Analytic Tools – Understanding the Impact Referrals

Data, data, data. It’s all about data. But understanding your data is not always easy. For example, if want to know what exactly spiked traffic to your website — or better yet, sales! — you can sometime trace that back to a discrete event or marketing effort. But more often than not, it is difficult to draw direct inferences to the spikes and troughs on your Google Analytics data charts. Of course understanding that information is the key to making smart, data-driven decision that can make or break your business.

Knowing what your data is trying to tell you is made even more difficult when your in-person and offline marketing efforts come into play. Was it the billboard that attracted new customers or was it referrals? Its really much harder than it ought to be to know that information.

The older version of Google Analytics — the so-called Universal Analytics — provided users a way to make notes or annotations on their charts so that they could remember when they launched an Ads campaign, started a new ShareSomeFriends campaign, posted something viral-worthy on social-media, or sent out the a successful promo email. But even then, the way that it was displayed and the need to log into your Google Analytics chart to make those annotations was so burdensome that even the most savvy marketers gave up. For the marketers like myself relied upon annotations to understand what my data better, the recent news that Google is ENDING Universal Analytics and forcing everyone to upgrade to GA4 was a bit disturbing.

Like many changes in life that we are reluctant to take at first, it turns out that an Analytics upgrade may actually help out after all. That’s because a much improved solution for Google Analytics annotations in GA4 is provided by a company called GAannotations that has allayed my fears. Why? Two reasons will suffice: First, they provide a way to automate annotations when a promo email is sent or when social media posts appear. Second, the annotations appear clearly on your Google charts — they are easy to see, almost like a sticky note. They also have a Chrome Extension that allows you to add GA4 annotations directly from the browser. This is super helpful for offline efforts. For example, the day we start a new in-person referral campaign, we can make an annotation using the extension and bingo – it appears on my Google Analytics page.

Data is critical. But understanding your data is even more critical. Happy that someone bested Google’s own methods and provided a great solution for online and offline marketing efforts.


Reach Referrals Using Custom Audiences

So you’ve recently generated referrals using ShareSomeFriends. Great!  You have scrubbed the list and your team is now working through the qualified leads doing their utmost to turn them into new customers.

The question is: What else can you do?

Answer:  Create a custom audience using the contact information of the referrals gathered to advertise to these new leads via Facebook, Pinterest and Google Adwords .  This is an effective way to ensure your message reaches these potential customers before and after your sales team has made contact. Moreover, once you have a custom audience in any of these platforms, you can create “lookalike” or “similar” audience to serve your ads to a similar demographic.

Creating a custom audience on Facebook is quite easy. In the upper left of the Ads Manager page, click the menu icon and select Audiences. Then click Create Audience > Custom Audience > Customer File > Add customers from your own file or copy and paste data. You can use the cell phone numbers alone as the identifier that will allow Facebook to match the numbers with active accounts. Then you can give the audience a name and hit Next.

Facebook will automatically match those phone numbers with the associated Facebook accounts and you can then create an ad that targets those specific people. What’s more, you can ask Facebook to create a “lookalike” audience based on your new custom audience, a feature that might help you uncover even more business. It just takes a few minutes to create the audience and then you have an effective way to re-market to these leads. There is a minimum audience required of 200 people. Learn more about creating a Custom Audience on Facebook.

By creating a custom audience from your list of referrals, you’ve just amplified the positive impact your direct phone and SMS follow-up methods can have.

The process of creating a custom audience is similar on Pinterest. Here’s a resource article from that platform.

For Google Adwords, read this article. With Adwords, you can also create “similar” audiences which expand your reach!

All of these methods are simple to implement and help you reach your growth goals!