You want to grow your business, so you know you need to invest in your marketing – but how do you know that you are getting a good return on your investment?
As members of the WSI network, we help clients to focus on 5 measurement factors to help them to understand what is and isn’t working, what is delivering the best return on investment, and what they should focus on for future planning.
- Understand your metrics better
With so many measurement tools at our disposal, it is easy to get lost in data. Google Analytics, Social Media insights, Facebook Ads Manager, your ERP system, the Spreadsheet that you rely on….it’s very easy to waste time debating why Report A doesn’t match Report B, instead of looking for the trends that need responding to. Introduce AI into the mix and the picture can become very blurred unless we know what we are measuring and why.
The trick is to keep it simple, and to focus on the Key Performance Indicators that are truly driving your business towards your goals. Track them regularly, and once you have achieved a level you consider to be “good”, raise the bar again or choose a different set of KPIs to focus on.
As a starter for 10, some good examples of frequently used Digital Marketing KPIs are :
- Lead tracking attribution
This might sound complicated at first, but put simply, it’s understanding which path your customers came through before achieving the goals you have set.
Did they press the click to call button?
Did they complete a contact us form?
Did they book an appointment?
These are all goals which you can set up and measure in Google Analytics (if you haven’t got GA set up for your site already, do it – it’s free of charge). Google Analytics will then measure how people arrived at your site before they completed your chosen goals, so you can track which channels and marketing activities are most effective at driving the right traffic to your site.
To understand the detail of paid advertising campaigns, you will need to use the analytics on each platform (eg Google Ads or Facebook Ads)
Of course, if you have a complex business, customer journey and goal tracking in Google Analytics will not suffice, and you will need to invest in a Customer Relationship Management system.
The impact of enhanced privacy settings
The increased consumer control over privacy settings means that some data gathered goes into “buckets”, which are easy to mis-read. Some companies ignore data in these buckets, other pro-rate it across the remaining categories, whilst others will use advanced modelling techniques to get a more accurate picture.
There are things you can do to keep the size and impact of these buckets down :
- Gather your own customer data (don’t buy it in)
- Use pillar and post content planning to ensure your communications have cross platform synergy
- Be transparent about how you will use customer data when you ask for it and avoid technical jargon in your privacy policies
- Fill the gaps with model data
- Use your data to predict customer behaviour so that communications are well targeted and meaningful
For more information about privacy settings and their impact on analytics see Think Google’s latest article here.
If you don’t change anything, you can guarantee your competitors will, and you’ll eventually be left behind. It’s best practice to make continuous small changes to your site based on rigorous test results.
The ideal test measures 1 change versus a standard at a time (A/B testing) – this ensures that you know exactly which modification worked or not. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, for example most email automation systems allow you to test multiple headlines, selecting the “winner” after a certain percentage have gone out.
Here’s a great example of an A/B test from WSI’s recent 5 must-haves for measuring Digital Marketing success webinar :
The team were working with a vehicle manufacturer, and trialled a topical “start your engines” call to action against a more traditional “get in touch” – We often find that in cases like this plain English wins, and “get in touch” achieved twice the number of conversions.
Another method of testing uses “heat mapping” to understand how customers read a page – this is particularly useful when there are combinations of copy, images and charts for a visitor to take in. Some tools track mouse movement, whilst other go a stage further and use eye tracking to measure where on a page visitors are drawn to.
One of the most important things to understand about testing is that it is never “done”. Customer behaviour is influenced by new experiences every day, so there is no guarantee that what was good yesterday will be considered good tomorrow – testing keeps you focused on continuous improvement and keeps you ahead of the pack.
- Dashboards and Benchmarks
A great dashboard gives you a picture of all your relevant data on a page. Using a reporting tool like Data Studio or Cyfe, you can drill into that data to understand the detail behind anything which appears anomalous. These reporting systems offer plug-ins to your data points (Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, Spreadsheets etc), allowing you a holistic view of your data all in one place.
Google Analytics provide a dashboard for your website free of charge – this is a great place to start until you have decided what you want to measure and at what level of detail. Here is an example using Google Merchandise Store data (Google share access to this for their training courses on Google Analytics)
Each month, compare to your benchmarks and previous periods – look for trends you need to take action to mitigate or take advantage of. Always remember that gathering data that you never take any action on is a pointless activity.
- Competitor Insights
As a Digital Marketing agency, we have access to research tools, which give us insights as to how a business is performing against it’s competitors with regards to website traffic, keywords, paid search and social media. Wouldn’t you like some insight into what activities your competitors are investing in?
- Track what matters to you most
- Use tools to track customer journey and goals – work to understand and address the impact of changes in privacy settings
- Test and learn continuously
- Use dashboards to get an overview of your data
- Research your competitors to understand who has the advantage where
The images in this presentation are shared from a recent WSI webinar led by one of our colleagues in the US, Denise Bowen, on “The 5 must-haves for measuring digital marketing success” – see the full recording here.