A significant benefit of internet advertising is the possibility to get lots of information on an ad’s success in real time.
The major thing about measuring advertising effectiveness is selecting the right metrics. While the trend of big data collection is fairly broad, many businesses focus on just getting as many numbers as possible. On the other hand, there is a certain sort of marketers who are not data-driven and rarely dip down into the analytics. Even exporting raw data in GA is a big problem for them!
But tracking the right metrics is crucial. Why and how can one do that? Let’s dig deeper into the ad efficiency evaluation process with Margo Kashuba from OWOX BI.
Step 1: Objectives of the campaign
First of all, marketers should choose the right goals to follow. Let’s take a gander at the objectives for the ad campaigns marketers often set:
The next important thing is how often you need to acquire insights from the analytics. Marketing goals should correspond to the strategy a company chooses, market situation, seasonal customer activities, and a product cycle stage. For example, getting as many reviews as possible may be the right goal for the new product and a bad one if a company is already established and well-known.
According to the survey, almost half of the marketers routinely measure digital advertising effectiveness. Really, it’s just good practice.
Some marketers suppose that digital advertising success is getting a lead or a customer cheaper than they did yesterday. However, if you look at it in general, it is vital to consider the impact on both short and long-term revenue.
For example, Sam set up a marketing campaign with sales promotions and it was successful. He brought a business the desired amount of the new customers, although he had a small marketing budget. His boss looked at his report and was pleased with the results.
Anny set up a different marketing campaign and had fewer sales. She emphasized the core values a brand shares in her messages, while Sam was talking only about current sales and dwelled on low prices of the products. At first sight, the situation is clear: Sam’s campaign is more effective than Anny’s.
However, in the long run, all of Sam’s leads will never buy from this business again, unless they happen to see the ad. Most of Anny’s customers will be repeat buyers.
The customers Sam attracted were interested in buying a cheap product and when the sales are over, or prices with time are higher, they will turn to another company with cheaper similar products. Anny’s buyers were focused on the values they support and share, and are more loyal to the company.
Marketing is just one part of the activities an organization performs for its growth. If getting cash or the first customers as soon as possible is on the agenda, Sam’s campaign is more effective.
If getting loyal customers and better brand recognition is the objective of the campaign, Anny did it better. It is directly related to the lifetime value of the customer, and we will come back to this point later in the article.
Step 2: Choose the metrics
Measuring online advertising effectiveness is one of the key tasks of the marketing department. A dashboard with the statistics on ad success should be shared among all colleagues who work on the campaign.
Two crucial aspects of advertising effectiveness are engagement and sales.
Let’s dive into each type of metrics deeper.
One way to evaluate advertising campaign success is to track the sales.
5 key metrics of the sales and communication effectiveness every marketer should measure:
- Total visits: how many users have visited your website during your marketing campaign.
- Click-through rate (CTR) is the basic marketing metric and you can get it by dividing all views of your ad by the number of clicks on it.
- New Leads Generated: how many new customers a business acquired during the campaign.
- Website Traffic to Lead Ratio helps us to see how many website visitors become customers or leads.
To calculate this metric, use the formula: all website visits / the number of new buyers.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) tells us how much money a business spends gaining a new customer. You can track this metric for each channel and compare it to find out the best performing channel.
To calculate CAC you need to divide all costs spent on acquiring the customers by the number of new clients.
CAC= Total marketing + sales expenses / # of new customers
You can find Total visits, Average Time on Page metrics using Google Analytics, for all other metrics you need to calculate on your own.
Important: more leads don’t always transfer into the revenue growth. Making lead acquisition cheaper should be always followed with the system that evaluates each lead. For example, we have two leads:
- cost of the lead #1 is $25, but the profit a company gets serving him equals $50
- cost of the lead #2 is $30, but the profit equals $100.
The marketing dashboard should clearly show that the lead #1 is more profitable than lead #2. If the sales cycle for lead #2 is longer or there are other costs associated with it, they should be added to the dashboard. With all this information processed, the marketing team will be able to allocate the budget accordingly.
Some projects are able to rely only on the engagement metrics. For example, media calculates the number of users they attract and often sells their services only to businesses.
If the content is a big thing for your business, you should keep an eye on the engagement metrics such as social media, website and page performance. Keep the key data that speaks about the quality of the content on the dashboard.
5 engagement metrics you may find useful:
- Reach shows how many users have seen your message.
It is important to keep the data segregated by the geo and type of the device to compare the performance of the ad in the different regions and with the variety of devices.
- Brand mentions: how many times users posted content mentioning your brand.
- Number of shares and likes a post or an ad gets.
- Brand name search: a number of times users looked for your company on the Internet.
- Average Time on Page metric can give us a hint on whether a user is really interested in the product, and reads the descriptions or text of the blog post, or leaves straight away.
- Scroll tracking measuring visitor engagement is easier if you also consider vertical scroll percentage.
If a customer scrolled the page to the bottom, and spend 3 minutes reading content, he, most probably, is interested in your offer. If he bounced without scrolling and spent 20 seconds reading content on your first screen, a person is less likely to buy. Certainly, that makes sense only for web pages with more than 1 screen.
Tracking these metrics you will hold a finger to the pulse of the brand and will be able to predict your key content results in future.
Step 3: Doubt the Data and Analyse it
High CTR and positive responses to your offer give information about the power of the marketing campaign.
However, response to your offer is also tied to the product characteristics and its price. While the CTA may be not so effective for your offer, users may still click on the ad and the characteristics of a product may be the reason for the high CTR. If users click on the ad but the conversion rate of the landing page is low, the product may not meet visitors’ expectations.
How do you know what is the weakest link?
The best way would be to test the campaigns and change only CTA or a product description. Comparing the results of different campaigns, you will see a clear winner.
What is the difference between virality and a great response to your ad? Not all products we’d love to share, we also would love to buy. A smart ad message can be shared a hundred times on the Internet, and at the same time lead to low sales and even low brand awareness.
That is why determining your marketing goals is so crucial. These goals may be a certain amount of leads or an increase of lifetime value of the customer (LTV).
Creating a funny ad that drives numerous shares but does not describe the main characteristics of the product, may be a mistake for one brand and a success for another.
For example, people thinking about Coca-Cola before the holidays and sharing their new ad may increase their consumption of the product. But people sharing a cool ad from the brand they have never heard about, may not have such an impact. Firstly, you should distribute the information about the company or a product and find the product-market fit. Only after this equilibrium is achieved, you can work on the customer lifetime value increase and loyalty.
The other example of the careful analysis of campaigns data is to connect it with services of the cross-cutting analysis. These systems will save you from hours of sitting over numbers and cells, and give a still data ground for making new decisions in your campaigns. The thing marketers love the most in such systems is that they are developing all the time and no one leaves you behind in technical and service way.
Here are 3 reasons to use cross-cutting analysis system:
- It will help you with importing your cost data from ad services into GA for prompt analysis of ROAS in the GA interface.
- Then it can mix GA data with Facebook (or another ad service) on BigQuery base (or Amazon Redshift, or other data warehouse) automatically. Build the reports in any dimensions you need at your fingertips and without sampling.
- With the possibility to add new channels of data, even from call-tracking systems and CRM, you can perform end-to-end analysis and estimate advertising campaigns considering offline-data and order performance.
The success of advertising depends on a variety of factors: the right choice of instruments, the target audience, the creatives of the digital ads, the advertising channels, and chosen criteria of efficiency. The more data you analyze on the real time, the more precise analysis report you get. Then the better decisions will appear. Isn’t it the aim we all are struggling for?
The effectiveness of internet advertising is a complex concept. As we live in the era of data, paying attention to the metrics is easier than before.
Building a system that will include the core digital marketing metrics is not a task that can be solved within a week or even a month. It is a project that needs constant upgrades.
But don’t get lost into the calculations and endless testing, in the end, you need only one answer: what is working and what is not. It is impossible to measure every single marketing activity but it is totally possible to track the advertising effectiveness in terms of the channels and messages.
Good luck with your campaigns!
Author: Margo Kashuba, OWOX BI