Imagine investing $15,000 on a print-based ad campaign. Your company would want proof the ad investment generated sales and increased brand awareness. You’d probably compare campaign results to benchmarks established by previous campaigns to gauge effectiveness. In the unfortunate event of a failed campaign, you’d use what you learned from the failure to improve future campaigns.
These are time-honored and proven ROI strategies, yet the same company diligently monitoring print and television ads may not use the same strategies to evaluate digital marketing ROI. Digital marketing remains strange new territory for many companies and the assumption seems to be with new territory comes an inability to judge ROI.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You evaluate a digital marketing campaign just as you would any other campaign: by setting goals, tracking profits vs. expense and learning from missteps.
Companies rushing to take advantage of digital marketing may neglect to set clear goals for their campaign. Unless you know what you want from a campaign, you cannot evaluate effectiveness.
Are you primarily concerned with online brand reputation, or are sales the driving force behind your campaign? What type of sales growth do you expect out of digital marketing? What platforms will you use? These questions are important, and admittedly, difficult to answer. You may need the help of professional digital marketers to devise realistic and actionable goals.
Traffic vs. Sales
You have 10,000 Facebook likes, another 5000 followers on Twitter and 550 on Google+. What does this tell you about the success of your SEO company and digital marketing campaigns?
Not much, as far as your campaign goes. Thousands of social media followers mean nothing unless they translate into sales. If you’ve invested $25,000 building your social media presence, you’re not succeeding unless your sales exceed the financial and time investment you’ve put into the campaign.
Analyzing traffic’s relationship to sales can yield some surprises. Based solely on traffic, the above example suggests you should ditch Google+ and focused your efforts on Facebook. Factor in sales, however, and you might discover 5 percent of your Facebook traffic converts into sales, 0.5 percent of Twitter and a 20 percent conversion rate for Google+.
With those results in mind, you’d probably want to ramp up your presence on Google+, maintain your standing on Facebook and cut back on Twitter.
You won’t have benchmarks for your first digital marketing campaign. Frequently analyzing analytics as the campaign progresses allows you to establish some benchmarks. As you design benchmarks, you may need to evaluate the goals and expectations for the campaign.
A digital marketing campaign is very much a learning process. Remember even mistakes and setbacks can benefit your company if you learn from them. Digital marketing campaigns will make missteps ̶ as long as those mistakes yield actionable results you’re still moving forward.