How to Measure ROI of Internet Marketing

How do you measure Return on Investment (ROI) of Internet Marketing? The web lends itself to be measured. After all every impression of a graphic being measurable, the path from which your visitor landed on your web page being traceable, the pages viewed, the likes and comments, the viral effect everything lending itself to being tracked.

However, just like you cannot trace a sale from a TV or Print ad to the actual sale, it is not possible to track the same from your digital campaign, unless you can link an online or mobile coupon at the point of sale.

What is critical however is the difference between a visitor viewing a TV ad or a print ad and the one who is online. The Web or Mobile surfer has clicked on to your website, social content or search listing is that the online customer has proactively chosen to engage with your brand. This is already a plus compared to the audience who is viewing your content as it passes by. The web visitor is very likely to be a customer or a brand ambassador.

So with all the numbers that are indeed measurable, how can you map your ROI? Here is a list of simplified solutions on how you can do that just that.

Setting Goals and Objectives

To map ROI from Internet Marketing it is very critical that you have set your expectations at the onset and also shared it with the agencies who are delivering the solution. Often enough clients / brand managers are not sure of what the end result should be. For example, if you are looking at the website to deliver key product information, the agency will build one that does that. However designing the site alone will not bring in the traffic. The consumer should be informed about this url, or should be able to easily find it. Doing display ads, search marketing, direct mailers, adding the url on your packs, emails, TV and print ads can do that.

If you want the visitors to specifically know more about any one product or service, and fill in an enquiry form and that is the primary action you expect then this goal should be written and shared with all stakeholders in the project.

Traffic To The Website:

With free tools like Google Analytics or try this list of 50 + Tools, you can get a fair idea on the number of visitors who came once, those who visited again, keywords that they used to visit your website, and finally the quantum and quality of time they spent on your website. What all did they view on your website, did they visit the sections you wanted them to, or did they exit from the homepage.

Say your website achieved 5000 unique visitors and each spent 3 minutes on the site on an average. Look also at maximum time spent by any visitor and least time spent. While an uninterested customer would have exited your site quickly, your most interested and likely customer might have spent 10 minutes, making him or her a very likely potential customer who is all set to buy your product.

Review what it would cost you to do a one to one sale with this customer, or measure it against any other campaign you would have done. How much would it have cost you to get 5000 customers in any other form and engage them for 3 minutes. Or how much it would have cost you to reach 500 customers and engage them 10 minutes with each. If there is a better cost online, or if the cost per customer engagement justifies the average value of sale per customer, you know your ROI is positive. Or otherwise!


Social Media Likes & Followers

It is great to have a large fan following, the ROI can however be measured only if this traffic is engaging with your brand. Again, set your expectations right, and have clear objectives of social presence.

a. Your website traffic analytics can show you how much of the traffic you got came form Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc.

b. The engagement, how many people are talking about your brand, liking and commenting on posts, asking questions, retweeting, recommending, sharing, etc. Essentially the quality of engagement is something that you should monitor and have grip on. This will also help you to sift the wheat from the chaff, essentially genuine and real followers from fake profiles used to like your page or follow you.

Similar engagement costs comparisons as for a website visitor can be applied to the social media consumers who engaged with your brand. Social media analytics is still a nascent product market, so you do rely on insights provided by the social platforms themselves such as Facebook Insights, or the WordPress Dashboard. You can find recommendations on a few tools on Mashable.com but we recommend relying on the available insights as these third party tools do need to be tinkered and tested with still.

Search Marketing

It is very easy to track traffic that comes to your webpage from the organic as well as inorganic listings or Paid listings (pay per click ‘PPC’ campaigns) on search. While keyword ranking is a starting point to see if you have started listing on keywords that you have identified as important in your context. However the increase in ranking just establishes that the SEO process followed by your agency is apt. The measure of success would be traffic and engagement. The increase in traffic post your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a definite indication that the SEO is working. Like wise the traffic that is coming from your PPC campaigns, here’s a post that gives your 5 Key Metrics To Measure Success of Paid Search Campaigns.

The measure of real success then comes from what did this increase in eyeballs result in. Whether the right profiles of visitors are being attracted can be measured by what they are viewing on your site, actions they are taking, the engagement with these users.

Display Advertising

Goal setting is critical here and expectations have to be realistic. Multiple objectives should be avoided, and if unavoidable, at lease prioritize on the expectations. You cannot expect brand and performance to weigh equally.

This is true for PPC search campaigns as well as Display advertising, either you focus on branding, brand awareness, or on performance, the number of leads, sign ups or sales your generate. While it is totally understandable that both are critical for you, a campaign has to be designed giving higher weightage to either or. For brand awareness – check the impressions and clicks to the landing page. For Performance based – check (quality) number of people signing up forms or buying products online.

So measure and analyse. Results depends on various factors – your brand equity where it stands vis a vis competition, consumer perception, consumer need; the positioning; communication message; creative impact; media plan; media outlay. Based on your analysis fine-tune your communication techniques to capitalize and convert the customer who is at your doorstep.

Online Consumer Behaviour – Content Planning for Different Digital Touch Points

Consumers behave differently at different digital touch points. The reason why they visit a brand website, and why they follow a brand on twitter can be very different. Planning content by clearly understanding the visitor’s mindset at different digital touch points can help to establish a meaningful connect with them and fostering a long term relationship. Here’s a quick guide to the Internet user’s digital media psyche:

Online Consumer Behaviour

Users on different digital touch points consume content in each for different reasons

The Website Visitor
Is proactively seeking info in your brand domain

  • This visitor has landed on the website primarily when searching for content or seeing a relevant recommendation or post that links to your website, or has come to the website knowing the url (may be a repeat visitor).
  • Is seeking immediate answers if the visitor has come from a search engine, or is curious to know more about you if the visit is not via a search engine. Repeat visitors come for a specific purpose of information seeking or engagement (such as dabbling with an online app or engaging in a forum).
  • Can engage further in the website if her query is addressed and there is relevant and/or engaging content.
Facebook Logo

Users on Facebook Chance Upon Updates

The Facebook Visitor
It Is The Brand That Is proactively reaching out to this user

  • The consumers here are hanging out to check latest updates from friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Chances upon brand updates, comments and likes if relevant, shares when compelling. Sharing happens when the content is Fun/ Informative / Relevant to immediate circle
  • Clicks to know more, visits the URL when relevancy or engagement is meaningful and there is a ‘need’ for such further engagement
Blog Sites

Blog Readers Want Expert Opinion

The Blog Reader
Is proactively seeking an informed opinion of another consumer or expert

  • Reads up a post when she is searching for information, and/or has subscribed to a favorite blogger’s feeds
  • Prefers a second opinion and usually would scan 2-3 blogs before deciding whose opinion is best suited.
  • Would usually scan blog comments before deciding / making the final choice.
  • Is usually someone to whom word-of-mouth or recommendations counts the most.
Forums

Forum Users Seek Peer Opinion

The Forum Subscriber
This user wants mass opinion, what peers have to say.

  • Usually visits a forum via search, may frequent thereafter
  • Possibly wants to ask a question, get opinions.
  • Reads discussions by others
  • May get answers or make an opinion/choice even without posting a query
Twitter

Twitter Users Follow For Updates

The Twitter Follower
Is proactively following to be updated in the subject

  • Twitter has many inactive, and equal number of hyper active tweeple and the occassional users.
  • There are some who are on twitter with a specific agenda: Save time by following people whose tweets give quick relevant updated information
  • Tweeple usually follow more than one area of interest
  • Reaching them is not always easy due to the rapid updates in tweets

However, visibility on twitter can be enhanced by following trending topics, being crisp and juicy, getting the right people to follow you with relevant hashtags, and targeting the right follows.

Linkedin

Linkedin Users Seek Career Advancement

The LinkedIn User
This consumer is seeking ONLY career or business advancement

  • The LinkedIn user is very specifically looking at making a career advancement, getting deals, networking, improving visibility
  • Will join groups that will give relevant networking opportunities or content that will better their career in some way.
Youtube Logo

Youtube Visitors Seek Visual Info/Demos

The Youtube Visitor
Wants entertainment, visual explanations, demos, how to’s

  • Users watching videos online are likely to have opted for video content when searching for related information
  • Or has been forwarded the link
  • Or is specifically seeking video content directly on Youtube for visual relay of similar information that has been read, unless it is entertainment related.
Search Engines

Audience Is Searching For Domain-related Info

The Search User
Proactively seeking your domain information

  • Is specifically seeking information
  • Tries out 2-3 links or more on first search results
  • Finds different combinations of keywords to refine searches till she gets a satisfactory answer
  • Is likely to spend more time searching for the right information, than done on looking up that information!
  • Is also likely to explore related information and content
Mobile Search

Mobile Search Users Are In A Hurry

Search Users On Mobile
Is in a hurry!

The context of searching on the mobile phone is usually on the go, urgent and also a matter of convenience.

Mobile & Tablet Users
On the move, wants quick info, utility tools & engaging apps

  • More savvy users, and the ones with smart phones use the mobile phone for everything: FB, Twitter, Search, Email, etc.
  • Such users also install and play around with applications that are useful, fun or relevant.
  • The tablet owners, smaller in number, but a significant group and an influential audience does all of the above on tablets.

If you plan to use multiple channels on the web to disseminate your brand information, then customizing or fine tuning your content by understanding the customer mindset in each of these channels can help in the forming of long term engagement and loyalty, as well as recall. And remember less is more!

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