White Paper. Measuring ROI: The Marketing Metrics You Can t Ignore. Best Practices and Emerging Marketing Trends

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1 White Paper Best Practices and Emerging Marketing Trends Measuring ROI: The Marketing Metrics You Can t Ignore What gets measured, gets managed. Peter Drucker

2 Why Measure? From beginning to end and sometimes in the middle measurement should play a key role in any marketing campaign. It s an essential component to determine if your efforts are successful and which tactics work best for your audience. Without measurement, marketers would blindly allocate their budgets and take a shot in the dark with their spend. Here s why you should be measuring marketing results: To evaluate and refine tactics by measuring at the beginning and the end of each campaign to determine the ways in which the marketing effort can improve. To prioritize efforts based on performance in order to make the biggest impact possible based on media spend. To determine which tactics should be given more support or funding to make informed budget reallocations based on success of individual tactics. To take a proactive approach to marketing efforts in the event that a campaign gets off to a shaky start this will help you get back on track. To prove ROI of marketing efforts in order to justify campaign costs, reinforce media decisions and help keep the company united on campaign goals. 1

3 Building a Campaign around Analytics Successful marketing campaigns efforts that deliver proven return on investment require an infrastructure for measurement. The analytics framework includes specific business goals that the campaign addresses, benchmark data to define realistic expectations for the campaign; and metrics and indicators to track and report results. Here s how each contributes to a measurable, meaningful outcome. Big picture vs. tactical goals Big picture goals are the overall outcome you want to achieve, whereas tactical goals directly relate to each campaign individually. An example of a big picture goal would be to generate more leads. A tactical goal might be to increase click-through rates of weekly s. Both types of goals work together to help guide strategy and marketing results. Benchmarking Benchmarking, in short, is the comparison of a campaign to industry standards, company performance before the launch of the campaign or the performance of companies of similar scope. Benchmarking provides information to aid in setting realistic goals, understanding the industry and performance standards and informing campaign planning. Leading vs. lagging indicators Leading indicators occur during a campaign. They suggest a trend and provide a measurable response to an in progress campaign, such as phone calls or web visits. Lagging indicators happen after the fact. They are the overall outcome a marketing campaign works to achieve, such as an increase in overall sales or more market share. Positive leading indicators generally lead to positive lagging indicators. As a result, leading indicators give marketers indication as to whether tactics or strategy need to be adjusted to achieve campaign goals. 2

4 Website Activity Website metrics create a deep pool of data and can offer up shocking amounts of information about website visitors. Several programs exist to track almost any leading and lagging indicator regardless of tactical goals. Leading and lagging indicators of web activity can be simplified by thinking of them in a conversion funnel format. Leading indicators are actions on the page that show a visitor s activity, and as they perform more functions that indicate higher levels of engagement, they move farther down the funnel until they finally convert. For example, many people might visit a web page and click around, viewers who are interested in hiring you or your business might click on your products page (but there will be less than those just clicking around). Even fewer visitors will make it to the bottom, where they convert by clicking to call a sales person or placing an online order. Leading Indicators There are three ways people arrive on a website: direct, search or through a referral. Direct: someone physically types the URL into their browser or visits from a bookmark Search: visitors land on a site through a search engine result Referral: someone is led to the site by clicking on a link Analytics tools can track all of the above in addition to site traffic metrics, such as page views, repeat visitors, actions on page, average time spent on page, bounce rate, video views and completions, audience demographics and SEO performance. Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools and Clicky measure website activity Piwik provides web visitor insights Mint identifies who and what is generating the most interest on a site Tracking conversions on websites is easy with the correct tools. Many analytics programs provide insight on the ways in which people arrive on the site, what pages they are converting on, the average time spent on a page and demographics, among others. Looking at all these different factors can help adjust a website and its content to attract more conversions. Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Clicky track conversions and the website activity leading to them Crazy Egg provides heat maps (show you the spots on a web page that are most often clicked the hottest spot on the page), click scatter charts and scroll maps Google Analytics custom goals also help set up conversion funnels that can tell you at what stage a viewer is interacting with your website. What to Measure 3

5 Content Marketing Content such as blogs, white papers, infographics and newsletters offer conversion and web traffic metrics and content, but engagement can provide insights on effectiveness. Leading Indicators The right software can tell marketers which pieces of content are receiving the most traffic, being downloaded the most, getting the most views and generating the most subscriptions. These leading indicators help marketers understand which pieces of content should be more actively promoted in order to get more readers to perform the call to action. Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools and Open Web Analytics track blog activity and popularity Crazy Egg scroll maps revel if viewers are reading a whole piece of content, or just the beginning Lagging indicators for content marketing could be downloading a piece of content by filling out a form, making a call to a sales person, or subscribing to your company s monthly newsletter. It can also include likes, shares or pins for content promoted through social media. Act-On can help set up download forms to capture names, phone numbers and businesses in exchange for content download Delicious, Reddit and Pinterest are social bookmarking sited that track the number of times individual blog posts are shared AddThis, ShareThis and Po.st allow people to easily share content and track the number of shares Mozz and Raventools measure backlinks, or the number and types of websites that link back to your website Mention, Talkwalker and Google Analytics can track if and where other sites are quoting yours 4

6 Social Media No longer is measuring ROI for social media accounts solely reliant on number of likes or shares. Success of social media should be measured by engagement. This can include conversations around content or the buzz it s creating in the market. Leading indicators One leading indicator is the number of people tuning into a company s social media activity. This includes the number of friends, followers, connections or subscribers, providing definite numbers to the amount of people interested in the information. However, you should be wary of these numbers. Unless your company s page is private, people can view your social media content without being a subscriber. The amount of social media content generated is also a leading indicator. If you accrued a lot of followers in the past by frequently updating your accounts but have since stopped posting as frequently, your viewers aren t engaged. It s important to have active social media accounts in order to keep viewers in contact with you brand by keeping your posts popping up on their timelines and feeds. HootSuite, Viralheat and Sprout Social manage social media content and activity Twitter ads and Facebook ads can help build a social audience by increasing consumer awareness of accounts The main lagging indicator for social media measurement is engagement. It can be tracked replies, mentions, comments, shares, likes, views and embeds on videos, reposts, downloads or quality of conversation around your social content. Radian 6, Social Mention, Sysomos, UberUV and Google Alerts listen to conversations about brands and their competitors Twitalyzer and Klout track Twitter impact, engagement and influence Google Analytics measures website traffic from social media efforts Facebook and LinkedIn have built-in analytics tools to track social engagement Hootsuite Reports help track social analytics as well 5

7 Online advertising Online advertising is easier to track than traditional advertising because data can be easily extracted to formulate a report during or after a campaign. These reports illustrate how a piece of advertising has performed, the data for which can be easily pulled using the right tools. Leading indicators Online ads are rich with trackable data. Marketers can measure impressions, clicks, CTR (click through rate or the percentage of clicks per impression), cost per click, post-click activity (actions a viewer takes after clicking on an ad) and post-impression activity (actions a viewer takes after seeing an ad without clicking on it). These numbers let marketers know if viewers found the creative engaging enough to spend time with or click on an ad. Keep in mind that the numbers don t necessarily reveal if the campaign goal (ex. product purchase, membership or brand preference) will be reached. They do, however, provide insights about the audience and their behavior. Alexa, Compete, Quantcast and Google Analytics estimate audience size and behavior Google AdWords, Bing Ads and post-campaign reports from online ad networks evaluate online impressions, clicks and CTR Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools track website traffic from specific ads Neilson Online Campaign Ratings analyzes ad performance across platforms (mobile, desktop, tablet) and who the ads reached Conversion rate is the most important lagging indicator for online advertising. It is the number of visitors who complete the call to action for an ad. For example, if the goal is to increase online memberships, it s the number of people who saw the ad and filled out an online membership form. View through conversion can also be calculated, which is when someone sees an ad but doesn t click on it, then visits the site on their own and converts. Conversion rates determine if the campaign was successful in achieving tactical goals. Google Analytics and Bing Ads Campaign Analytics tool measures conversion rate for online ads. Custom goals can be set in Google Analytics that allow you to track how many people perform a certain function on a web page. Act-On, AddThis and many other tools measure conversion points Click-to-call numbers on ads and quiz completions can be tracked to measure conversions as well 6

8 Mass Media Advertising Unlike online channels that were virtually built for analytics, mass media s reach is harder to prove. Print, TV, radio, outdoor and transit advertising can have a great impact when used correctly, but can also be some of the priciest channels so it pays to measure ROI to guide future planning and reporting. Leading Indicators Reach, frequency and rating points are leading indicators for mass media channels. They are estimations of how many people the campaign will reach. Demographics, psychographics and audience behavior also help determine what the audience for that medium is like, providing a clear picture of what channels are best for specific audiences. Combining these two leading indicators, marketers and media planners have a good idea of where to place advertising to make the biggest impact Nielson ratings, Alliance for Audited Media and Traffic Audit Bureau track and estimate audience size and viewer demographics Scarborough, Simmons Market Research Bureau and GfK Mediamark Research and Intelligence measure audience psychographics and behavior by medium and content The lagging indicator measurable results for mass media advertising can be hard to pinpoint, because it is the number of people reached by the marketing message. It is impossible to determine if people are paying attention and are impacted by a mass media ad. For example, many people have their television on in the background while doing other activities, or get up to go to the bathroom or perform another task when commercials come on. Just because a TV is turned on, doesn t mean the audience at the other end is engaged. Also, just because a lagging indicator was accomplished, doesn t mean it was a result of ad. However, if trackable calls to action are built into the spot, such as unique phone numbers or unique landing pages, engagement can be measured. Although it can be difficult to determine lagging indicators other than audience size and engagement, in some cases a measurable metric or event-specific creative can provide accurate lagging indicators. Common measuring tools: Call tracking phone numbers measure advertising response by campaign, medium or service line Advertising recall studies measure aided and unaided brand awareness Post-buy analyses compare actual reach, frequency and impressions to estimates Twitter hashtags and Shazam (an app that allows viewers to hold their phone up to their TVs and get more information and content based on a song) can reveal if an audience is engaged by your message as well 7

9 Making the Most of Marketing Analytics Every type of marketing is measurable and has its own tools to help marketers get the numbers they need to track successes and failures. By utilizing these tools, we can justify the marketing and advertising spend for our companies, adjust campaigns while they re still running and inform planning for future campaigns. What it all boils down to is identifying the appropriate metrics and tools needed for each campaign to get the most out of marketing analytics. This process of measuring, reporting and adjusting is the only way to continue to improve upon your marketing ROI and help your company achieve its goals. Be wary of over measuring or using an inappropriate tool for a specific tactic. Just because a tool exists, doesn t mean it provides relevant insights. Always remember to look at the big picture. For help applying what you ve learned in this white paper or to get started measuring ROI for your next marketing campaign, drop us a line at or give us a call at

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