Measuring the effectiveness of your ad campaigns

Measuring the productivity of marketing campaigns is one of the best ways to help your clients evolve and grow their strategy based on solid data and results.

However, research shows that only 12% of marketers routinely measure campaign effectiveness, meaning 88% potentially leave holes in their approach unaddressed.

Assuming that your client had a clear objective for their advertising in mind, measuring effectiveness is a simple case of selecting the data that would tell them whether or not it was successful.

Here are some ways to help clients start monitoring their campaigns and use the knowledge to improve their strategy.

Start “at home”

Your client is likely to have huge amounts of useful data already. Google Analytics, sales data, phone volumes and foot traffic can all be telling when it comes to knowing how effective a campaign has been.

What to measure

If your client keeps track of it, there’s a chance they can use it to measure campaign effectiveness. But here are some common examples to start:

• Foot traffic: This is good to keep an eye on if the campaign is designed to bring people to a particular location e.g. a sale or launch event.
• New vs. returning website visitors: If you’re raising awareness of a brand and provide a URL, you can easily check whether the campaign attracted new visitors using Google Analytics. You can measure any number of metrics using Google Analytics.
• Sales: If you’re pushing a particular product or retail location, a sales baseline can give you an idea of just how much your campaign increased sales. If you have an ecommerce offer, you can even compare whether your online or offline advertising performed better.

When to measure

Comparing the figures from before the campaign began, with the figures during and after the campaign, can show not only how effective it was but also form a target for the next campaign and event.

Before your campaign

Get a baseline measure for your chosen metrics:

• How are you doing right now?
• What is your campaign aiming to improve?
• Which channels will you use? Can you compare their performance?
• Set targets for improvement, wherever you decide to focus.

Make sure you have a good understanding of your campaign’s effectiveness before the ads are live. It can make a big difference to their success.

However, don’t forget to keep an eye on other stats moving forward. Maybe your campaign was designed to generate more foot traffic, but resulted in more website visits instead. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Your baseline measurement will be the most important data point.

During your campaign

Now that your campaign is live, don’t forget about it. This isn’t a time to rest and wait for the end of the campaign. Keep an eye on your chosen metrics.

• How sharp is the increase in foot traffic/sales/website visitors, or whatever your chosen metric might be?
• Can your client spend more in channels that are performing the best, or even put more into those that are underperforming?
• Are there any unexpected results to consider for next time?

Don’t complete weekly or even daily reports. Just be sure to keep an eye on your client’s campaign. Flexible and responsive campaign management can make a big difference to the end result.

After the campaign

This is the time to compile all of your data and decide how well your client’s campaign performed.

• Did your client meet their targets?
• Which channels performed best?
• Are there tweaks to make to the creative to improve performance next time?

An increase in foot traffic can show that a campaign generated greater awareness of a venue. Equally, higher call volumes, sale volumes or sales of a particular product can all be helpful in determining how well (or poorly) a campaign met its objectives.

Google Analytics gives extremely detailed data and is useful if the campaign directed people towards a website or, even better, a particular page on it. If the campaign specifies a page, it’s even easier to see who visited as a direct result of seeing an ad.

Analytics keeps track of how many people visited the site, how long they stayed, how many pages they looked at and even how much each visit was worth if it’s an e-commerce site.

Talk to customers

Whether your client does this independently or commissions a market research agency to do it for them, it’s a good idea to speak to customers about their opinions and motivations, or to track their awareness of products and services. This is good practice generally, but can be even more useful when employed specifically for market research campaigns.

Qualitative research focuses on “the what” and “the why”:

• It helps you understand customer opinions and motivations for purchasing particular products and services
• It can also be used to get feedback on the campaign itself
• It can be done through focus groups, individual interviews or other activities with small sample sizes

Quantitative research gets lots of people to answer questions about your client and their campaign:

• This type of research is usually in the form of a survey online, over the phone or on paper

With both qualitative and quantitative research it’s usual to pick your respondents based on particular demographic information, in keeping with the audience targeted by the campaign. This is usually where it’s best to bring in a professional agency, as they are experts in finding the right people. It could be time consuming for your client to do this alone.

With the correct data, and an idea of campaign effectiveness, your client can pursue and invest in the channels and creative that work best for them.

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