I’m a big proponent of “Measuring Your Outcomes” for any campaign you start, even offline campaigns like in TV, Radio & Print. Prior to such tools as Ominture, WebTrends, CoreMetrics & Google Analytics (formerly Urchin.. if you remember back that far) it was pretty tough understanding what TRULY worked and what didn’t. A lot of measurement was guesswork and summation and that was the problem – nothing really concrete. Now we have a tremendous amount of data on our hands, but again a problem of too much data and not understanding what the valuable insights are can be misleading and even damaging to a marketing campaign.
There’s a lot more than to understanding if a marketing strategy is working, let alone understanding if you’ve got an “o.k.” strategy or one that’s really hitting the mark, than looking at how many people are visiting your site each day. The true measure is are you visitors finding value and are you optimizing for all your possible outcomes.
Goals Aren’t Always Monetary in Nature
Goals don’t always have to be monetary at the end of the day. A goal could be someone as easy as a use clicking on the “Like” button, or adding something to their wishlist that later gets shared with their social network. They may not necessarily convert in a monetary form today, but in a week or two they very well could. That’s why looking at just visitors or even click through rates as “lone” metric can be very misleading.
Don’t Fall For These Metrics Alone:
Looking at these metrics as a stand alone number can be very misleading. These numbers can lead marketers to reporting the wrong facts about a strategy and can mislead a team into pouring resources into the wrong areas. Be careful about reporting these numbers “on their own”.
- Visits or “Hits” to your website. As KD Paine says HITS are “How Idiots Track Success”
- Counting: The raw number of friends/fans
- Counting : The raw number of views of a video or image
- CTR: Click Through Rate
- Average Position (Adwords)
- Cost Per Click
- Number of ReTweets or Facebook Shares
- Number of Subscribers (Blog RSS, Members of a Forum)
More Insightful Metrics
Using these metrics combined with others can give you a clearer picture of what’s really going on with your strategy. Some of these metrics need to be gathered by your team without a metrics package as each social media community reports on activity in your accounts separate. That data can then be compared to what data your web analytics package is producing.
- Number of Pages Viewed
- Unique Visitors vs Loyal Visitors
- Cost per Conversion
- Links Attained for a Specific Campaign
- Your Content’s Reach:
- How Often Was it Retweeted & By Whom (Influencers Really Matter!)
- Where Has It Been Shared (Look at Your Content’s Referrals)
- What Did Your Content Accomplish
- Did They Accomplish a Goal
- Did They View More Pages
- Did They Bounce
- Did They Retweet or Share on Facebook (or some other community)
- How Many Quality Twitter Lists Are You On?
- When You Post Content to a Group How Many Replies Do You Get?
- Active Users in a Forum/Message Board in the Last Month?
Optimizing for Your Optimal Outcome
Some of these data points are not going to come from your analytics package, especially if you are relying on a very heavy social media marketing strategy – some of these points will be gathered manually. These points though should be brought up against what’s happening on your website, for example how many times something is ReTweeted and how much traffic is coming in from Twitter. However looking at just those two data points isn’t enough to understand if what you are doing is truly successful, figuring out if that traffic is quality traffic by having them convert in some fashion (veiwing more pages, signing up for your email newsletter, buying a product, etc.) will let you know it’s successful. What good is the traffic coming from Twitter if they aren’t actually doing what you want them to do? Understanding all the data points and how they relate together – that’s what optimizing the channel for the outcome is really all about.
To round this piece about optimizing for your outcomes out, I’d like to leave you with a new webinar I was fortunate enough to catch last week. Avinash Kaushik the Online Marketing Evangelist at Google and who I also dub as the “Super Analytics Guru” recently put out a very insightful webinar about garnering insightful data from your web analytics. It’s a very good seminar that can help you get a handle on how you can truly optimize towards the outcomes you want.
Avinash Kaushik: Think Marketing with Google: Agile, Outcomes Driven, Digital Advertising
Along with the video you might also find these two posts from Avinash very insightful too!
- Beginner’s Guide To Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps To Love & Success
- 5 + 4 Actionable Tips To Kick Web Data Analysis Up A Notch, Or Two