In the complex world of digital marketing, it seems that nothing is very easy. The requirements on brands appear to continually be changing, platforms are frequently modifying their rules and consumer expectations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. When you add to all of that the difficulties surrounding measuring results and tracking metrics, it’s no wonder why many marketers find themselves struggling.
When it comes right down to it, effective marketing has to generate real results. In order to achieve real results, brands are faced with the challenge of measuring the effectiveness of what they are doing, which is often outside of the more easily obtainable quantity metrics. Since quantity metrics are usually much less complex and far easier to track and measure, many brands just seem to struggle with the more challenging, yet important quality metrics that has the biggest impact on their marketing improvement.
Measure Business Outcomes
Through a study last year conducted by Forrester, a report was produced that was called “Metrics That Matter For B2B Marketers”. Although the study was focused on B2B brands, it has a lot of merit for marketers in all industries and sizes. The general insights gathered from the study shows that brands often lack the skill set to manage corporate marketing and business data to effectively measure and track important marketing results. This issue forces many brands to focus on more convenient metrics and tracking components that fail to align marketing activities with important business results, thus impacting marketing budgets negatively and diminishing credibility within organizations at multiple levels.
Due to the challenges marketers have surrounding measuring, tracking and reporting on marketing activity, it can often be seen as a cost center, rather than something that appropriately connects marketing with sales, revenue, profits and customer growth. Sustainable business development has to be defended by properly showing return on investment. This is done by focusing reporting and measuring important business outcomes that senior management can directly connect with the investment and activities that marketing is responsible for. Marketers must be able to answer leadership questions about the direct impact marketing is having on revenue, growth and profitability.
Important Metrics For Marketing Results
Within digital marketing, there should be a migration in mindset and priority from quantity to quality. Though quantity metrics can be a part of the puzzle that is used to make important marketing decisions, quality marketing metrics should drive the activities and investments of time, money and resources.
Let’s detail some of the differences between quantity and quality metrics and provide some examples that will help you get your head around the importance of quality and how it impacts business outcomes such as sales, revenue and profit.
Examples of Quantity Marketing Metrics:
Think of quantity metrics in marketing as measuring activities, not necessarily the results of certain activities. Sometimes referred to as vanity metrics, an emphasis on measuring quantity metrics can give you a false sense of success because the numbers can often be easily impacted. Unfortunately, quantity metrics from marketing usually provides very little actionable data that helps you to improve your marketing efforts and the business outcomes they are intended to support.
EXAMPLE: We have a B2C client in a very niche and highly competitive industry. Their competitors have been around much longer than they have and often have huge followings online. The interesting and extremely important point is that the extreme majority of their large and small competitors create and share content that is largely only interesting and valuable to them, not their intended customer. What’s more, the majority of their followings and engagement comes from their direct or pseudo competitors, not new prospects and customers. This is because the industry focuses primarily on quantity marketing metrics and fail at understanding the correlation of marketing and business outcomes. The good news is that this makes what we do for this client really effective and offers an environment of rapid results.
Quantity Marketing Metrics:
Followers – One of the easiest and most frequently measured quantity metrics are followers on social media. More often than not, the quantity of followers do not directly result in an impact on a company’s revenue, profits or customer growth. Although an increase in followers can impact important business outcomes, it usually does not occur when the appropriate and connected quality metrics are not being measured and tracked.
Number Of Clicks – Just because a follower or user doing a search clicks on your search result, article or ad, does not mean you have impacted business results favorably. Furthermore, clicks from the wrong target audience can be costly and sometimes direct you in ways that will harm your marketing, not improve net results.
Number Of Visitors/Views – You definitely want to increase visitors to your brand properties, but who, how and why are quality marketing metrics that get you the right views and visits. A lot of views from non-prospects will most definitely increase your website abandon rate and hurt your overall search rankings of your website and specific pages.
Engagement Rate – Many brands place an enormous amount of clout on the engagement that they generate with their digital marketing. Engagement rate can be an important metric, ONLY if the rest of your marketing is correctly being connected to your proper audience and the engagement results in action, not just friendly comments and likes.
Email Subscribers – In general, the number of subscribers you have to your email list is important and increasing that list size should be a priority. However, what your subscribers do with the emails you send and how many of them open your email marketing messages is far more important than how big your list is!
Examples of Quality Marketing Metrics:
Quality marketing metrics can have a direct and measurable impact on business outcomes such as sales, revenue and customer acquisition. Measuring marketing on some of the quality metrics listed below, will provide you with data that is often actionable and will guide improvement in all areas of your digital marketing.
EXAMPLE: We have another client that we manage digital marketing for that is in a highly competitive local and national space. We have taken them from nearly a zero digital footprint, all the way to dominating in their local market. We understand all aspects of their quality metrics to a level of leads per week, average close ratio on each lead, walk in traffic opposed to digital inbound leads. We even know their average revenue per sale and so on. These are the important metrics that drive the strategy we have developed for the client, the continual improvement in marketing results and how we make decisions on the what, when and how for their marketing program.
Quality Marketing Metrics:
Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors that purchase, sign up or complete and intended action.
Time On Site – How long do your visitors stay on your site and how many pages of your site do they visit before leaving.
Cost per Lead – What is the cost for every lead your marketing is generating and which marketing platform and tactic is getting the best result.
Revenue Per Sale – Is the average dollar amount per sale that your marketing is generating increasing or decreasing?
Revenue Per Visitor – What is the revenue generated by visitors to your property?
Cost Per Click – What does it cost to get a visitor to your website or profile?
ROI – Return On Investment – What is the return on investment that is directly connected to your marketing activities. More importantly, which activities deliver the highest returns.
Digital marketing is complex and will only continue to increase in complexity. Brands and marketers need to focus on improving their marketing functions by measuring their marketing results and how it directly impacts important business outcomes. Quality marketing metrics will give you the actionable information you need to improve your digital marketing activity and also justify your budget and resource requirements to management. Prove your marketing efforts drive improved business outcomes and leadership will see what you do as profit focused and no longer as an expense!