This is the final in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan, which includes:
We will go over how you can measure marketing success in this post, but your marketing measurements mean a lot more if they are tied to your business measurements. So, it’s a good idea to start by recapping the business goals and marketing targets you decided on in the first post of this series.
Vanity vs clarity metrics
The available data, particularly in digital marketing tools, are many and varied, but not all data is created equal. It can be tempting to report on everything and not feel any the wiser, so here at Ideal, we work to decipher the data and provide insights and recommendations as a result of the marketing measurements. Some data looks impressive but doesn’t tell us much, for example, volume of website visits; you may see your website visits go up over time, and we’re often asked if the amount of visits a site is getting is ‘good or bad’. It’s possible to benchmark against industry averages, but the truth is that:
- The increase in visits could be bots.
- There is no point in having a lot of website visits if they are leaving on the first page they visit and not converting into a lead.
You could also see a lot of traffic coming from a particular source, like an email campaign or social media channel, but is this good quality traffic? What do the visitors do once they’re on the site? The goal isn’t to get more website visits but to get more good quality website visits. Look at the whole picture to get clarity, not one measurement in isolation.
Common marketing measurements
Depending on the channel you’re using, you will have different measurements you can use, and I’ll focus on digital marketing tools for this post. Below I’ve detailed which marketing measurements matter and what they tell you.
You can use free tools like Google Analytics or pay for a tool that provides heat mapping metrics or even the analytics that comes with your CRM or sales tool. Whatever you pick, make sure the account is optimised to report on a successful visit to the website. In Google Analytics, this means defining a website ‘goal’ like completing a contact form, clicking on an email link or visiting a particular page. If someone completes a Goal, this is considered a ‘conversion’ and will appear in some of your reports.
‘Reach’, ‘engagement’ and ‘clicks’ are the main measurements, although engagement could be broken down into ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘comments’. Reach tells you how many people had the potential to see your post, which may be due in large part to the social media channel’s algorithm and also influenced by engagement. You’ll often see an increase in engagement figures and reach at the same time.
Reach – you want to reach more people, but by itself this figure only tells you how many people could have seen your post and if one of your targets is to increase brand awareness, this is a measurement to monitor.
Engagement – demonstrates an interaction with your brand. If the objective of your social media is to improve brand awareness and how your brand is regarded, this metric is helpful to follow.
Clicks – getting clicks is positive if you want people to go to your website where they are more likely to contact you. However, we caution against using social media purely as a tool to promote your business and always including links because it can backfire and your reach is likely to be lower. Combine promotional posts which include links with purely brand-building posts that encourage engagement and make a positive impression.
Open and click-through rates are the main measurements to pay attention to, but open rates can be skewed by different email software options. Open rates are heavily affected by your email subject, so consider doing an A/B split test on different email subjects if you want to improve open rates. Click-through rates also depend on how many links you include in your email and how compelling the reason to click is.
Digital advertising can be used for brand-building campaigns, but we’d usually recommend only putting money behind a campaign that could lead to a sale or customer and sending visitors to a landing page expressly set up for the digital advertising campaign. Depending on whether you’ve used paid social media, Google Ads or another platform, there will usually be a ‘pixel’ or tracking code you can add to your website and you can define success much like with Google Analytics. If you’re using Google Ads you can attach your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account and import your goals. Most digital advertising options will use AI to improve the performance of a campaign over time, but it can only do that if it’s clear what a successful website visit is so it’s worth taking the extra time to set this up. You’ll get a much better return on investment in the end. The most important metric with digital advertising depends on your campaign’s objective. Still, I suggest it’s website ‘conversions’ because it will be hard to prove an ROI on a digital advertising campaign otherwise.
The objective of SEO is to improve where your website ranks in the search engines for chosen keywords, so monitoring ‘Average Position in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)’ is the most important measurement to demonstrate successful SEO work. However, the following are also important:
- Impressions – how many times the website was shown in Search Engine Result Pages for a keyword. This will increase as your average SERP position improves.
- Click through rates – this gives you an idea of the available times someone could have clicked through, how often they did.
- Their behaviour on the website – metrics like bounce rates, time on site and conversion rates matter here because there is no point in attracting more visitors to a site if they don’t do anything once they’re there.
Tie it together
Ideally, you won’t look at the measurements for one channel in isolation, as many digital marketing tools work together after an initial set-up. For example, you can add an integration between Mailchimp and Google Analytics that will allow you to know which email campaign someone clicked on to get to your website and then see the behaviour of those people. If you don’t look at both sets of data you could get a skewed perspective of which email campaigns are ‘working’ best.
You look at your Mailchimp data and see that one of the campaigns received a lot of opens and clicks, so you assume you should create more versions of that campaign.
You review both your Mailchimp data and Google Analytics data and find that while the campaign that got a lot of opens and clicks resulted in more traffic than other campaigns, the time on site, pages visited, and conversion rate/volume of that campaign were lower than other campaigns.
Scenario A is vanity, and scenario B is clarity. If you can track the behaviour further into your sales software and report actual sales figures, then you are cooking on gas!
Each digital marketing platform has its own way of delivering reports which can be customised to varying degrees and in some cases, to send you reports at intervals. It can be tempting to sign up for ALL THE REPORTS and then leave them in your inbox. Instead, I recommend drawing up a list of measurements that will tell you what you need to know about your marketing and how it’s supporting your business goals. Decide on targets to try and achieve, set deadlines and makes changes to your marketing activities to support meeting your targets. You could use a tool like Google Data Studio to draw data from multiple sources into one dashboard or set of dashboards.
To create a full set of digital marketing measurements for your business I recommend reviewing our webinar replay of Getting insight from data which touches on some of the elements covered in this email and take you through the Digital Marketing Measurements Model and some optimisation tips for Google Analytics.
Marketing that makes a difference
MD & Head of Digital Marketing
Jessica has worked in digital marketing for over 10 years and has watched it evolve from an experimental marketing option to an essential tool for most businesses. She is driven to help businesses achieve their objectives using the best digital marketing resources available and recognises that each business is different. Jessica devours the latest news about digital marketing and is constantly learning in order to stay ahead of the trends for clients.