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Last post: February 14, 2019

How Do You Measure Digital Marketing ROI?

How Do You Measure Digital Marketing ROI?

By Ryan on  February 14, 2019

Whether your organization is just getting started with digital marketing or has been running digital marketing campaigns for years, one of the biggest challenges is calculating your return on investment. Not only do organizations need to clearly define how they'll measure their rate of return, they also need to understand the process of stringing data together to follow the path of the lead or sale.

The challenges of tracking digital marketing ROI

  • Attribution. It's important to know which marketing tactics, digital marketing or other, to which you’ll attribute lead generation, revenue, or conversions.
  • The Costs. Theoretically, paying $500 for Facebook ads is much more expensive than posting “free” content throughout the month on your timeline. You’ll need to decide, however, if you’re weighing the cost of time and resources in your ROI equation.
  • Closed Loop Reporting. If you’re like most organizations, you don’t have one platform that does your advertising, analytics, reporting, and also houses your CRM. This means that you need some way for the data to pass from one system to another to follow the path of the lead.

Some useful digital marketing ROI metrics

True ROI

Probably the holy grail of tracking digital marketing ROI, this formula at a high-level is actually about as simple as it gets:

(Revenue from Digital Marketing - Expense of Digital Marketing) / Expenses of Digital Marketing

The equation above will give you an ROI percentage. If it’s positive, then your digital marketing is generating a positive return on investment (ROI).

Cost per lead

If lead generation is important to your business, which is more common for B2B businesses, then cost per lead can be a good leading indicator of success. This metric is another simple calculation:

Expense of Digital Marketing / Total Number of Leads

This calculation can be done on a more frequent basis, such as monthly, and can also be done over longer periods of time, like a year. Tracking month-to-month and year-to-year can give your organization a good sense of whether your digital marketing efforts and marketing investment is getting more or less efficient and effective.

However, it’s also common for B2B organizations to have a hard time connecting a digital marketing source to lead generation to eventual sales, whether due to disconnected technology platforms or lack of internal tracking processes. Fortunately, I'll address some tracking issues later on in this article.

Lead Close Rate

While not necessarily a direct indicator of digital marketing ROI, lead close rate (also known as lead conversion rate) is more an indicator of lead quality. If your digital marketing efforts are generating an increasing number of leads, but your sales team is having a hard time closing them, your digital marketing strategy may simply miss the mark. Lead close rate can be calculated with a simple formula:

Leads Closed / Leads Generated

Depending on your organization’s sales cycle, it may make sense to measure this on a month-to-month basis (very short sales cycles) or possibly over longer periods of time (longer sales cycles).

Digital Marketing Expenses

What are considered digital marketing “expenses” and “revenue?"

In a general sense, you likely understand expenses and revenue if you’ve taken an intro to accounting course or even casually looked at your bank statement. Where it gets more complex is how you define “revenue” and “costs” related to digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Expenses

When building your organization’s ROI formula, you can decide how in-depth and far-reaching you want to be when including expenses in the equation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Ad Spend. This is going to be the most common expense. Ad spend includes the costs of advertising on Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other ad or social media platform.
  • Technology Costs. Are you using any technology toward digital marketing efforts? Think platforms like SEO or PPC software, design software to build digital ads, email marketing platforms, etc.
  • People Costs. Do you want to include the cost of the actual people needed to develop your marketing plan and administer your online marketing strategies? If so, make sure to add in the costs associated with their time.
  • Third-Party Costs. Are you using any agency to assist you with your digital marketing efforts? Do you use independent contractors for content writing or designing?

Digital Marketing Revenue

For most organizations, tracking revenue begins and ends when the revenue is actually realized, or at least when there is some guarantee that revenue will result from a sale, contract, or agreement. Let’s look at a few other angles:

One-Time Sale vs. Lifetime Value

In most cases, organizations will track the revenue from a sale individually at one point in time. However, consider the long-term value of that customer. Let’s say that customer comes back and makes 10 more purchases, or even becomes one of your largest clients. The customer’s lifetime value is much higher than just that initial transaction. Using a lifetime value model, you would attribute all of that customer’s future revenue to digital marketing (and possibly to a more specific digital marketing source like Facebook advertising).

Attribution

Here’s that word again. How do you know that certain revenue can be entirely attributed to a digital marketing activity, or digital marketing in general? Consider a customer who saw a digital ad, went into a store, talked to a representative, and decided to purchase. Should the representative get some credit for that sale?

As an organization, you need to decide if 100 percent of the revenue from a sale or agreement should be attributed to digital marketing, regardless of any other touch points that influenced it along the way.

How to track digital marketing ROI

Okay, so now you have a sense of which formulas you might want to use to calculate ROI. You also have an idea of which marketing costs and resources will be considered expenses and how you’ll characterize sales generated as revenue (one-time vs. lifetime). It’s time to make sure you have the technology and processes in place to begin tracking.

Start with the Source

All your digital marketing efforts start with a source. Whether it’s a blog post, an email, or a digital ad, this source lives somewhere on the web. One of the most critical parts of tracking digital marketing ROI is being able to identify the source. You do this through tagging all your links within email, blogs, ads, etc. with UTM parameters, which are tags you add to a URL that sends valuable information to a tracking platform.

Pro Tip: Use Google’s URL builder so you don’t have to worry about making any mistakes when adding UTM parameters.

Implement a Tracking Platform

Speaking of tracking platforms, you need one. Undoubtedly, the industry standard is Google Analytics. If you don’t have an analytics tracking platform on your site right now, do it. Run. If you aren’t sure how to do it, call your friendly developer. Tell him it’s an emergency.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is not only going to allow you to see a wealth of valuable information about where your website traffic is coming from, it'll also give you insight on how users are behaving on your site and, most importantly, if they’re converting. Oh yeah, and it can read those handy UTM parameters we mentioned above.

Identify and Set Up Conversion Points

With regards to tracking return on investment, there are two definitive conversion points you’ll want to identify and track on your site:

  • Lead Generation. This is any place on your site where you receive a lead. The most common points are contact forms, gated content forms, etc.
  • Purchase Points. If you have an e-commerce website that allows purchases to be made within the site itself, you’ll be able to track that directly. In fact, get into Google’s enhanced e-commerce tracking and you’ll have access to a wealth of purchase information.

At this point, you should be able to calculate things like cost-per-lead and even total ROI if you have an e-commerce site.

Closed-Loop Reporting

When you want to track ROI, but the transactions or revenue aren’t being collected on your website, you’ll need an extra step. Once a lead is generated, it's sent somewhere, such as:

  • A CRM (customer relationship management system)
  • A CMS (content management system)
  • An email alert to a specific individual or group
  • A spreadsheet

This is most commonly where the data chain breaks. It’s extra work, and quite possibly extra development (through an API or third-party software) to connect a website or an analytics platform to the final landing spot for leads. Because of that, it typically doesn’t happen.

If your organization deals with high-value, infrequent sales resulting in revenue, you may be able to simply refer to an earlier source of data to attribute that sale to a specific marketing effort or channel. The challenge is, this data is often anonymous (including Google Analytics), so connecting a name, email address or company to any kind of data can be a challenge.

Diving Deeper with Digital Marketing Return on Investment

By now, you’re a pro's pro – or at least you know the process of setting the stage to track your digital marketing ROI. But you shouldn’t settle there. Knowing your overall ROI for your digital marketing efforts is great, but it won’t necessarily help you steer your digital marketing strategy for the future.

Digital Marketing ROI by Channel

Digital Marketing Channels

The digital marketing budget - whether shoestring or huge, many business owners and marketing leaders spend hours, days, or weeks trying to identify where to allocate their funds toward digital marketing. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make those decisions based on recent, accurate, historical data tied to real revenue? We sure think so.

That’s why you should be breaking down your digital marketing ROI by channel to identify the most cost-effective channels for your business. Some simple suggested breakouts include:

  • Digital Advertising. It probably makes good sense to break this down further at least by network (Google, Facebook, etc.). You can also break this out by display ads, search ads, remarketing ads, etc.
  • Organic Search. How much of your revenue can you attribute to customers finding your site, products, or services from a search engine and converting?
  • Social Media. We would recommend separating organic social media (not paid) out from your paid social media efforts. Once again, we’d recommend breaking this out by channel as well (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • Referral Traffic. This is traffic that’s coming from other sites. Do you have a partner that links to your site that is driving new business your way? Or are your guest blogging efforts paying off? Find out.
  • Email. Are the email marketing tactics you’re using generating revenue? Go as far as tagging your email by type (newsletter, promotion, etc.) to dive nice and deep.

Missing on this list is “direct” traffic, which would typically indicate a user coming directly to your site by typing in your URL, visiting from a bookmark etc. Lately, measuring “direct” has gotten trickier, because it could include some wildcards like traffic from a mobile phone where someone is visiting a browser from another app they had open. In general, this channel is hard to attribute directly to digital marketing activities.

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At this point, we should have covered the rationale for tracking digital marketing ROI, the process for getting started, and the steps to integrate tracking. If your organization is in need of assistance with Analytics, Reporting, or ROI, or simply needs a better partner to maximize your digital marketing investment, get in touch with us!

Categories: Digital Marketing

Why Is Marketing Automation Important? 97% of Visitors Don't Convert.

By ryan on  April 24, 2017

On average, 97% of website visitors won't ever identify themselves. They won't fill out a contact form, call you, or give you any form of information.

Let's think about that in perspective. If you're a small business with a limited web presence (let's say you have 1,000 visitors to your website each month), you're missing out on 970 opportunities to engage with prospects. Even scarier, if you're a larger business with a steady flow of visitors, you could be missing out on tens- or hundreds of thousands of opportunities each month. Yikes.

So how do you take advantage of these missed opportunities? Using marketing automation, you can leverage the power of lead nurturing and website prospecting to convert more of these anonymous visitors into actual leads or customers.

What kind of numbers are we talking?

Let's just assume that right now you're converting 3% of your website visitors, either through contact forms, inquiries, calls, or any other methods.

  • Even with a limited web presence (1,000 monthly visitors), improving your lead generation efforts by just 1% yields 10 new leads each month. Not bad.
  • For companies with a more established web presence (10,000 monthly visitors), a 1% increase leads 100 new leads each month.

Why do people come to my website and leave?

Think about some of the more recent purchases that you've made (either at work or at home). If you're like most people today, your "shopping" experience likely included some of the following steps:

  1. Realization of a problem or opportunity ("My water heater broke.")
  2. Research of possible solutions ("Can I get it fixed? Do I need a new one?")
  3. Research of possible solution providers ("Who sells and installs water heaters?")
  4. Decision ("ABC Plumbing Co. seems like a great company. I'll call them.")

Like it or not, in the example above, the Plumbing Company may not be involved or aware until the final decision step. That's because more people are conducting the research in steps 1-3 before they contact a sales person or company. This research is happening on search engines, social media, online forums, reviews websites, etc.

Many of the 97% of visitors that you never hear from are performing their research on your site, then choosing another option for one reason or another.

Lead Nurturing: Moving visitors from "researchers" to leads

What we do know: Visitors are coming to your website looking for information and leaving without connecting with you. Lead nurturing lets you not only capture leads that are ready to buy but also leads that are still in the research stages. Let's look at an example:

Example: ABC Plumbing Co.

ABC Plumbing Co. sells and installs water heaters. Visitors are coming to their website to learn about their pricing, the types of water heaters that they offer, and what locations they service. Once they have that information, they leave and do the same research on ABC's competitors' sites, and also read reviews on Angie's List. ABC Plumbing has no way to capture these visitors unless they explicitly call for more information.

With Marketing Automation:

ABC Plumbing Co. develops a useful guide called "How to Choose a New Water Heater", and provides it for free to visitors to their site that fill out a simple form. Then the magic happens:

  • An automated workflow automatically sends that visitor the useful guide, directly to their email, immediately after they submit the form
  • Based on the visitor's activity on the website, they are assigned a lead score that helps sales people gauge the quality of the lead
  • A salesperson is notified that a new lead has submitted the form, and can look at their profile (location, product needs, pages visited, etc.) to evaluate whether they should be contacted
  • If the visitor isn't a good lead right now (maybe they're planning a remodel in 9 months), they can be added to another automated program that sends them additional content or new product announcements over the next couple of months

By setting up a simple marketing automation program, ABC Plumbing Co. can achieve the following:

  1. Convert more visitors into leads through content
  2. Prioritize leads and deliver them to relevant sales resources
  3. Nurture leads that aren't quite ready to purchase

Website Prospecting: Adding context to “anonymous” visitors

The above marketing automation strategy can considerably increase your ability to identify anonymous leads, but let's face it, not everyone is going to call, email, or even fill out a form. Many visitors will simply be browsing. So we need a strategy to provide some context for these "anonymous" visitors.

Enter "website prospecting." This tool (available through Aztek's marketing automation platform Act-On Software, *wink wink*), uses a fancy process called "Reverse IP Lookup" to attempt to identify the company or organization from which a visitor is coming.

If you've used an analytics platform (such as Google Analytics), you know how frustrating it can be looking at thousands of visitors and not knowing who they are. Being able to identify the company or organization for a large percentage of your anonymous visitors can be incredibly valuable for your sales team, who can leverage this information in prospecting and outbound sales efforts.

Better yet, within a marketing automation platform, when an anonymous visitor does "convert" (fill out a form, subscribe to email, open an email, etc.), all of their history is tied to their contact information, even if it has occurred in the past.

Conclusion: Taking advantage of the 97%

If you've already invested in digital marketing to drive traffic to your site and show up in search engines, the next step is to make sure you're capturing those visitors on your site. Leveraging marketing automation, you can start to focus on turning the 97% of visitors that you never hear from into engaged leads.

Not sure how to get started with marketing automation? Contact us below to talk to us or read more about our website assessment to get started.

Categories: Digital Marketing

4 Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing List Squeaky Clean

By ryan on  April 24, 2017

Email marketing can be one of the most effective (and cost-effective) digital marketing activities. But like anything else, email marketing requires constant maintenance. On average, 25-30% of your email list will "churn" every year. Churn means subscribers that have disengaged, left their company, changed their email address, and unsubscribed.

The scarier part? If it appears that you're sending to too many invalid or disengaged email addresses, you risk harming your sending reputation. Or even worse, you're labeled as a SPAM mailer by many email clients and email firewalls. And that means your emails never reach the inbox.

Here are some tips to ensure that your email marketing practices and lists remain in tip-top shape:

1. Control list churn

List churn can occur for many reasons mentioned above. Take these actions to combat list churn:

  • Focus on opt-in lists. When your lists are subscribers that have opted in to receive your email communications, your subscribers are naturally more engaged and less likely to become disengaged or unsubscribe.
  • Verify email addresses. If your email marketing program allows you to see the subscribers that have bounced back, take that list and reach out to those subscribers to ensure that you have the correct email address.
  • Re-engagement campaigns. Sometimes you have email subscribers that stay subscribed but never open or read anything. Create a segment of these subscribers and craft a re-engagement email asking them if they'd like to continue to receive emails from you. You may lose a bulk of these subscribers, but look at it this way – they weren’t engaging with your email in the first place, and now your list is cleaner.

2. Consolidate and connect multiple sources of email data

One of the biggest challenges organizations face is having many different systems that store data: CRM, ERP, Email Marketing, Rolodex, Outlook contacts, spreadsheets, etc. An important goal for organizations should be to ensure that there are only as many systems as necessary. And that these systems connect and pass data to each other if possible.

Here are some ideas to move toward a more finely-tuned data ecosystem:

  • Choose one system "of record." If you’re storing customer data (including email addresses) in many places, choose one place that will be the main source of data that is always the most up-to-date and accurate. (For email, this will ideally be an email marketing platform or a CRM).
  • Connect systems. You want to avoid having to add customer data to many systems, especially manually. Leveraging a marketing automation platform that can integrate with many popular CRMs allows you to automatically pass contact data back-and-forth.

3. Segment and send only what subscribers want

The best way to encourage subscribers to leave your list is to send them content that they're not interested in. Simply put, if you're sending everything to every single person on your email list, you're doing it wrong.

Here's a better approach:

  • Build segments based on interests. If you have multiple product lines, for example, offer subscribers the opportunity to select the product lines from which they wish to receive updates. Another option is to segment by content type, for example, newsletter, coupons/discounts, new products, etc.
  • Segment based on demographics. If you've done a good job at building email profiles for your subscribers, you likely have information like job title, location, and company size. So if you're promoting an executive event, make sure you're only sending to executive-level titles. Conversely, if you're promoting an offer that's only available in a certain geographic area, leverage the location information you have.

4. Purchases lists with caution

In email marketing, it is ideal to organically build a quality email list through opt-ins only. We recognize, though, that sometimes this isn't the reality. You'll find hundreds of thought leaders debate the pros and cons of purchased lists for email marketing. But for the sake of this article, we'll examine how to ensure your purchased list is as "squeaky clean" as possible.

  • Focus on credibility. Ask the list broker or provider about the source of the emails, the last time they were verified/validated, and even ask them for references. Get specific. Purchasing a list of 100,000 contacts that isn't segmented or specific will likely result in a high percentage of contacts that have zero interest in your product or service offering. Focus on specific industries, job titles, locations, and company sizes that fit with your audience.
  • Get clean. Even if the list provider has told you the list has been "cleaned" we would recommend doing your own independent email list validation (a service that Aztek offers to all email marketing clients).
  • Focus on the invite. Just because you now have a contact's email address, that doesn't mean you should assume they're "part of your list". Send them an initial invitation introducing yourself or your organization, offering your unique value proposition, and encourage them to opt-in to future emails.

Maintaining good email marketing practices and cleaning your email list, will help ensure that your emails are being delivered and opened by an engaged group of subscribers. In the grand scheme of things, you’d much rather have a list of 5,000 engaged contacts than 10,000 disengaged contacts.

Not sure how clean your email list is or need some help whipping your email marketing efforts into shape? Give us a call and we can chat about our full suite of email marketing and marketing automation services!

Categories:

Google Rankings Explained: Why Are My Rankings Going Up and Down?

By ryan on  April 24, 2017

We consistently receive one excellent question from almost every one of our clients: "Why are my Google rankings going up and down?" There are many forces at play here, but let's take a deeper look to explain Google rankings (and how to influence it).

Out of Your Control: Google Algorithm Changes

Ah yes, the "algorithm." According to trusted sources (thanks Moz), it can change between 500-600 times each year. That means about twice a day, the way Google ranks and displays search engine results changes. Sometimes in very minor ways, sometimes in very major ways.

As companies and as marketers, we have no control over these algorithm updates. They are meant to give searchers the best possible results, and therefore, Google does not publish the secret sauce for how to rank #1.

Here are just a few of the changes we've seen recently:

All of these constant changes affect how your organization's keywords are ranking.

In Your Control (Mostly): How Does Google Decide to Rank You?

Google's Ranking Factors

The next mysterious part of the puzzle: how does Google determine where you stand in search results? The answer is what we call ranking factors. These are the parts that make up the sum of the "algorithm." There are plenty of great resources that have steadfastly attempted to track these factors, including Moz, SearchEngineLand, and SearchEngineJournal. Here are the most important ones:

  • Content - quality, depth, length, uniqueness
  • Links - quality incoming links from trusted sources (you can influence this through proper link building campaigns)
  • Page Quality - things like load speed, page security (HTTPS), structured data, etc.

There are certainly more factors, but these are generally accepted as the most critical ones. But let's not also forget, a high-ranking website starts with a good design and properly set up structure (sitemaps, meta tags, open graph data, oh my!)

Avoiding Google Penalties

There are many things that you can do to positively influence your search engine rankings, but there also factors that can harm your position.

  • Bad/harmful/toxic links – Guilty by association. It's like hanging around with the "bad kids" in high school. Google can penalize sites that have too many inbound links from low-quality/"spammy" sites. It's a good practice to evaluate inbound links to your site and limit the number of low-quality links coming in. Not all lower-quality links are bad, however. If they are relevant to your industry and provide context around the link then it's still a valuable link to have.
  • Bad content - There's a term in the search world called "pogo sticking." Like the image in your head, it's when a searcher clicks a link, views the page, realizes the content isn't what they were looking for, and "pogo" right back to the search results. Simple solution: make sure you have high-quality content that is useful to the searcher and matches your page title and page description.
  • Bad usability - One of the more recent offenders is the interstitial (also known as the big popup that appears in the middle of the screen when the page loads). Things like this, slow page load time, legibility issues, or poor design can harm your place in the rankings world as well.

Understanding natural "rankings" movement

Due to all of the factors above, you can now understand that it's not uncommon for search results to shuffle around even on a daily basis. Sometimes these shifts are minor (like moving a spot up or down), and sometimes they’re major (like moving up or down several pages in the rankings).

Here are some recommendations to help cope with the ever-changing rankings landscape:

  1. Be Patient - We recently wrote an article about how long it takes to rank, and the general consensus is between a few months to a year or more, especially for brand new content. As the article recommends, looking for positive momentum over time and focusing on deeper metrics is a better approach.
  2. Be Consistent - Focusing on a specific set of keywords or pages for a period of time and then hoping they retain their prime position in search results can be risky business. Maintaining strong rankings requires consistent content production, link building, and search engine optimization.
  3. Stay Current - Because of the massive rate of change in how Google ranks, it’s important to stay up to date with ranking factors, or work with an excellent partner who can do this for you. SEO isn’t a 3-month project. It’s constant, and as such requires constant attention.

It's also important to remember that Google truly tries to personalize results. This means your previous search history and current location among other factors come into play as well, which means you and your coworker can search the same phrase with different results. If you want to see truly unbiased search results, open up an Incognito window in Google Chrome.

If you’re ready to better understand where your website is ranking, how you stack up against your competitors, and how to uncover opportunities to drive more leads through search, we’d love to show you with our web assessment!

Transform These 3 Digital Marketing "Vanity" Metrics into Valuable Metrics

By ryan on  April 24, 2017

“You’re so vain, you probably think these metrics are helping you,” to quote the famous Carly Simon song—or something like that. People, it’s time to have a real heart-to-heart about how you’re evaluating the success of your website and digital marketing efforts.

Vanity Metrics

Let’s be honest—when you see that your latest social media post received a few likes (or loves, thumbs ups, etc.), you get excited. That’s not a coincidence. Seeing this “success” literally triggers a dopamine high that makes you feel rewarded. Whoa.

But the reality of feeling rewarded for achieving more likes, shares, impressions, and pageviews is that it can be very misleading. Assuming you’re not collecting advertising revenue, how much does your company make when someone likes your social media post? How about when someone views a page on your website? Ready for the real downer of an answer? Zero.

I call many of these metrics “vanity metrics.” They’re nice to look at and they can make you feel good about your marketing efforts, but they aren’t the best indicators of lead generation, revenue generation, or any underlying goals your business is trying to achieve.

Should they be considered? Yes, absolutely. So let’s look at some of these dopamine-inducing metrics and how to improve your view of them:

Vanity Metrics

Social Media Likes

These come in several different forms. As of this writing, they can include likes (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn), likes/loves or one of the many other reactions (Facebook), and many others on different social networks. They allow people to indicate how they feel about a specific post, image or piece of content.

What’s bad? Likes are an incredibly simple and quick interaction. All it takes is one click and you can keep scrolling. Likes don’t drive traffic to your website or sell products. They aren’t even a great indicator of interest in your product, service, or brand; they simply show an individual’s interest in one piece of content.

What’s good? Likes show engagement. They let you see which content you’re publishing is resonating more with your audience. They may also let you connect and follow-up with individuals to find out why they “liked” something you published. They often expand your audience by posting your content in the user that “liked” your content’s network.

How to track better: Go one step further and track things like which social media channels are driving the most traffic to your site. Leverage “likes” to identify top-performing content and focus on those topics and formats. Or even better, track how many visitors from each social network are converting on your site (filling out a form, purchasing a product, calling you, etc.)

Paid Advertising: Impressions

If you’re doing any kind of paid digital advertising, you’ll be provided with all kinds of metrics from your digital advertising platform. One of the most “vain” of metrics is impressions. We often become mesmerized by high numbers of impressions—“look how many people we reached!” The problem is these people weren’t necessarily “reached.” Your ad may have just appeared in their view while they’re swiftly scrolling through their feed to find the next hilarious pet video.

What’s bad? You shouldn’t mistake impressions for how many people actually saw your ad. There’s a very real phenomena called banner blindness, where users become so accustomed to ads that they don’t even see them. Don’t let this discourage you from pursuing paid advertising, but just be cautious about assuming everyone is seeing your ads.

What’s good? Impressions generally show you the potential reach of your ad. The better you design your ad, including image, ad copy, and call-to-action, the higher the percentage of those impressions will engage with your ad.

How to track better: Unless you’re posting online ads for pure branding purposes, focus on action-oriented metrics like ad clicks, ad conversions, and conversion value. Pursue ads that have higher conversion rates, rather than the most impressions.

Website Pageviews

Let’s pretend that every month you provide a report to your leadership team that includes pageviews as a metric. For the past couple of months, pageviews has been steadily increasing. Great, your efforts are working! Right? Well, maybe.

The savvy marketer in you would go a step further and ask how this increase in pageviews is affecting the company’s business goals (and a savvy leadership team would ask them same thing).

What’s bad? Pageviews show the total number of pages viewed on your site within a specific time frame. But what if they’re all the wrong pages? We’ve had clients that have huge increases in pageviews month-over-month, but it’s all traffic to blog pages for example – people were just looking for information, not looking to purchase. Even worse, the blog pages weren’t set up to convert visitors into prospects or customers.

What’s good? Seeing increases in pageviews can be indicators that your site content is growing in depth, but also that your pages are receiving more traffic. If assessed correctly, pageviews can be an indicator of healthy website growth.

How to track better: First, find out what pages are driving growth. Establish which channels are delivering growth and which pages are visited the most. Next, determine if these pages are generating leads or customers. You should find plenty of opportunities to report on a subset of high-value pages (like product or service pages) and how to optimize these pages based on your findings.

Simple Steps to Better Reporting

Every organization’s reporting structure is going to be different, as it should. But here’s a simple path to reporting valuable metrics on an ongoing basis:

  1. Identify business goals – This is where it all starts. What are you trying to do with your website and digital marketing efforts? These commonly include lead generation, e-commerce sales, branding/awareness, etc.
  2. Determine the metrics tied to those goals – If your goal is lead generation, you should be tracking how many visitors fill out contact forms or call your business from the number on your website. If your goal is e-commerce sales, make sure you’re tracking which channels and activities are providing the best return-on-investment.
  3. Complete the picture with other metrics – Is it wrong to include so-called “vanity metrics” in your reporting? Absolutely not. But just remember that these are often simply leading indicators to success, not direct indicators. If a metric gives your business insight and helps you evaluate your efforts, then certainly include it. But for every metric, you should be able to answer the questions: “What does this metric tell me? What insight do I gain?”

If you’re ready to truly understand how your website and digital marketing efforts (or lack thereof) are affecting your business, give us a call or learn more about our web assessments.

Photo Credit: William Iven