Marketing your business without measuring the results is like throwing darts at a dartboard with a blindfold on: you’ll probably miss most of the time, and even if you do hit a bullseye, how would you even know? Measuring results is a critical component of any marketing strategy and the only way to truly know if you’re making a return on your investment. You eliminate the guesswork of whether or not something is working, and you’ll save yourself stress and headaches down the road.
Measuring your digital marketing performance starts with knowing what data to collect. Here are some of the basic metrics that you can use as general indicators of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, which fall into two categories:
Traffic Metrics, things like:
- Total Visits
- Unique Visits
- Traffic by Channels
- Pages per Visit
- Time Spent
- Bounce Rate
Conversion Metrics, things like:
- Total Conversions
- Click-Through Rates
- Cost per Conversion
- Lead-to-Close Ratio
As you move forward with your various campaigns and initiatives, there are some guiding principles that will help you both gather and use your metrics effectively, and in a way that will help move the needle on your business’s financial objectives.
Know what your goals are and how to measure them
Before you ever launch a campaign, you should have a crystal-clear notion of what you want to accomplish. It should be specific, tied to an overall business goal, and constrained to a definite time period. A goal of “increase brand awareness” is a little vague, but something like, “increase social reach by 50% in Q1” gives you a very specific goal and timeline to aim for that will have the overall effect of increasing your brand awareness.
Knowing your goals also entails knowing how to measure them. Make sure you’ve identified the metrics that will be used to measure success, which are often called Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Do you want to increase brand awareness? Try looking at web traffic or ad impressions. Want a boost to your sales-qualified leads? Keep track of your conversion rates.
Know both what you want to accomplish and how to measure your success.
Focus on the metrics that really measure value
Not all performance numbers are created equal, and you shouldn’t make the mistake of getting caught up in what are sometimes called “vanity metrics.” These are the numbers that may look impressive but don’t directly measure the value you’re getting from your marketing efforts. For instance, you may have lots of visits on a particular landing page, and if you stopped there you might feel confident that your campaign is performing well and that you’re getting tons of leads.
But go a step further and you’ll find that there are very few people downloading the free ebook that you’re offering. This might indicate that the content offer isn’t valuable or intriguing enough, or the landing page is weak, meaning that you aren’t getting much value out of the traffic you drive there.
Identify weaknesses in your assets or strategy
This follows directly from the last point. Once you have a more complete picture of how much actual value you’re deriving from your marketing (conversion rates, downloads, qualified leads, cost per acquisition), you can see the areas that are weak and how you can improve your funnel.
Maybe the conversion rates on your content offer pages are high but traffic to the pages is low, so you need to work on getting word out about your offer. Or maybe you have lots of traffic and leads but aren’t converting them to opportunities, so maybe you need to work on nurturing these leads before you ask them to buy.
By measuring both traffic and conversion metrics, you can use them to strengthen your customer journey and increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
If you’re about to start work on a new marketing campaign, ask yourself: Are you setting goals for your campaigns? Are your goals realistic and achievable? Are you meeting those goals? And most importantly, are you making a return on your investment?
Remember, it’s not enough to simply measure these values. Moving the needle on your next campaign requires that you use these numbers to inform your goals and strategy. If you can gather the right data and put it to work for you, you’ll be amazed at the returns you see from your marketing efforts.