As marketers, we’re always a little proud when our new campaigns go live after a long period of preparation. That’s because we put so much time and passion into creating compelling texts and images. The campaign looks dazzling – it will surely be a great success!
But how do you assess whether the campaign was successful or not, after it has run? And even more importantly: Did it contribute to reaching the company’s goals?
Don’t wait until your campaign’s final performance analysis to ask these questions for the first time. In order to spend your time and efforts efficiently, make sure you integrate digital analytics from the beginning by following these 5 steps!
1) Goals? Oh yeah!
Actually, it would seem obvious:
We can only measure and improve campaign success if we have a clear objective.
But given the large number of potential marketing tactics and myriad interpretations of success, it’s not always easy to work with this principle.
Goals are the foundation of each campaign. They lead to the key indicators that allow you to assess the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. It is important to officially put them down into words. Why?
- First, as campaign manager, you should know exactly where and how you are investing your efforts.
- Secondly, marketing goals are Everyone on your team should share the same understanding of your goals and be on the same page. They’ll also be referring to your analytics dashboard later… so get them on board early and include them in the process.
What are these goals?
Campaign goals are strongly tied to your company’s overall marketing goals: increase sales, strengthen your brand image, and maintain loyalty of existing customers… These are long-term, strategic goals that usually involve entire divisions of your company.
For digital marketing, this translates into medium-term performance goals, such as boosting the number of visitors to your website, increasing the value or number of purchases, growing your rate of returning visitors, driving more organic searches for your brand name… these are likely to be goals shared in common across your team.
And now, enter your campaign goals: At this level, the goals should translate into concrete events on your website according to the SMART principle. A campaign often has a main goal, for example to generate sales on your website, or incite downloads of a document via a form. Everything in your campaign should lead to this main goal. All other actions on the way to conversion are secondary goals. They do not determine the success of the campaign, but provide information about how well certain intermediate steps are contributing to the main goal.
Here is a concrete example of how you might break down your goals:
- Overall marketing goal: increase sales
- One of the related performance goals: reduce order abandonment
- Campaign goal: get customers who abandoned their cart to convert (main goal) and bring them back into the sales funnel (secondary goal).
Sometimes, campaigns set out to achieve less-measurable goals, such as brand awareness. In these cases, you can define behaviour-related goals, such as number of pages viewed per visitor, or you can study the increase of brand-related terms among search engine queries in the long run.
2) Let your key performance indicators be your guide
Successful campaigns follow a plan and are continuously optimised to maximise success. Analytics data is essential in this regard. But which data do you need?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow you to draw a connection between your campaign goals and the metrics you study in your analytics data.
In this whitepaper, analytics expert Jacques Warren defines a KPI as “a measurement that measures how well a company is executing its strategy”. By using KPIs, you can track and evaluate your campaign’s success. They allow you to measure and understand your progress toward your goals.
Let’s get back to our example:
In some cases, it can be useful to separate KPIs and metrics. While the metric expresses absolute and quantitative values showing exactly what is to be measured in the analytics tool, the KPI integrates the larger context. This way, just like in this example, a KPI can contain relative information: What percent of the total abandoned orders finally led to completed sales transactions?
KPIs need context
A metric can be a highly important piece of information in one context, and only a minor performance metric in a different context. It all depends on what is interesting for those who are reading your report.
High-level KPIs are great for informing your company’s management team about campaign and website performance quickly and at a glance. You, on the other hand, will surely want to know the cause for these campaign results.
Therefore, it is important for each different stakeholder to define which KPIs they will use to determine success before the campaign even starts. In doing so, everyone will be able to better understand the results presented after the campaign.
KPIs should assess the situation
If you don’t know whether a certain value is good or bad, you won’t know if you need to take action. You must therefore always define targets for your KPIs. Use former values, for example, as a point of reference when judging your KPI targets.
KPIs are not one-size-fits-all
Each business has its own challenges, so be ready to think outside the box when it comes to the KPIs you use. Sometimes, custom KPIs can be more meaningful than those provided by default in your analytics solution. Read this article to learn how to create custom KPIs.
Good to know: The ability to fully customise analyses and performance indicators is one of the essential benefits of using AT Internet’s Analytics Suite. Get an overview of our tools and applications here!
3) Break performance down with the campaign funnel
Whether a campaign is successful or not depends on many factors: whether your offer is relevant enough, how many people you can reach, how well your message is understood, and the choice of optimal advertising media for your goals.
Essentially, everything depends on how well you can lead your audience from the acquisition channel to the landing page, and to the desired action after that.
The AIDA funnel is an established model representing this path – starting with Awareness and Interest, to Desire and Action. This funnel shows HOW the campaign becomes successful.
Over the years, there have been many variations of this model, but what matters is that it helps you structure your analysis!
Here are a few examples of metrics you might use to structure your campaign report based on the funnel:
- Facebook ad impressions
- Banner impressions on a specific page
- Number of newsletter recipients
- E-mail open rate
- Interest in your offer:
What do you expect users to do for the next step? What actions are to be taken?
- Clicks on an AdWords ad or banner to reach your website
- Clicks on social media posts
- CTR in the email
- Number of visits or visitors to your landing page or product detail pages
- Number of visitors who’ve crossed over from an offline to an online channel (for example, people exposed to your TV ad who then visit your website)
(Depending on the length of the funnel, this step can be merged with “Interest”.)
- Page views per visitor
- Time spent per visit
- Use of internal search tool
- Clicks on a self-promotional banner (house ad) on your site
What is the ultimate event to be reached at the end of your campaign?
- A download
- An order
- A newsletter subscription
- Any other specific action to be performed
4) During the campaign: Keep close track!
Once the campaign is live, you should check it daily to observe performance and react in real-time. Pull all possible levers to drive the best results!
Conduct different tests to figure out which argument or design has the greatest impact. Whether you’re using a special A/B testing tool, a built-in testing feature, or just comparing different Facebook ads – what matters is that you steadily improve performance, and that you develop a methodology to continuously enhance your results.
Important: Make systematic notes of your A/B testing results! Having a documented history of results will help you define new hypotheses next time, and determine the most successful options over time.
5) Use the right reporting
Once your campaign has finished, it’s time to create a final report including all KPIs and other relevant information. Creating this kind of report is important, so that you may easily refer to your data in preparation for your next campaign cycles.
As campaigns have a limited duration (and you won’t remember the periods of all your campaigns), your campaign report should have a permanent format. It’s a good idea to save your data in a format such as Excel, or export your dashboard as a PDF.
But when you need an overview of your complete campaign or acquisition activity, a dynamic dashboard is the best choice, as data will be updated in real time. This way, management can track the current performance of your activities whenever needed.
With AT Internet, you can create your own dashboard tailored to your needs, or use out-of-the-box templates.
A tip for your performance analysis:
The pinnacle of campaign analysis is calculating Return On Investment. Diving into this topic would take us beyond the scope of this article, but we can give you one piece of advice:
As calculating ROI for several campaigns can be quite laborious, consider automating most of the process by configuring your analytics tools in a specific way:
Cross-compare your analytics data with your campaign costs by exporting data via an API to a data warehouse. In addition to sales and conversion data, you will now be able to consider the relationship between total cost and revenue (input and output) for your campaign evaluation.
Setting your campaigns up for success will result in… success
Hopefully the tips in this article have inspired you to rethink your campaign planning. It is very likely that campaigns prepared with analytics and measurement in mind will have better chances at success than those that aren’t.
To make sure that you can rely on accurate campaign data, it’s critical to correctly prepare your campaign tracking.
Do you have any other tips for campaign managers out there? Share them with us in the comment section!