What defines marketing success? A simple Google search will turn up thousands of articles explaining how marketers can identify, monitor and report on successes. However, as analytic tools become more effective and the data they produce more detailed, how can marketers determine the metrics they should be focusing on?
We recently read a blog post from Jon VanZile on the importance of collecting useful data and ignoring ‘stupid’ metrics. Of course, depending on the marketing activity, a ‘stupid’ metric will vary from company to company. Using BrightTALK as an example, we brought together the marketing team to discuss the numbers that really matter in determining the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns and those that are a decorative touch. This blog post will focus on email, social media and co-marketing agreements and the metrics we use to determine their effectiveness.
Email marketing metrics
In email, metrics like opens and clicks are tempting to monitor but not necessarily very insightful when it comes to making strategic improvements to email campaigns. Even when you calculate the open and click rates, the information might be deceiving. Email clients have different ideas of what an open entails: Gmail requires the recipient to click into the email, while in Outlook it is enough to scroll between emails using the keyboard arrows to see them become opened or read. As a result, some opens can be the result of an inadvertent movement and not an outcome of user interest, engagement or intent to interact with the content. Indeed, famed digital marketer Avinash Kaushik notes that while the open rate can be useful as a directional indicator, it provides little else.
While the number of opens can identify a winning subject line in an A/B test, clicks can help you identify the most effective calls to action that attract attention and prompt a response. However, when improving your email strategy on a larger scale, it is crucial to look past opens and clicks and into the metrics that really matter. For us they are registrations to content, preference for live versus on-demand content and the number of pieces of content your audience watches. With this audience insight, you can work on optimizing your campaigns to increase engagement and create new strategies to reengage inactive subscribers. You can also identify your biggest fans and inspire them to become brand advocates through special offers, badges and events organized specifically for super-users.
Social media marketing metrics
Every social post has a reach that is equivalent to the number of eyeballs driven to it. However, these impressions mean very little until your consumer actually interacts with you. A click on a link or registration to a piece of content is far more valuable than an impression of a tweet, which is why BrightTALK focuses more attention on interaction – identifying the individuals engaging with and sharing our content.
New social analytics platforms are popping up weekly, each offering different insights into the behaviour of your social networks. However, the truth is that every company’s social approach should be different, depending on their audience’s preferences. At BrightTALK, we utilize campaign tracking analytics to see who is browsing the platform, completing forms and sharing content. We build relationships with these people, answering their questions or simply thanking them for checking us out, with the aim of inspiring users to share content and start conversations with us.
Co-marketing agreement metrics
Co-marketing agreements, or contra-marketing agreements as they are also known, are mutually beneficial marketing arrangements that are created between organisations to help each party achieve their goals. In BrightTALK’s case, they are used to drive audiences to BrightTALK™ Summits and increase brand recognition within our primary communities.
Defining a successful arrangement can be difficult. Each organization will have a different objective based on the expertise of each party and the goals they wish to achieve, predominantly brand awareness, lead generation or content creation. As such, the metrics for each agreement will vary. Organisations may send emails to their database, embed content on their website or post content on their social networks, in order to drive audience to BrightTALK. These efforts are monitored through unique campaign tracking links that record, not only clicks, but also registrations to content. In addition to measuring the affiliate’s contribution, it is also important to monitor the amount of resource BrightTALK spends on each agreement. The exchange should be equal and beneficial for both parties in order to create a successful agreement.
To conclude, it is important to spend time defining what success looks like for each of your marketing activities before you begin. By doing this you can focus on the metrics that are going to tell a concise, accurate story that demonstrates how your marketing activities are impacting your business.