Measuring Digital Marketing Success

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We’ve all done some form of digital marketing, whether we realize it or not. Replied to a customer on Twitter or Facebook Messenger? That’s digital marketing. However, most of us aren’t as instinctive about measuring the performance and effectiveness of our digital marketing activities. So we invited digital marketing strategist, Amanda Webb, to talk about just that—here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Amanda Webb
Topic: Measuring digital marketing success
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What does digital marketing involve?

Digital marketing is about understanding your customers’ journey from awareness through purchase, and creating content to help potential customers in each part of your sales process

Because of multiple steps and processes involved in guiding a customer through to the sale, digital marketing includes a range of activities like social media, website management, SEO, and email marketing.

As Lance pointed out, it’s good to remember that the phrase “digital marketing” also relates to your plan/strategy, i.e. how you’ll incorporate the digital marketing activities our guest spoke about, to achieve your goals.

Q2: What type of businesses should engage in digital marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses a lot of things, as we’ve already talked about. So if you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok, you’re doing digital marketing. Almost every business should engage in digital marketing—what you do may not be what your competitor does, and that’s natural. You just have to find what works best for you.

As Madalyn so nicely pointed out, whether you’re selling stuff online or have a physical storefront with a dedicated small-town community, chances are your customers and your target audience are online. That’s why digital marketing can be an excellent way for you to engage with your internet community and expand your reach.

Q3: What digital marketing metrics should you measure?

What metrics you measure should vary based on your goals. For example, if your goal is to grow your audience, have a look at your reach, engagement rates, and genuine follower counts. If you’re more keen to increase your sales figures, have a look at your click-through rates, references, and endorsements.

As our guest mentioned, the conversion rate is a pretty handy metric to keep an eye on. It can tell you how well your website’s performing, which part of the sales process needs more handholding, which social channels your audience is most active in, and what type of content works best.

Similarly, which metrics you follow depends also on the channel you’re analyzing, as Alyx mentioned. For example, if your goal is to increase brand reputation, look for mentions and testimonials on Twitter because most people tweet out their experiences with a business. On Facebook, however, look at your reviews and ratings, because that’s how people share their experiences on that platform.

Q4: Can vanity metrics be helpful at all?

Yes. Vanity metrics can be insightful when they directly relate to your goal. For example, the number of followers who engage with your brand regularly and match your target audience, the number of website visits and clicks from people who’ve actually signed up to your service or newsletter, and the number of sales calls you make and successfully close—all of these (although considered vanity metrics in a general sense) aren’t vain stats.

On the flip side, if you have a million followers and 2/3 of them are bots or random people who follow you for the sake of a follow back, and have no idea about your brand, that’s a vanity metric.

Avast echoed Amanda’s point nicely. Vanity metrics can be handy because they make you look impressive to a stranger looking at your profile. If they’re a genuine potential customer, those vanity metrics can be reassuring, making them want to engage with you.

Any metric can be both significant and absolute nonsense. Before you celebrate or abhor a vanity metric, check if it’s aligned to your goals.

Q5: How often should you audit your digital marketing strategy?

We ask variations of this question a lot on our #TwitterSmarter chat, and so far, I’ve never seen one unanimous response.

The reason? How often you audit your strategy depends on the nature of your business, your audience, and (sometimes) your industry. The best thing you can do is to run quick and periodic assessments of your activities. How frequently you do this is up to you. As our guest suggested, if you’re running a three-month campaign, perhaps assess your work every week to start with. If you think too much is changing too soon, alter your assessment to once every day. This way, you can immediately identify how well something’s working—or not.

Save the bigger audits for bigger milestones—at the end of each campaign, month, quarter, half-year—whenever works for you. Have a look through this audit worksheet our guest shared to help you plan your audits:

Q6: Is it necessary to run ads as part of your digital marketing efforts?

Ads can be useful—they can help you position yourself to your audience, reach a broader network of people, build brand awareness, show your support for causes that matter you to, and more.

As Kevin so rightly pointed out, one of the biggest advantages of running ads is that it helps you distribute content so it reaches the people who need to see it. So many social platforms nowadays focus a lot more on advertising revenue, and as a result, they’ve deliberately diminished the reach of organic content. Facebook’s stance on brand pages is a good example of organic content not being at the forefront anymore.

All that said, you don’t necessarily have to run ads to succeed. Consider them as a part of your overall strategy, not the centerpiece. Before you start shooting out ads, test your plans organically to evaluate performance. Ads amplify your message, but they don’t help you fine-tune your message—only organic posts and endless experimentation can do that.

Q7: How do you determine an ideal budget for your digital marketing strategies?

Start with how much you can afford. Identify how long each customer does business with you—this is called the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. Some people will only need your services for a few months while some others will need it for years. Some may cancel after the first month. Understanding the average LTV of your customers can help you assess how much time and effort you need to put in to acquire and retain customers. Our guest also explains this process in a video—have a look:

Our friends from GiveWP made another excellent point. In addition to analyzing how much you can afford, also learn from previous experiences. Any advertising tool has extensive analytics to show you what’s worked and what hasn’t. Run short-term tests to determine how the seasons are affecting your expenses. Then use that data when setting your budget for next time.

Q8: What are some tools that can help measure your digital marketing success?

Google Analytics (GA) is on top of that list of tools for website, SEO, and Google ads monitoring. It’s so thorough that it can be overwhelming at first. But once you get into the nitty-gritty, you can filter out the fluff and focus on the crucial metrics.

Along with GA, also use tools to monitor and manage your social media activities, email marketing campaigns, keyword analysis, and audience preferences.

Well, that’s all from me, folks. Thanks for reading through, and for more insights from our chat with Amanda, have a look at this Twitter thread. If you think this summary is pretty good, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us every Thursday at 1pm ET on #TwitterSmarter. Afterward, we also hang out on Twitter Spaces at 5pm ET to continue our chat. Catch you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff for the bills; haiku and short stories for the soul. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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