Setting up relevant website kpi’s is the first priority of any good digital marketing program. Knowing what traffic is leading to intent based actions is necessary to evaluate all on-site activity and what is driving the most value. Secondarily, understanding the marketing mix and the digital marketing funnel of driving different channels to the website and where they are in the decision process is pertinent. The tools made available in different programs, settings selected, integrated reporting, and the approach that results will determine where a specific campaign sits in quality of traffic to the website while also equaling relevance for the audience and their location in the decision cycle, whether they are close to purchasing a product or just generally interested in a topic.
Evaluating the various channels running digital campaigns and driving traffic to the site is of major importance in how you measure and optimize traffic to the website as well as what metrics within the channel give precedence for your ads over others, whether that is with lower costs or better placement. This can cause conflict in the performance in some cases when management does not understand the challenges of a specific channel and has ideas for driving traffic, for example, in Google Paid Search, that do not give your ads a good quality score. You will need to evaluate each channel’s performance in an unbiased tool such as Google Analytics to compare traffic from all channels and measure those goals that align with lead generation and sales. Then there are metrics on the website from each source of traffic that signify interest levels and completion of user intent actions that indicate value.
Some channels, such as Facebook and Google Paid Search, provide opportunities to drive traffic at many points in the decision cycle due to their level of channel usage and advanced advertising capability. For example, within Facebook, I can set up look-a-like audiences based on a list of email addresses provided by the client that will target people with similar characteristics, essentially narrowing the pool to a valuable, more qualified audience. In addition, with the Facebook pixel and its placement on the website, you can also retarget those users that visit the website and have visited a particular location on the website with a customized message. This capability is also available with Google. As you can see, the amount of targeting and setting preferences available can indicate significant differences in the type of traffic exposed to your campaign and therefore increases the value of those channels in maximizing your ad dollars and return on investment. Other advertising players may provide increased targeting but less opportunity for ongoing optimizations and improvement. As a result, those that give more control to advertisers, advertisers can observe and report back the value of the traffic to their clients and assure them that all areas of the decision cycle and marketing funnel are getting the exposure desired.
An important distinction is the value of a click to a website. Attribution is necessary to understand that some campaigns and activity are an awareness based campaign and others are intended to drive specifically conversions. Some campaigns and channels bring the much needed exposure and other campaigns and channels provide more traffic that converts. This is where tracking and reporting is so valuable to be able to identify the differences in traffic and communicate that, for example, even though a specific campaign may not be driving the conversion on their first interaction with the campaign, you can see that this awareness eventually leads to a conversion with various models of attribution, where the weight of the conversion is distributed across multiple touchpoints in their digital exposure and the full decision cycle.
As you can see, a digital marketing campaign is much more elaborate and technical than one might first assume. All the more reason to have a seasoned digital marketing consultant in your corner helping you understand the value of your investment and one that you can place confidence in that will drive your return on ad spend.