People may not want to dig under the surface of their marketing campaigns for many reasons. For some, marketing is opaque and mysterious, dealing with too many intangibles to evaluate objectively, and for others, booming business functions as de facto proof of marketing success. If sales are up 70%, year over year, this argument goes, marketing must be doing great.
But even if everything is going great, subjecting your marketing numbers to some metrics and evaluations can pay off in the long run. It can ensure continuing success by helping you refine future campaigns and reveal problems before they become problems — whether that means declining engagement on ads on a particular social media platform or dissatisfied consumer rumblings about a new product feature.
Ultimately, there’s really no reason not to try and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. If you get pushback on this from your marketing people, they might be trying to hide poor performance — or simply not putting in much effort.
The bottom line is that measuring the success of your marketing campaigns can ensure you’re using your resources wisely and can tell you if your company is headed in the right direction. Let’s look at some ways to evaluate your marketing effectively.
Know What You Want
Before you can measure the success of your marketing campaigns, you have to have clear standards in place. Consider what you want to accomplish: Are you trying to double sales, bring in 50% more sales leads, rebrand yourself, or improve your placement in Google's search rankings?
Consider using metrics like OKRs (objectives and key results) or SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) to evaluate your marketing campaigns. Using these methods gives you a clear roadmap to gather data, which you can then assess.
And make sure you ask these questions before investing a lot of money into marketing. No matter what industry you're in, whether a transportation company or an apparel store, you want to establish informed expectations for your campaigns.
Gauge Historical Performance
Your raw traffic numbers may look impressive, but they don’t actually mean much in a vacuum. Are you up or down compared to last week? What about last month or last year?
Make sure you contextualize today’s numbers with historical data to show the big picture. For example, it may initially sound impressive that your traffic is up 200% over last month — but what if you’re down 50% compared to last year? What if your traffic is way up year-over-year, but your conversion rate has stayed flat? Looking at today’s numbers without comparing them to past performance is investing without factoring in taxes and fees — you’re just not looking at the whole picture.
Don’t Fixate Solely on Numbers
Although measuring traffic and conversions is important, don’t get hung up on numbers when assessing your marketing efforts. Not everything, after all, is about raw click-throughs or sales. Consider marketing campaigns that are aimed at raising specific awarenesses or rebranding. You can’t necessarily use raw numbers to assess the success of those efforts.
You can, however, evaluate them by other means. Many tools out there measure things like consumer awareness, brand loyalty, positive sentiment, and changes in perception among your brand. Some of these tools even allow respondents to give answers on specific points.
This is especially important when trying to change consumer perception of a specific aspect of your business. Crucially, they can contextualize your findings by putting them alongside industry averages.
Break Down the Results of Digital Marketing
Don’t just put all your digital advertising results into one big bucket. Digital marketing isn’t as opaque or monolithic as old-model marketing methods like radio or billboards. You can actually use digital marketing attribution models to break down how each of your digital assets performs — and doing so can yield incredibly valuable intel on how to further refine your campaigns.
For example, you can compare how many consumers click through from your content marketing and how many click through from your social media posts. Furthermore, let’s say your social media links directly to your store while your content links directly to your landing page.
Comparing the conversion rate from each of those can yield interesting insights. And using those insights to vary how your marketing funnel is set up — for example, by switching where your social media and content marketing lead — can highlight your strengths and areas you may need to work on.
Choose Your KPIs Wisely
“KPI” stands for “key performance indicators,” and these are basically the yardsticks you’ll use to measure your marketing campaign’s success. Think of them as the equivalent of “cap rate” or “cash on cash return” in real estate investment. Some of the most common and versatile KPIs are:
- Impressions: This measures how many times consumers viewed your ad. The higher the number, the farther the ad’s reach, and the better the value.
- Page views: This measures how often pages on your landing site were viewed by users. The more page views per session, the more engaging the site is.
- Website traffic: This is a basic measurement of how many people visited your site without looking at what they did while they were there.
- Click-through rate: This measures the percentage of people who click on one of your ads. A good CTR is around 5%.
- Return on investment: This expresses how much business you get based on your ad spend. If you spend $1,000 on marketing your Excel courses and you get $5,000 in sales through that campaign, that translates to a 400% ROI.
- Conversion rate: This measures how many consumers who visit your website end up paying customers or leads. So if your ads bring in 10,000 visitors and 100 become customers, you have a 1% conversion rate.
- Bounce rate: This measures the percentage of visitors who leave your website without clicking through to at least one page.
- Cost per click: Dividing the price of your marketing campaign by the number of visitors it generates gets you the cost per click, or CPC. Whether selling luxury real estate, sneakers, or HIPAA-compliant survey tools, you want to keep your CPC as low as possible. A low CPC means you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, while a high CPC means paying dearly for each of those clicks.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to marketing, measuring campaign success is essential for informed decision-making. These 5 effective methods provide valuable insights into your initiatives.
From tracking performance indicators to analyzing customer engagement and conversion rates, each approach offers a unique perspective on effectiveness. By leveraging these techniques, you can optimize strategies, allocate resources wisely, and achieve business goals.
Stay ahead of the competition, refine your efforts, and drive sustainable growth by consistently evaluating and refining campaigns based on these insightful measurements. Make data-driven decisions, unlock new opportunities, and propel your marketing to new heights.