Metrics is not the goal – it is the measure of the goal.
Starting at the end never makes sense. Think about it. The punchline of a joke isn’t funny without the set up. The last page of a mystery novel tells you whodunit, but I’ve lost the mystery without the pages that came before. The same is true for analytics and reporting. It doesn’t make sense if you only consider your metrics at the end of a campaign. You have to know your goals first.
If I share a campaign report, you can review the data and learn it had a 15% click-through rate. But unless you know the goal of the campaign and the measurement of success, 15% could mean the campaign was successful, unsuccessful, or simply not the primary measure of the campaign’s success at all.
Meaningful measurement must start at the beginning, with planning.
In the overall campaign planning phase, you determine:
- What to measure?
- What is success?
- How to measure?
- When to measure?
What to Measure?
The problem is not that we don’t have enough data – email click-throughs, impressions, likes, retweets, website visits, webinar attendees and so much more is plentiful. The challenge is identifying what data we should focus on for each campaign.
Start by asking, “What is the goal?” While we could say that the goal of every campaign is to grow the business and drive sales, it is important to understand that it is not always the primary goal. Identifying the primary purpose is the first step to ensuring the right metrics are captured. Is the primary goal to drive sales, build loyalty, increase awareness or influence attitudes? For example, an increase in social conversation volume may be the measure of an awareness campaign. For a sales campaign, it might be success via net new leads, and for a loyalty campaign, it might be an increased number of followers.
Campaigns can have multiple goals and indicators of success. Plan to focus on 1-5 key measurements. Additional goals and metrics should become secondary or even tertiary goals. Capture them all. These additional measurements can be important for not only understanding success but also benchmarking, monitoring and analyzing.
What is Success?
Once you have identified your goals and what to measure, put specific numbers against them. It is not enough to have a goal to increase net new leads. The goal needs to be specific – to drive 20 net new leads or 1,000 net new leads.
Benchmark data is helpful to not only measure success against past campaigns, but also to be used for planning and strategy. If marketing needs to increase net new leads this year over last, what is the impact of that number? Is it a 2% or 25% increase over last year? Will it take some small adjustments to existing strategies or will it require new strategies, new channels or more budget?
How to Measure
Identifying what to measure and what is success does us no good if we can’t report the data. This means that we need to understand how the data will be captured and which tools will be used to report the data.
For example, if you want to measure a campaign by channel performance, you will need a way to track a lead source and pass the value through a form submit. If you are tracking engagement, you will want to be sure the email click-through activity is captured. Don’t forget to thoroughly test each activity for reporting.
Depending on your organization, you might need a multitude of tools to report on a campaign from Google Analytics and Twitter Analytica to a Social Listening Tool and CRM. Or you might have a data visualization tool that will pull your multiple data sources into one report. It is not important what tools you use, but that you identify which tools will be needed so you can report the measure of your success.
When to Measure
This is the easy answer – you measure at the beginning, during and after the campaign.
Benchmarking is full-circle reporting. Before you launch the campaign, it is important to understand your benchmark data. This is especially true, for example, if the goal is to increase awareness or change attitudes. Without a baseline of data, we cannot measure results of our efforts and evaluate success.
Benchmarking data is important to not only measure how well the campaign performed against its own goals, but also to compare performance across similar marketing efforts.
It is important to continually measure consistent data across similar campaigns and channels to maintain reliable benchmark data.
Regularly monitor your campaign for any red flags based on performance. Low engagement might indicate a technical issue, for example, a broken link. Or it might alert you that a change in tactics is required. If you wait until the end of a campaign to review the data, you will miss opportunities to redirect an unsuccessful start into a successful finish. Plan to monitor the campaign frequently at launch and then regularly to the end.
In addition to monitoring the data, it may be appropriate to send reports or dashboards to stakeholders. You will need to identify what data will be captured, how the data will be represented, the frequency and the delivery method (manually or automatically scheduled). It is important to continually communicate the goals along with reporting the data.
And now you find yourself at the end. But this time, the numbers have context. Because you planned what goals to measure and how to capture and report the data, you can work the numbers and share in a meaningful way:
- Was the campaign successful – why or why not?
- How did this campaign compare to other similar campaigns?
- What was learned and how can it be applied to improve marketing efficiencies?
Different audiences will require different reporting and messaging. For example, the reports and dashboards presented to upper management will be different than what is shared with the marketing team. If your audience is purely focused on revenue goals, it may require that you look for meaningful ways to report softer measurements such as including secondary revenue goals or showing how the campaign fits into a larger initiative. Always report within the context of the primary goals of the campaign and the measurements identified for success.
Let’s end with a joke – well it’s just the punch line – “Hey, I’m a fungi.” Funny? Don’t forget, in analytics, the numbers are the punchline and mean nothing without the set up. Bu-da-bum-bum. If you need assistance, we are always here to help!
Resource: MarketingProfs course, Add It Up: Measuring Your Influencer Campaigns