Can A Specialist Digital Agency Help In Improving Your ROI

Asha Ravaliya, CFO, BC Web Wise

Asha Ravaliya, is CFO at BC Web Wise

In the new world of marketing, Return on Investment (ROI) has become a key performance indicator for marketing managers. The shift is towards a real-time approach to evaluate how well marketing strategy is working, and how and where money can be best spent. Ideas are still the foundation of creative strategy, but it today has to match the medium of advertising – and most importantly, deliver the goods.

BUDGETING FOR TRADITIONAL V/S DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Digital spends have started carving out a bigger chunk of the advertising pie.  But it is not just the incremental monies that are increasing. No longer do traditional/mainline ad agencies monopolize the client’s time on planning for a campaign. Most clients who have realized the digital opportunity involve their digital agencies right from the beginning of a launch/campaign. Joint meetings are held for the briefs, and thereon for shaping the entire campaign. And given the spread of digital work, often enough more time is spent in doing spadework together with the agency on all the digital touch points, and the customized communication that one needs for each.

SO CAN DIGITAL AGENCIES DELIVER BETTER

A specialist digital advertising firm thrives on digital business. Your business is critical to digital outfits, and as a result there is no choice but to be very responsible for delivering returns. Work with a digital arm of a large advertising agency, if you can treat the digital arm independent of how you treat the mainline. Expect a common spread sheet for budgeting, measuring deliverables, and you risk undermining the extent to which you can exploit digital power.

IT IS SIMPLE MATH

If your overall advertising spend has anything less than 10 per cent on digital, but natural that your full-service agency will be biased towards the medium that has the higher spends. Unwittingly digital work can get a step-motherly treatment, even if the top brasses of the network realize that digital is the next wave. This is simply because right here, right now, the team that’s working on your project has to act on the entire budget allocated to them. With campaign pressures, it would be very difficult to focus on deliverables from the smaller of the campaign elements, however critical it might have appeared at the start. Even you as a client, may allow digital to take a backseat since the agency is finally going to be measured with the total scores on the report card.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR DIGITAL AGENCY TO DELIVER BETTER ROI

Considering that you have indeed allocated smaller of the budgets to a digital agency, the best way to help the one who is working for you is by giving them a better leverage on budgets by centralizing the work on all your brands with a single agency. So other than having better understanding of the digital medium, the need for the digital agency to deliver, bigger budgets that result due to centralization can give your agency better economies of scale, be it related to optimization of media budgets, dedicated resources on your account, investing in research, tools, etc. A single AOR for digital medium for all the brands can help securing the volume the agency will need, and will finally benefit you as the client. Clients can also get better rates having consolidated their business and assuring revenue to its digital agency, all finally resulting in better ROI.

DIGITAL AGENCIES WORK WITH SMALLER OVERHEADS

Mainline agencies that have been around for a longer time, and have managed to build layers of cost that add to their overheads. Moreover digital work is often outsourced by the larger agencies, and they do add their premium to the costs actually incurred. Digital agencies have largely emerged only in the last decade. Since budgets have always been smaller for digital work, specialist digital agencies have learnt to keep their costs in control, being wary of large sized conference rooms, work stations, walled cabins, limos for their top brass, and all the perks that may have come with it. A purchase manager while negotiating and justifying why he paid more for a mainline agency simply stated that it was fair because of the overheads they had, siting the office location, the size of their office, etc. Really, it is time to step back and take a look at the amount of investment that is going into addressing nice-to-haves that your brand might not be in a position to address today.

CREATE COMPETITION & BENEFIT WITH HARDER WORKING AGENCIES

By keeping two separate agencies for traditional medium and digital medium, you do keep both your agencies on their toes. Larger agencies are waiting to grab the digital business, and the smaller digital agencies just work harder to deliver and build client relationships and incremental allocations of budgets as well as keeping any competition at bay.

Your advertising rupee will really turn to be the investment it is meant to be, and not an expense that it often turns out as, if done with the 3Rs – Right medium, Right budget & Right partner

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.