Measuring the Success of Digital Marketing Results
How Do You Measure the Success of Digital Marketing Results?
Measuring the success of digital marketing results is not as straightforward as we once thought it to be. We used to think we were able to determine what channel of marketing bringing traffic to our website and the best ROI. We dreamed up these ideas that different channels of digital marketing worked solo in their efforts to move someone down a marketing funnel to a client. The real truth is we couldn’t really get this information, it was an illusion we created as marketers and stuck with it for a long time. The platforms of marketing online marketing pitted us against other platforms with their own measuring. We saw multiple platforms giving themselves credit, we saw marketing analytic platforms tell a different story, and it was confusing at best. We carried on with the lie though, until now.
Well as they said with Berlin, “marketing, tear down that wall”! The hardening truth is in the last couple of years it has gotten downright impossible to track ROI to a specific digital marketing channel. However, not all is lost, there are metrics that we need to look at to measure and understand the success of your digital marketing channels. We need to break down the different channels, determine the strategy of that channel and measure the success of that channel with its own specific metrics.
Want to know the even more revealing truth? It’s not just digital marketing that is important. There are many types of offline and online marketing, and the important factor to know is that the two coincide with each other.
Marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum vortex of one marketing channel or the other, they work together.
What Does Our Digital Marketing Tools Tell Us in Tracking ROI?
Plain and simple not the real truth. When you use an over-simplistic data attribution, that is when you start to make mistakes in your analysis of your marketing. Although there are some great platforms they are not explaining the true story. Let’s talk about the different platforms for measuring results.
What Can Google Analytics Tell Us?
Google Analytics is a free way to track your marketing and well is sometimes the most underused tool. Inside of Google Analytics, there is a section that allows us to analyze our different channels of marketing, which is our favorite place to go to. There are default channels such as social, organic traffic, email, etc. that bring in the traffic to your website and Google Analytics can traffic that naturally.
The downfall of this platform is that it gives the conversion (form fills, purchases, and phone calls) to the very last channel from which someone has visited your website. This is a problem because it’s not giving attribution to the avenues that got someone to the website in the first place and only can attribute to that absolute last channel.
Before someone says it, yes there are multi-attribution reports in Google Analytics but let’s face it there are so many problems with that report. We often switch devices, switch google logins, cookies are dropped, browsers fail, and on and on. The use of last-click attribution wants you to put all your marketing eggs in one basket.
Let’s give some examples in your stages of marketing. Start with BOF marketing and the most popular online marketing tactic of paid search marketing on Bing and Google. Let’s say that you are seeing the most conversions from Google Ads according to your Google Analytics default channel grouping report. You may be thinking “put more money into this channel will lead to more sales”. Well, that might not be correct.
Think about your whole marketing funnel and how people have interacted with you before. Remember the AIDA model of your marketing funnel. Your marketing strategy should be using different digital marketing channels to move a consumer through your funnel.
Think about the brand recognition that happens when someone sees that Google ad in the search results. Now, do you think that it was the only reason someone decided to click on you? The answer is no, our brains process the marketing we have seen before.
The goal is marketing is to get someone from top-of-the-funnel to bottom-of-the-funnel. That is why using all of your marketing budgets on one channel is inefficient. You would be missing out on the chance to connect with others that might be even more effective.
Let’s look at another example that can be at both ends of the funnel, email marketing. It can be used to get some into your top of the funnel by gathering that email before they become a client, and it can also be used to market to your current clients. If you just used last-click attribution you are likely to throughout the effectiveness of email marketing.
According to IndoorMedia, someone needs to see an advertisement 7-8 times to really lead them to convert. That is why implementing so many types of marketing strategies and inspecting individual metrics with those channels is so beneficial.
What About All These Paid Analytic Platforms?
There are other platforms out there that do a better job than Google Analytics of giving the true story. Don’t get us wrong we love and use Google Analytics often but well it’s free and there are some better ways. These paid analytics platforms implement something called, “multi-touch channel” which is where credit is given to multiple channels and not just the last one. These platforms can be costly for some smaller businesses, however, they help guide your marketing decisions better.
Purchasing a paid analytic platform does not mean you will have a 100% trackable ROI, it still has holes. You need to understand these holes that each platform has and where data can fall off to make the best marketing decisions. Using multiple platforms and triangulating your data will give you the best result. Keep them honest by looking at your data in multiple ways.
We know, the boss wants that perfect answer to what marketing channel works the best and the true answer is triangulated data analysis will give you the best answer.
Measuring Your Digital Marketing KPIs, Changed Big Time in 2021
Privacy, that’s the keyword here, that is what has blown up was the somewhat more reliable tracking of digital marketing results. The first big grab at privacy was in 2018 with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). GDPR is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. It imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in Europe.
Certain states in the United States such as California and other countries have followed suit in passing laws that are similar to what Europe did. This changed how we can connect the data of marketing but wasn’t that widespread at first. Laws similar to this though are spreading quickly and we as marketers and business owners need to understand how this affects marketing data.
Now fast-forward to 2021, Apple dropped a bomb in digital ad data privacy with the removal of the IDFA (The Identifier for Advertisers). What’s an IDFA? Quite simply it allowed data sharing between apps and marketing platforms most notably social media apps like Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, and more.
Apple put the end-user in charge making sure that you as a consumer could say yes or no when opening these apps to being tracked. Currently, 97% of people are opting out. Apple is no longer sharing data from apps to the app makers of major platforms. We bet Apple is keeping that data though, but who knows, there is no regulation to keep them honest. Since Apple removed this, if you were doing any marketing through an app, then that is no longer as trackable as it once was. This change is monumental when you consider that this channel has become a top source of where people connect online.
If we can no longer attribute data from app traffic to our website (if someone opts out of being tracked), then it is more difficult to conclude information on all of the channels in which someone took to complete a conversion.
Something very similar is happening on the desktop with the death of the cookie. This is similar to tracking information when people were going from one marketing source to another. Google has moved the date a couple of times but as of right now Google plans to remove the cookie at the end of 2023.
By the end of 2023, we will have essentially lost both app and desktop tracking of marketing, now what?
What is the Solution to Marketing Attribution Loss?
Most platforms are working on what is called predictive modeling. These platforms are using specific behaviors of what a consumer is doing to predict that conversions actually occur. There is going to be a trust issue here for users using platforms that utilize this model. Do we trust the platforms in giving themselves credit in helping get conversions? The likely answer is no.
Google has already introduced data attribution modeling which that is when there are a set of rules that conclude how sales and conversions are credited and are assigned to different aspects during the conversion process. Facebook has also started to give credit to the ways that contribute to conversions through some data modeling. So we are seeing well-known platforms adjusting to these substantial changes.
What Do You Need To Do To Prepare Yourself?
There are a lot of changes that have occurred and some are still to come. Measuring your digital marketing results can be a challenge, below is a list to ensure you are ready for the upcoming year:
You need to analyze all of your marketing activities and pick metrics within those channels of marketing that show the success of that strategy.
Remember, just because one channel is outperforming the other in last-click attribution does not mean you should invest all of your marketing spend into that channel.
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