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How to Use Layered Metrics to Avoid False ROI

Layered metrics can be used as a kind of shorthand to refer to metrics that track multidimensional data. For example, tracking site visits or unique page views doesn't give you a lot of deep information, but using advanced segments and other analytics features does.

Connecting accounts like AdWords to your analytics also has a domino effect on data gathering, creating a more complete picture.

Gathering better data with layered metrics

How can you take a standard metric and make it more complex, in turn gathering not necessarily more data, but better data? In short, how do you avoid false ROI?

  1. Start with any surface metric that you think will become useful.

  2. Decide which goal the metric is going to support.

    This step gives you an idea what information you need to layer on top of it.

  3. If you use Google Analytics, you're going to want to create a dashboard for the metric and create custom reports tracking advanced segments for the metric.

    The dashboard you create will house some of your layers for this metric.

  4. Inside the dashboard, create custom widgets by clicking the New Widget button.

  5. Set up your spreadsheet outside of Google Analytics to gather data from other sources and to import CSV data from Google Analytics.

  6. In Google Analytics, go to the Custom Reports section and create more detailed reports using advanced segmentation to track aspects of the metric.

    You can track metrics like demographic data, time of day of engagement with the brand, and other information.

  7. After you create your dashboard(s) and reports, do a weekly review to ensure that you're collecting data that supports your goal.

    If you aren't getting useful information, go back in and make adjustments.

  8. Use the data that you're collecting to make projections about your goal.

    These data-driven projections will help you create better goals and reach success faster.

  9. As you get better and faster at sifting through the data, make micro campaigns using social media tools.

    These micro campaigns will help drive traffic where you want it to go on your website (or drive interaction and engagement with specific calls-to-action).

  10. Use the data to project business goals into the next year.

    You can even project five years ahead as you get better and better at understanding the data you're receiving.

Reaching your goals with layered metrics

Building a layered metric structure sounds complex, but it really isn't. The hardest part is setting it up. As long as you follow through with good content, customer responsiveness, and calls-to-action that convert, a great layered metric will help you reach your goals.

After you start reaching your simpler goals, you can add in offline data (as you get better at collecting it) to truly see how layers can improve the information you gather.

If you have to generate reports on a regular basis, putting this data into visual form will help you. Use the spreadsheet to create charts and graphs over time that show a variety of data points intersecting with the goal and then tie these in to brand sentiment data to show where you need outward facing improvements.

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