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James Parnwell

James Parnwell

How to Measure the Success of Your Marketing Campaigns

It can be hard to see a clear correlation between your marketing efforts and how it’s actually affecting sales (or if it’s not making much impact at all). With more traditional ‘paper-based’ forms of marketing like flyers, posters, and billboards this was even more difficult to measure – especially in terms of the quality of leads and sales coming through.

Do you actually know how to measure the success of your marketing campaign?

With online marketing, the amount of data available is astounding, so there really shouldn’t be any reason you can’t know exactly what your efforts are returning. However, sadly we encounter far too many businesses and even marketing agencies who are tracking “vanity metrics”. Knowing how many people saw your Facebook ad, for example, is nice, but it doesn’t relate to how many people bought or signed up for your product/service. Creating brand awareness is important and certainly has its place, but only as part of a broader marketing strategy. After all, people simply knowing you exist isn’t what’s going to pay the bills.

How Do Online Marketing Strategies Work?
social media marketing company

Do you actually know how to measure the success of your marketing campaign?

With online marketing, the amount of data available is astounding, so there really shouldn’t be any reason you can’t know exactly what your efforts are returning. However, sadly we encounter far too many businesses and even marketing agencies who are tracking “vanity metrics”. Knowing how many people saw your Facebook ad, for example, is nice, but it doesn’t relate to how many people bought or signed up for your product/service. Creating brand awareness is important and certainly has its place, but only as part of a broader marketing strategy. After all, people simply knowing you exist isn’t what’s going to pay the bills.

Beware: you could be measuring the wrong social media metrics!

Measuring your Return on Investment (ROI) is never a black and white endeavour. Inevitably, if you market across multiple channels, they all feed into one other. Far too often, businesses focus on the wrong metrics (especially for social media) and it leaves them in the dark when it comes to measuring the true success (or dare we say failure) of their marketing campaign.

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

Unsure how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Begin by measuring. The old adage “whatever gets measured, gets managed”, is very true for business, but if you’re measuring the wrong thing, then it would stand to reason you are managing the wrong thing, or getting a false impression of your business success. When it comes to metrics and campaign tracking, one of the easiest mistakes businesses can make is to focus on “vanity metrics,” instead of the metrics that really matter.

A vanity metric is a metric that has no direct link with the overall aim of your social media campaign. It’s like trying to find out how delicious apples are but buying bananas instead – both are good but there needs to be a direct correlation between your goals and how you measure them.

Vanity metrics can be things like page views, the number of followers, or the number of likes. Wondering how to measure the success of your marketing campaign? Keep an eye on your vanity metrics, but keep in mind that they are not the end goal. Vanity metrics might make you feel good, but they don’t add anything to your bottom line. Let’s explain… If the goals of your social media campaign are to raise sales and revenue, then vastly increased numbers of “likes,” “shares,” and “follows” are just not enough. Even if your posts are receiving lots of “likes” and “shares,” and getting you many more followers, none of those likers, sharers, or followers may purchase a single item. So, what you’ve got is a lovely big balloon that looks amazing but is essentially filled with hot air and no dollars. Not ideal.

Vanity Metrics do have their place. Without followers, you have no audience. And without a steady level of engagement, the algorithms of many social networks begin to work against you—making it harder for your social content to even reach that audience. These metrics quite literally keep social media running. Followers, shares, likes, and comments also represent an invaluable piece of information for any business: whether people care about what you’re saying. Or not.

So, when figuring out how to measure the success of your social media campaigns, how do you tell what’s important and what’s not?

Actionable metrics are tied much more to your business objectives and goals than vanity metrics are. This may mean employing more advanced techniques like installing Facebook Pixels on your website. For example, if you are trying to get people to download your free guide so you can follow up with an email sequence to convert them into paying customers, then tracking your “leads” is an actionable metric. Especially if you know what percentage of people who download the guide convert into customers – you u can then assign an approximate dollar value. This makes it much easier to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, because you know that of X amount of dollars you are putting in you are getting Y amount of dollars out. This essentially lets businesses measure the viability of their social media efforts or if they need to make changes to get the results they are after.

Overall, when figuring out how to measure the success of your marketing campaign, your goal should be to track the kinds of activities that lead to customer acquisition, sales, and revenue down the line. If you have a highly interactive page, you may want to track certain clicks as an engagement tool. Or, if your site is highly static and you don’t have a blog, you may want to focus on a metric like pages viewed per visit. It all depends on how your site is set up and what you’re hoping increased engagement will lead to. The point being that your engagement must lead to something more tangible, otherwise your efforts are being wasted.

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

How to measure the success of your social media campaigns according to your goals

Here are a few examples:

Our objective is to provide our sales team with high-quality leads through social media.

Our objective is to turn our customers into loyal brand advocates by improving customer service.

Our objective is to turn our customers into loyal brand advocates by improving customer service.

Here’s how “vanity” metrics can be used to measure whether you’re achieving those objectives:

Business conversions

Social Media Vintage

Social metric: Link clicks

Instead of only tracking the number of link clicks your posts on social generated, track the behavior of those visitors once they arrive on your website and come face to face with a lead generation tactic or a prompt to contact your business directly.

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

The Attribution Problem: How Are Your Marketing Activities Working Together To Give You Critical Mass?

When it comes to figuring out how to measure the success of your marketing campaign, it’s important to take a good hard look at where everything is currently at. So, let’s get started with a few straight, blunt questions:

  • Are you getting leads from your website? 
  • Are you getting any leads from your digital marketing? 
  • If so, where are they coming from? 

Digital leads can come from 6 different places:

  • Organic traffic – SEO, people that have come from Google 
  • Direct traffic – people that have typed your URL directly into their browser 
  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Pay-per-click – Google Pay-per-click (or Google AdWords) or Facebook Pay-per-click (LinkedIn, twitter)  
  • Email campaigns 
  • Referral traffic – pretty much any other website on the internet that’s not Google 

When taking a surface glance at our website traffic and leads, it’s easy to look at it and conclude that most leads came directly from organic or SEO. Or maybe from a PPC campaign, or straight from an email. Therefore, we tend to say that the other areas of my marketing aren’t working. Full stop.

But hang on…. How do you actually know these other strategies aren’t working?

Imagine a family sitting at the dinner table. This is the family of Mr & Mrs. Digital Marketing, and their 4 children: Tom, Mary, Matt, and Kate.

Dad looks up and asks Mum to pass him the salt. Because they’re sitting at opposite ends of the table, Mum picks up the saltshaker and passes it to Tom, who hands it to Mary, who passes it to Matt, who gives it to Kate. Kate then hands the saltshaker to Dad. Dad turns to Kate and says, ‘thanks very much for that – I appreciate you giving me that salt’.

Essentially, Dad has given all the credit to Kate, but in fact, there were another 4 people involved in the process of passing him the salt.

This is the point I want to make: we do this all the time with our digital marketing! When we don’t know how to measure the success of your social media campaigns, it’s easy to take a quick look and say, ‘I’m going to give my social media the flick because that isn’t getting me anywhere, but I did a Google AdWords campaign and it brought me a good lead’ (Google AdWords is getting all the credit).

  • Tom – social media 
  • Mary – email 
  • Matt – blog on your website 
  • Kate – AdWords 

In the example of passing the saltshaker, although AdWords is getting all the credit, three other marketing strategies have been employed in getting the result.

I think we understand anecdotally, that when people are going to engage in a business, particularly when it is either expensive or complicated, they will need to go through both a learning and a trust phase. If they don’t understand or trust you as a business, they’re probably not going to contact you. 

Now, I want to give you another example using our own business, TheOnlineCo. Let’s say Jim sees one of our Facebook videos about Busting 3 Common Marketing Myths. He just watches the video. No clicking – just watching. The following week he sees our blog (maybe this one, How to Measure the Success of Your Marketing Campaign). While he’s reading the blog, a popup inviting him to ‘download our free guide to getting more leads and….’ grabs his attention. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, he receives a series of 5 automated emails. Finally, Jim types our URL into his browser, clicks through from Google, fills in the website form and asks for help with his marketing.

Google Ads

Let’s summarize it: 6 touch points to get 1 lead, the last of which was an organic or SEO search. If we ignore points 1 – 5 and give all the credit to point 6, we’ve just massacred the entire marketing program! 

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

Different types of Attribution

Using the example above of the family passing the salt, let’s look at the different types of attribution: 

  • Last interaction attribution: Dad thanks Kate but overlooks all other touch points.
  • First interaction attribution: Dad gives all the credit to Mum, but not the kids.
  • Time decay attribution: Mum passes the salt to Tom, who uses it and puts it down.  Sometime later he passes it to Mary, and it continues its way to Dad.  Significant time has elapsed since the salt started its journey to its destination. In this case, we give more credit to things that happened recently. 
  • Linear attribution: every member receives equal recognition and thanks.
  • Position based attribution: most of the credit is given to Mum and Kate, but points in between are given an equal share of recognition. 

When looking at this scenario to figure out how to measure the success of your social media campaigns, either Time Decay or Position-Based Attribution would be the best way to go. At TheOnlineCo, we tend to favor Position-based attribution: we understand that the first touch point is very important, and of course, the last click that brings the lead over the line is also very important, but we don’t want to disregard any of the “middle steps”.

But wait…there are BIG holes in our Attribution Plan!

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

Challenge no. 1: Facebook and Google don’t communicate

If somebody has seen a Facebook ad, then in time that person clicks through on a Google ad, there is no way that Facebook and Google are going to communicate to link those two interactions.  A problem? Yes. Can we do anything about it? No. It simply involves some educated guesswork. Indeed, it’s better to measure what you can, albeit imperfect, than not measure anything at all!  So, monitoring both your Facebook video views and your Google AdWords conversions is far better than no measuring and no video. 

Interestingly, we have had cases in the past where we have run an AdWords campaign, then later introduced Facebook. Surprisingly, the cost per lead for Google has halved within a few months. The only change was the Facebook campaign. Can we prove it? No. Unfortunately, Google and Facebook aren’t friends and don’t communicate. 

Challenge no. 2: Real world interactions aren’t counted

Let’s take a common example: a radio campaign. A potential customer hears the radio ad while driving to work in the morning. Later that day he/she opens Google and searches for your service and makes contact. That radio ad, although it was the first point of contact, will get no credit. Does that mean you should scrap radio campaigns? No way! Instead, you need to make educated guesses about what your offline marketing is doing for you. This principle applies to all offline marketing: TV, newspaper, letterbox drops and word-of-mouth or referral.

theonlineco. - Digital marketing agency services

Challenge no. 3: In-store purchases break the chain of attribution counted

Suppose you see a Facebook ad for an LG Television.  You really like the look of it, so you click on the link – you’re now on the website.  The next step is a trip to Harvey Norman to buy that unit. 

There is no way to reconcile that Facebook experience with the physical purchase. 

Attribution is an area that is growing and developing all the time.  Although we can’t claim to have reached the ultimate solution yet, it’s important to recognize that any final purchase has generally been made using a series of steps.  Removing one step could cause your potential customer to fall, and your business will lose out. 

Case Study

One of our clients recently came to us with an issue: their conversions were being incorrectly recorded – which was putting everything out! 

Here’s a real-life example of the importance of correctly measuring the success of your marketing campaign: 

Google Ads conversion tracking was set up incorrectly and was recording a conversion or lead every time someone visited a page.

  • The conversion rate was showing as close to 200% which meant it looked like people were ‘converting’ an average of 2 times each time they visited the website. With a conversion or lead generally being a phone call or form submission, it was extremely unlikely (AKA impossible) to think that each person would call or contact the business two or more times.  
  • When optimising the account, there was no real understanding about exactly how it was performing. It was possible to get an idea of which keywords would get people to the website and perhaps visit a few pages, but nothing to say whether they were bringing in potential leads.  
  • Without recording the conversions correctly, it means you are optimising blind. Making assumptions about the performance and adjusting things based on false or incorrect information.

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What did we do to fix it?  

We stopped the incorrect reporting right away and corrected it. Conversions were set up to record: 

  • Form Submissions / Enquiries 
  • Course Joins 
  • Phone calls 
  • Clicks on phone numbers 
  • Clicks on emails 

That did we do to fix it?  

With the fixed conversions and some work to correct keywords, we were able to get a clearer understanding about what was and wasn’t working in the Google Ads account.

  • Click through rate improved by 740% (from 0.98% to 8.20%) 
  • A more accurate number of conversions was recorded.  
  • The conversion rate was recorded at an accurate 2.18% compared to the very inaccurate 195% 
  • Clearer conversion results have meant that we can reduce the clicks going to the lower performing audiences and keywords and the business has seen great growth in the past couple of months.  

How to measure the success of your marketing campaign: 3 easy tips

The Marketing Funnel is over 100 years old. The fact that it’s still being used by marketers all over the world is proof of its effectiveness.   

Here’s how the Marketing Funnel works. Basically, people come to know you in three stages. The first stage is when they become aware of you. Prior to that, they’re not aware of you at all, so you’ll need to do something to introduce them to your products / services / brand. The next step happens once they’re aware of you and they are considering doing business with you. The third and final step is when they contact you and are ready to do business with you.

In social media, these three steps are measured carefully, when we’re figuring out how to measure the success of your social media campaigns. The first thing we measure is awareness. We do this by asking how many people saw your posts or your content? The second thing we measure is engagement. How many people liked, commented, shared, tagged, visited your page, watched a video, came to your website? Thirdly, we measure how many leads have come through.

Measure these three things and you’ll begin to see people coming down into the funnel, gradually getting to know you, your service, product and brand as you continue to reach out to them through a carefully curated, targeted social media campaign.

google ad block

Be careful not to ignore the process of the Marketing Funnel. If you focus wholly on leads, you may forget that people are coming toward you step by step – a vital part of the sales process.

Wondering how to measure the success of your social media campaigns? Let us help!

How getting it right can make all the difference

Reporting on the right metrics can help inform your future ad spends. Create campaigns that mimic your highest performing organic posts or run a campaign that re-targets people who have previously interacted with your content. Knowing what works well enables your business not only to duplicate the results but apply what you’ve learned to new campaigns so they can achieve greater success. Also, remember that social media is a long-term investment so be patient. The benefits of implementing what you learn by monitoring actionable metrics won’t appear overnight.

Check out our top tips for creating fantastic Facebook posts!

Think your business is tracking the wrong information? If you’re struggling to figure out how to measure the success of your marketing campaign, give our team a call and we can help you assess what is important and how to get actionable data that helps grow your business.

If you’d like help creating a social media campaign that guides potential customers through the Marketing Funnel, send us a quick message and we’ll be in touch.

James Parnwell
James Parnwell

James is the Managing Director and resident strategist at TheOnlineCo. He is clever and creative with a flair for making complex things sound simple. He has been in the marketing game for over 2 decades and has watched the landscape slowly shift. James has his finger on the pulse of every aspect within TheOnlineCo, meeting with all clients as well as every core team member and strategising a specific plan tailored to each client.

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