You’ve invested in your brand’s marketing – outsourcing to a trusted agency or in-house team – and need to rationalize the time, money and manpower it takes to execute your campaign. What information do you look at to determine its success? And how often should you be digging into the numbers to decide whether or not it’s worth all the effort?
Let’s walk through how to approach the process.
Remember, data is your friend
As marketers, we gravitate toward the creative ideas, words and visuals more than the numbers. I know I do. But the numbers tell the real story – whether or not the campaign is driving business value.
You don’t need a multi-channel campaign to give you a reason to track your metrics. Data always provides new perspective to your efforts – what’s working, what’s not, and what you should upcycle and try again. A quick weekly review of your site’s Google Analytics or email reporting gives you loads of valuable insights about what content nets the best performance.
Reporting reflects your strategy
Your data needs to be tailored to your campaign objectives and strategy. Every asset developed – a landing page, social media posts, e-newsletters, blog posts, etc. – needs a key performance indicators (KPIs) attached to it. These KPIs help you measure progress made toward a defined goal.
For example, if you’re trying to increase online brand awareness, measure your website and landing page traffic, social post reach and newsletter subscriber rate. If you’re trying to rationalize your paid advertising, size up your new user site traffic, social impressions and click-through rates.
Establish your systems and inputs
Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the campaign to start thinking about metrics. It’s important to activate proper reporting dashboards and tools from the get-go to make informed decisions along the way.
Ideally, your report pulls in data from all of the relevant platforms – Google Analytics (now equipped with guided analytics/forecasting thanks to Think with Google insights), eCommerce reports (Shopify, Squarespace, etc.), your marketing automation platform (Mailchimp, Hubspot, etc.), social media insights and more. Some of these platforms provide robust dashboards that are easy to customize and export from based on your goals and needs.
The documented report should include an executive summary with key findings and opportunities, as well as the actual numbers that quantify your efforts. These inputs may include:
- Unique monthly visitors increased by X%
- Generated X new subscribers or leads
- Online sales increased by X%
- Total social media reach grew by X%
Again, these numbers are specific to the goals established in your strategy.
Set your cadence and audience
Equally as important, stick to a consistent reporting rhythm. We recommend tracking trends and metrics twice per month to give your campaign time to perform.
Identify all stakeholders, including internal and external marketing teams, the sales team and executive leadership, who should receive your reports. With their awareness and input, you can make more strategic choices – and you’ll be accountable to deliver on-time insights.
Patience is a virtue
Although it’s thrilling to check metrics every day to track your growing audience or new personal record for engagement, it’s smart to let your campaign run its course before making any big decisions.
Many marketers and media planners follow the principle of “set it and forget it… for about 4 weeks.” At that point, you measure, evaluate and optimize with more/less advertising, different creative, or new media platforms.
At the end of a campaign, document your observations for what went well or what needs to change next time.
When to adjust your strategy
Maybe your beautiful website or perfectly timed email campaign isn’t performing the way you dreamed. Sadly, the “if you build it, they will come” mantra doesn’t always apply to content marketing.
So, what do you do if users aren’t finding and loving what you’ve built? Adjust your approach. Maybe you need to rethink your creative assets. Or maybe you need to revisit what success really means for your brand or a specific campaign. Confide in your colleagues, peers or an agency for insights on what or how to improve.
At times, data isn’t your friend (I know, I’m contradicting my earlier statement). It’s disappointing to share weak metrics on a campaign that has monopolized your time, energy and/or budget. Nevertheless, we persevere with lessons learned, a reconciled outlook and an excellent toolkit for the next campaign.
About the Author
Lauren McPherson is an Account Executive at Muse. With a strong background in integrated marketing and communications, advertising and events, Lauren pitches grassroots marketing ideas and creative solutions to support clients’ business objectives. Throughout her career, she has worked with notable clients including Cleveland Clinic, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
P.S. A special shout out to my high school AP Statistics teacher who guaranteed me I would be grateful for taking the class. I am!