The digital marketing technology we use on political campaigns inundates us with performance data. The challenge is understanding which metrics actually matter and which metrics are merely distractions.
Online marketing data can be separated into three categories: macro, micro, and vanity metrics. Macro metrics guide your overall strategy, micro metrics help you diagnose problems with your marketing execution, and vanity metrics are distractions.
To strike the right balance between staying on top of your digital campaign and being overwhelmed with data, every political campaigner should monitor a handful of key metrics. Each of these data points ties directly to a campaign priority, like raising money or persuading voters, and represents metrics you can improve upon with changes to your digital strategy.
Active Email List Size
Growing your email list is the top priority for your digital campaign because the bigger your list, the more money you’ll raise online, more volunteers you’ll recruit, and voters you can turn out. Since the focus of your campaign’s email strategy is driving action, the metric that matters most is your active email list size.
The number of email list subscribers who have opened an email from your campaign in the last six months gives you the best assessment of the health and size of your list. It means the email is reaching them, they’re reading it, and, if your call to action resonates with them, taking action.
Average Online Donation
Successful online fundraising programs rely on a group of donors who give multiple times over the course of a campaign. It may seem counterintuitive, but the lower your average online donation, the more active your online fundraising program.
A donor that gives $40 three times during your campaign is 20% more valuable than a donor who contributes $100 just once. Keeping an eye on your average donation gives you two metrics for the price of one: to calculate it you need to know the total amount raised and the total number of gifts.
Platforms like Google Analytics that measure your website’s performance can easily overwhelm you with the tens of thousands of data points it reports, but focusing on pageviews is the best barometer to gauge the overall success of your digital campaign.
Your website serves as the home base for all of your campaign’s online marketing efforts. Everything you do should point back to your website, so monitoring pageviews is the best way to see, at a glance, how those efforts are performing. Pageviews also translate into other key objectives as well, like email signups, donations, and volunteer recruitment.
Facebook Page Reach
Facebook is rife with vanity metrics that correspond only to the platform itself and not your campaign’s goals. Your goal with social media marketing should be to shuttle people to your website in order to take action. Likes, comments, and shares don’t always translate into votes, volunteers, or donations.
Focusing on Page Reach – how many unique people see posts from your campaign – is the best Facebook metric to track because it gives you the full scope of who is seeing your Facebook content. Most of your followers will never react, comment, or share your posts, so concentrating on these metrics is a distraction and doesn’t give you the proper appreciation of just how many voters your Facebook activity reaches.
Twitter Engagement Rate
Twitter is where the political narrative is shaped and impacts how donors, activists, and journalists perceive your campaign. Engagement on Twitter – likes, Retweets, and replies – send key signals about whether a message resonates or not. It also translates into how far your Tweet spreads.
Twitter calculates the engagement rate as the number of people who interacted with a Tweet divided by how many people saw the Tweet. You can find the engagement rate for individual Tweets (as well as for your overall account) under the analytics section of your profile.
With each of these metrics, you’re monitoring a topline number that incorporates relevant data and gives you a quick read on the performance of your online campaign. There’s no exact target to reach because every campaign is different, but tracking the trendline of each is the best way to know if your marketing efforts are working or not.