4 Techniques to Track and Optimize Digital Marketing ROI – MarTech Series

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When it comes to digital marketing ROI, brands frequently miscalculate. It’s the age-old problem of focusing on the wrong metric, and it can make it difficult to know exactly which digital marketing tactics are working better than others.
Take attribution, for instance. Consumers typically require anywhere from three to seven touchpoints before making a purchase. Which touchpoint was the most important? If you rely on Google Ads and Analytics report data, you’ll assume it’s the last touchpoint. That’s because Google is configured to give all the love to the last click. The problem, of course, is that the whole customer journey isn’t taken into account. Accordingly, marketers end up putting all their budget and time into those last touchpoints and wonder why they’re not making progress or seeing tangible results.
Figuring out how to maximize ROI isn’t easy. Even if you have all the data in the world, you have to know which data matters. Any marketer can show that a company is moving the needle on a dozen KPIs, but if those aren’t the right KPIs, the needle movement isn’t affecting the organization’s bottom line at all.
So where do you start when you want to develop a marketing ROI process that counts? You must first decide which marketing goals are most important to your business. Are you interested in customer acquisition? Customer retention? Site and content engagements? This digital marketing infrastructure discussion has to happen before you can roll out any marketing campaigns. After all, by establishing goals and keeping objectives in mind, you can more easily figure out which marketing levers or attributions you should be measuring for success.
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Not sure how to get your team moving forward so you can reap the highest potential ROI from your digital marketing tactics? These four steps can serve as starting points to boost your marketing efforts.
Your website is the hub of your digital universe. Increasing your click-through rates can dramatically increase your website traffic. However, you need to ensure that the quality of your content matches the creative quality that you put into your ads.
For example, let’s say your website has a 90% bounce rate from your PPC campaign. Many marketers would spend hours and hours tweaking their PPC copy. The issue doesn’t lie with the PPC, though. The real problem is the quality of the website.
Your website needs to be accessible, interactive, and informative. Every SEO blog post should have serious value, and every landing page should aim to catch consumer attention immediately. Without a well-designed website, you can’t have a high-performing marketing ROI machine.
It can be very tempting to look at customers from a per-sale perspective. Nevertheless, this type of limited lens can be misleading.
A fellow business marketer complained that their company couldn’t seem to make money in their e-commerce store. The marketer was only looking at the per-sale amount, which averaged around $100. After closer inspection, the marketer realized that customers may have been buying just $100 each transaction but were worth $3,000 in lifetime value (LTV).
The bottom line is that if you only judge your digital marketing ROI by monthly revenue, you’re missing out. You need to take a “big picture” approach to see what’s really happening. In the former marketer’s case, stepping back offered new insights and avenues that could be used for further marketing campaigns down the road.
It’s not uncommon for marketers to set their pay-per-click (PPC) budgets to extraordinarily large daily amounts, such as $1,000 every day. That adds up to about $30,000 a month spent only on PPC.
What often happens is that because the brand’s website isn’t great, the PPC campaign budget never gets close to reaching its limit. Consequently, everyone on the marketing team forgets that the upper spend limit is astronomical — until a year or more later, when the website undergoes an upgrade and the bills start coming in. It’s a hard reality to face when your marketing department gets hit with an unexpected $20,000 invoice for just two weeks of PPC.
As such, it’s important to remain cautious and vigilant when it comes to your PPC campaigns. Stay on top of which funds are being allocated, and where they are going, so you don’t accidentally erase ROI gains.
You can start measuring your digital marketing ROI by looking at the baseline figures. Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixels, Google Analytics, and Google Ads are programs optimized to help businesses determine these baseline metrics, and having them in your arsenal of tools is important for accurately measuring data. Start by keeping track of KPIs such as LTV, customer acquisition cost, return on ad spend, click-through rate, cost per mille, cost per click, and cost per lead for at least a month to better understand your baseline metrics.
Those specific KPIs tend to be the main factors behind digital marketing ROI. Remember: You want your ROI to be profitable and match your business’s marketing goals. By collecting the right data for at least 30 days, you can avoid putting ad dollars behind the wrong campaigns. Ideally, you want a baseline so you can start weighing your marketing costs such as ads, infrastructure, and management fees against gains in a given period.
This is certainly an exercise in patience, yet it avoids unnecessary waste later. While you’re waiting for your data to come in, make sure your SEO links are up-to-date and working effectively. Companies that aren’t checking their linking strategies can quickly crash and burn in due diligence and SEO penalties, effectively wiping out any hope of ROI.
There’s an adage that 50% of your marketing works but that you just don’t know which half. It may have a ring of truth, but it’s not inevitable as long as you review and revitalize your digital marketing ROI strategies. Having proven measurement tactics in place gives your marketing department the freedom to allocate resources appropriately and confidently champion every marketing decision.
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Ross Denny is president and co-founder of Ezzey, a digital marketing agency based in Scottsdale, Arizona. After starting a side company in 1994, he left his executive role at General Electric, then a Fortune 5 company, and became a serial entrepreneur as a founder and/or partner in 10 startups generating over $2 billion in sales, with three successful exits.
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