The Metrics to Focus on for Your Digital Marketing Campaign

The Metrics to Focus on for Your Digital Marketing Campaign

The first thing to do before initiating any digital marketing campaign is to define the goal of the campaign. In other words, for the campaign to be deemed a success, what outcome do you hope to achieve?

There are numerous metrics that can be focused on for success, but in a broad sense a good question to ask yourself is: Do I want to use the campaign to build awareness, or do I want my target audience to carry out some kind of action on my website? If you are solely focused on awareness this will be a brand building campaign; if you are more interested in driving people to take action then it is a direct response campaign.

I will now go into detail on brand and direct response campaigns and explain some of the metrics that are most important within each of these campaign strategies.

1. Brand

Brand campaigns are a long-term proposition. The point of this type of campaign is to achieve broad reach and to reinforce the central message of your company and products. A brand building campaign consists of regular, consistent messaging that reinforces the same strengths over time and helps a company develop its brand reputation. This, in turn, further enhances the value of products bearing the company’s name.

A good example of a company that needs to carry out regular branding campaigns is Coca-Cola. It needs to come up with regular creative campaigns that reinforce the Coca-Cola brand and encourage you to choose its brand over competitors when you go to buy a soft drink.

If you think of recent Coca-Cola campaigns you will begin to see how these branding campaigns help the company achieve competitive distinction from competitors by conveying to customers what makes its soft drinks unique, different, or better. Each Coca-Cola branding campaign needs to deliver continuity, and be consistent with brand appearances and promises. If Coca-Cola stopped investing in brand development or maintenance, competitors such as Pepsi would swoop in and attempt to erode its market share. You can therefore see how companies need to engage in long-term branding campaigns to succeed in the long run.

When planning a brand digital campaign, the types of metrics you should focus on are:

  • Reach: With brand activity you ideally want as many people as possible to see your messaging. Reach is defined as the total amount of people who have seen your advert. This may be a bus shelter or television advert, or from a digital point of view could be a display banner, PPC, or YouTube advert.
  • Impressions: The number of times your advert is issued is your total number of impressions. Impressions are a very common metric for display advertising to be measured against, as many display placements are bought with a view to raising awareness. The higher the number of impressions, the higher the reach of the campaign. Impressions are also relevant from a PPC perspective; every time someone searches for a keyword you are bidding on your campaign will receive an impression.
  • CPM: Cost per mille (CPM) is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage. If a website publisher charges €3 CPM, that means an advertiser must pay €3 for every 1,000 impressions of its advert. CPM makes the most sense for a campaign focused on increasing brand awareness. The exposure from having an advert prominently placed on a high-traffic website helps promote a company’s brand name or message, even if visitors do not actually click on the advert.
  • Views: Views are obviously more related to video-based activity. YouTube pre-roll allows your advert to be placed on certain videos and you only pay if the user watches more than five seconds of the content. Views, in this instance, would be all the people who have watched more than five seconds of your pre-roll advert. Obviously users are consuming more and more content on mobile devices and are less likely to watch long-form adverts, so to maximize views it is important to have video creative tailored to the device you are targeting.

2. Direct Response

Direct response campaigns are those that include calls-to-action, and the main aim of the activity is to prompt immediate customer action. The goal of direct response campaigns is to generate immediate business. A difference between direct response and branding is that, while we mentioned branding should be seen as a long-term strategy, direct response aims to achieve short-term goals. Companies typically use direct response to generate new business, attract new customers, create revenue, or reengage lapsed customers.

Direct response campaigns are typically trackable. That is, when someone responds, you know which advert and which medium was responsible for generating the response. This is in direct contrast to brand marketing, where no one will ever know what advert compelled you to buy a can of Coca-Cola. Since direct response campaigns are measurable, you know which adverts are being responded to, how many sales you’ve received from each advert, and exactly how effective each advert is. You then drop or change adverts that are not giving you a return on investment.

A good example of a direct response advertiser is the online travel agent Booking.com. Booking.com is concerned with getting you the best deals – it is less concerned with building brand image and values. When it comes to direct response campaigns, some of the metrics you should be optimizing your campaign for are:

  • Clicks: First and foremost, you need to get people on to your site. For brand activity it’s fine to rack up huge amounts of impressions, but for direct response you need to turn those impressions into clicks.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): This is the measure of your clicks divided by impressions. As mentioned, it is very important that people click on your advert once they see it, so you must aim for the highest possible CTR. To achieve strong CTR, adverts need to be targeted to specific demographics and the advert creative needs to be tailored accordingly.
  • Sales: Obviously you want users to proceed from clicking on your site to going through the purchasing funnel and making a purchase. Using our previous example, this would involve someone clicking on an advert for Booking.com and then proceeding through its site to make a hotel booking. Other online actions that can be counted as ‘hard leads’ and may be important to advertisers include things like online test drive confirmations for a car brand and online reservations for a restaurant.
  • Conversion rate: In direct response campaigns you are ultimately striving to turn the traffic you drive to your website into sales. The best way to measure this is through conversion rate. By filtering out irrelevant traffic – and ensuring that only users likely to convert click on your adverts and enter your site – you can achieve extremely strong conversion rates.

So, to recap: the first step, before engaging in a digital marketing campaign, is to figure out what the goal of the activity will be. From here you should know whether the campaign will be focused on brand building or direct response. Once you have identified this you should focus on the metrics outlined here to determine the ultimate success, or failure, of your campaign.

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