For as difficult as producing an ongoing bracket of branded content can prove to be, one of the more taxing endeavors wrapped into your digital marketing efforts usually ends up coming after the posting is said and done.
You can finalize a Tweet, schedule a blog post, or embed an interactive online tool on your website, and breathe a sigh of relief. But the real work is just beginning.
Any good digital marketing strategy is in constant evolution. It is taking the learnings gathered from every campaign, every content cycle, and translating them into actionable takeaways. To generate takeaways, however, you’ve got to take the right approach to measurement in the first place. And this is where things can get dicey.
Digital Marketing: Beyond the Numbers
There are a number of traps brands can fall into when mapping out KPIs. For some, the focus gets put on vanity metrics. Think of them as shiny objects, objects that can include likes, follower counts, impressions, and so on. Many social networks spent their early days boasting the importance of these numbers in conjunction with offered advertising objectives.
The issue with a focus on these numbers alone is that, more often than not, it’s difficult to tie them to customer acquisition.
If you have 20,000 fans on Facebook, does that mean you’ve driven 20,000 purchases of your product and/or service? If your blog has drawn 10,000 visitors to the page in a month, does that mean you’ve driven 10,000 clicks to that “Buy Now” button?
These types of metrics are appealing because they often get wrapped up in impressively large numbers that sound good to higher-ups. But if there’s no indication of what those numbers mean beneath the surface, their usefulness in driving your digital marketing strategy’s success forward will be moot.
Another trap brands often fall into is adhering to a one-size-fits-all mentality. When it comes to digital marketing strategy, it doesn’t work for content creation and it certainly won’t be effective when measuring the results.
The prioritization of any metrics you choose to analyze should correlate with whatever the goals of your campaign may be. They will also be heavily dependent on the platform(s) you’re turning to in achieving said digital marketing goals. Beyond the numbers alone, measuring your digital marketing efforts should be a strategic endeavor in and of itself.
Digital Marketing Metrics to Consider (Instead)
As mentioned above, your success measurements should be indicative of what success looks like across each platform involved in your digital marketing campaigns—and in terms of their relation to overall marketing goals.
Take into account all of the data points being tracked along your customer’s journey, with regards to metrics such as:
Total traffic as a standalone number may not tell you everything there is to know about performance, but it does serve as a surface level indicator. If a page on your website is showing a high volume of visits, for example, the subject matter is most likely of interest to your targeted audiences. If the volume is low or decreasing over time, there may be a content or UX issue worth addressing.
At the end of the day, every brand wants to know that their digital marketing efforts are eventually leading people into a sales funnel; the ultimate goal here being, well… sales. This is when understanding the actions your customers are taking as a result of your campaign is incredibly important. The more you can connect sales-based events with your digital marketing sources, the more tangible your results become to upper management.
In conjunction with your website or blog’s traffic and sales numbers, bounce rate gives more insight into just how long visitors are sticking around. As with most digital marketing metrics, measuring bounce rate needs to be given a bit of context.
For example, a high bounce rate on your homepage may not necessarily be a bad thing if people are bouncing across other areas of your website. If pages boasting long form content tend to see bounce rates that exceed 70%, however, you may need to re-evaluate the quality of what’s being produced in relation to your intended audiences.
Not all engagement metrics are created equal. While some may fall into the category of “vanity,” others can help point towards campaign effectiveness. This is especially true and vital to pay attention to with regards to any paid advertising you’re involved with.
If you’re pushing an ad on Facebook with the objective of driving downloads for a lead gen campaign, you’ll want to take note of how audiences are engaging with the ad itself. In this specific case, clicks will prove most important but shares and comments may carry some weight as well.
In addition, keeping an eye on negative types of engagement will prove useful. If you’re seeing high levels of hides, unlikes, or spam submissions, reevaluate the relevance of content being distributed in relation to your target audience. These types of metrics are perfect alerts for further investigation on behalf of different components at play across your brand’s digital marketing campaigns.
Which metrics do you depend on when reporting on your brand team’s success? We’d love to know!