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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How Measuring Success is Different in Digital


Measuring the results of an ad campaign or a marketing push is important. How else will you know if the effort was a success, and if the investment produced a profitable return? In the old-media days, it was often tough to measure, causing uncertainty and frustration among both buyers and sellers.

In the digital age, I could argue that it’s gotten too easy.

It's Not All About Clicks

Clicks are insanely easy to count. The click-thru-rate quickly became a new gold standard, and the abbreviation CTR made it seem so official and valid. But what was it really measuring? And what does that metric have to do with the marketer’s goals? These are the issues I often find myself discussing when I lead digital-media workshops, but these questions are not discussed as often as they should be with prospects.

You can’t know if counting clicks is relevant, irrelevant, or part of the answer unless you know what the prospect’s goals are. What are their business strategies? How does this digital effort (or this integrated solution) fit in with those strategies? In what ways does the company hope to engage with potential customers? Do they want to sell products online? Do they want to schedule appointments? Do they want to collect information? Do they want to increase the awareness of a new product or division of their company and maximize time spent on the specific pages of their website that highlight this new product or division? Where’s that sweet spot that is the essence of why this prospect is making this investment at this time?

Start With the Prospect's Goals

How will the prospect measure success? That’s how you need to measure success.

Then the discussion should turn to the prospect’s standard for success. What is the threshold at which this marketer will label the campaign a success? Is it reasonable, given the investment they’re making? What context or history suggests that the prospect’s expectation is realistic? The digital media rep needs to bring his/her knowledge and experience into the discussion and come to agreement about what type and volume of response represents success.

But what a shame it would be to limit our measurement to that one metric the marketer is focused on. Just as the old media made it hard to know precisely what happened in an ad campaign, the new media make it easy to know a whole lot more than simply how well we satisfied the prospect’s specific goal.

But Don't Be Limited to Just One Metric

When the time comes to recap the campaign, the astute media rep should highlight that one key metric, of course, but should go beyond just delivering a flat report. The digital media professional should also present all the insights gained from this campaign, and where appropriate, in the context of other campaigns run for this marketer. Take a deep dive into the analytics. How many arrived at the targeted web pages by clicking an ad, by clicking a link, by a search (using which search terms), and by directly typing in the website address? What was the overall increase in traffic? Pay specific attention to the time spent on those site pages that focus on the subject of the campaign. How did various pieces of creative perform in comparison to each other, and how can that information be used to improve the next campaign?

Digital media can be dramatically effective in helping clients reach their goals. But the data that’s accumulated while working toward those goals is also of immense value. Take the huge opportunity you have with digital campaigns and deliver insights as well as results. Your clients will thank you with more business.

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Topics: digital marketing metrics measurement