's done a horrible job of educating people they've tried, don't get me wrong, they've tried. But as a rule, people don't realize they have to set it up, they just think they start using it. Because it's so easy to turn it on. And then there's your point data. But that's what data is, to me data is ripped up piece of pieces of paper, or two pieces of paper, right? I want a story that's back there, and a story of the behaviors that are happening on the page. And that's, that's how I think about measurement. It's, it's, uh, you're, you're listening for a conversation, like, if you think about, like, if you had an offline store, and somebody comes into your store, you would obviously greet them, you'd ask them for help you know, what they need help with, you'd show them around, you know, walk them through the checkout process, you know, ask them to join your list or whatever else. Same thing happens digitally. But marketers, I think, forgot to measure for the conversation they forgot, they forgot, they forgot that there was still a conversation happening between two people only now it's between the website and the user, right. And technically, like the web page and that user, so as measurement marketers, that's what we're here to help people understand from a marketing perspective is if you listen to that conversation, and you understand the conversations happening between the user and the page, it becomes a lot easier to adjust your marketing, because that's really how you respond is adjusting your marketing, whether it's targeting or copy your offer, or whatever else.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, and when when you're talking about the setup, and that being so critical. When you're working with clients, do you start with okay, well, what are the goals that you're actually trying to achieve? Because it's going to all of these platforms are going to give you more data than you know what to do with and nothing if it's not actually leading towards a certain end game? So is it important for people to start with this is what we hope to achieve? And then kind of reverse engineer that through the different platforms?

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, you're exactly right. So there's, there's three key steps to this whole process. The first is plan, you have to plan, it's the thing, everybody skips, everybody skips it. But you have to plan first. The second is where you build. And that's where you start using tools like Google Analytics, or tag manager or Data Studio to you know, build out these reports, and all of them are free. And then that third step is then you act upon the stuff that you've that you're getting right you act upon the story that you can now read.

And so kind of, to your first point about, like, you know, where should people start? It's definitely the planning stage. And there's three key areas in that stage.

First is questions we call it key, it's QA. First is questions. And you sort of think about, like listing these down and columns is the easiest way to start with this. So you list out all the questions that you're that you have wondered, and you're trying to get answers to. Right. So all of these different questions. Typically, the way to think about it is what results am  getting style questions like how many did I sell? It would be a results oriented question. But then you also ask the how questions. So it's not just how many did I sell? But it's how did I sell those meaning how many people saw the offer page of those, how many people started the checkout process of those how many people actually completed the checkout process? So that you at that point, you're asking questions, and when you have these answers, you will know what your results are and how you're getting results, right? So you sort of list out all those questions.

The next column is what information will I need to collect? Well, I need to measure for in order to get those answers. So in something like well, how many am I selling? You might get that information from your cart if you don't need an analytics platform, because the cart tells you how many you're sold. And you can use that as your source, you know, to get that information. But other other questions that you might ask, like how many people saw the offer page, or how many people saw the you know, started my checkout process? That might be something that Google Analytics is going to be good at answering. And so you sort of think about, okay, where is this information? And where am I going to get it in order to answer the question that I asked.

And then this is the third and this is the most important step is action. And this is a roleplay. So this is before you start opening up a platform like Google Analytics before you start using looking at a report before any of that you have your questions, you have your information that you need to get in order to get those answers. And then you think to yourself, work with your team and say, Okay, what actions will I take based upon the answers I get? And this isn't a format, the way to think about this is like If This Then That. So it might be something like, well, if the opt in rate, let's say the question was, what's our opt in rate, you know, and the information is, I need to know that people who saw the opt in offer and I need to see the number of people who saw the thank you page for that opt in, and I can figure out my conversion rate with those two pieces, right? So then it's well, if the opt in rates less than 25%, I'm gonna go look at the, you know, my paid, my paid campaign, if it's all paid traffic, by paid campaign, because it really should be between 35, you know, 25 to 35%. So if it's less than 25%, I'm gonna look at the targeting and the messaging and see if I can, you know, figure out a way to tighten up the audience a little bit. If it's higher than 45%, I'm gonna do the opposite, my audience is probably too tight, I need to scale it out a little more, because you can't have a conversion rate that's too high. And so that's where you sort of, you're thinking about all the stuff that you're going to do, based upon the story that you're going to get, and you haven't even opened up analytics yet.

And so you do with a sort of roleplay process in the planning stage, again, questions, information, excuse me questions, the information and the actions you're going to take based on the answers you get. And when you have all of that sort of role played out, then you go into Google Analytics and you make sure okay, I'm collecting the information that I need to collect in order to make sure that I can get the answers I need to get but they're all tied to your original plan to your point earlier. You know, you always tie it down to that original plan. And then at a certain point, if you do this in a certain way, then then you have the story where you can look at a report, whereas before, it was just a bunch of meaningless data, right? Like, to your point, it's like, there's so much data, the problem is not data, we have plenty of data. The problem is story. There's nobody out there, that's really understanding what the what data is important to pick at what time and for what purpose. And that planning process helps with the basic steps to get that done, is always associated to an action.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] What I love about that, too, is there's so many metrics, vanity metrics out there that we can get excited by, like, you know, maybe we had all of a sudden a 20% increase in visitors to the website, but if they're not converting, that means nothing, right. And so or, like, you know, we see our social media stats, and we're like, oh, you know, we had all these likes on this post, but it can mean nothing. So if you're tying it back to those original golden and original story, it makes it really easy to just focus in on the metrics that matter. And kind of shut up the rest of the noise.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, that's it. That's exactly right. And, you know, it's a perfect example of this social media stuff, I have a brand that we work with, it has over a million people in the Facebook group, which is substantial, like interactive, and yet, don't get many emails from that list, they don't transfer over into, you know, what I would call on site brand awareness. So off site brand awareness, for me is where you're aware of the brand, but it's on somebody else's platform. You know, like, like Facebook, in that case, on site is where they actually coming to your domain, like to your own walled garden, they're joining your community, right? And they're giving you an email because that's a that's a much deeper level of commitment. Right? They're further ahead in the conversation if I'm giving you an email, that's it, that's a whole different conversation. And and you're right, and not to see these vanity metrics.

Now I can smell a press Facebook would be like, Yeah, but what what muscles that it you know, where's the muscle? What does that actually achieving? What actions is that helping us to grow? And a lot of times it doesn't. And your numbers, which is what I like about the numbers is they are, they are representations of the market, right? That's how you listen to the market side of things. And the market will never lie to you. And it will be brutally honest at all times, they will give you a heads up where they will give you a thumbs down, they are never in the middle. And if you're wondering like Oh, I can't quite tell what they're saying. You didn't ask the right question. Because if you're if you're not sure what how the markets reacting to something, just because you didn't ask them, they will be brutally honest. As an example, like that was like nine person Facebook group, but nobody comes in and joins an email list. There's an obvious market going, Hey, thumbs up to your fun Facebook group with all the means thumbs down to what your what your brand is, though, because they're not willing to transfer over? It's good to know.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah, but to manage a group of that size takes effort, maybe even a full time staff person. So if you're putting your money and efforts into that, and it's not turning into dollars, or donors or whatever, you know, what is the real value there?

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, that's exactly right. And that's, that's the idea is the beauty, the beauty of measuring for the conversations happening between the website and the users, right, that you're sending to that site. The beauty of understanding that is, once you understand what the conversation is, you can adjust it. And if it's a good conversation, and they're doing the actions that you want them to take, and they're they're hitting your expectations in terms of how much they're donating, or how often they're donating whatever the action is you're trying to measure for. If they're doing that, then it's just a simple, Cool, let's go scale, let's get more people to do this, because the machinery is working. But if the machinery is not working, and they're not opting in, or they get to the donation page, and they all bail at that point, because it's just too hard to figure out or something like that, if there's a technical issue, you want to know about that. So you can adjust and change, right? So you can meet expectations. And that's, that's why it's important. That's why this you know, again, I data is a tough word, because it's so it's polarizing. But that's why it's important to understand the conversation to understand behaviors that are happening on your site. And the way you do that is with these platforms, right with these little measurement platforms that are out there. But that's why it's so important to do that. Because otherwise you have absolutely it's like, you know, being an owner of a store that you just like an offline store, but you it's all dark lights are off and everyone's wander around the dark. And how do you know what's going on? How do you know what they're picking up off the shelves? How do you know what they're purchasing? You don't. And that's a really rough way, you'd never do that in online store. Like I started with an offline store, you would never run it that way. But people do it all the time like that online, because they don't realize that it's how easy it is to do it the other way.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah, so let's talk about I mean, you've mentioned several tools already. But, you know, Google has a lovely suite of products that are free for people to use. Could you just kind of roughly talk about what they are and the differences like why we would want to use them all together as opposed to just relying on analytics.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah. 100% so when when you're measuring in general, your measurement systems, whatever you use, and it doesn't really matter if it's a you know, quote, unquote, push button, simple platform, or if it's analytics or anything else, any any tool you're using at all to measure what's happening on your site. And, and that for that conversation between the users and the web pages, Right, any of those platforms, you have to go through three key steps.

First is you have to collect the information. We talked about that a little bit in the planning process, because want to make sure it collects the information you need. So you can get answers to the questions you have, it's got to be able to store that information somewhere because you need to be able to reference it, or you need to be asked, Hey, what happened last month, or you know, six months ago, or yesterday, and it has to be able to report which means you have to be able to access that information in a way that makes sense to you. Right, so you can read it as a story. And understand Oh, this, again, getting back to the what we talked about before, oh, this is the traffic source that causes awareness. This is the traffic source that causes engagement, right? Something like that. So it has to collect, store and report.

Now a platform like Google Analytics does all three, just by itself, it collects its own information, it stores that information in its database. And then it builds reports, this is this is typically where people are interacting with the tools, they're looking at the reports that are there. And so but that's what it's done.

First, it's collected the information like pageviews, what pages they saw, things like that it's stored those in that information, and then it builds reports. So by itself, analytics is a great place to start, what the challenge is, and this is what again, this kind of goes with as the world grew up as the internet grew up, there were different behaviors that people needed to measure four. So for example, it's useful for me to know if somebody saw the homepage, and then went to the offer page, and then went to the cart page, and then went to the thank you page. That's super useful. However, what's more useful, and this is this is an example of what we measure for on our offer page, we haven't we have a our flagship product is a training membership site. It's called the measure marketing Academy where we train people how to use all this stuff. So in the measure marketing Academy page, yes, we measure when somebody lands on that page. But we also measure when they've been there 10 seconds, because at that point, we call it an introduced. So it's more than just an impression, we know they they're sticking around for 10 seconds. So at least they've been introduced to the concept of the measure marketing Academy, then we measure for interest. And that for us is when they've been on the page for at least 45 seconds. And they've scrolled down at least halfway to that through the copy for a period, you know, with that, so now I've got time plus scroll, that's there, then I want to see if they've investigated the offer. So what we do is we measure for a very specific behavior, which is when the pricing comes up into the view of the browser into the Chrome, browser, Safari, whatever they're using. So when that when that section of the page comes up, and is there for at least four or five seconds. And they're looking, you know, presumably they're looking at at that point, that's what we call investigation of the offer. And then did they click on the button to go to the next step, which is the initiate that they initiate to go to the cart. So we call this thing, the eyes and the journey report. But that's a very different set of behaviors, right? There's no real pageviews that first one's a page when the page first loads up. But everything else that's time and scroll, and do they even see a part of a paid for a period of time, people don't know, that's even possible to do that sort of stuff. But it is these free tools allow that.

The challenge is you can't use just analytics at that point anymore, you have to use a tool that's really good at collecting information. Analytics is okay at collecting information, it can collect things like pageviews. But there's a whole other tool, which is called Tag Manager, Google Tag Manager. And what that that tool does is it just collects behaviors, it just collects the information coming through, you tell Tag Manager, hey, when they've been there, 45 seconds, and they scrolled halfway through, and they've clicked on this third button down from the right, like you can, you can get very, very specific. And then tell Tag Manager when that happens, then go tell Google Analytics. So it can store that information in its database so that I can look at the reports at that point. And so that's how these two tools work together.

Tag Manager is much, much better at collecting for much more granular, more useful behaviors that are happening on a page, and then sends that information to Google Analytics, where it now stores information, it doesn't really collect information anymore it because it doesn't do that as better as good as tag manager does. It works with Tag Manager so that it stores information Tag Manager sending. And then there's another platform and this is for those that are in Google Analytics and you see reports and your eyes are sort of go cross eyed because there's a lot of information back there. Admittedly they do. That's it can be confusing. But the Google solve that with a with a program, they are another platform they call Data Studio.

So Google Data Studio, and that platform just does reports, but it does them very well. And so that's where you build your reports, to show just the information that you need to get answers to the questions that you're asking that we talked about in the whole planning stage. Right? So Tag Manager will collect the behaviors, because that's really built for collection. It does that incredibly well. Google Analytics really just stores information when it's being used in with all three of these tools, because that's what it does really well. It's basically big giant database of behaviors that are happening on the site. So it stores all the information. And then Data Studio comes along and use Data Studio to build these reports and dashboards that are so simple to read, because they are built by you for you to use to be able take actions that you won't be able to take and so they don't have a million different data points that's out there. You don't need those just looking for the answers of like, how many people made it through my funnel, what are my conversion rates, right? What's my average order volume that this traffic source worked way it was intended to? If not, you know, where did it break down so I can go Fix it, you know, and when would and then very quickly, you get to action that way. And that's why the whole Google suite now exists, because one platform just couldn't be big enough to do all of those really well. So instead, they're like, cool, we'll do Tag Manager to collect, we'll do Google Analytics to store information, we'll use Data Studio to build reports. And that's where the whole sort of trifecta comes together.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, and this is where I love when you, you know, mentioned earlier about the planning and the setup being critical, because if you can take that time on the front end to get all of those pieces operating, they talk beautifully with each other, because they're all part of, you know, one larger platform. But you know, if you're trying to validate your actions to your leadership, or you're, you know, doing things of that nature, that Data Studio will update regularly, you don't even have to go into run new reports. And so anytime they are looking at those links for those particular elements, it's all done for you. So that becomes like a major time saver, you know, as you're reporting out to other members of your team, as well.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, that's, that's exactly right, because you're able to show them exactly what they need to see, to get moving right to take the actions they need to take. In fact, when we when we teach dashboards, one of the things that we we mentioned is that we'll show a photo of a car dashboard. This is how you should think about your dashboards as a marketer is when you look at your car dashboard, you ever spirometer, you you driving down the street, you see how fast you're going? And you instantly know, do I hit the brake, or do I hit the gas instantly, you do not have to analyze it, you do not have to think about it, you don't have to go to committee to try to figure out what this means. You just know, based on the fact that you interacted with the information, you now know what action to take. That's how marketers dashboards should be. And it's not always possible to get to that level of simplicity. But that's kind of like the spirit animal, right? That we're trying to get to when it comes to dashboards is like your car dashboard.

So to your point, you can create a Data Studio dashboard for a client, or maybe for like a C level, what that's very general, we have one where we have like a thumbs up thumbs down, because they hate numbers, they just refuse it. So we're like, cool, we'll speak your language Thumbs up, thumbs up a thumbs up, things are good. Thumbs down needs attention. And that goes to somebody else. And their report has a little more details, right, a little more broken out steps, there's a little more fine tuning in the information that they get, because that other person is responsible for the actual machinery, the first person C level is just responsible for getting that person to go look at the machinery, right. And so with Data Studio, you can create very specific views of the report for the different levels that you've got to it's it's an incredibly useful platform. Yeah, the whole point is that you shouldn't have to spend three hours analyzing information people ask us all the time, like, I just wanna learn how to analyze my reports, I'm like, Well, if you have to do that, it's already too complicated. Right? What you should be learning for is how to build reports that don't require analysis, they just lead to action as fast as possible. That's what everybody wants nobody, including me. Like I'm I am, quote unquote, a numbers person, right, I get along with numbers just fine. I can handle a spreadsheet or two. But I still don't want to be in spreadsheets all day long. I don't want to be a lot of reports handed along, I don't want to be in Data Studio reports all day long, I have more important things I have to do for the company for the brands that we manage. And so we look at the days to report I spend maybe a minute or two and then I'm back out to work because I've got my feedback, just like driving a car, you know, so you can make those decisions and keep moving forward towards the ultimate goal.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] So when people start getting these things set up, and they get everything going, how long do they need to start collecting this information? For before they can get that meaningful information from it, because you can't just like set up Google Analytics in your report. And then like two days later be like, okay, we're ready to make a decision.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, that's exactly right. And the answer, the answer is kind of it depends. It's like the old consultant answer the growth depends. But it kind of does because it's based on traffic, you know, how much traffic you have? What what I would do, and we're a lower traffic site, right? Our topics candidate yours, so we're not going to have like 3 million people a day visiting us I doubt. But it being low traffic, the way that we handle this is into your, your, you know, your question of like, well, how much data is enough where you can actually take some sort of action? the truest answer is surprisingly little, actually, people think they need a lot and you don't, what you need is and this is a key phrase to write down. And remember, the truth isn't the trend, the power is in the pattern? Isn't the trend, the power is in the pattern? Yeah, that's what you need. So you don't need a bunch of information. What you need is trends and patterns.

So what we'll do is we'll look at day one, and let's say it's a brand new customer journey that we set up, you know, a sales funnel of some sort of whatever we're trying to measure the steps in between this and we always have an expectation, right, we always have an understanding of how the funnel should perform. So of you know, 100 people that see the page, let's say eight to 12% will go to the cart of those 35 to 40% will complete at this average amount, generating X amount of revenue. So we have all of that set aside in the beginning because we've planned all that out. We understand how this should be performing. Then we measure it to see is it performing and matching your expectations? Right? Does it does it match our forecasts? Because that's how we're going to know what part optimize, right? So we'll measure against our forecast and day one, if it comes in, okay. Right with it, where it's kind of hitting note in the range, then we might be alright. If day one comes in, and something's a little off, it just could be an outlier. So we still hold off. If day two, everything comes in a little off, we start looking at her already saying, okay, it's two days in a row where, let's say 2% of the people go to the cart, we expected 10% to go. But if only 2% go two days in a row, we're starting to see a pattern, right, two days. Now, the third day that happens again, we're making adjustments already. Because it's not working. Because we saw, but that's not because it was 2% because it was 2% three times in a row. Right? It's because there's a pattern there. Because we saw it as we started to see a bit a brief trend, where things were off. Now this is assuming there's no obvious, you know, break or something. You know, we've already investigated that. But but if that's what's going on, we'll already start to make adjustments, because it's just too low. Now, if it was like 8%, or 7%, or 6%, okay, fine. You know, we'll give it some time. Yeah, but if it's that big of a difference, where it's like horribly off, it, you don't need a lot of time to be able to make adjustments.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, I know we're hitting this home really hard. But I also think as organ as well as nonprofit organizations, specifically. And even just as content creators, we tend to think that everything, every idea we put out there is like, amazing, and everyone's going to love it. And, you know, I think it's always surprising, sometimes like the email opt ins that work really well. And the ones that don't, and you really have no idea unless you put them out and test them. And so I love this too, because it allows you to get out of your own individual head and your own ego and just say, Okay, well, we did this, and it didn't work. And that's okay, so now let's just do something different. And oh, my gosh, I can't believe this is what is resonating with our audience, like, let's double down on on this. So it allows you to kind of throw things out there and see what your audience actually wants kind of to your point of the Facebook group earlier. What's actually driving business and not what do we think is going to be driving business?

[CHRIS MERCER] Exactly. Yeah. It's funny how often that as marketers, we, you know, even if we're not consciously doing this, subconsciously, at least we do think we can tell the market what to do, you know? And then the markets like, No, we won't, we won't be doing that. And then to the level of your ability to measure is how fast you can fix that. So if you're not measuring at all, then you probably don't know the market saying no, you just know that you're not making money. But you have no idea why or how or what's broken, and then to the level that you can measure and get visibility into the machinery and see where the break off is and where they actually Oh, is with you. I clicked on your ad and I was interested, no, I actually scroll down. But I just never looked at the offer. Well, in that case, you know, it's body copy, it's they scroll down, you got them interested, but they you know, just not enough to even investigate the offer. So let's change that. We know that's where the issue is. It's not the offer, because we're not even seeing that. It's the copy. It's it's what our pitch was, it's how we communicated it. And so we you know, we know those actions, but it's it is it is heartwarming to me, like it is brutal and beginning to die. It's hard because the market, especially, you know, a thumbs up thumbs down thing they are they're just brutal. It's, it's, you know, but it's heartwarming to me now, versus before. And it was like, Alright, let's try this and have them, you know, punches in the face again on this, you know, because I get disheartened sometimes. But it's for me, it's the opposite now, because I am excited because I know they're going to tell me the truth. And I know they're going to tell me the truth in a fairly fast matter. Within a few days, I can see a pattern and get some sort of inkling as to Am I hitting the mark or not? And is this thing working the way it's supposed to? And that's in the market. If it works, and they like it, it tends to keep working for quite a while. Yes. Good. So it's like those wins are worth it, you know? Yeah.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] And I feel like if you put stuff out there, and you truly listen to your audience, um, and you come at things from an abundant attitude, you know, that data that you're getting those thumbs down, aren't knows they're just it's not right for me in this way, right?

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah. Yeah, it's You're right. It's not it's not not ever. It's just not in this way. Yeah, exactly. Right. That's a great way of looking at it.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, it's just the same as your email unsubscribes. Right. Like, don't get upset about people that are unsubscribing to your list, you're just wasting time and energy trying to convert somebody who's not going to convert anyway.

[CHRIS MERCER] That's exactly right. And it hurts you more than it helps you write them off your list. Yeah, you want the disengaged people to be you know, and that's, that's exactly right. In fact, you know, we try to measure for kind of an overall brand conversation I mentioned earlier, where we have like off site brand awareness.

So like our, the way that we build out our traffic, the way that we have found works really well is that we work on helping other people educate their tribes, and obviously, a certain amount of those people will come over and learn more about our stuff. That's if it's ready for them. You know, this is a case in point right? We're doing this podcast right now. So when you let me know the podcast is ready to go. We'll send traffic to it. So we'll pay in We'll send traffic over to your site to get we call off site brand awareness, which is they're kind of familiar with us. But really, we're, we're promoting you, who just happens to sort of secondarily promote us. But then they get retargeted to come on site where it's like, Hey, why don't you get the free toolbox membership, or maybe take a look at the academy or whatever else, and we'll measure for the interactions that they're having with the brand. And if that does not happen, for whatever reason, we're going to know where the breakdown is. And whether it's the ad needs to be changed, or, you know, a certain blog posts need to be updated or something else, because our measurement tells us that because measurement is to your point, measurement is how we listen to their side of the conversation.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I mean, you talked a lot about Google tools, what other tools are out there that people might want to consider or take a look at to help with this?

[CHRIS MERCER] I'll give you another free one that most people don't know about. It's something called Microsoft clarity. Have you heard of this? I have not. All right, that's good. It's brand new. So Microsoft came out with this, it's new ish, it's like six months or so now. So it's clarity.microsoft.com for anybody wants to go there. It is a free service that Microsoft has, and it's kind of Microsoft's foray into analytics as a platform. But where Google Analytics is definitely more tables and stuff like that, you know, an analysis and all of that, clarity was more built to to go after I think, what Hotjar does, Crazy Egg a little bit Lucky Orange, you know, true conversion tools like that. So it's very graphic focus, right. So it's, it's when you come in there, and it's really like about what they did. It's just a piece of script, you put it on the page, it's very simple to turn on. And within a few hours, you have information, there really is no setup, because of the data that's provided. So it's very easy setup, which basically means you literally just turn it on.

In this case, there's no real setup. But what I mean by the data provides is not giving you tables and rows of just bunch of numbers. What it does, though, is it shows you like hey, there's rage clicks, 3% of your, you know, clicks are rage clicks, and you're like, what's a rage click, and it's like, well, it's when somebody is clicking on the same spot over and over again, quickly, meaning they expected something to happen, but it didn't happen. So they clicked again, the button was broken, right? And we see this a lot of times with, you know, heat maps and scroll maps. This is what clarity is doing. So clarity says, oh, here's your rage clicks that are happening, they sort of group them off to the side. And they say, Well, here's the number, you know, percentage rage, click, if you want, you can go watch the videos of all the rage clicks. So you can see with them like, yes, please, let's go see those and see if Oh, maybe something was looks like a button that shouldn't be or maybe it was broken. And you start to see these sort of things. And that's just an example of a multitude of things.

And when I say things, I really mean behaviors of the behaviors that they're measuring for, and they're trying to show in a graphic way. Plus, of course, you know, the maps and, and all the other visual stuff that's there. So clarity, the fact that it's free, you know, is is a super, super Pro, it's super, super easy to install and start using. And I think that they nailed it in terms of, especially for beginners just starting out in the world of data, you know, quote, unquote, because they call it things like rage clicks, right? And it's like, oh, that just makes sense to me. Like, I get what's going on there. And I can go look and see and say, Oh, it's a certain page that seems to be this rage. Oh, it's this one area? That seems okay, cool. Now I go take an action, I can fix it. You know, so I'm a fan of of tools like that. And it's completely different than what you would get with analytics Tag Manager and Data Studio. So it's like a yes. And thing, right? You don't just use one or the other. You use both because it's different type of information. Because it's so visual.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I love Yeah, I'm a visual person. And I love like we use hot jar on a lot of our website, love clarity that Yeah, yeah. Because I think that the heat mapping thing is so cool to see. Also, just to your point of how long like how far down on a page are people scrolling, like you mentioned earlier? Like, yeah, we got to that page, but we never made it to the offer. Well, that is a very visual way to see how things maybe need to be adjusted.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yeah, exactly. Cuz it's two different conversations, you know, true story. Like we first started, we were doing scroll as well, right? Because I found a hot jar with Avatar accounts too. And we were doing scroll on our on our academy page on that mission market Academy offer page. And we would see like 76% of the people hitting the bottom. So we're like, Okay, well let's, you know, meet meet expectations. But why are they going to cart right? And that's where, at our level of visibility, we could only see so much. This is what I mean by with the markets like, Hey, we liked your stuff, but not enough to move forward. Right? They weren't going to the cart. So it was like, well, that's a weird way of the market saying like, yeah, that's okay. And you're like, Yeah, but I needed a thumbs up or thumbs down. And the scroll wasn't able to give us that answer. So when we use something like Tag Manager, say, hey, do they see this part of the page for at least four seconds, all of a sudden, you get a completely different response. Because like scroll, if you can, I know I've done this for a fact, but I'll come into a page and I'll scroll to the bottom see how much it is right? And then I go back to the top to see if I'm now that I've sort of passed that little pricing thing. I'm like, Okay, well, now let's see if it's worth it, and you start reading the page at that point. Well, if I go down to the page, Scroll to the bottom and then go back up to the top to all measurement platforms, it's gonna look like I scrolled. Yeah. And I and you think as a market, oh, good, they saw everything. But they didn't they scanned it. And it's and that's what I mean, when you start getting into measurement, you start realizing, oh, I can measure for that. And I can see are people scanning? Because if they're scanning, that's a very different problems to solve, then are they actually looking considering the offer, and then still not going to the cart? Because that's a different, completely different issue. And it's radically different actions that you would take as a marketer, if you knew that was the conversation, right? Yeah. So that's where it's useful to.

I'm a huge believer in you get good enough to get going. But then you always come back and make it better later. So start with hotjar, start with Microsoft clarity, get used to a story and be able to take some sort of action, you know, and then you come back and make it better later, by adding in, you get a little more used to Google Analytics. And then you make that even better by getting Tag Manager involved. And, you know, make it even better later with Google Data Studio and you constantly are in this journey of measurement. It's definitely not a destination. It's a journey. It's not a project. People think it's a project. It's not, it's a department. It's it needs resources. But it's it, there's nothing more powerful in organization than measurement, nothing. Because if you properly measure, you can tell me what's going to happen next week. And that's a rare, rare, rare talent to have. Yeah, we do it. We do it all the time. It's because we know our market, and we know how things are operating. We know the conversation we're having, and we can predict with reasonable certainty what's gonna happen next week, based on the marketing efforts we're putting in today.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, and I'm glad that you said, just get started and and get better over time. So as we kind of wrap this up, because I feel like this conversation could probably go on for days. What you know, what would be your if I mean, obviously, get all your code tracking codes on your website? Like, that's super easy, like you already mentioned. But once we've got the codes on our website, what is kind of the best first step for people? Is it that initial kind of three column chart that you talked about the planning phase? Or like, how would you encourage people to just get going.

[CHRIS MERCER] That's, that's what I would start with, because that is a it's a foundational skill to make sure that you have a plan. So you have to think about what questions that you need to get answered. And there are, and this, again, I'll give you the repeat the formula of how to do it. Don't overcomplicate this stuff, because the tools are already complicated enough. We don't need to make them more complicated. as marketers, I think we do. We don't have to. The reason I know this is because you can go Google seven questions every insert blank business model should be asking right, seven questions. Every e commerce marketer should be asking seven questions, every direct response, marketer should be asking seven questions, every whatever should be asking, you will see millions of blog posts with at that point 1000s of questions that will be there. And none of that matters. When you think about your questions. Just think about what results Am I getting? And ask those questions first, and then go cool. Now how am I getting those results? And ask those questions for whatever your funnel is, again, going back to? How many sales Am I getting? I don't know. Well, let's ask that. That's a good results question. How am I getting those sales? Well, let's go look at the customer journey. First is they have to hit this page. And they have to add this step in this step. And I need to know how you know where the breakdown is for those steps that need to measure for that to cool now I've got results on how questions and just keep doing that. And you will get better at asking questions. So muscle like anything else. We're using it the better you get. So get really good at asking, you know, results on how questions and just to your point earlier get started, right?

Get good enough to get going. You can always come back and make it better later. And you will. So you ask all your questions, then get make sure you all the information and where would you get it from. So it's, it's, you know, hey, I want to get this sales information from my cart, because it's going to be the best source of truth when it comes to that other stuff. I'll look in Google Analytics or Microsoft clarity, whatever the tool is. And then, most importantly, and this one will take practice, because practically nobody does this. But it solves so many problems is the action step. So what actions will I take based upon the answers I get? And remember, there's two benefits to this. One is that it definitely helps you roleplay things and you think about the actions. And now by the time you see this report, the story that you finally do get you've already role played the action. So you kind of already know what to do. Right? So so it makes the the from data from meaningless data to actually insightful action, it makes that a lot faster because of that step.

The other thing it does is it keeps you from measuring for measuring sake, which is what a lot of people start doing because they realize, I read a case in point where we had a client that learned that they could measure and something called UTM is in Google Analytics. But it basically is identifies traffic coming into analytics. And you can get really specific on these. And so they realized that they could do with email and say, Oh, I can I can finally know when somebody's opening my email. And they got to a point where they were putting into the depending upon which link in the email you were clicking on. Their plan was, oh, we're gonna know if it was paragraph 123456 or seven, whatever the paragraphs were, and then we're gonna know the paragraph number they clicked on. And I was like, okay, totally cool that you can do that. It's a lot of work to do that, but you can. So then I asked him, so what action Would you take, let's say, six months now you get this report that says, hey, paragraph number three is fantastic. What do you do with that? And they all looked around and they were like, actually, we don't know. Because we don't know what that means. Because every every email is different. It's something you're going to be short paragraphs on will be longer. So actually, the paragraph thing wasn't even useful, because they could take no action on it. And so they figured that out in the planning stage before they did all this work to get a bunch of data collected that they weren't even going to use anyway. So that's why that that planning stage again, questions, information, and action is so so important.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah, that's so good. Sorry, my dogs are going crazy right now.

[CHRIS MERCER] So this is this is the year to do that. It's perfect. Just blends in by now.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Anyway. Um, I love that. I think that's a perfect example. So that Yeah, don't measure for measurement sake. And it's always gonna tie to an action.

[CHRIS MERCER] Yes, if it doesn't tie to an action, then you've got to rework the question a little harder, ask a better question.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] So I know you guys have a lot of great resources and tools for people and to help train them and get them going. So you know, and we'll link all of this all of the resources that have been shared today, we'll link those up in the show notes. But, you know, What kinds of things do you guys offer for people so that they can get some support in this?

[CHRIS MERCER] Sure, absolutely. So obviously, our website measure marketing.io is a great place to kind of learn some stuff, we've got our flagship training program, which is the muscle marketing Academy, if that's a good fit for you. But we do have a free level of the membership, which is where I would suggest if you're just getting started, you want to see if this is kind of something that's going to be good for you, I would do that it's we call our toolbox membership. And if you go to measuremarketing.io/therapy. So measuremarketing.io/therapy, that's where you will find the toolbox membership. And in that it gives you access to weekly trainings. So you'll see you know, get different topics, you know, you can get an example of some of our trainings. And it will also give you about 40 different tools that everybody can start using today was specifically around the United traffic traffic tracking toolkit. There's one about building dashboards, there's one on, you know, optimizing and figure out what split tests to run, you know, if you need help with that. So there's lots of different tools that are built for our members that we make available to our toolbox members as well. So again, measuremarketing.io/therapywill get you there.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Awesome. Well, Mercer, thank you so much for joining me on this episode. I know we are actually carving out time in the second half of this year to like, build all of our data sets and tracking, because it's been a while since we've gone through that planning process. So this is very timely for me to kind of reinvigorate me to get down and do the work.

[CHRIS MERCER] Excellent. Yes. Is this exactly it's what you did is exactly right. It's like you got good enough to get going. And like you said later this year, like, Hey, this is our time to come back and make it better, because you're on your own journeys like everybody else's. Yep,

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I love it. Well, thank you so much.

[CHRIS MERCER] All right. Thanks. I appreciate you having me.

[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Big thank you again to Mercer for joining us. I mean, was that not incredible? Or what I am, like I said blown away, reinvigorated, ready to go. We're going to take some time at the end of this year and really kind of start to put our systems back into place and update them as I mentioned. So I hope that you found this to be helpful. I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway and you can share that with us in our Facebook community@facebook.com forward slash groups forward slash the first click, but for now, I'll let you go and process all of this information. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you'll subscribe where you listen to you don't miss out on a single episode and I will see you in the next one.


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