Tracking the true impact of digital campaigns on your business

Perhaps you are hesitant to dedicate part of your marketing budget to a digital campaign because you think the impact of the campaign on your bottom line can’t be measured. This is a concern we hear frequently, but it is simply not true (and you should certainly think twice about hiring an agency that will tell you otherwise). 

However, quality measurement that shows the impact of a campaign on your company’s bottom line doesn’t simply mean collecting as much data as possible on a campaign after it has finished. Rather, just as the strategy of any campaign should be developed to support the objectives of your business, measurement needs to be conducted strategically. To do so, your digital agency should clearly define the goals for the campaign before starting and should choose KPIs that indicate progress towards those goals that can be tracked throughout the duration of the campaign.

There is a lot of positive activity that can take place as a result of a digital campaign that you won’t be aware of if you don’t set out at the beginning of the campaign to measure it. So how do you decide which KPIs to track?

Measuring engagement

You will likely have heard repeatedly that to identify if a digital campaign has been successful, you should measure engagement. As a result, KPIs for a digital campaign usually indicate your target audience’s engagement with your brand. Engagement is a vague term with no official definition, but this does not mean that the word is meaningless or that it can’t be measured. Engagement, in the realm of digital marketing, is used to refer to consumer behaviour while online and the measurable actions that result. To define what engagement means for a digital campaign your agency needs to decide the way your consumers want to interact with your business and how they should ideally act after they have done so.

B2B digital campaigns tend to focus on behavioural engagement. It is important to note that this is not limited to a purchase of a product or service, but encompasses all the interactions that a prospect has in relation to a brand. There are a number of pre- or post-sale activities that can be directly or indirectly predictive of a future purchase or re-purchase (which are likely to be goals for your digital campaign).  Here are some KPIs that can be used to measure the type of engagement that results in progress towards these goals:

  • Visits to the company website: When tracked through referrals to your website using Google Analytics this metric can demonstrate which digital sources are driving the most amount of traffic to the pages of your website that are meant to covert visitors into customers.
  • Downloads of a whitepaper: Using an email marketing software, whitepaper downloads can tell you how many people are engaging with your content and even if those downloading the whitepaper are members of your target audience.
  • Traffic from branded keywords: People will only know to search for your company name if they have heard it before. The amount of times you can see, again using Google Analytics, that someone has found your website by searching for your company name is an indicator of the success the digital campaign is having in increasing your brand’s profile.
  • Open and click-through rates on your email marketing campaign: This can also be tracked through an email marketing software and let you know if the emails being sent are catching the interest of your audience.
  • LinkedIn or Google recommendations of a product: Not only does this metric let you see which of your customers are happy and what you are doing right, but it helps nurture new customers as well.
  • Shares of your company’s social media updates and comments on your company blog: Once again, you will know if the content you are sending is really interesting if your audience likes it enough to share it or engage in a discussion about it.

From KPIs to business goals

It is important that your digital agency doesn’t just report on the KPIs for the campaign and leave it at that. Although the goals of a well-planned campaign will be in line with your business objectives, it’s vital that your agency can demonstrate that they’ve made a positive impact on your business, not just gotten you a few retweets or a couple more Facebook fans.

It is also essential they report throughout the duration of the campaign and are constantly coming up with ideas about how to improve it while it is happening. Once a campaign is finished, ideas for how to improve KPI numbers will only help you for the next campaign, not improve your bottom line today.

Find out more about TopLine's measurement methods here.