Testing, Optimising and Retargeting
The key to success in business is recognising the importance of thorough Marketing analytics; the process of measuring, analyzing, and managing your marketing strategy’s performance to make it as effective as you possibly can.
What are marketing analytics and why are they important?
If you are going to put time, effort and money into running online advertising and digital marketing campaigns, then you need to keep a close eye on how all activities have performed and furthermore, how your online presence is growing. We do this through the use of analytics.
In one sense, analytics can be understood to be the heart rate monitor for your business. We can use analytics to measure things such as:
- How many people are visiting your website and how long they are staying there?
- How your ads are performing and how many impressions they are getting?
- Which social media profiles are growing the fastest and what content is driving the growth.
Just like a heart rate monitor provides doctors with a snapshot of their patient’s current situation and allows them to decide on what the next best course of action should be, using analytics religiously within digital marketing will allow you to make more informed decisions around where you should be focusing your resources to increase your presence, grow your leads and in turn get more customers.
By utilizing marketing analytics we can track things such as where your Newsletter sign-ups are coming from on the web before they show interest. If a large proportion of these leads clicked on an advertisement that you placed and then signed up, you could look at what made that particular advertisement a success and then use this information when planning future advertisements.
Without using analytics it is very easy for marketing campaigns to become misguided and for the activities to be targeted towards the wrong audience, consequently resulting in it failing. For example, you may already think that your product or service will be a hit with 16-25 year old males, but it may actually be the case that there is also a growing market segment of women between the ages of 30 and 40 who are interested in your offering. You would discover this through using and checking your analytics, by noticing a change in the age and gender of your website visitors.
Analytics enables you to recognize unknown market segments and then allows you to create tailored content for online advertising which can be targeted specifically towards these potential customers.
One of the most crucial uses of online advertising to your marketing efforts is retargeting, and this really cannot be emphasized enough.
Over the years advertising has been used for reach and frequency. Television and radio are two examples of mass media vehicles that were relied upon heavily by brands in the past because they could reach large audiences and therefore build awareness easily. However, this meant that the bigger brands out there dominated as their marketing budgets were significantly larger than most.
Nowadays, to run an effective advertising campaign, the reach and frequency model is old hat. There are loads of new tools around designed to reach people, such as retargeting, and this has made life a lot easier for smaller brands with a smaller budget. They can build their brand awareness and get in front of their target audience quickly and easily if they just know how.
The Benefits of Retargeting
In business, conversions don’t always happen straight away. You’ll rarely find that a first-time visitor to your website buys a product or service straight away, as if this was the case there would be no need to build a marketing funnel and nurture leads, which is essential. In fact, you are one of the lucky ones if this happens to you at all. Making a sale is a process and it usually takes a few steps for a visitor to become a lead and eventually convert to a customer. It’s not uncommon for them to make 30 steps or more according to a conversion study carried out by Google.
This can be a problem and this is where retargeting comes in. Retargeting helps you to approach this problem and get a handle on it by allowing you to specifically target and serve ads to those that have looked at your content, whether it be people who have visited your website, used your mobile app, or clicked on one of your Facebook ads for example. This really does give you the power to control not only your reach but also your marketing budget.
Retargeting maximizes ROI and keeps your brand in front of your target audience, which is essentially warmer leads and potential customers. You can either try and drive a direct response through retargeting, maximising ROI, or you can concentrate more on building awareness and familiarity of your brand and growing your following. This would increase your chances of contacts taking future indirect action, such as searching for you on Google, recommending you or visiting your website. The effect of these indirect actions can be significant in the long run and increase brand searches ten fold.
Basically, retargeting offers the best return out of all the advertising tactics out there. It allows you to:
- Reconnect with your leads, which are in turn your highest value targets
- Recapture their attention and fine tune your message to them
- Push leads down the sales funnel and increase the likelihood of conversions
Testing & Optimizations
Continuously improving your online advertising efforts is a quintessential aspect to successful digital marketing. You can do this by aiming to increase the conversion rates and therefore the cost per conversion. This is done by tracking advertising metrics, which have similarities to analytics.
Metrics tell us if ads have been effective and performed well, or if they haven’t quite hit their mark and haven’t produced the desired result. There are a series of various metrics that come with different advertising efforts.
Some of the most important and widely used metrics are:
- Conversion Rate
- Cost Per Conversion
- CPC (Cost Per Click)
- CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions)
- CTR (Click Through Rate)
However, rather than obsess over the metrics which aren’t of particular value to your particular advertising exercise, it is important to identify the metrics which can be used as Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s for your ads.
For example; the ‘Click Through Rate’ metric could be used as the KPI for a static image display ad perhaps. The click through rate indicates to the ad owner how effective the message of the advertisement is in convincing users to click on it, directing them through to a landing page as required. In contrast, the ‘Average View Time’ would be a completely irrelevant metric to use as the KPI for the display ad, as it is solely focused on the time users spend viewing a particular video. It would be a great KPI for a video advertisement on the other hand.
If the KPI’s were to show that the ads haven’t quite hit their mark, then we should go back to the analytics to see if there any discrepancies between the advertisement’s targeting, messaging, creative or placement, with what the analytics are showing about who we should be targeting and how.
We can then also conduct what are called A/B tests; testing two different aspects of the marketing efforts to determine which is most effective.
For example; for variation A we could have the advertisement featuring aggressive sales messaging and for variation B we could feature passive messaging. After running the test for X amount of time we will have a result such as; ‘Variation A had a 65% higher conversion rate than variation B’. This is great knowledge to take forward in any future advertising efforts.
One of the fundamentals of A/B testing is that it’s very important to test incrementally, ideally one aspect of the marketing effort per test, so that it is possible to hold the change in conversion rate accountable to the aspect that you are testing.