These days – with the vast flow of information and the dawn of Big Data – we’re becoming an increasingly analytical society. Whether it’s documenting the fuel efficiency of cars, counting Twitter followers, or managing personal finances, we’re always trying to determine the direct results of our actions and decisions. Did you buy the best performing stock? Do you have the cheapest smartphone plan? How many miles per gallon does your car get?
All of these things require measurement, which isn’t a recently discovered concept (despite the new tools and tracking methods brought forth by the Digital Age). Businesses have always had budgets, financial reports and fiscal targets. Employee reviews are another way that businesses measure, using performance markers to determine promotions, demotions and areas of need.
So why are many businesses forgetting this tendency to track and measure when it comes to their digital marketing campaigns? Some inside the industry might suggest that, "It’s easy, the data is all right there," but the reality is much tougher than that. Plenty of businesses, especially smaller ones and those in niche markets, are having a hard enough time fully embracing digital marketing tactics, so of course the idea of web analytics is overwhelming – after all, if you don’t understand what a set of data is saying, the data itself is useless.
Understanding measurement by establishing a baseline
In order to adequately track and measure anything, you need to determine a baseline that you can use to compare the results of your tracking and measuring. For a simple example, take your website’s traffic. If you are planning on implementing digital marketing tactics to increase the number of visitors to your website, you would want to know how many visitors your website is receiving prior to implementing your campaigns. If you obtain three months of data that shows you get roughly 50 hits a day on your website, you have then established a baseline of 50 visits. When you implement your digital marketing tactics, you’ll now be able to easily discern whether your campaigns are working by how many more visitors your website is getting. If it’s many more than 50, you know what you’re doing is working; if the difference is negligible, you need to make a tweak.
While the example of website visitors may seem simple, it highlights a critical error that many businesses are making when they delve into digital marketing: they forget to establish a baseline. When used correctly, measurement and the establishment of a baseline number from which you intended to improve is an extremely important (and often overlooked) function of your overall digital marketing plan.
As outlined by Avinash Kaushik in his Digital Marketing and Measurement Model, the key to digital marketing success is the complete structural understanding of the purpose and intent of your campaigns. Once you understand how and why your business should implement certain campaigns, you need to know the exact results of those campaigns in order to understand how well they’re working and whether you should continue forward or make a change.
Here are the five steps you can use as a guideline for your own Digital Marketing and Measurement Model:
- Business Objectives: this might seem simple, but you really have to be honest about why your business exists in order to get your Digital Marketing and Measurement Model off to a successful start. Once you know the why, then apply it to whatever campaigns you’re planning on running (website, social, content).
- Goals for Objectives: the goals you define here will mark the pathway to completing the business objectives above. These goals will be the ‘how’ you successfully accomplish your ‘why?‘
- Performance Indicators: performance indicators are metrics (data!) that help you understand how well your goals working towards accomplishing your objectives.
- Targets: much like a baseline, the purpose of setting targets for your campaign is so that you can determine your success (or failure) and act accordingly. If you don’t set targets you’ll have no idea what the results of your campaigns mean.
- Analysis: decide which objectives, goals and targets are the most valuable to the company and take a close look at the numbers. Are you satisfied with the results? Are the campaigns working? A close analysis of everything you’ve done thus far will help you understand how well your campaigns are working and what you can do to improve performance.
This is just a brief framework from which you can build your own Digital Marketing and Measurement Model. The most important aspect of this model is that one concept builds on the next and the whole thing works cohesively. To function correctly, businesses must truly understand their purposes and honestly define their objectives, goals and targets.
The actions you take after developing a Digital Marketing and Measurement Model are vital to its success – you can’t just sit back and hope it works. This is a measurement model we’re talking about!
Here are a few things you can do to ensure your model’s continued success:
- Revisit: web analytics never ever involves setting and forgetting. You need to revisit your model – not every day or even every week, but it needs your attention and analysis once in a while.
- Adapt: as with most aspects of the digital world, your ability to adapt will define your level of success. Your Digital Marketing and Measurement Model might need to change year-to-year, so the sooner you understand and embrace the ever-changing nature of the Internet, the better.
- Automate: web analytics is work, but the good news is you can automate some of it to relieve the day-to-day pressure. Take advantage of your analytics provider’s many options and have reports sent to your inbox and set alerts to receive immediate updates when performance indicators reach or drop to certain levels.
The Digital Marketing and Measurement Model is only one aspect of web analytics. For more information or guidance on how to further delve into the world of web analytics, get in touch with Mark Colestock a WSI Internet Consultant in the Minneapolis area today!