How to Measure the Success of Your Online Marketing Campaigns

Britney Schroeder
By Britney Schroeder

Before you move forward with launching any of your campaigns it’s important to have clearly outlined goals for each one. Without key goals and metrics in place it will be hard to truly understand the impact of your campaigns. The types of goals you will set will vary greatly depending on the overall goals of your business and how you measure success. Here are some examples of the types of goals you may set for your campaigns.

Driving Revenue

For e-commerce businesses driving revenue will often be the goal of online campaigns. In terms of setting goals here, you should look at the audience you are targeting with your campaigns. Are you marketing your product primarily to users who have purchased before? Is your goal to reach new users who have never interacted with your brand? When you have a clear understanding of your audience you can begin to set reasonable goals for what type of return you should expect to see on your campaigns.

Key Metrics to Consider

When measuring the success of your revenue-oriented campaigns you can of course start by looking at the revenue directly attributed to these campaigns. However, this number can often prove to be irrelevant without the proper context. When looking at revenue numbers you should always be keeping in mind your return on advertising spend (ROAS). This percentage takes into account the ad spend factor. For example, if you spent $50 and returned $100 in revenue your ROAS would be 100%. But, if you spent $50 and returned $300 your ROAS would be 300%.

Even when looking at these numbers it’s important to dig a little deeper. If I asked you’d prefer to see a 300% or 200% ROAS on your campaigns you’d likely say 300%. For some companies, this is the better call, for others that are looking to scale they may want to see a 200% ROAS if the overall revenue is higher than when you would have achieved 300% ROAS.

Brand Building

While driving online revenue is a great goal to have, another often equally important goal to consider is increasing your brand awareness in target markets. As online marketing continue to get more and more competitive it’s important to educate users on the value of your product. If you are a newer brand, or simply looking to reach new audiences, brand awareness campaigns are an important strategy to incorporate into your overall marketing mix.

So, who exactly should these campaigns target? When you are running brand building campaigns you are most likely looking to reach new users but you can also deploy them to nurture current prospects and customers. Increasing the average order value or average lifetime value of existing customers it a great goal to have. It will always cost you more to acquire a new customer than to nurture an existing one. When deciding which audience to focus on remember while metrics may vary there  there is immense value in each.

Key Metrics to Consider

When you are measuring brand building campaigns you can start by looking at the level of efficiency of your campaigns in terms of how many eyes you are getting in front of and at what cost. These metrics will likely include the number of impressions, the click-through-rate (CTR) and the cost-per-click (CPC) are all pretty standard. From there, you can dive into the on-site metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, and pages per session.

This allows you to determine which of your brand building campaigns are driving the most qualified users to your site. Sometimes the traffic driving the lowest CPC is not always the highest quality so it’s important to keep both in mind so you can drive the best users to your site possible. If you are driving completely new users to your site versus nurturing existing users you should expect this traffic to come at a higher initial cost. However, as you continue to engage users and drive them through the funnel you should expect to see that cost go down.

Driving Leads

If you are looking to increase the amount of leads in your sales pipeline running campaigns with the goal of driving new leads is a great way to drum up business. These type typically for more B2B companies or businesses whose product has a longer sales cycle that often involves speaking with a sales professional or consultant.

Key Metrics to Consider

Two important metrics to keep in mind when driving leads is your cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Your CPL tells you how much on average you have to spend to get a new lead. Your CPA on the other hand tells you how much on average you have to spend to acquire a new customer. CPL will most often be lower, unless every lead you drive converts, so it’s important to focus on your CPA if you can.

One thing that can hold companies back from tracking this metric is if you are not able to follow all of your leads through the buying cycle and see which convert. Using a CRM to track your leads can help you match the leads driven by your campaigns and how well they converted. If you’re not focused on the quality of the leads being driven at the top of the funnel your campaigns can end up upside down from a return perspective.

Build Your Email List

Continuing to build out your email list with qualified subscribers is always a good goal to have. The key here is to add qualified user to your list. Whether you are an ecommerce business or offer your customers a service growing your list should always be a key focus. For ecommerce businesses in particular email should be a revenue driving channel with the right campaigns and promotions in place.

Key Metrics to Consider

As noted above, one of the most important things to consider when building your list is the quality of emails you are capturing. While it’s nice to increase the size of your list we would rather have a list of 5,000 people that are highly qualified and engaged than 50,000 subscribers that don’t see the value in the services or products that you offer. You can measure your list building campaigns by CPL and try to optimize your campaigns to be as cost-effective as possible. But make sure you don’t end up sacrificing lead quality at the top of the funnel.

One way to do this is by tracking these top of funnel leads through the entire sales cycle. While the lifecycle of a buyer will vary company to company it’s important to keep this top of mind. This way you can see which audiences prove to be most qualified when it comes to capturing user’s emails that actually engage with your content and ultimately convert.

Breaking Down Your Audiences Into Cold, Warm, And Hot Traffic

An effective way of differentiating these audiences is into cold, warm, and hot traffic. This allows you to set clearer goals for each of your campaigns by taking into account the audience you are targeting. While it can be difficult to clearly divide up these audiences at times it provides a great baseline and place to start when it comes to building out your campaigns.

Cold Traffic: Increase Awareness

Cold traffic is users that have never been to your site before and are unfamiliar to your brand. Campaigns targeting these users would be looking to bring new users into the site and hopefully nurture them through the funnel to convert. As discussed above, it typically cost more to acquire a new customer than to get an existing user to convert. For that reason, you may expect to see a higher CPA with cold traffic.

The value of targeting cold traffic is that you are building up your audience of users you can remarket and nurture through the sales cycle. If you only focused on your existing site traffic you would inevitably be limiting the amount of revenue and traffic you can see. However, when you open things up to cold traffic you have the opportunity to increase your overall audience size and the total revenue you can drive.

That said, not every cold traffic user you target will convert on the first touch. They need to be nurtured and educated on the brand story. For larger brands that cold traffic may already be aware of less of this will be necessary. However, if you have a smaller brand you will likely need to do more educating at the top of the funnel.

Warm Traffic: Nurture to Purchase

When consider what to classify as warm traffic remember that these are users that have seen your brand, whether it be from visiting your site organically or from a cold traffic ad you targeted them with. Ads targeting warm traffic will typically be looking to add additional value and educate users further on the brand while giving them the push to convert.

A major goal with warm traffic is to get them to take an offer. For an ecommerce site this may be as simple as getting them to use the introductory discount that you are offering them. If your goal is lead gen you likely would be looking for them to take some sort of download or engage with new content you push out. Try to cater your content and offers to the key problems your audience faces and remember that the goals of your campaigns should always reflect the overall goals of your business.

You should expect to see warm traffic converting at a higher rate and lower cost than cold traffic but remember that these users have never purchased from you before so you will likely have to incentivize them to take action. A key audience you will likely want to target is users who have added products to their cart but have yet to purchase.

Hot Traffic: Target Post Purchasers  

Hot traffic consists of users who have purchased from you in the past. The goal here to get them to take the next step whether that be ordering again or learning more about another service you offer.

Hot traffic should convert at the highest rate out of all of your audiences as these are users that are highly qualified to purchase and have hopefully experienced the value of your products or services first-hand. The same rule applies when someone first joins your email list after making a purchase. This is the time when they are the most engaged with your brand and most likely to open your emails and make another purchase.

As we’ve discussed it’s equally important to nurture hot traffic is as it to reach out to new users. For this reason, you should always be looking to educate hot traffic on the products or services that are most relevant to them. The more you can continue to build that relationship with them the more likely they are to remain loyal to the brand and become repeat purchasers.

Wrapping It Up

The biggest mistake online marketers can make is not having clear goals and expectations for the campaigns they are running online. It’s fine to change these goals as your campaigns mature but it’s important to understand the key metrics you are looking to measure and how they tie back up to your core business goals.

If you aren’t sure how your marketing campaigns are directly relating your business’s’ bottom line you should start from square one and consider what key metrics you need to hit in order to make your business a success. When you lose sight of those goals it’s easy to look back a campaign and feel unsure of whether it truly made an impact on your business. Start with your core business KPIs and then work backwards from there to determine how online marketing can help support your efforts.

Britney Schroeder is the Director of Content at Power Digital Marketing. She is passionate about getting stellar results for clients through highly integrated cross-channel campaigns.