What should you measure to determine if your digital campaigns are successful? The answer is that it depends on your business goals and objectives. Focusing only on the last direct click to a phone call or the filling out of a lead form misses the larger marketing picture and can often result in companies making poor decisions with their marketing budgets.
At Metric PPC we report on monthly data that helps you see how campaigns are performing in general. One of the most popular metrics is phone call tracking from ads. This gives us directional data to optimize your campaigns at the keyword level. There are, however, other metrics to consider to help you determine how well your marketing campaigns are working.
In this article we outline some metrics you should be monitoring to help determine the success of your ad campaigns. Focusing only on phone calls or lead form submissions is not the best way to determine how your campaigns are growing your business. Digital marketing campaigns have the same type of brand awareness built into them as traditional marketing channels do.
Other Metrics to Consider When Measuring Your Campaign’s Success:
Awareness and Branding
Clicks and Impressions do have value. These metrics drive awareness for what is called “the top of the funnel”. When your customers are searching for your services they will constantly see your name and brand at the top of Google for relevant searches about your business. Since customers have many steps in their buying cycle these ad impressions help keep your company “top of mind” as they go through their path to purchase.
Digital ad impressions are similar to getting impressions in a magazine or on a TV commercial except you are showing up on searches for people looking for your services, in your locations of choice, and you know exactly how many times the ad was shown. You also know if people are clicking through the ads or not and engaging with them. The side benefit is we can also track how many sales or calls you may get from the ad campagins.
When asking for data from a print ad, TV commercial, or a billboard you can only get back how much you spent on the campaign. How do you know if that type of marketing works? Digital marketing campaigns have this same type of brand awareness built into them as traditional marketing channels do.
Since no amount of tracking can catch everything it is important to monitor sales growth year over year and quarter over quarter. Your customers need to see you in many different locations during their path to purchase. If a potential customer sees one of your Google Ads and they don’t call they may see your video ad and then decide later to call from your local listing directly. They may also just come into your place of business or be researching and may see your ad again when they are closer to deciding on a company.
You can’t compare month-to-month sales data to and get the correct picture because of the seasonality in your business. You should take at least 3 months of data and compare it to the previous year and see if you notice any trends.
If you were to only place a TV commercial or a print ad how would you measure the campaigns success at the end for the year? The question is no different with digital marketing except that we can optimize campaigns with the data we do have and place ads that target your customers more directly. Focusing only on phone calls from ads will miss the larger effects these types of campaigns have on the growth of your business.
Many businesses generate recurring income from the closing of one sale. In the health care industry for example the value of a new patient can be very high. If you are looking at new client counts for the year you should also be factoring in an average long-term-value (LTV) of a new customer. This will give you a better understanding of your long-term ROI from your ad campaigns.
The LTV of a new customer is important because it also influences your cost-per-lead goals. If you set your cost-per-lead goal too low then our bidding will have to be adjusted and you will get less leads. There is a natural trade-off between the cost-per-lead and the number of leads you can obtain. Our goal is to optimize this trade-off so you can get enough leads to grow your business and still be profitable.
Value of a Sale
In markets where a single sale is worth many months of ad spend you must be even more careful when only looking at calls from ads. Some markets have lower search volume (high end real estate and some B2B companies for example) and generate less calls per month. However, the keyword searches in these marketers are so specific you do not want to miss out on the opportunity to appear at the top of Google on these searches. In these cases it is not about how many clicks you are getting. It is about the quality of the clicks and impressions.
If a single sale pays for three months, one year, or even three years of ad spend then statistically the data is telling you that you should always be running these types of campaigns because eventually one is going to convert and pay for all of your ad spend.
While it is valuable to look at phone calls and lead form submissions from digital ad camapigns these types of metrics are better suited for an agency to use as directional data to optimize your campaigns. If you are seeing an ROI from just phone call tracking then the long-term performance is going to be much better than what is being reported each month.
To determine if your campaigns are successful you need to look at the other metrics or you risk turning campaigns off that are working. Digital ad campaigns also interact with other parts for your marketing efforts on your customers path to purchase.
Using the metrics we have mentioned in this article we have helped clients get a much better picture of the benefits of their digital marketing campaigns and make smarter choices about where to spend company ad budgets.
Sean periodically teaches as an adjunct professor on the topic of search engines and search marketing at MSU and is a member of their computer science advisory board. He completed coursework for his PhD in machine learning at MSU. He was the founder and publisher of SEMJ.org. Sean holds four engineering patents, has a B.S. in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a master’s in electrical engineering from Washington State University. As president and director at metric ppc, Inc. he focuses on search marketing, internet research, and consults for large companies.