All digital marketing activity is measurable. Right?

It’s nice to think that’s the case and there are a lot of people who believe it, but unfortunately it’s simply not true.

The reasons for this are numerous, not least that companies are struggling to keep up with the constantly shifting digital landscape.

In the past digital analytics mainly focused on desktop activity, but now businesses have to employ a broader range of analytics products to measure activity across relatively new channels such as mobile and social. 

The new Econsultancy/Lynchpin Measurement and Analytics Report examines the extent to which different analytics tool are used by surveying more than 1,000 digital professionals.

Web analytics predictably came out as the most widely used (36%) followed by Excel (90%).

The fact that Google Analytics is available for free is clearly an important factor behind the almost universal use of web analytics.

Which data-related tools or types of technology do you use?

Two-thirds of respondents (65%) use some form of social analytics while 27% are ‘planning to use’ them, which is indicative of the fact that businesses see value in social media interactions but are still getting to grips with how to measure the ROI.

At the other end of the scale, only a third of respondents are using attribution (33%) or campaign automation (33%) software.

These kind of technologies are widely seen as an effective way of driving increased ROI from marketing campaigns, so one would perhaps expect more companies to be using them.

Free vs. paid-for tools

Competition among analytics vendors is fierce, with many offering versions of their software for free as a way of attracting new customers.

The Measurement and Analytics Report asked respondents whether they use free or paid-for tools across the range of technologies listed in the previous chart.

The responses largely reflect the extent to which tools have become, or are set to become, commoditised.

Tag management is the tool most likely to be used for free (55%), and this is attributable to the launch of Google Tag Manager.

The search engine and tech behemoth’s entry into this market is reminiscent of the launch of Google Analytics a few years ago, which resulted in other vendors needing to differentiate quickly or die.

For mobile analytics and web analytics, companies are at least twice as likely to be using exclusively paid-for technology as free tools, while the paying and non-paying percentages are similar for attribution, session monitoring and social analytics.

Do you use paid-for or free technology for the following tools?