Some of world’s greatest natural born leaders—from presidents and prime ministers to CEOs and industrial tycoons—spend hours writing and rehearsing speeches in order to captivate audiences and steal hearts around the world. But then something completely unforeseen happens. They reach the podium, the applause dies down, and they start delivering their address. Seconds turn into minutes, and they hear nothing but crickets. Blank stares and dull faces gaze right past them. Their highly anticipated masterpiece—the speech they spent hours preparing for—turns out to be a total flop.
The same scenario applies to some of the greatest digital marketing strategies in the industry today. Business owners and strategists often spend countless hours pouring over the perfect marketing plan. But you cannot know how well something is going to deliver until you give it a try. Unfortunately, in the world of digital marketing, assessing the aftermath of a flopped strategy can take weeks, if not months. In fact, companies can often lose thousands of dollars on a dud of a plan before they realize they never had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand. Before your company gets up to the podium and delivers its well-crafted campaign, it’s imperative you have a metrics system in place.
What’s more, in a rapidly evolving industry, change is inevitable. And even the most effective digital marketing strategies need to rely on metrics to assess their performance, to analyze, and to adapt.
Of course there will be industry-wide variance in terms of target audiences, demographics, and different approaches to marketing. But regardless of methods and approach, there are four key areas that all digital marketing strategies should be tracking today. We’re here to break those four areas down and establish some of the specific performance indicators you need to be watching now.
Traffic metrics are going to be the first stage of analyzing any marketing strategy. These are going to be the initial indicators as to whether your SEO tactics and paid media, especially pay per click services, are generating leads for your business.
For starters, businesses should be measuring overall site traffic to assess how many unique monthly visitors their website is garnering. If there’s a dramatic increase in unique visitors, then a new paid ad technique may be working. Plus, the more visitors a site has, the bigger the potential customer base.
Secondly, your business needs to be measuring traffic sources. This is going to let you know exactly where most of your site traffic is being generated, and it’s going to let you know which keywords or phrases are being used most often. This is a classic example of how a paid media metric can help you boost organic content and media. If you see that some keywords aren’t working, then you need to drop them from your list immediately and start focusing on the ones that are generating the most leads for your brand.
Third, click through rates (CTR) are invaluable to companies in terms of assessing pay per click (PPC) ads. CTR measures how many people are actually clicking on your ads. Higher CTRs not only mean more potential leads, but they also raise a company’s score on search engines like Google. Higher scores can ultimately lead to lower PPC fees.
Conversion metrics are your core measurements. After all, converting traffic into leads and sales is the driving force behind any marketing strategy.
Conversion rates (CVR) are direct measurements of how well your website is converting potential customers into actual customers. These metrics can help you to address exactly what type of users your SEO and digital ads are drawing in, whether those are your brand’s target demographics, and if they are, if your site is delivering the content it needs to retain those visitors and build a loyal following.
Bounce rates are the next step in assessing if your content is doing its job. Bounce rates track exactly how long users stay on your site. Low bounce rates are a good indicator that your content is making good on traffic leads.
But are users moving past your homepage and getting lost in other pages and content? Is your site delivering a totally immersive user experience? Tracking average page views per visit and average time on site can help you get to the bottom of questions such as these.
Lastly, it’s important that you are tracking rate of return visitors. If your content is delivering the total user experience, then you should also be drawing users in to come back for more. This is where you begin to convert customers into loyalists.
3. Social Media
Let’s face it, you can no longer approach digital marketing without social media. And metrics for this burgeoning platform are more relevant now than ever before.
Impression metrics are the first step in analyzing your social media strategy performance. These metrics tell you how many users are actually seeing your message on social platforms, and could potentially follow your lead.
The next step is measuring engagement. This is a direct measurement of how many people see your message and choose to interact with it—either by clicking a like or dislike button, commenting, or sharing your post on their own feeds. This is an important indicator of how well your brand is resonating and connecting with users.
Lastly, bounce rates are important indicators of how well your website content and social media campaigns are working together. If you’re managing to generate a lot of leads from your social ads and platforms, but your bounce rates remain high, then there is a disconnect somewhere. Either you are targeting the wrong people on social media, or your content needs some work.
The ultimate goal of any digital marketing strategy is of course to make money. Measuring revenue metrics is going to tell you exactly how profitable your marketing campaign is.
The big metric to look out for here is return on investment (ROI). Put simply, ROI is going to measure conversion rates, and it’s going to let you know exactly which tactics are driving sales (PPCs or SEOs?) and which areas need some improvement.
Another metric that’s important to consider here is cost to acquire a customer (CAC). CAC is a broad-spectrum measurement, but it can be a good indicator of overall profitability. Basically, it’s a calculation of your total marketing and advertising expenditure for a given time period, divided by the number of new paying customers during that same time period.
Fortunately, the rapid developments in the digital sphere have launched a plethora analytics tools to help your brand take stock of metrics. These tools include software programs like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Moz, GoSquared, Adobe Social, and more. But the success of your digital marketing strategy depends on one final step, beyond all the measurements and analytics: adaptation. Gathering all of the data and research in the world is futile without action. It’s imperative that your brand’s digital marketing strategy is always analyzing and adapting to keep pace in a constantly developing domain.
by Gabriel Shaoolian