In the years before Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and Google, marketers had a difficult time measuring the ROI of their campaigns. The available data behind each campaign lacked much of the insight that today’s analytics and metrics provide. If, for example, you ran a Super Bowl ad, you would never really know how long the average person was engaged with the ad or if the ad itself directly resulted in sales. With digital marketing campaigns, however, that information is readily available—if you know where to look.
But even with all the data and information that’s available, today’s marketers have trouble determining which metrics to pay attention to and where and how to access them. This is where we can help. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can measure your company’s marketing performance in our increasingly sophisticated digital age.
Every marketing initiative, online or offline needs to start with concrete goals. SMART goals will ultimately increase the impact of your marketing strategies. For those who may not be familiar, SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. A SMART goal is critical to digital marketing efforts. To properly measure your results, you first need specific, actionable goals to work with.
Not sure what a digital marketing SMART goal would look like? Take a look at these two examples:
- Email: Increase subscribers by 10,000, decrease churn rate by 20%, increase conversion rate by 10%, and as a result, attract 50,000 subscribers over a six-month campaign.
- SEO: Spend $25,000 on optimizing the website’s SEO for six months with an expected 30% growth in traffic.
When defining SMART goals for your campaign, you need to consider the following questions: Will this initiative continue to produce results for me? What is the long term value of this initiative? Based on the goals and outcome, would I invest in a campaign like this again?
If you cannot come up with goals for a specific effort or campaign type, then you might want to reconsider the investment. Instead, focus your time and your money on a marketing strategy with results that you can quantify.
Tracking Your Efforts
It is critical that you have a plan of action for testing and measuring the success of your marketing efforts. However, there is no cookie-cutter method that will effectively track all of your metrics.
If you want to gain valuable insights into your digital marketing methods, you need to take a close look at each one individually. Below, you’ll find a list of the most popular digital marketing practices, and information on how to measure and analyze overall marketing performance.
Are the time and money you’re investing in SEO improvement paying off? One of the most important metrics in search engine optimization is your keyword ranking. The higher you rank with keywords, the more likely your website will show up on the first page of the Google search results.
Another metric to pay attention to is the quality of the traffic you’re getting from search engines. How long are users staying on your website? How many pages do they visit in one session?
Google Analytics provides access to this information and then some. If you’re targeting the right keywords, you should find that users are browsing for more than 20 seconds. If that is not the case, you may want to try different keywords.
There are many metrics to consider when it comes to social media. Pay attention to metrics such as overall engagement each week, new followers, likes, and most popular posts. While social media may not directly contribute to your ROI, it can be a significant source of traffic.
So, how do you measure your growth across these platforms? Many popular social media sites will provide you with analytics for your profiles for free.
Keep in mind that engagement will fluctuate frequently—no matter which social media profiles you choose to use. However, you might find that one post engages 10% of your total followers while another goes “viral” and is well received by a large number of people. Track the posts that do exceedingly well and see if you can uncover a formula to use for future posts.
You can also track how many leads and conversions your social media posts have facilitated. Use a customer lifetime value calculator to find out how much each new lead costs, as well the return on investment.
Overall, social media is a powerful tool to connect your brand with new audiences. While it may be challenging to define the exact ROI for social media posts, this form of marketing will help boost PR efforts and foster a better relationship with customers.
Although its impending doom has been heralded for years, email is far from dead. Having an email list is essential for any business with an online presence. The more subscribers you have, the more sales you will ultimately make. You can set your own goal for list growth based on the current number of subscribers. Next, track results via the campaign manager on your email deployment software.
Open and click-through rates are another set of metrics you’ll want to monitor. Aiming for a 20% open rate and 2% click-through rate (or higher) is a good goal, but make sure you’re setting the baseline according to industry standards that are similar to your own. A marketing automation platform like MailChimp will have analytics built in for you to view. If you’re experiencing low opens and clicks, then you might want to try different strategies like using split testing to discover the types of content your audience prefers.
The last factor to consider in email campaigns is how many conversions you’re getting from your list. While a large number of email subscribers is great, if they aren’t converting into sales, then your efforts are missing the mark. Using a marketing automation platform and linking it with Google Analytics will stop the guesswork by putting actual numbers behind your conversions.
The Big Picture
Now that you’ve measured and analyzed the results of various digital marketing methods, it’s time to take a look at how these methods relate to your ROI. Pulling all the results together will show which marketing campaigns are lucrative and which ones are putting a strain on the company.
Is your SEO strategy working? If 40%-50% of your total website traffic is coming from search engines, the answer is yes. Google Analytics can help you determine how much traffic your website is getting from search engines. It will also give you those numbers for individual pages.
Campaigns are one of the most powerful digital marketing tools. They allow customers to continue to engage with your brand over extended periods of time. While you’re running a campaign, take a look at how many people are interacting with the campaign and clicking through to your website or landing page.
Referral traffic is traffic that’s directed to your website from somewhere other than a search engine. You’ll often find that referral traffic is coming from inbound links or social media posts.
Google Analytics provides information for you on your referral paths to help you identify traffic sources. You can also add bit.ly links into your social media or campaign posts to assist you in learning exactly where your traffic is coming from.
Total conversions and sales
Ideally, all these factors come together to generate an increase in conversions and sales. How many customers did your marketing efforts attract? How many of those people actually purchased a product or service? These are the numbers that really count. Your marketing strategies should result in a notable increase in both conversions and sales.
While some marketing methods can result directly in a sale, others work to build your brand over time. Both of these are valuable, but only a deep dive into the analytics will inform which methods lead to the largest ROI.
Digital marketing is a major investment of time, money, energy, and effort, so it is critical to effectively measure your company’s marketing performance. As you work your way through some of these methods, pay close attention to the outcome. Did you achieve your goals and reach a satisfactory ROI? Would you invest in the same method again, after seeing your results? You’ll want to constantly adjust and re-evaluate your campaigns and strategies along the way. This is the best way to ensure the effort you’re putting in is resulting in an increase in ROI.