ROI Optimization – Focus on the metrics that matter most

Are You Being Distracted By These 4 Misleading Marketing Metrics?

Numbers don’t lie! That’s what we’ve been told for years in digital marketing. Yet, the explosion of digital marketing data and metrics has a cost. It creates much more noise for clients. How can you tell if you are making progress in your campaigns? The first step is to know what to avoid: vanity metrics.

Know your vanity metrics

These four vanity metrics are commonly used to measure marketing success. Find out the significant limitations of these measures.

1 Clicks

More clicks on your website mean more revenue, right? The short answer: it depends.

It can be a good sign. For example, if you see many people clicking on the contact us page and asking for a quote, you’re in luck! Those clicks have an excellent chance to convert to leads. On the other hand, consider a visitor who arrives on your website, clicks to the about page, and leaves your website. Those clicks are less valuable than the person who reached out to contact you.

To avoid being taken in by this vanity metric, ask, “What are clicks on the website leading to?”

2 Pageviews

For the vast majority of companies, an increase in pageviews does not tell you much on its own. Tracking the total number of pageviews on a website may give you a slight ego boost, but that’s about it.

The better way to use this metric is to track pageviews to specific pages with proven commercial value. For instance, a consulting firm might be interested in tracking the number of pageviews on the contact page. On the other hand, a software company might find it more valuable to track traffic to the “request a demo” page.

To put this vanity metric into context, ask, “are the most important pages getting traffic? What is happening to that traffic?”

3 Unique visitors

The number of unique visitors is a very imprecise metric. Think of it this way. Imagine you had 100,000 unique visitors this month and 500,000 unique visitors next month. Should you be happy with that result? If you answered yes, you have fallen victim to the seductive power of vanity metrics.

In reality, an increase in unique visitors doesn’t tell you much. For a local business that gets 95% of its customers within a local city, an increase in unique visitors is only relevant if those visitors are local. If you have many unique visitors from a different country, those unique visitors may not be worth anything to your business.

To put this vanity metric in context, ask the following question “are the demographics of the website’s unique visitors aligned with our lead generation strategy?”

4 Social media followers

Increasing the number of followers you have on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn may be harmful to your business. Why? You might end up spending time and money to boost your follower count only to find those followers are not interested in buying anything. 

The solution is to be strategic with your social media content and engagement so that you are attracting relevant prospects. Growing your followers organically is a good lead generation strategy, but you have to remain tightly focused on your target audience not just the total number of followers.

For instance, a B2B technology firm might know that their ideal customer is a 50-year-old finance manager at a company with $100 million in revenue. In that case, attracting college-aged business students as followers would be a waste of effort. There are even some companies that will help people to purchase followers in bulk – a strategy that is unlikely to bring in many leads.

To put this metric into context, ask the following question: “How many leads come from social media?”

The Path To B2B Marketing ROI

There are a few ways to measure return on investment in marketing. The specific measures you choose need to make sense for your business model. For example, tracking return on advertising spend (ROAS) is valuable in ecommerce where customers see an ad and buy the product minutes later. In a B2B setting, ROAS is less likely to be helpful. Few people will buy a $100,000 consulting package just because they saw an attractive online ad.

Outside of consumer ecommerce businesses, tracking marketing ROI is more complicated. It is best to use a combination of the following measurements to determine if you are making progress to ROI.

  • Lead generation

The gold standard of B2B marketing success is the quantity and quality of leads. Tracking leads can take several forms, including the number of people who fill in the contact form and the number of email subscriber sign-ups. Most sales and marketing apps can produce reports to see if you are getting more leads over time. For the best results, tag leads by source (e.g. Lead A downloaded an ebook from the website and Lead B came from a webinar promoted on LinkedIn).

  • Audience engagement

It is a lead generation mistake to focus solely on increasing page views and social media followers. The better approach is to track engagement. Take note of how many people are sharing, liking, and commenting on your content. While you can take engagement metrics to the bank, they are helpful. By maintaining high engagement from your target market over time, you are more likely to generate leads.

  • Enhanced positioning

Have you ever noticed that companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Salesforce invest considerable resources in conferences, research, surveys, and other content? There are several reasons to invest in those types of content. First and foremost, producing valuable thought leadership content demonstrates that your company should be taken seriously. By bringing new ideas to the table, prospects can see that you understand their problems.

  • Lead nurturing

Few B2B sales are impulse buys. Instead, the sales process often involves multiple meetings, proposals, demos, and calls. Effective B2B marketing can help to speed up the sales process through lead nurturing. In brief, marketing educates prospects on the problems you solve and your unique approach. That means your sales team does not have to explain the value of their product from scratch in every conversation.

By offering high-quality content and resources to prospects, you can stay top of mind with prospects. To drive your B2B digital lead generation, contact Contrast Digital today. Using thought leadership, data science, and social media together, you will get a program that reliably produces a steady stream of marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

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