Understanding Key Marketing Metrics for Your Business


With a flood of customer data and the right CRM to make sense of it all, you might still be wondering about the differences between descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics.

  • Descriptive analytics 
  • Predictive analytics 
  • Prescriptive analytics 

These terms have been bandied about in marketing circles for so long that their meaning has become a little blurred over time.

The thing to bear in mind is that each successive phase follows from the one before in that to predict what will happen next (predictive analytics) you need to know what has happened already (descriptive analytics), and to know a course of action to take (prescriptive analytics) you should be working with an informed opinion of how your customers are likely to act (predictive analytics). 

Web Analytics Vs. Marketing Analytics 

Business owners are most likely going to be focused more on marketing analytics than web analytics per se. Web analytics focuses on things like page load times and the total time that a given customer spent on your website, which can be helpful to know…but indirectly. 

What you really want is marketing analytics since these are the business metrics that you likely care about. Marketing analytics are important for two reasons—this kind of data is focused on your customers and, secondly, it looks at how well you're doing with your blog, eCommerce, your overall website, social media, and your email marketing campaigns. 

In some sense web, analytics are a bit drier in that they just tell you about things that would be of interest to a webmaster (e.g., load times). Marketing analytics, on the other hand, clue you into the actions and opinions of your leads and loyal customers while keeping you constantly up-to-date on how well you're moving each through the sales funnel. 

Descriptive Marketing Analytics 

The most basic level of analytics is descriptive marketing analytics. Descriptive analytics tell you what happened using data aggregation (i.e., summarizing a wealth of customer data and marketing trends through statistical analysis) and data mining to help make more sense of what you uncover. 

Descriptive marketing analytics give you more information on all of your social media subscribers as well as prospects and leads at various stages of your sales funnel. Descriptive analytics, as you can probably already tell, is a huge field that encompasses an array of marketing channels.

Relevant Business Metrics 

For practical purposes, though, most business owners want to know more about how well their website is performing and how they can improve their social media presence. 

Descriptive marketing website analytics will give you more information on how well your content marketing is affecting things like traffic, leads, clicks, and page views. 

Recalling that descriptive marketing analytics gives you past data and answers the question of "what happened?" Descriptive analytics includes things like your marketing investment across channels and, in turn, the return on investment that your marketing investment in those channels yielded (e.g., social media marketing's ROI for your company).

As descriptive analytics also includes data on your leads, you should be receiving detailed reporting on the number of leads who made it deep into your sales funnel and became customers.

Descriptive marketing analytics go a few steps further than web analytics in that marketing analytics tell you which of your channels is producing the most leads and ROI (e.g., this month's email marketing ROI > social media ROI) and relate that ROI back to your overarching business goals. 

Predictive Marketing Analytics 

If descriptive marketing analytics tell you what has happened marketing-wise with your leads and customers, then predictive analytics answers the logical follow-up question: what's going to happen next?

It's actually now possible to predict your future content marketing success or the ROI of an upcoming product based on what customers on social media are saying about your brand. Just be careful to focus on what are known as "quality" metrics like high customer satisfaction ratings and positive re/tweets rather than "vanity" (or quantity) metrics like the sheer number of followers you have. (iprospect)

Predictive analytics goes beyond social media, though, and takes a big picture view of your leads. In particular, predictive marketing analytics should give you a very clear idea of the movement of leads in your sales funnel and how likely those leads are to move down the funnel and be converted into customers. 

Prescriptive Marketing Analytics are the Future

The predictive phase of marketing analytics can also be thought of as a sequel to descriptive analytics—you've gone from understanding the data to predicting what your customers will do next—and also as a prequel to the third phase of marketing analytics, prescriptive analytics. (ClickZ)

Prescriptive analytics will tell you what to do and provide a playbook for possibly reshuffling your marketing approach, social media presence, lead nurturance, and overall engagement with your customers.

Subscribe to our BLOG

Stay in touch & learn how to attract customers, become a thought leader, create effective marketing campaigns, & more.


6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About


You might also be interested in:

Marketing Management Analytics to Enhance Overall Business Success

How to Crush Your Local SEO Marketing

Content Marketing SEO for your Business Blog


Topics: Analytics

Direct Images Interactive is an inbound marketing agency specializing in high-impact video production and online graphic design. We are centrally located between Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Come see us at The Gate in San Leandro, a thriving tech-hub of innovators. What can we do for you?

Learn more   How do you launch & measure a remarkable inbound marketing campaign? Get the tools you need.  Download tool kit.
Contact us  Share your challenges with us! We'll help you achieve your goals and ease your pain.  How can we help you?
Call us  Want quick answers to your problems?  What’s better than picking up  the phone and calling us?  510-613-8299 <>
The Power of Choice VOD

Recent Blog Posts

In-Sites LIVE! Video