You can spend your marketing budget on some of the most innovative advertising campaigns the world has ever seen, but unless you can prove that those strategies are working for your company, they’re not going to do you much good.
Regardless of whether you’re spending cash on content marketing, video advertising, or remarketing, it’s important to know what’s working for your brand and what isn’t so that you can constantly improve your online efforts and increase your chances of getting the sales and revenue your company needs.
The problem with a lot of brands is that they jump into a marketing campaign without spending enough time thinking about how they’re going to measure the success of their new strategies. Ideally, you should have a plan for long-term measurement and optimization in place from day one, so that you can constantly work on making your marketing schemes more successful.
So, how do you get started?
Start With a Clearly Defined Goal
It’s always going to be difficult to determine whether your advertising efforts are successful if you don’t know what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Before you start investing in anything, sit down with your team and think about what you want to accomplish. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to advertising goals; however, some common examples might include:
- Build more brand awareness
- Increase traffic to your website
- Generate a following on social media
- Increase overall sales
- Improve reputation
If you start with a clear, measurable goal from day one, then you’ll be able to choose metrics that will help you to track success over time. For instance, if you want to improve your social media following, you can track likes and followers on your social media pages.
Regularly Track and Measure
Once you’ve decided what the goal of your advertisement is going to be, you’ll need to devote your time to tracking performance at certain stages. Don’t just wait to see what happens at the end of your campaign. The more carefully you watch your efforts from start to finish, the more you’ll be able to explain dips in performance or changes in perception. For instance, you might notice that you got more likes from your ad when it was shown on one website than you did when it was displayed on another. This will help you to decide where you should launch your adverts in the future.
A/B Test Different Strategies
If you find that your marketing efforts are successful — or even if you’re having trouble achieving the results that you originally wanted — it can be helpful to test your content with different A/B strategies.
For instance, think about changing the words in your call to action and seeing how that differently affects your metrics. The more you test, the more you’ll be able to track the words, colors, and images that have the best impact on your target audience.
Keep Optimizing and Improving
Just because you notice that your new advertisement is having the desired effect on your audience (by driving more people towards your website, for example, or attracting more high-quality sales) your job isn’t necessarily done. A lot of brands miss out on great opportunities because they rest on their laurels with their advertising content, but the truth is that there’s always something to improve on in your ad. Keep testing and trying new things, and you’ll always be prepared to get one step ahead of your competitors.
Why Measure Your Advertising Success?
A lot of companies wonder why they should bother measuring or tracking the performance of their advertising efforts if they know that they’re getting more sales. After all — the results are more important than the journey, right? Well, not necessarily.
At the end of the day, it’s always going to be important to know which parts of your marketing strategy are the ones that are leading the most success. If you end up facing problems somewhere down the line, or you’re not getting the profits you originally set out to achieve, it helps to know which features of your ad campaigns are tried-and-tested, and which could be holding you back.
Tim Nichols, Forbes Agency Council, is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a leading digital media buying platform with white label, reseller and managed service options. He has worked in the online advertising industry since 2003 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin—Madison and studying commercialization of technology in the MBA program at the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico—Albuquerque.