Measuring the Effectiveness of Online Advertising Campaigns

Complex Doesn’t Mean Effective

As online advertising continues to gobble up increasingly larger percentages of advertising budgets, measuring return on your digital campaign investment becomes increasingly important. While it can be difficult to find accurate financial measurements that directly correlate to your campaigns, this should not discourage you from either investing in online ads or pursuing some type of measurement tool. In the absence of clear and direct ROI measurement, it often makes sense to employ different but complementary metrics that collectively can provide you with confidence that your online campaigns are having a positive impact.

5 Simple but Useful Measures

  • Click Through Rate (CTR) – Any site on which you do advertising should be able to provide you with some measurement of Click Through Rate. While this may not be an exceptionally high number (often less than 1%), current research suggests it is not by itself the definitive measure of campaign effectiveness. Still, it is a valuable measure and quite useful in a comparative sense.
  • Website / Landing Page Traffic – This one is quite easy to track through Google Analytics and should so a fairly solid correlation between campaigns and visits. Your Referral traffic should also clearly reflect the sites from which your campaign traffic is coming.
  • Contact Volume – At the very least, you should see an increase in your website and phone contacts during online ad campaign periods. While you may not necessarily convert these contacts, the contact rate should be a reflection of your increased online ad activity.
  • Track Backlinks – While there may not be an immediate or direct correlation, online campaigns should continue to increase online reputation and awareness for your brand. Over time, you should be able to track an increase in new backlinks to your site that corresponds to your online campaigns.
  • Sales Impact – This one may not show up short term but, over time, you should see at least a marginal increase in your sales volume during and following campaign periods. A good target to measure against is an increase of 11-20% resulting from online campaigns although this can vary based on your percentage of online to offline business.

Refine Through Ad Campaign Comparison

Diagram of Internet Ad CampaignsIllustration of Advertising Analytics

A final important component of measuring online advertising effectiveness is to continue to evolve your analytics toolbox. By comparing different campaigns, you can continue to improve your measurements as well as refine your campaigns to repeat those components that have the greatest success. These actions, in addition to taking advantage of technological and reporting advancements, should enable you to become more and more effective over time.

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Article written by John Howard

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John is the founder and President of Frontera Marketing Group. A graduate of the University of Iowa, John had more than 20 years of professional experience in Sales and Marketing prior to founding FMG. His corporate background included a number of companies, industries and roles including National Account Manager, Product Manager, Brand Manager, Director of Trade Marketing, Director of Marketing and Vice-President of Marketing.

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