The promise of digital was more transparency and access to metrics that demonstrate whether something is working or not. Too often, though, the metrics establish action without establishing conversions. In other words, the metrics show that someone clicked on an ad, but doesn’t demonstrate whether they bought the product. Clicks are great, but making the cash register ring is what really matters.
There’s also a decided lack of trust in the data that’s provided especially when you continue to see headlines like these:
- “Bots” create nearly half (48%) of all internet traffic
- As many as 60% of ad clicks are “accidents” and not intentional
- 9% of total ad spend may be fraudulent ($19B in 2018)
So… it becomes a matter of which data you trust. Personally, I trust the sales receipts the most. The first test is whether you are moving product. Beyond that, it’s about understanding what moved the needle. That can be challenging.
When you set up your digital campaigns, make sure you are utilizing the advanced tools that are available to help you track whether campaigns are working. Here are a few ways we do that:
Dynamic Number Insertion
Proxy phone numbers can help you track where traffic comes from that generates an inbound phone call. In this way you can see which campaigns impact call volume.
A reverse proxy will direct people to an intermediary server (rather than right to your business website). This server will determine the content to be displayed. It can replace or insert phone numbers that allow for call tracking. This may allow you to capture phone numbers and/or record calls depending on the way you set things up.
UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) are easily added to URLs which allows you to determine where the traffic comes from. UTM codes are bits of text you add to a link that lets analytic programs track them.
UTM parameters can track:
Instead of https://www.pauldughi.com, a click to this website coming from Facebook might look like this: https://www.pauldughi.com?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post-original&utm_content=image&utm_campaign=measure-roi-for-digital-campaigns
Google Analytics would be able to track where the traffic came from (Facebook), what was clicked on (Post), what in the post was clicked on (Image), and which campaign (The specific post)
Track Lead Sources in Forms
When you drive someone to a landing page or a lead generating form, make sure it has been configured to capture where the traffic originated. It’s important to know which campaign is converting. UTM parameters will work if you set them up properly in both your posts and your form creation.
The Most Important Things to Track
There are plenty more specific strategies we employ to track information. Once the data is gathered, it’s the analysis that leads to more efficiency. Here are the two most likely things you need to understand in order to optimize your ad spend.
Getting beyond clicks, click-through-rates, and impressions, you can track conversation rates by channel and campaign. Tracking your CPL (cost per lead) and your Closing Rate can tell you what’s working (or not). It’s much the same way you would track foot traffic to your location and whether visits equaled sales.
Sometimes it’s just as important to understand why something isn’t happening. If you had tons of people come to your store and nobody bought anything, you’d start to analyze where the roadblock is: price? product mix? customer service?
2. Cost Per Acquisition
This may be the most important thing you track. Knowing how much it costs to acquire a new customer and which mediums and campaigns perform the best helps you to continually refine and optimize your ad spend.