Digital marketing offers many benefits over traditional forms of marketing, such as low cost, highly targeted campaigns, and huge potential reach. However, unless you work hard at assessing digital marketing returns using key metrics, you cannot achieve digital marketing success. You need to identify your goals, use tags to track performance in reaching those goals, parse returns based on critical segments of your market, and analyze data to form actionable insights if you want to optimize the returns achieved through your digital marketing campaigns.
Assessing traditional media
With traditional marketing tactics, you use something called “spray and pray”, which means you attempt to optimize the reach of your message to as many consumers as possible, then hope you generate a return on your investment. This reality means you waste a lot of money; up to $5 million for a single Super Bowl ad, for instance. John Wannamaker, an early leader in traditional advertising (when you didn’t have an option), famously said that he knew he was wasting half of his advertising budget, he just didn’t know which half.
He couldn’t determine which advertising strategies worked because traditional advertising, with the exception of direct advertising, doesn’t offer tools for assessing performance. I mean, think about it. You produce and distribute a TV commercial that reaches millions of viewers. You don’t know:
- How many people actually saw your commercial since they can skip commercials or simply leave the room for a snack during a commercial break?
- Did viewers who saw your commercial understand your message correctly?
- Were the viewers part of your target market?
- What percentage of the viewers within your target market took action, such as buying your brand?
- Did your message change perceptions about your brand to encourage future purchase intentions?
- Was there any secondary impact of your commercial on your target audience, such as recommendations or word-of-mouth?
In other words, you don’t know jack.
Even if you can trace an increase in revenue to a particular advertising campaign, you have no clue which time slot worked best at generating a sale, which channels worked best, which version of the commercial resulted in more sales, and a host of other issues. You might, in fact, experience an increase in revenue totally unrelated to your advertising, such as a news story about your brand.
Assessing digital marketing
In contrast, I can answer many of these questions related to the performance of my digital marketing campaign with the right digital tools. Assessing digital marketing campaigns using tools such as Google Analytics, metrics collected through social, search, and display advertising, and the performance of my email marketing provides insight that I can use to make better decisions and optimize performance.
For instance, check out this report generated by Google Analytics to track my funnel to determine critical information such as conversion rate and cart abandonment as well as identifying key market segments and channels to help me make better decisions that optimize my ROI (return on investment).
Additional tools help with assessing digital marketing across other platforms, such as social media and email marketing.
In assessing digital marketing, you need to work on its nitty-gritty details. Here are some of the questions that help you optimize your digital marketing campaigns:
Are your brand messages interpreted correctly?
Your digital campaign should bring out the character, personality, and theme of your company. For this, you must assess your product’s theme color, artistry in the brand name, and the purpose of your product as evaluated by your target market for the drive to be successful and authentic to the customer. If your message doesn’t get transmitted properly, your campaign is destined to fail.
Sometimes, you may find that your product is wrongfully misrepresented, thus creating misplaced expectations in the target audience. As a result, consumers don’t trust you and, if you fail to keep promises made within your messaging, your brand suffers. Such failures result in bad publicity, negative word-of-mouth, and dissatisfaction that can kill your brand.
To avoid these problems, engage artists who understand your marketing brief and use it on their screen printing and other ideas implemented for your campaign. Test the messaging extensively before implementing the campaign to ensure the message received is the one you intended to send. For instance, host an online focus group or monitor feedback from social media so you can change your messaging on the fly if users aren’t interpreting it properly.
Are the channels used effectively driving conversion?
Advertising is expensive and even generating organic traffic from social and search requires time (time is an important currency in business). Evaluating channel performance helps you determine which channels return the highest ROI so you can optimize your media budget.
Tags are useful for assessing digital marketing performance across channels. By attaching a small tag to your URL, you don’t impact navigation but you do provide a nuanced assessment of which channels produce the highest ROI and even which messages result in the highest conversion rate.
Creating tags is easy and, once added to your posts, allows you to track anything you wish on Google Analytics. Below is an example of how to create a tag.
Filling out this simple form generates a unique UTM tracking code for each element you wish to track such as different channels, different ad versions, or different keywords. The options are limited only by your creativity.
To assess performance, simply view your Google Analytics and you’ll find each time a user clicks the tagged URL, the tool allows you to track that click through to conversion.
Does the campaign resonate with the target market?
Identifying and convincing the target market to perform an action is the primary purpose of marketing. You must ensure you can correctly capture the target market through your digital platforms. Consider the age, gender, location, and lifestyle when creating your messages to ensure they resonate with the target markets critical for your brand. Create a unique campaign experience that resonates with each target market – it is the key to a successful digital campaign.
Assessing digital marketing based on how users in different groups respond is a simple task with many tools. In Google Analytics, for instance, you create segments within any report to determine how your messaging resonates with each group. You can even create cohort groups. In social media, you can certainly do the same thing by selecting only users coming from social media clicks. Or, you can set up different tags in social media ads created using different targeting criteria.
What are the factors impeding conversion?
Remember the funnel diagram we showed earlier in this post? Notice the dropoff between visitors who put a product into their shopping cart and those who actually complete the sale. Understanding why visitors don’t complete the sale is critically important for optimizing your ROI.
There’s no single metric useful for assessing digital marketing when it comes to finding these roadblocks to conversion. Instead, you must use a rigorous experimentation and testing regimen that starts with hypothesizing why visitors drop off. Then, you create alternative pages or even entire funnels based on these hypotheses to determine whether the revision supported conversion or not. Once you have your results, simply eliminate those options that performed poorly.
Consider using multiple tools for assessing digital marketing across different platforms.
The benefits of digital expansion in its growth and development are often understated, but they are the key to most firms’ continued growth. Therefore, you must ensure you do your best in assessing digital marketing and create brilliant campaigns that address these questions and optimize performance. With these answers, you are sure to driving your sales and productivity department crazy with orders!
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