Measuring Success: Online Marketing Tips and Metrics
What are the metrics that matter?
Measuring the efforts of your marketing strategies often feels like a science and an art — how do you know the time and resources you’ve spent is generating positive results?
For most brands, sales figures are used as an indicator of success. But sales numbers do not necessarily mean a brand or business is performing well. Metrics provide an overview of what’s working and what isn’t as well as giving important data about your brand and the audience you’re attracting.
Why measure your marketing efforts?
Each year, about one billion dollars is wasted on marketing efforts that didn’t yield results. The amount of wastage could be drastically reduced or eliminated by measuring, analysing, and applying marketing metrics.
Moreover, the importance of marketing analytics goes beyond ensuring spend. You’ll be able to track your marketing campaigns, assess their effectivity, and even predict their outcomes. This means, N=no more guesswork and no more wasted marketing dollars.
Which metrics should you measure?
There is a plethora of marketing analytic tools and metrics to measure which can get rather overwhelming. In short, the metrics that should be measured depends on your business’ goals and the campaigns or strategies implemented.
For example, for search marketing, a crucial metric to collect and measure is keyword data. By just measuring keywords and frequency, you’ll be able to determine:
- What features, updates or improvements customers are looking for the most
- Which elements they need help or are having trouble with
- Which trends are gaining traction (and which are on their way out)
If you’re measuring the effectivity of other online marketing channels like social media, traffic by sources or channels is an important metric to measure, providing data such as:
- Referrals: which site or channel your visitors are coming from
- Direct Visitors: how many are going to your website via typing the URL directly
- Social Media Traffic: measuring the effectiveness of your content, general awareness about your brand, and level of engagement with your followers
Here are other metrics you should keep a close eye on:
- Total Site Visits: if the amount of visitors increases month to month, you know your current campaigns are working
- New vs Returning Visits: when you have more returning visits, this means that people are checking back because they find valuable content on your site
- Time on Site: tells you how long people spend on your site and where they spend the most time
- Bounce Rate: the higher this rate, the more people leave without doing anything meaningful on your site. You should aim to reduce this where possible
One of the most effective ways to acquire this data is through Google Analytics.
Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides a wealth of marketing information. According to Neil Patel, Google Analytics can help you form a hypothesis about your marketing efforts, formulate a question to be asked, create custom reports, take action, and measure the results.
Initially, you’ll be able to see metrics to do with real-time (what’s happening now), your audience (who’s visiting your site), acquisition (where they’re coming from), behaviour (what they’re doing), and conversion (behaviour that leads to sales).
Here are the metrics you can measure depending on how you choose to slice and dice information:
- Real Time: location of active visitors, traffic sources, which pages people are currently visiting, how current visitors are converting
- Audience: age and gender of visitors, their interests, geography and language, which browser, OS, or network they’re using, how many are on mobile vs desktop, and more
- Acquisition: paid traffic like AdWords and other campaigns, organic traffic like social media
- Behaviour: top performing content, factors that may slow down your site (and how to improve it), what people are searching for on your site’s search bar, and more
- Conversions: reports on goals you have set, information about the performance of your e-commerce story, multi-channel funnels, and more.
Some helpful tips to maximise Google Analytics:
- Set up custom reports sent to you over email. This cuts down the time you’ll spend hunting for relevant metrics, and you’ll have data in your inbox for whenever you need them.
- Create custom dashboards for metrics most important to you. You can cut down on the data clutter, especially if you’re quickly looking for actionable data relevant to your goals.
- Use site speed data to optimise your website. Google’s benchmark loading time is 3 seconds, and you can gain a competitive edge from the competition by meeting or exceeding this number.
- Toggle funnel visualisation. You can see which area in the sales funnel your customers are on and where you need to improve.
Monitor real-time metrics to see user behaviour.
You’ll be able to see where current users are at and note User Experience or User Interface bottlenecks or roadblocks you can improve on.
Measuring your Return on Investment (ROI)
You know which metrics to track and how to use Google Analytics to get the data you need, but how do you use these data to determine if you’re getting a return on your investment (ROI)?
Measuring ROI is a little more complicated than simply tallying up the revenue a campaign has brought in and measuring it against how much you spent. This is due to a number of reasons including that not all campaigns are put in place for conversion.
Instead, you can take note of which metrics you can keep track of to help measure your ROI.
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA): you can measure the ROI of your entire marketing plan by dividing your spending by the sales generated through your campaigns combined.
- Average Order Value (AOV): this accounts for the value of each order, and not just how many orders have been placed. To compute, simply divide the total revenue by the number of orders.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): the average amount your customer will spend on your company over their lifetime.
With the many strategies and campaigns you can launch to market your brand or company, you need to know which ones are worth your limited resources. Measuring how successful your online marketing strategy isn’t guesswork at all, nor does it have to be complicated. Learn the metrics most essential to your needs, master the tools to measure those metrics (Google Analytics), and you’re well on your way to ensuring your strategies are giving you a return on your investment.
If you’d like to get more in-depth on what you should measure and how to navigate tools such as Google Analytics with our Digital Growth Marketing course.