Digital marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, and you’ve already taken the leap and made investments to run digital campaigns for your brand. The question is, is it working? Do you actually know how to recognize if it is or isn’t working? You need to be measuring your progress, and if you’re not, you might be wasting your money or failing to reach your true potential.
Even if you are following your metrics, success isn’t always easy to define in straight numbers. Once you know that your marketing isn’t working, you also have to decide what to do about it, which requires insight into why the campaign failed.
We’ve put together nine questions across three key components of digital campaigns. They’ll help you get a clear picture of how you’re doing and what may need to change, either in the campaign or in the way you approach your digital strategy as a whole.
1) How Does Our Website Rank?
You may realize that you need a solid SEO strategy to improve discoverability, but you may not realize just how much ranking truly matters. In January 2018, the first listing on a SERP saw a CTR of 27.5% on desktop and 21.6% on mobile. The second result fell to a little more than 13% for each type of device, and the third result fell further, to about 10%. By the time you reach the tenth result, the CTR is either a little over or a little under a mere 1%, and that’s just page one. Furthermore, users are most likely to only pay attention to the top ads and first handful of results.
Results are also listed on a page by page basis, meaning that you could have a blog post that ranks well, but your home page or services page rank poorly. Understand how your core pages and content rank to know what’s being found by your target audience, and what isn’t. You should also pay attention to when you rank higher (e.g., if you’ve done something new, you’re doing it right and should continue) or lower (e.g., you’ve been outranked by your competition).
2) How Are People Finding Us?
When considering pure SEO (that is to say, not including any paid search ads you may be running), consider two aspects: organic and referral traffic. Organic traffic grows when people find your webpage through search and click on it, while referral traffic grows when people find your off-site content or content talking about your brand and click to your page. You want to track organic traffic because it directly relates to people who are already actively searching for what you provide. Track referral traffic to understand your relationship to quality content, your “authority” in your industry or niche, and your connection to other influencers.
3) Are People Engaging with Our Site?
Unfortunately, just arriving at a branded web page isn’t enough; you want to see movement toward conversions. That means you need to track your bounce rate, which is the percentage of site visitors that only stay on the page they landed on for a very brief period of time and then leave, without interacting with any aspect of your site. If you have high site traffic but also have a high bounce rate, there’s some kind of disconnect between your ads, SEO, target audience, and the way you present your brand and offerings on your site. Instead, you want people to spend a longer time on the page they land on, or to navigate further into your site.
You also need to track online conversions. This doesn’t just mean making a purchase; it can include lead generation (e.g., exchanging information for access to free content), app downloads, comments on posts, and more. Essentially, you need to know how they’re interacting with your site, and whether they’re engaging with important elements that will bring them closer to your brand.
1) Are We Reaching the Right Audience?
Likes and follows are important metrics in social media, but it’s better to be “liked” by a small group of people that fit your target audience than it is to be “liked” by thousands of people who will never become customers. Focus your social media efforts on engaging the ones most likely to make a purchase and form a relationship — your current and prospective customers. If your social audience is unlikely to buy from you, you’re wasting your time.
2) Are We Delivering Value?
Think about the content you share on your brand pages. If all you’re doing is pitching, you’re probably not engaging.
That’s not to say you can never have a promotional post, but more often than not, people are looking for authentic, valuable content. Sometimes that can include entertainment or humor, but above all, make sure it’s helpful or useful. This lends your brand trust and credibility.
3) Is Everything Consistent and Integrated?
Does the tone and personality of your social media presence align with your overall branding and values? Does it feel like a natural extension of your other marketing? If the answer isn’t yes, know that inconsistency will at best confuse your audience, but at worst breed distrust.
Branding isn’t the only thing that should be consistent across channels. Your marketing message should be the same as well, and social should be a part of an integrated approach. That means your social content should link and drive traffic to your website, align with any digital or traditional promotions in the queue, and support your content marketing strategy.
1) Do People Open Our Emails?
Everyone’s inbox is full today, so you can’t expect results by blasting out the same content to all your contacts. Keep track of open rates, unsubscribe rates, and email CTR so you can understand if your email content is providing value to your audience, or you’re causing them to unsubscribe. People don’t have the time or attention for content that does not directly relate to them and their needs. Spend time on list segmentation and develop personalized content that is appropriate for where your contacts are in the buyer’s journey.
2) Are Our Subscribers Growing?
Whether it’s an email list, newsletter, or blog subscription, you want your subscribers to grow over time. That indicates a growing interest in your brand and your offerings and confirms your position as a thought leader. If your subscriber list is stagnant, you’ve reached a plateau and may need to switch things up to connect with new audiences. If it’s dropping, that may mean you’re no longer offering content that’s interesting and useful.
3) Is Our Content Being Shared?
Are emails being forwarded to friends? Are people pushing a share button on your blog posts? The more your content is being shared on a user’s initiative, the better it speaks to the value of your brand to your customers. Practice active social listening — like setting up alerts for mentions of your brand, and carving out time each week (or day!) to keep a pulse on your industry, competitors, and customers.
There’s no single KPI business owners can rely on to understand if digital marketing is working or not. Measuring your success on digital channels will require a combination of information (i.e., metrics and data) and using your best judgment to understand what that information means and how to use it to improve. The questions we’ve outlined above will help you get started.