12 proven ways to measure your digital marketing success

Digital success is this-a-way!

Digital success is this-a-way!

We live in a very measured world… with the ability to know to the click, second and action exactly how well things are going for our digital marketing efforts.

At least some of us do.

I’m often surprised how some clients we meet have virtually no metrics in place. They just catapult messages and offers over the moat—without an overall battle plan—and just hope it hits something.

That era is dying. And it’s a justified death. Marketing is meant to move needles—of awareness, sales, connections, leads and more. But marketing of yesteryear could hide behind more nebulous, dodgy metrics. Today, we have concrete tools to tell us when to enjoy our progress or change course.

The digital candy store has a sweet spot for every kind of marketer. B2B and B2C alike. I thought about the myriad ways to measure digital success when I put together this list. There are bucket loads of methods—but these, to me, are particularly useful to a lot of our clients.

Some of these approaches will appeal to marketers trying to make sales headway or a connection, others will be like Christmas morning for the CFO.

  1. Cost-per-click (CPC) – No, that’s not a typo for “Pay-per-click” (when a user clicks on your ad or link,  and you pay a set fee, up to a certain budget number). CPC is simply dividing what you paid in total by the number of clicks you got. That tells you, in real dollars, how much an ad or link is worth.
  2. Share of voice – This measures how much of your audience’s attention you’re commanding in social, video, image searches and more. See yours instantly at Social Mention… a free site where you type in your brand or product name, and get a report, in seconds, on what kind of social footprint you’re making. (You may get a mixed bag of companies that share a similar name to yours, but it’s still fun to try.) Then, make it really interesting… and type in your competitors! www.socialmention.com
  3. Social interactions – This is the chattier, extroverted little brother of share of voice. It measures how many likes, tweets, retweets, pins, shares, mentions or comments you get over a period of time. It’s a great indicator of how interested people are in what you’re saying, how that changes over time, and seeing what digital channels give you the biggest bang for the shortest fuse.
  4. Cost-per-lead – Here, you account for everything in a campaign that helped you gain leads, then divide that cost by the number of leads you got. Let’s say you created a white paper, designed a landing page and form for prospects to receive it, then did an email campaign, tweets and posts to promote it. Total cost: $25,000. You got 1,800 leads from it. Total cost-per-lead: ~$13.88. This is the kind of intelligence CFOs give up their firstborn for, because it gives them a hard value to compare to profit margins, budgets, etc.
  5. Lead volume – This is marketing speak for how many leads you’re getting, and it’s particularly popular with inbound marketers. Common tools in this shed include the number of downloads or forms filled out. In a high-pressure marketing world, it’s a nice little barometer on what’s working.
  6. Page rank – Someone does a Google search for a company, product or content like yours. Where are you in the search results? In other words, how important are you to Google? Moving up just a few notches in the Google universe can mean a flood more web traffic. If you don’t rank so well, your SEO approach needs work.
  7. Unique visits – You can get this from Google Analytics or other web-tracking software. It’s a count of individuals who visit your website during a certain amount of time. It reveals how well you’re reaching your market.
  8. Impressions – This is how many times an ad appears to your audience (whether they notice it or not is a different story). It’s a leftover concept from newspaper and billboard days, but in the digital world, the number of impressions gets a lot more interesting when you compare it to the number of click-throughs your ad got.
  9. Lead-to-customer conversion rate – I’ll translate: How many of our leads turned into customers? If you find that people are only clicking through so far, or dropping off, not downloading or not filling out a form, your strategy or creative may need a makeover.
  10. Time on site – Again, available through Google Analytics. It tells you, down to minutes and seconds, how long the average visitor stayed on your site. Granted, B2B tends to be lower than B2C—but this little measurement says how sticky your site is.
  11. Return visits – Here, you learn how many unique visitors are boomeranging back to your site. If your return visit number is high, you’ve got some compelling content going on. If it’s low, your site may be, well, uninspiring.
  12. Traffic by device – Most web-tracking software offers this, too. It tells you what people are using to access your site—be it a PC, tablet or phone. These numbers may make the case for you to create a mobile site, or at least have one that works well there. (Remember, mobile users are as unforgiving as a medieval judge with sites that are hard to read, load slowly or are just hostile to smaller screens!)

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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