It is important to choose an attribution approach to measure success – and stick to it – because the most common mistake in campaigns is shifting mid-stream.
Digital marketing is more accountable than ever, but results only matter if they map back to a specific goal. That may seem obvious, but the fact is that many marketers still aren’t sure what results they need from a campaign actually are. So how can they know if their campaigns are successful? The first step is to establish a goal, own it and stick to it, no shifting mid-stream.
It may seem silly to “own” your goals – but it’s so, so important to know what they are and understand their significance. The other, critically important factor to identify is your attribution model. There’s been much written about the many available attribution models, and it can be confusing, so here’s another opportunity to lean on your agency partners. Determine which attribution approach is best, supports your goals and use that to measure success.
Know your goal – and the relevant KPIs
Once you know where you want to go, it’s much easier to determine the KPIs to ensure you’re on the path to success. Is the campaign goal awareness, site traffic, engagement, online sales, lead generation or in-store traffic? In most situations, there will be more than one goal, and that means there will also be more than one KPI. Your agency partners should help you figure out if you’ve got them right and if you’re missing any. This collaborative approach also makes sure you’re on the same page, since you’ll be optimizing and monitoring these KPIs closely.
Here are some common campaign goals and some KPIs that might be associated with them:
- Awareness is big for brands. Awareness is nearly always a top goal and can be measured several ways including engagement with creative, reach and frequency numbers, a brand list study or, of course, click-through rate (CTR.) Since CTR does not take the cost of the placement into account, very often they work inverse to one another. That is, a high-cost impression may deliver high click-through rates but low site traffic. It’s important to understand this difference, particularly if CTR will be the main KPI.
- Site traffic is also a good awareness metric. With respect to the bullet above, if site traffic is the main KPI, marketers should consider the ratio of low-cost targeted impressions and also monitor CTR as a secondary KPI.
- Engagement can mean several things. Typically, engagement is measured using a Video Completion Rate (VCR) for online video, but it can also be measured by time spent with high impact creative or with post-click metrics. It is always best to determine what type of engagement should be measured and to establish a benchmark before the campaign launches.
- Online sales are a pretty straightforward success metric and usually gauged by ROI or ROAS. However, even online sale’s KPIs have limitations: They can’t account for in-store sales or long-term influence, like when someone buys an item days or weeks after engaging with an ad.
- Lead generation is another popular KPI for high-consideration purchases and B2B marketing. Cost per Lead (CPL) is a good KPI here. However, if businesses are concerned about the quality of the leads they’re generating, it’s smart to tie leads and sales data to determine which placements are generating the leads most likely to convert.
Success that matters
Once you’ve decided what your campaign goals are and how you’re going to measure them, the next important step is to STICK TO THEM. If you’re getting great engagement on your sales-focused campaign, don’t change your goal to engagement! Figure out what’s working and what isn’t and adjust so you’re maximizing sales.
All this may seem fairly basic, but many marketers simply don’t do it. Too often, the problem is having or using data incorrectly. So, if we can take five steps back and from there move forward with a clear goal in mind then, we make sure we have the data need to determine success in the year ahead.
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