Dylan Carpenter | Digital Strategist | Advance Media New York
Your business has made the leap into digital marketing. It was a big leap, and a smart one. If you want your business to compete and grow market share in 2017, you must have a strong online presence.
Maybe you were all in on digital, maybe you had some hesitations. Maybe your unfamiliarity with it yielded some questions. How can I track digital marketing? What can I consider success? What am I getting for my money?
We all know the main objective of any marketing effort is increased business. But, there are a lot of variables that determine the month-to-month success of your business. You need to be able to measure your digital marketing in a vacuum. The good news is, digital is the most trackable form of marketing, and it’s not even close.
If you have an e-commerce business, ROI from digital marketing will be clear once you set up e-commerce tracking in your Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see what channel is driving the most online sales.
If your business is strictly a brick and mortar location, you’ll have to be a bit savvier to track digital success. It all comes down to what happens when prospective customers visit your website. Google Analytics will be your best friend here. It can be tricky to navigate, which is why it’s very important that you have a sharp marketing team or marketing partner to execute and analyze your digital advertising efforts. These are some clear indicators of success that marketing analysts should look for:
If a customer can’t buy directly from you, a meaningful indication that they’re interested in your service or product is a form fill on your website. This can be a contact us form, free estimate or a consultation request. These are direct leads for your business that can be tracked with Google Analytics. By setting up a form fill completion as a Goal in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see what channel of traffic is generating the most form fills. You can even assign Goal Values to help measure ROI more closely.
Say your website offers a free consultation form fill that you value at $50. You run an e-mail campaign promoting your free consultation that costs $750. If you see in Google Analytics 20 form fills were generated from the e-mail channel, then you know that it you got a positive return on your investment (20x$50 = $1000).
Phone call tracking is another clear-cut way to judge if digital is generating leads/sales. Customers may find your business online through a display ad or an AdWords campaign, then call your business to get more info, schedule an appointment, etc. Call tracking features allow you to see how many phone calls are being generated from your individual marketing efforts.
It also provides intelligence. For example, in an AdWords campaign, you can see which keywords are driving the most calls. This is very useful in determining which keywords to focus on.
In 2017, you must think of your website as another physical location of your business. It’s where people start their path-to-purchase. They go there to learn about your business, browse your services and products, see your phone number and address, find store hours, the list goes on. It’s important that you drive users so you can convert them into customers. Digital marketing is hands down the most effective way to increase site traffic considering they’re…you know…already online.
So, an increase in site traffic should be a key measurement for digital marketing success. There are different ways to measure site traffic. Again, Google Analytics proves itself to be very useful in this capacity.
Date range comparisons
You can compare date ranges in Google Analytics to find out what effect digital marketing is having on site traffic. Year-over-year comparisons are best when your business has seasonality to it. If you ran a digital marketing campaign in Q1 2017 but not in Q1 2016, you can compare your website’s traffic between each year.
If there is little to no seasonality to your business, you can look at what happened to your website traffic once your digital marketing campaigns kicked off.
Being able to target specific areas is a huge benefit of digital, unlike traditional media where you sometimes have to place a broader marketing buy.
You can use Google Analytics to compare the lift in traffic in areas that you’re targeting with digital marketing vs. areas you’re not advertising in. This can be done by changing the primary dimension to city (or any geographic qualifier) then using a date range comparison.
Social media engagement
Well-executed digital marketing campaigns will heighten your brand awareness. It’s simple – the more people who are familiar with your brand – the more likely they are to interact with and follow your social media accounts.
Take notice of your social media after your digital marketing campaigns kick off. Increased page likes, followers, retweets, post comments and shares are signs that your brand is becoming more recognizable and trusted.
Clicks and click-through rates aren’t everything. Any digital marketing analyst worth their salt will not judge a campaign purely on click metrics. That being said, benchmarks exist for a reason. You can get an indication of the health of your campaigns by comparing click-through-rates with benchmarks for your industry. This should be combined with Google Analytics and Social Media analysis to get a full picture of your digital marketing’s effectiveness.
Dylan Carpenter | Digital Strategist
Advance Media New York