#MeetTeamBacke: Heather Coombs

Using data analytics to glean actionable insights

Account Manager Heather Coombs’ responsibilities include providing analytics reporting to several of our clients. I asked her to talk about this discipline and share her experiences.

Moss: What’s your background, and how long has data analytics been part of your job?

Heather: I went to school for sport media, but ended up in advertising shortly thereafter. I dabbled in analytics a little bit when I was first out of school and just learned on the fly. At first people were just measuring clicks, impressions, and leads generated; but over the years it has become so much more in-depth. I’ve done a couple of Google classes and certification trainings to learn the ins and outs. It hasn’t always been a huge part of my role, but it’s growing now because people are focusing on it so much more.

Moss: What’s the toughest thing about doing analytics?

Heather: If something isn’t performing well right off the bat, it’s tempting to change tactics immediately. But once you put a strategy in place, you really ought to stick with it and see what trends form over several months; and sometimes that’s hard. You can’t look at a campaign after only a week and decide it’s not working. Eventually things may come around, and in the meantime, there’s still a lot you can learn.

Moss: What’s your favorite part?

Heather: When things work! When you put a campaign into place and it’s very successful, that’s probably the most fun thing.

Moss: Can you describe a typical project from beginning to end?

Heather: That’s hard, because every client has different needs. For some, banner ads or Google pay-per-click may be the best thing. Others may benefit from print ads with custom UTM codes or vanity URLs. Some may need to evaluate how well a website is performing. There are ways to do a lot of different media and track everything in analytics. But you always start with figuring out what your goals are and putting a strategy together.

I think the biggest trick is understanding your audience – where they are and what their mindset is. Then you create content that’s relevant and piques their interest. (That’s tricky in the digital realm, because you’re constrained by banner ad sizes and character limits; so, getting a clear, concise message is very important.) Then, once your campaign is deployed, you just log in every day, track it, and see how things are performing.

Moss: What kinds of insights can you gain?

Heather: The data can usually show you what’s working and what’s not. You may find that certain tactics, geographical regions, or age groups are performing better than others. If something is working really well, obviously you want to shift more budget toward it.

Moss: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about using analytics?

Heather: Yeah – do it! 100%. Smaller companies or organizations often think, “we don’t know how to use analytics, and we don’t know if it’s valuable.” But especially when you have a small budget, you really should use analytics to make sure you’re spending your dollars effectively. Otherwise, you’re just throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks.

Stay tuned to Backe social, when we unravel the mysteries behind an ad team’s every day work – from design to strategy to social media and more – in our #MeetTeamBacke series.

Backe is a digital marketing and brand communications agency, focused on creating smart, beautiful and strategically driven work. We build communities, relationships, and meaningful connections.