One of my favorite things about internet marketing is the measurability of results. Even free web analytics programs such as Google Analytics contain a wealth of data that can be used to track campaign effectiveness and find areas for continuous improvement. Compared to traditional “offline” marketing, internet marketing by nature is more measurable, and therefore, marketers are held more accountable for campaign effectiveness.
On the flip side, the wealth of data available to internet marketers can be overwhelming and can easily lead to “paralysis by analysis.” Therefore, the first and most important step in defining an internet marketing measurement plan is:
1. Define Your KPIs
KPI stands for “key performance indicator” and refers to the metrics that are the most important. A key step in whittling through forests full of data, choosing your KPIs before embarking on an internet marketing plan or campaign will reduce the risk of “analysis paralysis” when campaign data starts coming in. [Tweet this]
Some common internet marketing KPIs are:
- Unique Visitors
- Time on Page
- Bounce Rate
- Traffic Sources
- Conversion Rate
Once you have your KPIs defined, the next step is to state precisely how you would like them to change.
2. Define Measurable Objectives
An objective is more specific than a goal. A goal is a lofty idea, i.e. “I want tons of website traffic.” An objective defines how much of the thing you want, and in how much time. An objective would be “Increase unique visitors by 10 percent per quarter.” A good test of objectives is the “SMART” rule. An objective is “SMART” if it is:
T: Time-Bound and Trackable
Now that you know what exactly you are tracking, and precisely how you want those metrics to improve and in how much time, the last step is to set a reporting protocol.
3. Define a Reporting Protocol
Internet marketing campaigns are subject to temporary fluctuations, so in most cases they should not be monitored on a daily basis. Data should be reviewed periodically to look for trends and averages. Depending upon the campaign, the time period for reporting could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Setting specific timeframes for reporting and data review is the final component of a well-organized campaign measurement plan.
You may even want to include a protocol for when and how the reported data should be reviewed, and what kinds of action will be expected to be taken after the review. The goal behind defining measurable objectives and a reporting protocol is to foster continuous improvement. If objectives have been met too easily, perhaps new and more aggressive objectives should be set. If objectives are not being met, new tactics for achieving them should be defined.
In summary, your internet marketing measurement plan should define WHAT is going to be measured, HOW MUCH improvement should be seen in HOW LONG of a time frame, and HOW OFTEN the data should be reviewed.
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