Success looks different for every business and marketing campaign, depending on your goals, industry, audience, and budget. For example, a brand awareness campaign for an online retailer that results in thousands of impressions and hundreds of leads may be considered a success. In contrast, a law firm may define success in terms of a handful of new, high-value clients.
If you want to figure out whether your campaigns are achieving optimal results, there are several ways to measure success as your business defines it.
Begin with Your Goals in Mind
Unless you know what you want to achieve with your campaigns, you won't be able to determine whether they're truly a success. Whenever you develop a campaign, start with clear and attainable goals to measure progress and ROI. Depending on the goals you have in place, you will look at your campaigns differently and use corresponding metrics to measure success.
The following are some key performance indicators (KPIs) and ways to gauge campaign success based on your specific goals.
1. Overall Website Traffic
One KPI that you might look at is website traffic. If your goal is to bolster attention to your website and attract more leads, there are several ways you can determine what's working - or what's turning people away.
Some specific metrics you can look at include:
- Page views — The number of views your pages are getting, particularly pages to which you want to direct the most traffic.
- New visitors vs. returning visitors — You might want to attract new traffic from brand awareness campaigns or returning visitors from retargeting or customer retention efforts.
- Bounce rates — The rate at which people leave your website without venturing beyond the page they initially land on, which can be indicative of several issues from low-quality or irrelevant content to poor web design that reduces credibility.
- Sessions — The amount of time people spend on your pages and website can reveal how interested visitors are in your content.
Keep in mind that an increase or decrease in an area doesn't necessarily signal success or failure, as you can't please every visitor. However, sometimes even a slight tweak can make a huge difference in performance. Engagement is what really matters. Ultimately, you'll want the overall website traffic to grow, but it's how people interact with your brand that often gauges success.
2. Social Media Growth
In advertising campaigns, sometimes the goal is to improve the performance and engagement on your social media platforms. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other platforms, growth can be measured by looking at specific metrics, such as:
- Reach — The number of people seeing your posts across your channels.
- Engagement rates — The rate at which people are liking, sharing, or commenting on your posts.
- Increased followers— You can measure your campaigns’ success by seeing how many people follow your profile compared to previous periods.
- Shares/retweets — The number of times people share your posts or, on Twitter, retweet your posts to their audiences.
Both website and social media growth can work together, but in some cases, people may misinterpret metrics. For instance, even if your social media ads or posts have many views, it doesn't necessarily mean that people are seeing them—people may simply scroll past them in their feed and not give them any attention. A lot of people following your account doesn't always mean that they're actively engaging with your account, either. Unless the campaign goal is to grow the follower count, engagement is what's important.
3. Overall ROI
For some campaigns, the overall ROI is the most important measure of success. If you find that you're making more money on sales than what you’re investing in your marketing efforts, this may be enough to help you decide that your campaigns are a success. An ad campaign to boost sales for a particular product or service would likely have ROI as a key metric.
4. Email Open Rates
If you're running email marketing campaigns, metrics to look at could include open rates or click-through rates. The open rate is the rate at which people are opening your emails and viewing them. From there, you can measure click-through rates for pages linked within the emails, track traffic to web pages included in emails, and conversion rates, depending on what you ultimately want to achieve. Again, high email open rates don't necessarily indicate a successful campaign, as engagement with those emails often matters most.
5. Increase in Sales
You may also want to look at how many sales you're attracting, whether they're in-store sales, online sales, or sales tracked through special discount codes. If you're making a lot of sales, be it online or through foot traffic to your store, this can indicate success, particularly if it leads to positive ROI.
6. Your Goals/KPIs are Being Met
If all of your goals and KPIs are being met and you're consistently happy with the results, this is often the best way to determine whether your efforts have been a success. You might have a goal of simply increasing website traffic through brand awareness efforts, increasing social media engagement, or boosting sales for particular offerings. In any case, if you're meeting or exceeding these goals based on the KPIs you're tracking for each, then your campaigns will have succeeded.
Set Goals and Know Where to Look to Measure Success
If you want to measure the success of your advertising campaigns, you need to start with your goals. With your goals determined, you can identify the most critical KPIs and metrics to analyze and measure success. If you're running multiple campaigns and want to make sure they're meeting your digital marketing goals, or you need some help setting those goals in the first place, consider working with a media partner for optimal results.