When it comes to gaining momentum with marketing efforts, I once heard a business coach use the analogy of throwing spaghetti against a wall to see what sticks. In other words, you have to test many things to see what’s going to work well.
These days, we’re doing it all to get our business out there:
- SEO and website optimization
- Local SEO
- Onsite and offsite content creation
- Social media marketing
- Sending newsletters and emails
- Advertising through Facebook or Google AdWords
- Repeat customer marketing
- Referral partner marketing
On one hand, it’s fantastic that there is every tool imaginable that can meet our needs and assist in these efforts. On the other hand, this fragmented (and often frantic) way of marketing makes measurement more difficult. (And yes, this is true even when you’re using a “one stop shop” platform like HubSpot.)
Sure, we have tons of tools, but if you’re like most, we’re too busy figuring out how to use them let alone decipher meaning and actionable insight from them.
So we “assume.”
If you’re struggling to read the data and capture accurately the performance of your marketing channels and efforts, here are 2 reminders for best practices:
- Establish Goals and Averages Using Industry Benchmarks
For first-time marketing and advertising initiatives and campaigns, it might be difficult to project and guessimate the return you might get from a particular organic or paid effort, such as:
- Conversions and conversion rate
However, it’s critical that you aim for something and have some kind of idea whether you’re nearing the mark or not. If you don’t have a prior history with benchmarks you can use, then finding industry averages is the next best thing. For example:
- Facebook advertising CTRs: For Education, the average CTR is .73% (source) and the average across all industries is .9%. The average CPC is $1.72.
- LinkedIn advertising CTRs however, average only about .13% (source) with an average CPC of $6.50.
- Set Up Measurement Beyond the Click
Most digital marketing campaigns implemented in the Education industry are designed with the ultimate goal of outreach and inquiries that lead to qualified prospects and then of course sales. However, top of the funnel campaigns are designed to generate awareness, not necessarily profit.
Multiple touches are required before money ever exchanges hands. So when it comes to measuring campaign performance, you have to make sure your expectations and measurement/reporting are aligned with driving awareness and new prospects. Therefore, measuring micro-conversions from top of the funnel activities is critical.
For example, when I measure success of marketing endeavors like SEO, PPC, or Social Media Advertising, I’m looking just as much as what happens AFTER the click as I am at how users engage on the actual advertising platform itself.
Meaning, what do users do when they actually get to the website (on-site behavior). So at a minimum my measurement of marketing campaign success often consists of:
- # of pages viewed
- Time on site
- Registration or form completion
When it comes to micro conversion measurement, these two tools (and corresponding measurement activities) will be your best friends:
- Google Analytics Goals
- Google’s URL Builder
Let’s dive in to each.
Activity #1: Establishing Goals in Google Analytics
Improving your website conversion rate first requires you to define the big conversions you’re looking for that take place on your site (aka macro conversions), and also define the small conversions (micro conversions) and actions people take on your site that contribute to moving prospects into your sales funnel. This is where Google Analytics goals come in handy.
You officially tell Google Analytics what you consider to be a goal, and then Google Analytics will tell you which marketing channels and activities were most successful at contributing to those goals.
First – here is a good, simple walk-through for how to set up goals. And then here is how this report will look in Analytics:
(Acquisition -> Channels -> Toggle the goal options you set up)
Activity #2: Building Trackable Links with Google’s URL Builder
Google’s URL Builder creates a tracking link you’ll use to capture reporting data about a referring campaign. It allows you to quickly pull up reports in Google Analytics to analyze the effectiveness of digital campaigns. You’ll use these links only for marketing purposes that exist off your site when you’re trying to drive traffic TO your site.
For example, tracking results are important to use when doing PPC like Google AdWords or Paid Social like Facebook advertising when you’re sending people back to a landing page on your site.
Here is where you’ll then go to in Google Analytics to analyze your campaigns and traffic that came from a tracking link click:
Acquisitions -> Campaigns -> All Campaigns:
Now, Go Forth and Measure
And that’s it! Remember, at the end of the day, measuring marketing effectiveness is about how is it advancing and contributing to the company’s goals. Hello #jobsecurity.