What are Digital Marketing channels and why should I analyze them?

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marketing and sales channels, in general, are the means used by companies to reach their potential customers. This definition is quite general, but it is important to express the essence to understand and analyze your marketing channels.

To explain further, let’s consider some examples.

First, we can think of sales channels division that the CEO of a major electronics company does: ecommerce, call center, partners and stores.

One level below, we think that the manager of the physical stores channel this company divides the channel into two others: wholesale and retail.

Still, the wholesale manager of that company divided the channel into three main stores, located in different regions of Brazil.

sales channels

Now, think of a small business services. In it, the CEO divides the business in the following channels: references (former customer referrals, friends, acquaintances), Inbound Marketing , repurchases (new sales to customers who have already purchased) and events (customers acquired in business events).

sales channels

We note that the definition of what are the sales channels vary from business to business, but the channel definition is the same: are different ways to acquire new customers .

Another interesting factor to note is that each channel will have specific characteristics: they are addressed, the required investment, the expected return, the type of client is acquired, how “prepared” to buy the channel Leads are, and several others. Therefore, it is important to find metrics “standardized” to be able to compare channels with very different characteristics, such as ROI and sales cycle.

The Digital Marketing is a customer acquisition channel that did not exist even before the internet creation. But we need to understand is precisely the channel subdivisions within the Digital Marketing to consider the specific characteristics of each of them, finding the right metrics to compare them with each other and maximize the return that each gives your business.

Knowing the importance of knowing and analyzing digital marketing channels to optimize your results, we now understand what these subdivisions and what to do to be able to analyze them.

What are the main digital marketing channels?

Despite the definition of channels is wide in Digital Marketing there are some patterns due to the fact that all actions are disclosed by some “middle” (or media). Therefore, the very Google has created some standard definitions to be used in Google Analytics and end up being used by many other companies. In the very RD Station we rely quite this default setting.

In this division, the main channels are shown:

1. Social

Because of the importance that social networks have gained attention by winning the applicant of its members (Facebook, for example, has an average of 1.28 billion users every day – Data March 2017), they have become a great channel for companies show presence with content relating and acquire new contacts.

Want to know how? How about this post on how to generate Leads with social networks? .

2. Email

One of the first tools of digital communication, email has its well-established importance today. It remains the most used by most companies to engage with their contacts.

It is estimated that there are 4.3 billion email users worldwide, receiving around 269 billion emails per day (data from January 2017).

3. Organic Search

As well as social networks, search engines represent one of the major hubs of the internet audience. Only Google focuses more than 3.5 billion searches every day (data for May 2017).

One of the important points of this channel is the fact that in many cases the public that research on a subject one already is aware of whatever (ie, are usually more advanced in the purchase journey ).

4. Reference

Just as these sites “known” (as Google and Facebook) can bring traffic to your site, any other site on the internet can be an access channel to its just you to be referenced in it.

In practice, this translates into your content being played by several other sites, either in partnerships that you establish ( co-marketing , guest posts and link building, for example) or simply for its content be good enough for other people want to share it.🙂

So any link to your site that is available on any web page ends up becoming a possible sales channel! Also, having your very referenced content is a well regarded by criteria search engines, that is, can be a good influencer of your SEO.

5. Direct Traffic

This channel is who comes directly to your website without having the origin on another web page, that is, that person probably already know your site and typed in the address directly in the browser.

You want to delve into the subject? Check out this post on how to make good use of the Digital Marketing channels .

6. paid media

Just as it is very important to have presence in all digital marketing channels presented above, the main hubs of the hearing today build business models by providing the “sale” of the trial.

Even if it is impossible for you to reach a certain audience on Facebook, or too hard to show up first in Google for a very important keyword to your business, you can use paid media to disseminate get to the right audience.

For convenience, I will divide into three types of media buying that can be made:

Social Ads

Sponsored links within the social networking feeds, such as Facebook and Instagram

ad on facebook ads

paid search

Sponsored links in search engines like Google

ad in the search - google adwords

Display Networks

Sponsored links in space “bought” into other sites.

Ad Display Network

And now? Just do my analysis and start generating more results?

Calm! We are almost there!

To analyze your the best channels, it is very important that you understand how the analysis tools classify traffic coming from different places, because only then you can set up your campaigns and links the right way so that in the end, you can have the analysis you need.

Most tools use the UTM tags as the main form of classification of the channels, and use them today is considered almost mandatory to make you have a reliable tracking of their digital channels.

One consequence of the use of non UTMs is, for example, the impossibility of separating the organic results and paid within social media.

The adaptation can often be hard at work to change the links already available in campaigns, but I guarantee that the results are worth it! Only in this way you will be using all digital marketing potential, which has as one of the great advantages tracking actions.

Let us understand a little better how they work.

You may have noticed that ever shared a link and the address came with some common parameters, written this way: utm_medium , utm_source , utm_campaign , and others.

These parameters are inserted in each URL so that whenever someone accesses the site through that link, to get to know exactly where the visitor came. There are five parameters standard variations:

  • Medium : is normally the most important parameter and is the media or the medium used in spreading the link in question. Normally, this parameter we want to identify which main channel the visitor is coming (example: utm_medium = email indicates that the link is being released in a mail campaign, utm_medium = paidsearch indicates a disclosure in the paid search channel)
  • Source : indicates the site / visit the source application. This is often the page address where the visitor found the link on which it is clicking (eg in a disclosure made on Facebook, the source would be utm_source = facebook )
  • Campaign : This parameter is intended to indicate the campaign which the link refers, regardless of channel or source. Think of a rich new material you are spreading via email, Facebook, paid search … All these links can have the same campaign, in different sources and mediums
  • Term : This parameter is usually used to identify the keywords purchased on search campaigns paid.
  • Content : The content parameter is usually related to an A / B test , identifying which of the variations of the test is being clicked. Therefore it is common to see, for example, the parameter contains the text of a button is clicked or a test variation of the identifier in question (A, B, C …)

We have one post on traceable URLs, by teaching you use, creating and giving some practical examples.

Read on: URL Builder: Learn to use Google URL builder in 5 steps .

In a next post, I will bring some more advanced concepts for you to understand how you can make the performance analysis of your digital marketing channels in different situations, with practical examples of reports that you can build.

Meanwhile, how about taking a look at our eBook on Web Analytics and go deeper in the subject?

eBook “Web Analytics in practice”

How to measure your efforts in Digital Marketing and identify key opportunities for improvement

You got a question? You want to add something? Bring your opinion in the comments!