In this four-part blog series for TPM, data scientist and Google Analytics expert, Kushal Sharma, explains everything marketers need to know about Google Analytics Marketing Metrics.
In our last post, we left off discussing the value of marketing attribution models. In this final Google Analytics Marketing Metrics post, Kushnal explains the importance of change measurement and how it can help marketers determine the added value of their campaigns.
Google Analytics Marketing Metrics and Change Measurement
Change management is a useful concept within the Google Analytics Marketing Metrics toolbox that marketers can use to understand the impact of a campaign. It measures this impact in a unique way in that it does not measure the total achievement of the campaign, but rather it measures the value add that a new campaign provided to a specific variable. That is, what change did a new campaign provide to a specific variable (like leads).
Let’s take a look at an example to better illustrate this concept:
Sally’s website has been a pretty decent lead generator for her business — pulling in over 100 leads a week simply by her business as usual efforts. She recently ran a new week-long campaign that seemed to be very successful based on market engagement. Yet at the end of the campaign, Sally was shocked to learn that her weekly leads were still at 100.
So, even though the campaign appeared to be very successful based on engagement, in reality it didn’t provide much added value (or change) in terms of actual leads. In other words, the campaign was not a success.
Like Sally, B2B marketers should be wary of falling into a similar trap of assuming a campaign is a success based on variables that do not necessarily correlate to the end goal metric (such as Sally did when she assumed engagement would correlate to leads).
Change Measurement and Google AdWords
This is particularly important when it comes to paid advertising as campaigns will cost you, regardless of how effective or ineffective they actually turn out to be. In Google AdWords, for example, given its query and attribution methodology, will say that it provided you with specific conversions that you can then work on optimizing.
It’s important to remember, however, that these specific conversions are not a net new layer on top of your existing conversions. Rather, the new ad spend is merely transferring your conversions and making them more expensive — because you’re now paying for leads that you previously gained organically. And this is why measuring change increments is very important.
Let’s say you have a baseline of generating 1000 leads per month, without ads. Meanwhile, when you run ads, you now have 1200 leads per month. In this scenario the change measurement (or added value of the ads) applies only to those 200 new leads. In other words, your ads only brought 200 leads to the table and should be reflected when calculating your overall ROI.
Now let’s look at another example to help illustrate ways in which change measurement can help you determine a specific impact of your campaign.
Let’s say you have a product demo coming up. Have a look at the list of customers who have signed up for the demo, and look for the following:
- What were the first few preceding tactics that led to each sign-up?
- Is there a pattern?
- Was there an asset or initiative that did particularly well?
By answering these questions, you’ll be better positioned to optimize your tactics for customers at this stage. Once you find that some tactics lend themselves better to demo conversions, try applying these tactics to more prospects at this stage to see if that helps you increase your conversions once again. If it does, you can then set the tactic to become an automated initiative that you can use on prospects from your database that could be ready to see your demo.
Further, by segmenting your customer journey into broad measurable stages, you can better find effective tactics and campaign ideas and create a suitable programmatic approach to further nurture your accounts.
Is Change Measurement Always The Right Approach?
Not all campaigns are a good fit for change measurement — in fact, in some cases, evaluating change measurement is impossible, such as:
- Where no baseline or data exists as the business itself is new.
- When trying to learn something from prospects or users through market research and the findings that come out of this research warrant running an initiative whose effectiveness could be measured through a CSAT survey in the short-term.
- When testing a new channel for reaching customers.
Establishing Basic Google Analytics Marketing Metrics for Success
As most marketers are well aware, marketing impacts a business in many indirect ways — many of which aren’t easily measurable. To get a sense for how much marketing is helping a business, some basic metrics that can be used include:
- Increased Web Traffic: If web traffic has gone up following some marketing efforts or initiative, it’s safe to assume your marketing is working well.
- Proportional Sales Increase: Along with web traffic increases, your sales should be increasing at a proportional rate. While there are always diminishing returns as web traffic goes up, if you see an increase in web traffic but no significant increase in sales, that’s a sign that your targeting is off.
Google Analytics Marketing Metrics: Organic Search, Branded Search, and Direct Traffic Metrics
Unsurprisingly, as your brand recognition goes up, so do your organic search, branded search, and direct traffic metrics. Here’s why:
Organic Search: As your brand becomes more recognized in the market, you are likely to be quoted or linked to from third party sites — an important factor in achieving a higher ranking in search results.
Branded Search: This is the number of people who perform a Google search using your brand name. When this search volume goes up, it’s a clear indication that more people are now familiar with your brand.
Direct Traffic: When set up correctly in Google Analytics, direct traffic can be a good indicator of how many people now know about your website and brand than before. Note, Google Analytics will only tag traffic as ‘direct’ when a user has directly entered your website into their browser or clicked on a bookmark.
Explore more posts in Kushal’s Google Analytics Marketing Metrics blog series: