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.
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.
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.
Two weeks back one of our clients was in complete dismay that the site we created for him did not open on his iPad. It took a while for us to make him understand that his entire site was built on Flash. He has not released the last installment of our payments. And the work ahead on promoting his brand is all stalled as he grapples with the fact that we will have to build another version for his site to open in hand held devices.
So, well yes, the big question: Do you need a website that will open in just about any device that one can access the Internet on?
But the bigger question: Do you need to make that extra investment in getting a responsive design for your website.
What Is Responsive Design
Its been doing the rounds on the web for a while, but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick note on it: Responsive design is a design that can adapt itself to any device. So based on the screen size of the device, as well as the technology on which it operates, this site will degrade gracefully.
Responsive design is built using languages such as HTML, HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, and does not use Flash at all.
How Is Responsive Design Different from Web Design
Web design has been led by desktops and laptops that run on platforms that allow Flash. Second, there is fair standardization on screen resolutions (or sizes) and designs are done based on standard resolutions or to adapt to standard resolutions.
Responsive design takes it a step further. Foremost, it eliminates Flash! So Adobe does have some work to do here, and while they are, there are different languages that work to help your site adapt to any device. Our own website is built on part-responsive design. It adapts to tablets and the web, and smart phones. But we do have another mobile version too that addresses the lower end versions of the phone.
Do You Need Responsive Design?
This is a big question. The answer really lies in the profile of your target audience and their own usage habits of accessing Internet, are they likely to access it on-the-go, or are they sitting at homes and offices when they are likely to access your information. Second, what is the value per customer, and how large is your customer base. So if you are a B2C organization, a typical fast moving consumer goods company for instance, it is likely that a larger audience is on desk and laptops.
But if you are a financial services company with a B2B product and your TG is the white collared high profile jet-set executive he wants quick information on-the-go and is likely to be on tablets and definitely using the smart phone.
Want to know know how many of your existing audience attempts to access you from any handheld device? Check your Google Analytics. In the left-side menu, click on `Audience’. Browse the operating system and devices used by visitors to find your site. (Source: http://designmodo.com/responsive-design-business/#ixzz1sTELYrni )
How Interactive & Engaging Does Your Site Need To Be?
There is a reason that there are so many Flash developers out there, and while many may want to write them off today, fact is that the levels of interactivity and engagement that Flash can provide is still unmatched because more people today know how Flash works than those who can work on other languages. (Online gaming for instance is dominated by Flash.) If your audience base is largely on the desk and laptops, you may consider not opting for a Responsive Design, but not without the risk of losing the influential lot who may try to access you on-the-go. So have a version of your engagement program specifically built for the handheld devices.
But if your customer is on-the-go, or if your sales force is on-the-go and needs to share info, present your entire product line and service information on the move, then responsive design may be the answer.
For example our website uses Flash, but is programmed not to display the Flash part of the site on an iPad that does not support Flash. The resolution of the site is fluid, and adapts to various screen sizes automatically.
Note: If you are building a Flash site, then there should be alternative text based content so that when a user opens it on an iPad there is graceful degradation of the website.
What You Should Know When Making A Site for Handheld Devices
Excluding iOS (Operating Software for Apple Devices), there are also other OS for tablets like Blackberry (Playbook), Android with various versioning, etc. These tablets come in various sizes and based on these sizes come various resolutions. In such kind of scenarios there should be rigorous testing on various resolutions when your site is getting built.
One Size Fits All vis-a-vis Multiple Versions of your site
A good responsive design is more expensive than traditional Flash, that is, if you are expecting high end animation and transitions that are close to the experience that Flash animation can provide. But a basic website built on an HTML will be the least expensive.
It would be foolhardy to blindly opt for a Responsive Design and limit interactivity you can achieve on desk tops. Equally it would be fool hardy to blindly opt for multiple version of your website that is suited for various devices. A good approach would be to get multiple cost solutions and to clearly understand the design limitations as well as potential of each.