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How to Measure Your Digital Marketing Activity

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Peter Dickinson


So, as I said before, you need to measure your digital marketing activity. It’s what’s working in your digital marketing, and what could be even better. So we’re gonna look at some of the tools and why you do this. 

So why is it so important? The reason I put this slide in is we have this conversation quite a lot with clients. I think part of it’s down to the fact that some of the tools, although free, are not that easy to access. But it’s something that has to be done. People spend 1000s and 1000s on digital marketing, and if they don’t know what the results they’re going to get, then they’re working in the dark. 

So why measure? Well you need to clearly know what’s working, you’ll also need to know what’s not working. And therefore after that, you’ll have a gap of opportunities for improvement. 

With various tools, you can look at how users interact with you. So we’ll be looking at heat maps and so forth later on and how you perform against your competition. As I’ve always said, we’re not here to copy our competitors. But it is useful. You can gain insights because if they’re getting in traction on something you’re having difficulties with, then using various tools, you can actually find out how they’re doing it. 

One of the biggest problems in any business is where are you leaking potential sales. If you’ve not got a watertight sales process, then you will forget to call people, you’ll forget to do a quote. Then, all this work is put in to getting people there, and then you don’t do anything with it. 

One of the classics is exhibitions. People spend 1000s going to an exhibition, I know it’s not digital marketing, but as an example, and then I’ll say, have you followed up your leads, how have you done it? The reply is normally, ahh we haven’t had a chance. What do you mean, you spent 1000s going to an exhibition, and you’ve not then followed up. 

So it’s making sure that what money you do spend is spent in the right place. But then when you do generate enquiries, you actually work and convert as many as possible into clients. And it may seem really obvious, but it’s surprising how many organisations leak enquiries, and they never get developed. 

So for sustainable, gross, you need to complete a dashboard. But then, what things do you need to measure? So that’s the hardest thing, because there are 1000s and 1000s of things you could measure. But at the end of the day, which ones are actually going to make a difference to your business? Because you only have so many hours a day. 

So some measurement fundamentals. Whenever you do something, there’s always a start to the process. There’s some input information, something happens that information, and then there’s an output. And then the idea is, you then measure it so that you can then improve on the inputs. 

So you think about Facebook ads, you decide, yes, we’ve got a product to promote, so we’re going to run Facebook ads. So therefore you’ve got the ad design, you’ve got copy, you’ve got the message, you’ve got the links, you might put a thing called a Facebook pixel on your website, so that when people go onto your website, and then they go back onto Facebook, lo and behold, your advert appears in their in their stream.

The Facebook Ad then displays to the audience, and the audience click on the ad and buy hopefully, and then there’s a whole range of tools in the Facebook ad system for checking what worked and what didn’t work. And whenever we’re running Facebook ads, Rachel runs quite a few of the campaigns, she’s always having to go back, tweak it, change the ad, change the words, change the audience, and so forth, until we get the right results for the client. And then that’s the process. 

So hopefully that makes sense to folk. Hopefully you’ve seen this diagram before, if you’ve been to my previous workshops. So this is a typical digital marketing ecosystem. Now, I showed one of these to a client, where I’m helping them with the strategy the other day, and she didn’t particularly understand it because she preferred to see actions and so forth. So one of the things our app does is we enter the information, then it produces the actions, and so forth, but I quite like it. But I have an engineering background. And so my brains wired this way. 

So if we just quickly start at the top, you’ve got your marketing objectives, you then produce a content plan, the content plan is turned into articles, images, and so forth. These go on to the website, or you might have an online store where you’ve got Google Shopping so you put your products on the store. And that connects to Google Shopping, which then pushes that out onto Google itself. 

And you may use optimisation techniques so that if you’ve got keywords or keyword phrases that we’ve discussed in how to get on top of Google, you can measure their effectiveness and then as we talked about Facebook and Instagram ads, or you may be using TV or radio ads and so forth.

And then one of the effective ways to drive traffic on an online store, especially if you’ve got an email database is to send out discount coupon codes. I buy products from my protein in bulk powders and they regularly send those out and have managed to keep me as a customer. There are things out there, but I know if I wait a little while I’ll get a coupon and I’ll be able to use it. 

One of the biggest ways to increase sales on an online shop by about five – seven per cent is through abandoned carts, emails and so forth. 

And so you’ve established what your system is, what is the workflow? What is your playbook, as the Americans call it, as to how you drive people through your funnel? And if you draw one of these – we use a thing called creatively to do this, and it’s free for 60 items, so something like this would be free to do on that system, Creately.com. For those of you who are able to work like this, and appreciate this is not for everybody, but it is quite a powerful way of capturing everything on one page. 

Okay, a bit of science behind performance measurement. So, a lead indicator is something that is at the start of the process, things that will drive performance. And then you’ve got what were outcomes needed. 

So for example, if there’s interaction on social media with likes, comments, shares, generally, there will be some conversions to an enquiry. If you send an email out, and you’ve got an open rate of about 20%, and a click through of between two and 5%, then you’re doing all right. And then it may be if you want more sales, you’d just increase the number of emails you send out. 

Website visitors you know, the more visitors you get, generally, the more enquiries or sales you’ll get. It was interesting, I’m a canoeing instructor and I’m blessed with a job of looking after their website, and I decided to put web chat on it. I can’t believe the level of enquiries that we’ve now got, just by putting web chat on it. So we have web chat on all our systems.  

There are other ways of doing it, we did talk about this on the workshop about managing your website. But you know, the more of those you get, the more of these you’ll get. The thing is there are other lag indicators after that. So you get sales, and then you’ve got profit. So you can go the other, older, slower lag indicators. So hopefully that kind of makes sense. So you need some indicators that give an indication of what is going to happen. And lag ones are the results of this activity. 

Go back to our friend marketing funnel. And so here we’ve got social media at the top, dropping through to web chats, email capture, and maybe LinkedIn conversations for engagement, then hopefully a customer and order. So you need to be measuring activities. 

So up here are the lead indicators, how many times your videos have been viewed, how many subscriptions to YouTube, how many likes and so forth, that then drops into visitors to the website, hopefully, and hopefully getting involved in chat and email conversations. And then you might have either LinkedIn or email conversations, or you might pick up the phone, you might have a Zoom meeting, it might be a workshop. 

And then as you work through these, you’ll see the conversion ratios. How many video likes for example, do you need to get to get website visitors? How many website visitors do you need to get conversations of some kind? And then how many of those to get the enquiry?

I’ve got to do some research, so it’s not on the slide. But I have a feeling that in the old days, we used to send a traditional mail shot in a way where you actually put things in envelopes and sent things out – a quaint idea now when you think about it, but you know, 1 or 2% of people would respond. Well those stats still apply in digital marketing as well, most closely with email, but also in visitors to websites. 

So, we need to set some objectives when developing a performance indicator. They need to be specific, you need to be able to easily measure them without damaging the process. Attributable, assignable, accepted by those who have to do it. Is it realistic? And can it be done in a time if you got a limited timeframe? 

So in terms of say growing a business, quite often we work in three months tranches. So we’re launching Net Hub For example, and that’s on a three month campaign, and then we’ll have a big review session towards the end of that three months, what worked, what didn’t work, and then adjust the campaigns and budgets going forward. 

So when we determine a metric, we need to have a vision, what is it we’re trying to achieve? What is the objective? You know, something that’s time limited? What are we going need to measure it? And what does success look like? 

So we have a template here. So these are the different stages of the funnel: awareness, acquisition, engagement, conversion, and retention. And then at the awareness stage, what’s our vision? What are we going to achieve? We’ve got an example next, I’ll move on to that slide. And as you can see, you can build the matrix of where they are in the funnel and how are you going to define and measure those objectives?

So we move on to an example it’s a bit easier to see. So for example, if you’re a service based business, you might want to be seen as the expert in that. Or if you’re selling products, you might want to be seen as the go-to place for whatever your product is. 

So at awareness stage, it might be you want to grow the website, because at the end of the day, that’s where the conversions take place. It’s a bit on the web that you actually own and control. And so you might want to grow the website business by 50%. So you can measure total website visitors, and we’ll show you how to do that in a minute. 

If you’re an E commerce platform, you might be looking at something like 5000 visitors a month, this will probably equate to about 50 to 100 sales a month. The stats are quite appalling as to how many visitors you get to what actually converts. 

Then in the attraction stage, you want prospective customers to spend time viewing your online content. So look at increasing visitor time on the website. And you might put a video on there, for example. 

There’s a thing called bounce rate. The bounce rate is when somebody comes into the website, reads something like a blog, but then go straight back. The idea is you want them to stay on the website, and then go somewhere else. So in any of your products and articles and things, you’re always looking at tools and techniques. For example, if you’re selling a product, we’ve got William here, who sells high quality wine, it could be that people who bought this buy this, so that they’ll go Oh, right. Okay, and look at another product. 

Amazon, and any online shop does that kind of thing. And that significantly reduces your bounce rate. If your bounce rates low, Google likes your site. It’s one of the factors that affects your search engine optimization, whether you get found or not. If you can get a bounce rate of less than 50%. That’s brilliant. Anything between 50 and 75 is okay, and above seventy five, you have problems. 

So engagement. You might say the majority leads needs to be generated through digital. So you might use email marketing to increase number of email signups a month. So it could be that that’s what you measure, and you set a target of 15-20 signups.

Now conversion. You might have a number of direct sales, per inquiry. So you then have to track sales based on a ratio of sales to enquires. 

This one’s a really important conversion stat. So for example, if you are selling face to face, and your conversion ratios are less than one in five, then you’re doing something wrong. A business owner typically will achieve one in three if everything’s working well with it. It’s a proven product, or service, and so forth. If you’re doing lots of tenders, that’s where your ratio will drop to one in ten. And that’s why bidding for things all the time, unless you’re an expert at it, and you’ve got you manage it, you’re better off doing a slightly different approach. 

And then retention. There’s no point in going to all this hard work, getting a customer and then losing them. So that’s important. 

So you need to find ways of measuring the performance of the digital assets. Each platform does have its own statistics, which does make life challenging. And you have to be very large, a lot bigger than we are, if you’re going to use the system. So quite a lot of people do have to use spreadsheets. We do have some tools which automate it. But if we want to aggregate it all, we have to use a spreadsheet. 

I would record the higher level stuff. We’ve got a client at the moment where we’re working with them to try and identify what detail to put in a spreadsheet, what to leave in the systems. And then most importantly, review those stats each month, and look at how they could be improved. 

So we’ll look at some of the free tools that are out there. So the top ones are Google Analytics, GT metrix and Search Console. And then there are a few others which we’re going to talk through.  

So this might be off putting – this as a dashboard for Google Analytics. It is free, there is a little bit of technical work. If you’ve got a website, your developer should be able to instal it within about five to 15 minutes. So these are the analytics that are actually on on your website. 

We’re going to talk about the stats that come into your website, because Google has a separate tool for that. They used to be combined, and then caused a lot of confusion when they removed it. And in true Google style, they kind of did it over a period of time. So it was quite frustrating to watch them build Search Console. 

We’ve just had notice that in June or July next year, they’re going to scrap this version of Google Analytics. Everybody’s got to move to the new GA four, this is GA three, the universal one. You can still set sites up using it. And to be honest, you have to because the GA four is just not ready, I have no idea why they’ve decided that this is going to die in 12 months because the new system is not that easy to use. 

So if you are setting it up, ask your developer to set it up using the universal Google Analytics for the time being, and then you can switch over and you can run both together, and run the second one in parallel. 

So Google Analytics, just going back, you can see the website visitors – this is for 90 days. So you can see the blue line and below the dotted one that’s last year. So this is this year’s. 

But generally, you can see that we’ve increased. Our website’s a bit like the car mechanics car at the moment. It’s in desperate need of an update, but we’ve got too much client work on, so that takes precedent. But you can see where new enquiries are coming from, so you think, oh, I’ll get lots of visitors, and you look on here, and you only sell in the UK, then you’ve got a problem. 

We’ve been around a long time. So we get a lot of traffic from around the world. So thought our stats can look quite good. In fact, they’re not that useful. And you also get a view of time of day as well. This is made more complex because, you know, different countries coming out at different times. 

You can look at the most popular pages. So I wrote an article in 2016, about challenges faced by small and medium sized businesses – it still does well, I keep updating it. Because obviously we’ve got one or two challenges on moment. And you can set goals, which we haven’t set, but you can also see how people are staying on the website and so forth.


So this is an essential tool. What I like about this one is you can see how traffic goes through the site. So it’s called behaviour flow in it and you can click on it, and you can look at which pages are working hard and which aren’t. And what happens after those pages. So this page here, actually, it does generate quite a few links to other pages. Whereas this one which gets the bulk, which is the homepage, gets nothing. And this is one of the reasons why although our site is very acceptable, we have more work to do. Because people are using websites differently. You see this one here, it’s getting a lot of traffic, but it’s not passing it on. There’s only this site page here that we need that’s doing the work. 

So there’s a thing called GT metrix. C to A is good. We’ve obviously got some work to do. And it looks like we’ve got a video on the front page, which needs to be more optimised, which would improve the speed of loading. But it does tell you and if you don’t know what all this means, you can just give it to a developer and say, hey, look, I think my site’s got some issues, can we talk about it? What would be the most cost effective to work on? Most of the time, it’s images and videos that cause a problem. 

So onto Google Search Console. So Google, actually now tells you what its sending you. So you can see here, these are the number of clicks, and something that’s happened there, I didn’t used to know what that was, is round about April last year. But you can see that impressions are going up. But we have got an issue, we’ve got a divergence there. You know, the number of clicks was in relation to increasing performance. But something’s happened there. 

What Google Search Console does, which is a bit annoying, is that it records whether you’ve had an impression, the last 50. And what this is showing is that probably our position in the search engines has dropped over that time period. It’ll also tell you what your click through rate is. That’s how many times your results have been shown in the search engine, and people clicking through, it’s taking it back to this one to 2% conversion, again, it’s quite incredible. 

So if you have too many steps in your line, and everything supplying a 1% conversion rate to it, you’re not going to make any sales, because each time there’s a step, you’ve got that 1% conversion. 

So is these are the queries. So Charleh who runs the agency, she put a post about the losers shoots of about social media. And we get quite a lot of impressions, but the click on it, we get quite a few clicks. But the conversion, the click through ratios quite low. At my article, which is challenges of SMEs, we get a 27% click through rate. So you should have now rate four times, but 270 click through, and so forth.

And you need to be able to do this. Now, there is a wee bit of technical work to do to set up Search Console, but it’s very well worth it. And it’s one of the easier tools to use. And it gives you a real indication of how people are actually getting to your site. So if your top product isn’t in this list, then you need to look at as to why is not being found by Google. 

It also tells you what pages are working. So this is the article. So obvious timeframe, it had over 1000 clicks from 27,000 impressions, the ratio dropped, because there’s number of keywords driving to it’s down to 4.3%, which is still good to be honest. There’s a PDF sitting on our drive which gets 17%. But that was position 10. 

The illusory truth does quite well with an average position of seven point five. And you think, well, these are rubbish how’s he getting all this traffic? Well, this is an average. So you may have one or two keywords that drive to this page that are in position one or two, then you’ve got a few at the 50, and of course good old averages, so these numbers actually pretty meaningless. 

You’re better off looking at specific keywords. So the illusory truth averages at 4.3,  challenegs of SMEs is 3.6, and so forth. And we’ve got KUB is down at 1.6. So, so still quite high. 

The only tool that’s free that’s going to give you any sensible data is Uber Suggest from Neil Neil Patel.com. If you use it on Chrome, and your G Gmail address is the same as your analytics and your search console, then you can connect up Uber suggest with the with Search Console for free, which gives you a lot farther data. But it also allows you to look at what keywords are working for you. 

There are other tools like Moz, and SEMrush, which or H refs, which we have access to. But Uber suggest is one that’s free, you’re limited to searches these days. But it is still free. There’s a paid version of this as well. It depends, at the end of the day, how important this is to you, how much fine tuning you have to do, how competitive your market is, and so forth. 

The other thing you need to check is, even though your website looks perfect, it will have errors in it as far as Google is concerned. And so you can run these tools to identify how well, you can see even on our site, we’ve got some issues. Some of them are difficult to fix, but broken ones need to be fixed quickly. So it’s identified three, that we’re going to need to go work on. 

LinkedIn. Now, the personal page used to have some brilliant stats on it, but they moved it all. So they want more people to use the company pages. And so one tactic is to post onto a company page, and then share it onto your own. And that way, hopefully, you start to generate some stats, but it does give you some good stats. When you do that. 

This is a period of time where we were posting quite a lot. And so hence driving more traffic. For those who are serious about LinkedIn, as we covered a few weeks ago, you need to be using Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator gives you the SSI index, social selling index, and it shows you all the areas so it gives you ideas of what you should be doing in order to improve your performance. So, in my industry, I was in the top 3%, I did have a screenshot a few years ago where I was 1% across all these, but I’ve not been so active on LinkedIn these days.

Facebook page insights that keep changing these around. I think that they’ve changed it again. But you can get a summary of what’s happening on your Facebook. And again, it’s free. This page isn’t particularly active. But it gives you an indication of what you can look at, you know what’s working, like are people watching the videos? Are getting reached and so forth? 

Because I put a post up that’s done particularly well on the Shropshire Paddlesport website for the canoeing, our stats went to the roof, and we got quite a lot of organic reach, which was really good. But it is a community club. So people in the club will all sharing. It’s a lot harder to get organic reach when you’re a business unless you’ve got something that people can engage in. 

So if you’re looking to your Facebook, it will tell you how each of your posts have done. When I said when I did want for the Shropshire one, one of these posts have done really, really well. And it’s quite a boost to the likes and followers on the page so that more people when you post on it, more people then see it. 

The days have gone by we used to run competitions and so forth to create a Facebook audience. These days, you’re stuck with Facebook advertising. 

You can look at the competition. So social chain, which is now quite famous with Steve Bartlett. So I’ve sort of matched us, but you can see that they’re hundreds of million pound organisations, so you’d expect them to do better than where it’s just part of what we do. 

Instagram has got a bunch of insights. And again, you can look at what’s working and what’s not. Gives you the outbreak of the followers and so forth. Gives you an idea of some of the information you can pull out. 

Google My Business. This is the Cinderella of the social media world, but it’s actually really important. Just by putting photos on here, you can vastly increase the site, I did talk about this in the social media section, so I don’t have time to go through again. But if you are able to access your Google My Business, then I would certainly do so and regularly check the stats. 

Google, if everything’s set up correctly, will send you a report each month. So I can get a report from all the sites that we are hooked into. It’s interesting seeing the actual volume of views at these get. So the easiest way – you can do posts on there, but they’re not promoted after a week. Whereas the photos do do really well. So you know, if your a text based sort of business, like Leadership or something like that, then just put memes up, where it’s got the words and so forth. You know, little sound bites, or whatever. But certainly not to be ignored. 

Email marketing. So here, the dashboard says 65,000 contacts 1700 open, 144 clicked. You can see on the screen, so for the drop in workshops we ran earlier last year, we sent it out to 55, and had a 34% open rate. But typically, on this size, you’ve got 6000, 16%, open rate, 1.5% click throughs and then just under 1%, unsubscribed. Those are about average stats. So if you’re getting below those, you need to check it out. If you’re getting above those, pat on the back. We did quite well with this one, which is similar sort of stats. 

We use Vimeo to host videos. It’s a nice platform, it’s a bit easier to control than YouTube. Although YouTube is obviously the bigger search engine. 

Paid for tools, we use a thing called megalytics. And I’m just going to skip that. And you can sort of see, I like it because it’s very visual. It connects up with Google Analytics and Google search. It also connects up with quite a few other things as well. But we tend to use this as the automatic reporting for clients. Rather than them having to delve into Google Analytics, which is a bit of a minefield, we can then send this on a weekly basis. And I check everybody stats Monday morning when these things come through. 

And we use a thing called SEMrush. It automatically does a site audit, Position Tracking, we can do backlink audits, that’s becoming more important as rogue websites connect to you, they may be toxic, because they’ve got bad reputations. We sometimes do link building although that is not something that we prefer to do because it’s so difficult. It’s very difficult to give an ROI. You can set up brand monitoring so forth. So this place is paid for tool. It’s 250 pounds a month. So you need to be using it a lot to make it worthwhile. 

For beginners, we recommend buffer for sending out information but for our clients where they want more detailed stats and they don’t really want to delve into the platform stats, then we use Hootsuite. Hootsuite has got a lot of information, you can see what’s happening, what’s happened when so forth. So you can look at which posts work well and which post needs more work.

So we’ve found HootSuite super useful. And again, some more stats from HootSuite. This is similar to Facebook, which posts worked, which didn’t, so forth. And where more work needs to be done. 

So bringing it together. You need to think about what you’re trying to achieve. There’s no point, just measuring random things, you need to figure out where you want to go. And then you need to document what does your marketing system look like and document it in a way that makes sense to you. I like creately and flowcharts. But it’s not everybody’s bag. And then from that, you know, what are the measures that can help you achieve your goals? What are the lead indicators, you need to measure the website visitors open rate on email, things like that. And then, you know, what’s the way you’re going to measure it? Is it enquires? Or is it sales? How you then go to measure what success looks like? 

And then, you know, the biggest thing is who’s going to do it? Somebody has to take ownership of it. If you’ve set it up properly, it shouldn’t be a huge amount of work. But it’s something that can sometimes drop off job lists, because you’ve got to deal with customer enquiries and so forth. 

And then is it worth investing any tools? As Google Analytics, Search Console, GT metrix, all the platform stats are all free. But as an agency, we’ve had to invest in tools. Or is it you get to get reporting as part of it, like in HootSuite? 

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