1. Measure what actually translates to your business goals
- For the vast majority of businesses, CTR will never translate to an increase in sales or brand awareness and says nearly nothing about the digital health of your brand. Video completion rate on Facebook or YouTube doesn’t either, especially when there is a skip button or muted content in most environments. What does matter is sales, leads, positive social engagement and brand recognition. Site visits matter less than visits of key pages. Essentially, media metrics matter less than CPA metrics.
- And yes, it is hard to accurately measure lift in brand awareness from digital marketing, just as it has been for brands since the dawn of advertising. Brand lift studies attempt to do this but have some significant methodology issues stemming from voluntary response bias. Both a qualitative and quantitative lens is needed here. How accurate is the data that you are using to target your digital campaigns (especially when leveraging 3rd party data providers)? Are you reaching this audience with the appropriate frequency? How long is the client’s sales cycle and how long do you need to wait to see an increase in sales? CFOs, procurement departments and VC-based businesses in general have a tendency to undervalue how long it takes for brand awareness marketing dollars to make the cash register ring. In these situations, the main job of marketing agencies is to arm in-house teams with straightforward, data-driven analysis to justify a consistent, full-funnel strategy.
2. Always be cognizant of the user experience (especially on a mobile environment)
- If you want a user to sign up for your newsletter, make it easy. Don’t be greedy and ask for their phone number, occupation, income, where they first heard of your brand and name of their first born child. When possible, don’t take the user off the site they are browsing; leverage Facebook Lead Ads, for instance, or have mobile-optimized ecommerce landing pages that function within Instagram or Snapchat’s built-in browser.
- Control your retargeting approach. Nothing is worse than visiting a new brand once, and seeing the same pair of shoes 12 times a day for the next 90 days. This is pure digital marketing laziness.
- If the user experience on mobile sucks, then pause all media on mobile channels while you fix UX issues. Not only will this hurt immediate sales, but it will infuriate your customers, decreasing brand sentiment.
3. Take a full funnel approach
- Nothing with your brand happens in a vacuum. Spending all of your marketing budget on converting channels and tactics is a lot like drinking soda, it gives you a short-term high but is bad for your long-term health. An untargeted brand awareness campaign that fails to measure the main business objective is obtuse as well. The businesses with the best digital marketing work to strengthen all parts of their brand simultaneously. Brands like Warby Parker and Casper have done a great job of having a consistent, non-siloed approach to their digital marketing efforts.
4. Be aware of the intangibles
- Yes, business politics inevitably have an effect on your marketing plan. If the CMO wants to see CTR highlighted in every report, even if you think it’s a stupid metric to dwell on, you will need to consider that in your approach. Especially for agency folks, you need to cater both to what is the strongest recommendation for the brand alongside the unique proclivities of your client. Promoting too many drastic changes to channel strategy and measurement approach can disrupt the status quo to a degree that causes confusion and chaos. Instead, make incremental changes that are supported by data-driven evidence, presented in a way that can be simply explained to C-suite decision makers. This will make your client contacts look like heroes to their bosses. However, have a long-term plan of where you want the brand’s marketing to go, but never go all-in during the first media plan. Keep some of your ideas in your back pocket for future plans or a mid-campaign pivot.
Author: Ryan Green, Lead Client Strategist @ Coegi