Businesses put a lot of effort into the creative design and implementation of websites and digital marketing campaigns but I’d argue that the real key to success is combining creativity in design with an equally well thought-out measurement strategy.
Modern digital marketing is a constant feedback loop between campaigns and the measured results, which then feed back in to the next round of campaign action and planning. It’s not unusual for this loop to be completed in hours or days, rather than weeks or months as was the way in the 20th Century!
Having measurements in place to help you understand what’s working saves you money and tells you where your marketing budget is being most effective. The old adage that “half of my advertising budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half”, no longer needs to hold true. The quicker you can get these insights, the further ahead of your competitors you’ll be .
With any kind of marketing campaign, whether digital or offline, we’d always suggest you start with the end in mind. What does success look and feel like to you and what are the indicators that tell you that success is happening, imminent or likely?
So, choosing what to measure and how, can be as time consuming, creative and demanding a process as anything to do with the campaign itself! For those of you starting from scratch, we suggest you get familiar with some of the following data sources:-
Here are some Google Analytics basics that will help you to understand the impact your campaigns are having:
- Number of sessions, and where visitors are coming from. It’s only when you understand where traffic is coming from that you can start to build a successful strategy to get more. Take time to understand how your traffic divides up between search engine visits (organic and paid), visits from social media, visits referred from other sites (learn which sites) and people who just come straight to the site. You may be strong in one area and have lots of room to grow in others.
- Bounce rate – this measures the number of one page visits to your site, expressed as a percentage. Most of the time you want this to be as low as possible, since you’d like people to visit more than one page, but sometimes single page visits that convert are exactly what you want.
- Behaviour – the journey through the site that people are taking and which pages they are most interested in.
- Understanding which devices your visitors are using, and noting differences in performance is always very useful.
- For an international business, looking at variations in campaign performance country by country is critical.
- Pages per session and session duration tell you if you have content that is interesting to visitors and whether they are willing to stick around, and this helps you identify what people find most engaging.
But to really get the best information from Google Analytics, you need to dig a little deeper and start identifying your Goals (what you want customers to do after arriving on your page) and start to measure the achievement of these goals. To do this, you need to get familiar with Goal set up and event tracking, 2 key Google Analytics tools.
What action do you want visitors to take? Is it downloading a white paper? Filling in a contact form? Signing up to a newsletter? Picking up the phone? Once you know this, make sure you can count every time one of these goals has been achieved.
You can then start to measure things like;
- the number of website visits it takes to get one of those conversions
- how many conversions it takes to make a real life sale
- how much money you need to spend to get a new client
- which parts of my campaign are making the phone ring?
We cannot stress enough just how important it is to put Goals and Conversions in place. Without this you’re flying blind or relying on hunches.
Data and Analysis Tools
In addition to Analytics, which provides a highly personalised view of your own website performance, there are a large and growing number of other tools that provide data to help you.
Tools such as moz.com, SEM Rush and Serplab for example, provide a wealth of data that can help you develop better organic search marketing campaigns and to understand the competitive environment.
If you are amongst the large number of companies running paid search campaigns then you are fortunate to have even more data at your fingertips that can help you understand how to succeed. As an AdWords client the high quality data you get on keyword preferences and ad performance within your campaign is something that you have paid for, and which you should use to put you ahead of your competition.
Click through rate (CTR) for example is a great indicator of how appealing your ad content is. A low click through rate could be a sign to try a new offer or call to action in your ad, or to look at different keywords.
Google AdWords also provides data about your conversion rate, which is how many of those who clicked on your ad went on to take the action you wanted on your landing page (your goal), as well as the cost per conversion. This tells you how much each PPC customer or potential customer is costing you.
Traffic to your site from social media is shown within Google Analytics, and in addition each particular social platform has their own built-in measurement tool.
Twitter Analytics is great – and can really help you shape your social media strategy and content. Facebook page stats are second to none and can provide great demographic breakdowns for you – especially when it comes to measuring the impact of sponsored posts.
Klout is a great tool to measure your social media influence, if your score is over 50 you’re rocking it, less than 40 there’s maybe some cause for concern.
If you’ve made it this far you’re obviously keen to learn more about the effectiveness of your online campaigns, and the best thing you can do now is get started working on some of the ideas that I have mentioned. But if your head is spinning on how best to get started with your measurement, give us a call or drop us an email, we’ll be happy to help get you up and running.