9 Data Sets That Filmmakers Need To Understand To Improve Their Global Online Marketing and Sales

Mashable asked a panel of online entrepreneurs about their most trusted analytic tools and on August 26th, 2013 - under Scott Gerber's byline - they published the results.

The pieces of data that these entrepreneurs measured regularly - and how these data sets were used to inform worldwide business strategies - should be very helpful to New World filmmakers. That's why I've copied the entire list of 9 analytic tools below. (NOTE: In an effort to help you to understand which of these tools might be especially useful to filmmakers, I've also lifted the explanations that 5 online entrepreneurs gave to Mashable about how a specific tool helped their businesses. The entire Mashable post is great, but it is just an intro. I encourage you, as you're planning your next film, to begin talking to a PMD or consultant who can help you to develop a web strategy that employs analytics.)

Before we get to the list of 9 tools (and how 5 of them are used in ways that might be particularly helpful to New World filmmakers), let me also say a few words about what I mean when I use the term New World filmmaker. It may help you to understand why these analytic tools are so important...

Filmmakers who started working before pervasive online video (remember YouTube only launched in April 2005) grew up with certain ideas about the business of film. And even today, much of what young filmmakers are hearing about the business of motion pictures is coming from Old World experts. Unfortunately, much of the Old World stuff just isn't true or useful any longer. Sure... getting a deal from a distributor at a festival still happens. Occasionally. And there are still cultures that use whale oil to light their lamps. But if you want to live and work in the 21st century...  Going it alone, to hunt down behemoths using Old World technology...  Well... let's just say, that isn't your only choice. The online communities that are supporting New World motion picture culture don't live by the Old World rules. If you want to optimize how your content is discovered, shared and monetized in the 21st century - you need to appreciate the New World tools that can help you. And the Old World guys (you'll know them because they'll be talking about how to obtain a deal at a studio, or perhaps they'll offer to advise you on film festival strategy or the hero's journey...) probably don't know how to improve organic SEO or tweek mobile advertising.

With all that out of the way... here is a list (from Mashable) of 9 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that New World filmmaker should consider (depending on your film and your unique marketing strategy, of course).

1. User Acquisition Costs

"If you are in the e-commerce world and you don't know how many users are landing on your page, the conversion rate of users to paying customers and the cost of that user landing on the page (versus the profit you make in sales), you may not be in the industry too long. SEO is one way to get an audience, but sometimes you have to pay for users, and you have to know what that converts to. If you have returning clients, it's important to know the average retention you will have, as well. We track so much information on our users at TuneBash. There is a great quote that I use, and it's good for the e-commerce world: "If you can't measure it, you can't control it." - Joseph Ricard, Tunebash Inc

2. Abandoned Carts

3. Google Analytics Experiments

"In Google Analytics, you can now set up split tests called "experiments." You can set goals and run multiple pages against one another. Rather than guess what works on your Web pages, I highly recommend you split test all important elements. I bet you'll often be surprised at the results. They're not always intuitive." - Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.com

4. Visitor Value

5. Lifetime Value

6. Traffic

7. Lead Source ROI

"Many online businesses start advertising on the Web without actually tracking the ROI of each particular lead source. By diligently tracking this metric, you can know which particular lead sources are profitable and which ones to cut. On a deeper level, you can use this to split test advertisements on a granular level to find out which ones will maximize your ROI and develop the best ads." - Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

8. Purchase Funnel

"Beyond the obvious metric of CPA (cost per acquisition), we tend to focus on the purchase funnel. Understanding where and when a customer drops off the sales process is just as important as understanding the conversions coming in. Without understanding this, you cannot optimize and refine for increased conversions." - Adam Cunningham, 87AM

9. Percentage of Mobile Visits

"If you don't have a mobile-optimized website, you are in trouble. My company creates a monthly report based on mobile usage, and we were stunned to learn that approximately 20 percent of our users view our website on a mobile device. Take a look at analytics and work to create the best shopping experience possible across all mobile devices." - Andrew Saladino, Just Bath Vanities

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