Digital marketing’s greatest advantage is that you can measure just about everything, but that’s also a challenge because it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the data you receive. You want to keep your digital program on track and your vendors accountable, so it’s imperative you know how to read their reports.
Here are some tips to help you cut through the noise and measure what matters.
Specify What Matters to You
Absent guidance from you, your digital agency will report on dozens of different metrics that likely don’t matter to you. Tell them what your digital priorities are and keep it to just two or three items. Typically email, fundraising, and social media reach are the most important metrics for a digital campaign.
It’s very easy to hide a needle of poor performance in a haystack of extraneous metrics.
Not only will your digital marketing reports be easier to read, but you’ll have better alignment with your digital agency and they’ll be focused on the metrics that matter to you, ensuring success for both sides of the relationship.
Avoid the Vanity Metrics Trap
It’s especially important that you discern between macro, micro, and vanity metrics.
Macro metrics help you make decisions about your strategy. Micro metrics help you diagnose problems with your macro metrics. And vanity metrics are distractions.
A lot of the digital marketing reports I see for campaigns are filled with vanity metrics, making it difficult for candidates and their team to focus on what matters.
It’s OK to ask questions if you don’t understand something in your report like a specific term or how a metric is calculated. Professional digital agencies know that you’re not accusing them of being dishonest just because you ask questions. It’s their job to partner with you and help you better understand their services.
Vanity metrics often hide in the camouflage of digital marketing jargon so asking questions can smoke them out.
Always Compare Numbers
A single metric by itself doesn’t tell you anything. You need the added context of previous numbers to determine whether a given number is good, bad or indifferent. Watch the trendline.
Remember that no two campaigns are alike so what maybe “good” for one client may not be good for you.
Ask for Insights and Lessons
Digital marketing reports take up a lot of your agency’s time and are only helpful if they’re actionable. Your past results should inform future decisions.
Ask your digital agency to identify opportunities for improvement, what is or isn’t working, and what new strategies are worth trying. The worst thing you can do with a mediocre digital report is keep trying the same things over and over again.
Measuring the performance of your digital marketing is the greatest asset of these online channels, but unless you understand how to read the reports your agency sends you, you’ll miss out on critical opportunities.