A 30,000 ft. View of Digital Media Metrics
Back in the day, a marketer’s most important metrics to watch for advertising success were CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand) ad views, and Return-On-Investment (ROI). Nowadays, with the addition of digital media, mountains of metrics have joined the scene. CPC, CPL, CTR, SOV, Views, and Shares are just a some of what’s come about.
Do you know what they mean and which ones to watch? This is a high-level view of the common digital marketing metrics that are important to understand and follow across three advertising categories: Awareness, Lead Gen and Engagement.
Awareness Advertising Metrics
Opposed to lead generation programs that drive actions, awareness campaigns are meant to simply make audiences “aware” of a product, service or other topic of interest, and generate brand recall. Being that awareness resides “in the minds” of individuals, it’s difficult to get a true measure of awareness without performing some level of controlled focus group of the audience to ask them, or by adding it to a lead gen program and measuring the combined effect vs running the lead gen program alone.
That being said, the most common component of awareness measurement today are:
Total Impressions – are the total number of ads served.
Unique Impressions – the number of unique individuals reached by an ad.
Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) – is the percentage of ads that were clicked compared to the total number of ad impressions. Though clicks indicate interest, which is of course important, many marketers disregard this metric if the program is meant to simply create awareness. Awareness is achieved at the impression level, not following clicks. This is why typical Click-Thru-Rates for digital awareness ads are well below 1%.
A best practice, serving an awareness ad multiple times to a smaller audience provides stronger recall than serving the ad one time to a larger audience. Repetition is the key to ad recall.
For those with large budgets, advanced awareness measurement and tracking technologies are available. These range from time-on-screen or “dwell time” to eye-tracking technologies that measure “fixations” and “gaze points.” Since we are flying at 30,000 ft., we won’t go there.
Lead Generation Advertising Metrics
Lead generation metrics are those most sought by marketers as they are the most accurate measure in determining the Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). depending on what you measure and your type of business, there are a number of important lead gen metrics:
Clicks – Indicate the number of times a digital ad receives a mouse click. This is clearly a measure of the number of times readers clicked to learn more. One caveat is the “fat finger” syndrome which states that a percentage of clicks on mobile devices are clicked by accident because the image, button or link was closely positioned next to another that they meant to click instead.
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – is the simple calculation of the campaign cost divided by the number of clicks.
Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) – is the percentage of ads that were clicked compared to the total number of ad impressions. For instance, if 1,000 people received your ad and 50 people clicked the ad, the CTR for the ad is 5%. The importance of the click on a lead gen campaign varies depending on the action behind the click. For instance, a click that invokes an email or call is usually more important than a click to a website since they reflect a higher intent to buy.
In general, average Click-Thru-Rates for lead gen ad campaigns range from 2 to 5%.
Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) – is the campaign cost divided by the number of leads. The definition of a lead, however, often varies depending on the type of business and the importance to it. For example, a lead for an urgent care clinic is a click to directions since users typically don’t call first. A lead for a mortgage broker may be a click to an online mortgage calculator, and a lead for a home services business may be an email link requesting an estimate.
The average cost per lead for businesses also varies greatly. A retail shop, for example, may enjoy a $5 CPL, whereas a manufacturer of large equipment may be more than happy with $150 CPL.
A very effective tool for measuring leads that come directly from a campaign versus them possibly coming from another channel, is a Call Tracking Number (CTN). CTNs are unique phone numbers issued and used for campaigns. CTNs are available through agencies or vendors such as Telmetrics and CallRail.
Engagement Advertising Metrics
Engagement advertising—particularly through social media—is now a key component in delivering complete multi-channel marketing to today’s connected audience. Social media, with its reviews, ratings and shares can make or break a company. It’s what consumers trust most when looking for a product or service … their friends and family.
Engagement marketing goes beyond impressions. It measures human activity online. It’s about getting viewed and talked about favorably. To do this, you need to get into the conversation and get engaged. Engagement measurements includes:
Likes – a click that indicates the user is pleased with an ad/post. This metric, however, is often over used and can better be interpreted as “read.”
Shares/Retweets – are the number of times users share your ad/post with their social network of friends and family. Shares are more valuable than Likes in that they come with an implied personal recommendation by the sender.
Saves – are the number of times users save your ad/post so they can revisit it later. This is a valuable metric that indicates your users find your ad/post useful and they want more information. This could be your trigger to implement follow-up campaigns or remarketing efforts.
Comments – can be positive or negative so it’s an important metric to follow. Negative comments in particular need to be addressed quickly and politely. As the saying goes, “a positive experience is shared with one friend, while a negative experience is shared with 10 friends.”
Engagement Rate – is the number of engagements (any of the metrics mentioned above) divided by the impressions or reach of a post/ad. A high engagement rate means that people who saw the post found it interesting.
Share of Voice (SOV) – is the amount of conversation that occurs on social networks—outside of your own channels—as compared to your competitors. This metric is not a pure measure of social media campaign effectiveness, but campaigns can impact SOV by stirring conversation.
Social engagement reaches beyond social media. Engagement can also affect how you appear on search engines. The more current your posts, and the more others share your links to your site, the higher search engines rank your relevance for appearing in results.
These are just a sampling of the important metrics to follow with digital media. For more information about these or other metrics that may be important to your organization, contact Berry Network at 1-800-366-1264.