Once you know how to decipher your digital marketing analytics, they can help you identify big-picture trends, understand which of your initiatives are working and why, maximize performance, and optimize your return on investment (ROI). But knowing where to start is a challenge, and knowing which metrics to focus on is even harder – especially when it seems like there are hundreds of data points to consider across a variety of channels.
Let’s break down the most important things to consider when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing tactics:
Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your goals
With the various tools and channels used in digital marketing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the data flowing in. However, depending on your particular business plan and marketing efforts, some metrics will prove more important than others.
Deciding which metrics are important starts with defining KPIs for your digital marketing efforts. A KPI is a measurement that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving its business objectives. Digital marketing KPIs, the best of which follow the SMART framework below, should indicate valuable online conversions.
- Specific: Clear description of what needs to be achieved;
- Measurable: What metric indicates success?;
- Achievable: Make it a challenging but realistic target;
- Relevant: It should be consistent with higher-level goals;
- Time-Bound: Set a date for when it needs to be achieved.
Choose digital marketing metrics that matter
When you’re tracking a number that makes you feel good but doesn’t do anything for your business, it’s classified as a vanity metric. As you think about each digital marketing channel, you should focus on whether or not the metrics you’re looking at are actually contributing to your business objectives.
Vanity metrics can be useful in terms of measuring brand awareness, but they cannot be tied to ROI. Common vanity metrics include:
- Web traffic
- Social media followers
- Organic keyword rankings
- Social media post impressions
Your ROI framework should be constructed in terms of valuable metrics that apply to the business at large. The more time you spend improving conversions, the better results you’ll have in the end. Some examples of conversion-based metrics include:
- Gated content downloads
- Qualified leads
- Conversion rates
- Customer lifetime value
With KPIs and target metrics in place, you’ll prevent any confusion about what you are trying to achieve, allowing you to focus on ways to improve these metrics.
Analyze trends and make improvements
It’s not enough to track your chosen metrics over time. If you want to achieve your business goals and increase ROI, you’ll have to adjust your campaigns based on those numbers.
It generally takes some experimenting and time to gather enough data to notice trends or areas of opportunity. However, running A/B tests on different aspects of your digital marketing campaigns to see which elements provide better results can help gather insightful data more quickly.
An additional tip for identifying trends: When comparing data over time, be sure to take certain abnormalities (such as seasonal demands) into consideration. In many cases, month-to-month comparisons won’t give you the best idea of how you’re improving. Instead, use year-over-year comparisons to gauge success.
Digital marketing is a major investment of time and money, so it’s critical to measure your company’s marketing performance. The biggest mistake businesses can make is not having clear goals and expectations for digital campaigns. If you define KPIs and key metrics at the jump, you’ll be able to draw insights from data more easily, make more calculated changes to your campaigns, and meet your goals.