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Are You Measuring What Really Matters?

Here’s how to move away from superficial metrics in 5 simple steps.

Here’s how to move away from superficial metrics in 5 simple steps

During my career, I had the privilege to work with many “big brands” in the digital marketing space – but before making the shift from the agency world to education and entrepreneurship, I had the eye-opening experience to work with Google. During this short but enlightening period, I was immersed in a totally new way of thinking about “metrics that matter” in digital marketing.

For obvious reasons, I won’t be giving you insider info, neither will I spoon-feed you with all the right answers! – BUT, if you really want to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level, you can pay close attention to the following:

Your marketing initiatives are taking place in 2 areas – and thus, every time you run a campaign you will be receiving 2 sets of metrics:

  • Metrics relevant to the advertising platforms – here you will be receiving metrics such as impressions, clicks, CTR, CPC, amount spend, CPA etc. that describe how your ads are performing on the platform (note: your ads). Only 50% of your digital marketing journey can be deciphered here.
  • Metrics relevant to your owned assets, commonly found on Google Analytics – here you will get metrics relevant to what users are doing when they land on your website or mobile app (for example time on site, pages per visit etc.) The remaining 50% of the user journey takes place on your owned assets.

While some brands are lost in the sea of digital marketing metrics and others are “lured” into the narcissism of “engagements”, very few are asking the questions that really matter – from a business point of view:

  • What are the steps a user needs to take to buy our product/service?
  • What are the key actions that separate a user who is interested in buying our product from those who are not?
  • What do we want users to do after they buy? (Reviews, referrals etc.)

Take a couple of minutes to reflect on the above questions and you’ll very quickly realize that the answer is neither clicks nor CTR… Thus the question becomes are you really measuring what matters for your business?

You can move away from superficial metrics in 5 simple steps:

  1. Sketch your customer journey – literally draw it and identify ALL the steps that a customer needs to take in order to buy your product or service. Make sure that you don’t skip a single interaction regardless of how menial it may seem (for example adding a product to cart)
  2. Identify and note down which are the key actions that signify whether a user is simply thinking about making a purchase or he/she is dead-serious about making a purchase.
  3. Identify where the above actions are taking place and how you can track these key actions against all inbound traffic – you should be able to identify how every digital marketing channels performs against these metrics (with NO exceptions)
  4. Map all the above actions against your customer journey (or marketing funnel) – which actions belong to awareness, consideration, conversion etc.
  5. Take a step back and check if your NEW Key Performance Indicators are smiling back at you – congratulations! You’ve just identified which metrics really matter for your business.

If we are to summarize the above mindset we can simply say that we should focus on measuring the purchase INTENT and the outcome of our digital marketing initiatives instead of focusing on the outputs.

A quick example:

Output: We generated 10,000 clicks

Outcome: We generated 5,000 “add-to-carts”

The aftermath..

So now what are the next steps? Change is not easy but it is absolutely necessary. It is very likely that not all your team members will “buy-in” the new frame of thinking. While big organizations have already made the shift, there is still a long way to go when it comes to SMEs and companies operating in more traditional sectors.

Last but not least, I am going to list a few of the most frequently asked questions on the above framework – which may also address the concerns of some of the sceptics.

Question: Does it work for B2B?

Answer: Is there no funnel for B2B? (off-course it does)

Question: What if we are a brick and mortar business? (FMCG)

Answer: You can still measure the purchase intent on your digital assets (for example product visits on websites or visits on the contact page)

Question: What if we are running awareness campaigns?

Answer: What is the expected outcome of the earned awareness? (In other words, do you expect an uplift in sales, website visits or app downloads?)

See you on the other side of data!

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Written By

Sotirios (one of the most difficult names you’ll come across in your life), lived in London, Dubai and Singapore, working for some of the world’s leading media agencies (WPP and Omnicom). Along the way he built 2 digital performance departments from the ground-up and worked with clients such as Unilever, Volkswagen and Google. Currently, he is a Digital Marketing Instructor at General Assembly and the founder of XYZ Lab. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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