Rankings for a set of keywords . . errr that’s the main thing isn’t it?
Let me scream at you a resounding NOOO!!
“When measuring the success of a new digital marketing campaign I continually find that rankings for a handful of keywords seem to be the “be all and end all” for a large number of people”
When measuring the success of a new digital marketing campaign I continually find that rankings for a handful of keywords seem to be the “be all and end all” for a large number of people. Often the entire effectiveness of the digital marketing campaign is judged solely on these select few rankings.
Although these keywords may bring traffic and conversions, they are only one small measure of the campaign and by placing all your attention on this small sample of data, you are not seeing a MUCH bigger picture.
This intense focus seems to stem from the proposal and reporting of many online marketing agencies. Now I’m not saying they do a bad job or anything like that, far from it actually as quite a few of them will get you good rankings for your handful of keywords if that is all you are bothered about.
What many of them don’t talk to you about however, both initially and on an ongoing basis, is the countless other measurements of success of the online campaign combined with your changing goals. In fact your goals are often not really discussed in any depth at all and the conversation is based mainly around keywords and rankings.
“What Specifically Do You Want To Achieve From Your Digital Marketing Campaign?”
Firstly what are your goals? What specifically do you want to achieve from the digital marketing campaign? This could be things like:
- More Leads Or Enquiries
Sign Ups To A Service Or Membership
Brand Awareness Or Traffic Coming From Brand Related Terms
Greater Social Following And Audience
Increase Overall Sales
Sales Of A Particular Range
Increase Customer Order Value
Grow Your Newsletter Subscribers
More Phone Calls
More Video Views Or Channel Subscribers
More Downloads Of A Particular Document/Brochure Or Software
Lower Cost Per Conversion With Your PPC Campaign
Higher Earnings Per Click
The list could go on and on. Whatever your goals are, they should be discussed at outset and on an ongoing basis because your business doesn’t stand still and neither do your goals.
“Keywords and rankings tell you hardly anything about specific goals”
Measuring the effectiveness of the SEO campaign should be bespoke and tailored to the goals along with the usual “add on” measurements such as keywords and rankings. Keywords and rankings tell you hardly anything about specific goals. That is why it is important to look at the campaign as a whole with keywords and rankings being one small element.
If your traffic has increased and your leads have doubled in line with your goals yet the 20 keywords that you track haven’t seen too much improvement, is that really a poor performing campaign? Of course not!
“So How Do You Measure The Effectiveness Of A Digital Marketing Campaign?”
Well firstly there are sort of two core elements to bear in mind when analyzing a campaign and they are ROI (financial) and brand awareness and reach (non financial).
Measuring The Financial Success Of Your Campaign
You need to be tracking the number of conversions, the source, the landing page, the conversion rate and the cost per conversion. What a conversion is will depend on your business. It could be an enquiry, a telephone call, a sale or something else. Whatever it is, you need to track them so you can see if your conversions are increasing as a result of your marketing efforts. In addition to the overall number of conversions, you should be looking at the source of the conversion. It is only through looking at conversions at source level that you can discover the best and worst performing areas of your campaign meaning you can adjust your efforts accordingly.
You should also track conversions at page level. Which pages on your website convert the best and which ones do not convert well? What are the reasons for this and what changes can you test to improve things?
If your conversion involves more than one step, what is the drop off rate at each step? Why is this happening and what changes can you test to improve it?
Tracking conversions at this level will enable you to measure if your digital marketing campaign is successful and/or improving.
Earnings Per Click
We posted about earnings per click in depth in another post as well as how to calculate it, but it needs mentioning here too. This is basically how much a site visitor is worth to you and can be used as a measure of the success of a campaign by tracking it. If your earnings per click is decreasing then refinements to your campaign are working. It is also important to note that if you are running PPC then rising cost per clicks could distort this element as a measure of success.
Is the campaign producing a positive or negative ROI and is this improving? From initial launch of the online marketing campaign, you should (hopefully) be seeing your ROI improve meaning that the campaign is running successfully and the ongoing tweaks and refinement is working to improve your ROI. This should also be tracked at a more granular level to quickly identify any non performing areas of the campaign that can either be improved or cut to increase the overall ROI of the campaign.
Pay per click, although a traffic source, deserves a mention on its own due to the level of sensitivity and financial influence that it carries. One key success metric here is the cost per conversion. From launch of the campaign, you should be seeing a decrease in the cost per conversion as the campaign develops. This is a key measurement of the success of the campaign. Obviously cost per conversion won’t continue to decrease indefinitely but it is certainly one to watch while the campaign gets off the ground and on an ongoing basis.
There are more measurements as this is not a definitive list and what measurements you use will be dependant on your GOALS. The key is measuring the success of the campaign based on your goals and not an out of the box set of metrics. One example is tracking the order value on an ecommerce site. If the order value is increasing then the campaign is running successfully.
Measuring The Success Of The Campaign With Your Brand
The traffic from your brand related keywords is one way to measure the effectiveness of a brand campaign. Also direct traffic (people typing in your website directly in the address bar) is another measure of the success of a brand development campaign.
You should rank exceptionally well for your brand related keywords but this is still worth tracking just so you stay on top of things.
Your following could also be used as a measure of a brand campaign. Are your followers across social platforms increasing?
Mentions Of Your Brand
This can sometimes be a bit harder to track depending on the brand and niche but if more people are “talking” about your brand then it is an indicator that your digital campaign is effective.
Measuring The Success Of The Reach Of Your Campaign
An increasing number of unique visitors is an indicator of the effectiveness of the campaign. As your reach expands then so should traffic to your site.
Your content should be appearing around the web on various different sites and forums so an increase in external links to your site could be one indicator that your reach is expanding.
An increased following across any channels that you are present on is a measure of the success of the campaign. If you are growing your audience then things are going in the right direction. You could drill down more into the analytics to measure your campaign but this will depend on you and your goals.
Engagement As A Measure Of Campaign Success
What pages are people more engaged with and which ones have the highest bounce rate? Are people spending time on your site but not converting? Are your pages per visit low? Are people commenting on your blog posts? These can all be used to measure the effectiveness of an engagement campaign and improvements made accordingly.
Is your audience engagement increasing? Is your content getting more likes/shares/retweets etc? Tracking engagement will tell you if the campaign is on track.
“So next time someone simply shoves a rank report under your nose start asking questions and drilling into the metrics that apply to your business”
This is by no means a definitive list of metrics. There are tons more and you can get really micro with the data but hopefully this list has given you a little more insight into what and how you should be looking at data. So next time someone simply shoves a rank report under your nose start asking questions and drilling into the metrics that apply to your business.
There are a multitude of analytics tools available that will show you all kinds of metrics and data about your campaign but if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for then things can quickly become confusing and measuring the online campaign can become a bit of a challenge. This is only the half of it!
Measuring the success of a digital marketing campaign is only half of the battle and to be honest it shouldn’t even be YOUR battle! Any good digital marketing company should compile a completely bespoke monthly report for you that will contain all the measurements of the campaign that are relevant to your goals. This way you will easily be able to track the effectiveness of the online campaign without being shown a ton of irrelevant metrics that don’t reveal key metrics that are relevant to your campaign.
What’s more important is actually acting on the data. The digital agency should be all over these analytics every month and be continuously analyzing and tweaking your campaign to improve it’s effectiveness. If no action on the data is taken then what is the point in simply looking at data expecting things to improve?
If you want a completely bespoke monthly report that highlights only relevant metrics that enable you to effectively measure the success of your digital marketing campaign then ring 0161 236 7161
P.S If you send us some cakes we will even act on the data and improve your campaign for you every month too!