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.

The BIG Fight – Facebook vs. Your Own Website: What Did She Choose?

It has been two years and the struggle has been on, and this morning we met up with our client and she opened the meeting with ‘I agree with you guys, we need to focus on our website.’

As our hearts sang hallelujah she added the icing to the cake, ‘And yes we need to re-focus on our Search rankings.’

Whew!

In the 24 months that preceded the social media rage had got our nerves racking. Headlines that said ‘Do you need a website when you have Facebook’, had got completely sold out to this client. And as much as we saw the perils of this, we failed at convincing her.

So how did we finally make the pitch? We focused on some facts:

  • People are on Facebook to Socialize, they get to know the updates of friends, family, acquaintances.
  • They ‘like’ brands that give them good content and these may be brands they probably already like offline too.
  • They engage with the brand too, by sharing, posting comments and it is true that your brand’s facebook page helps tremendously in conveying brand benefits, building brand recall and even loyalty.
  • What’s more is that when friends and peers are liking and sharing content and info from your brand they become great influencers.

But equally and more so:

  • People use the Google search bar when trying to seek any information or entertainment.
  • This search leads them to various links where they can get more information.
  • When making a choice people are likely to check 2-3 of these links:
    • Your company or brand website
    • A compare website – which may be a forum or blog that talks about others too in your category
    • Probably your facebook page too to see how the conversations are around your brand and what is the tonality like.
    • Your potential customer then visits your website expecting to get much more information than they did anywhere else. Your entire range, contact information, product related info, for instance. They want to see what other value adds you have for them. A club membership? Special offers? Store locators? Feedback form?
    • These users know that Facebook is like a large department store in which you have your exclusive counter, but they expect that you will have your own corporate hub too.
    • Failure to have your own website, or presentation of a poorly update one can actually result in them wondering if you are so big after all. Your credibility, worthiness, after sales, all can come to question.

Critical Add Ons: Information Sharing & Information Capture

Before posting this blog we shared it with our team heads and they point out other significant and strategic issues that should help you make your choice. Our IT-Head, Sanil Pradhan, points out: “Visitor detail capturing which is possible on a website by creating forms is not allowed on Facebook.” Indeed, let us add that at east 50 per cent of our business leads come from the form created on the bcwebwise.com website. We are still to get a single lead via our social media presence. Adds Varun Joshua, our creative director: “Facebook is structured/ designed to enhance conversation between people with limited options to communicate a brand message through visuals, experience, interaction – which a website does. It’s restrictive in that sense.”

Moral of the story:

  • YES to Facebook – it is a reach and branding medium, you need it the audience is there.
  • MUST to Website – It is a marketing and branding medium, a domain that your audience is going to visit when they are most likely to make a brand choice.

Most Imp: How did we convey the above to our client?

Not over one meeting (though we must confess we tried). We looked up blogs of top influencers in this space, people who really knew how digital works and who write well (like Pam Moore, Jeff Bullas) and shared some of their postings — so thank you to them

While we did this, we also prayed to the almighty forces to please help the client see the light. So yes, to tell you the truth, we don’t know if it was these posts, or someone from the top up who also thought like us that did the influencing, or it was our prayers. But something did give in.

So to all clients and peers

If you are a client sitting on the fence we hope that this post helps you make your decision. And if you are another agency like us, hope this helps you convert your client.

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