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How Do You Rate Digital Marketing Success?

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As last week was IPA’s Marketing Effectiveness Week, looking into how we measure success has been a hot topic at Rocket and has prompted a number of discussions.

The unfortunate, yet obvious, reality of the situation is that there is no one golden metric to look at which will show us the full short and long-term impacts of our marketing campaigns. Instead, we need to take a step back from our marketing activities and take a look at the wider businesses objectives and then reflect how our campaigns are helping them towards these goals.

Most wider business objectives revolve around improving sales, revenue or profit. This is often seen as a stumbling block for digital marketing activities when promoting brick and mortar stores due to the inefficiencies in tracking online activity to in-store purchases. But is this a deserved argument?

New Technologies

Despite the growth in online sales dwarfing the growth in sales from retail stores in recent years 1, more sales still come from physical stores than online by quite some margin. This has led to new and innovative ways for companies to track their user’s journeys as they weave between the digital and physical worlds.

With the rise of mobile, companies can now track when users who have interacted with their ads go on to visit their store (based on user location/footfall data); with Facebook and Google now including this in their reporting metrics 2,3. Even without this companies can use Facebook’s offline API to upload transaction data to match this against their CRM database, allowing them to piece together their customers’ full journey 4.

Measuring, not Counting

Even without this technology it doesn’t mean you should default back to only measuring impressions, clicks, views, etc., if these aren’t really helping your business. As put by EFF Works, It’s time marketers started measuring, not counting, social media impact‘ 5. This is where vanity metrics can be an issue and as a marketer it can be all too easy getting caught up in how well your ads are ‘performing’, without taking into consideration whether or not this is actually benefiting the company in the bigger picture.

This said, it’s not to say performance metrics are not an effective way to monitor the success of your campaigns. Take for example if the company you work for is looking to increase sales by appealing to a new target audience. You could choose to measure the CTR, dwell time & engagement rates of your ads when shown to this audience to measure how much of an impact you are having on the new target. You could also take into consideration brand lift, awareness, mentions, etc.

Viewing Success

As such, success can be measured in a number of ways, not all of which are as easy or direct as a simple change to a company’s bottom line. Therefore, it’s essential to pre-define KPI’s which work towards the business’s underlying goals and not just vanity metrics for each ad. Then, as you hit your targets, you know you are helping the company on its way to reaching its goals.

Sam Ovenden, Biddable Planner

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