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Digital marketing: How do you know its working?

Strategic marketing covers a broad range of disciplines, some more art than science. Digital marketing, specifically, lets us lean into the science—we can track, trace, and quantify, which makes it easier to see when it’s working, and pivot when it’s not.

When we track the right data and synthesize what that data is trying to say, it helps us understand how our digital marketing efforts are landing and make informed decisions on how to improve our campaigns. 

Here are a few key indicators that say your digital marketing efforts are working for you.

1. Your organic search rankings are up.

When prospective customers have a problem, they’ll often turn to search engines for answers. (Estimates say Google processes around 63,000 queries a second.) Search engine results pages, or SERPs, are where they find those answers. If your product or service solves someone’s problem, ideally you’re getting your website to rank as close to the top of related search engine results pages as possible.

Common question: “How do you rank higher?”

Google determines how well your site ranks, in a sense, by judging how well you’re answering its users’ questions. They consider the content and design of your site, the number and quality of links pointing to it, the frequency with which new content is added, how relevant the information you’ve shared is to what people are searching for, and more. To rank high, your content needs to be fresh, informative, original, and clearly relevant to the users searching for your product or service. 

This is where search engine optimization comes in. There’s technical SEO (making sure everything in the back end of your site effectively communicates with search engines), researching and strategizing optimal keywords, and adjusting or developing content that focuses on those keywords and clearly speaks to your customers and to search engines.

If SEO tweaks, improvements, and efforts are implemented (and maintained) properly, you’ll see those SERP rankings move toward the top of page one, one by one.

2. Your visitors are doing what you want them to.

Before starting a digital marketing campaign, you need to define your end goal. What do you want and need, and what actions do you need visitors to take in order to meet those wants and needs? Are you running a brand awareness campaign with a goal of driving new visitors to your homepage, or are you focused on lead generation and sales? 

Understanding what you’re aiming toward—fully, and early—lets you drill down into how users are engaging with your marketing content and your website.

Once a campaign is running, tracking “success” is as clear as pulling the data to answer that question. Are users taking the actions you wanted them to?

3. You’re getting high-quality website visitors.

There are lots of ways to drive website traffic—paid search, display advertising, paid social media, email marketing—each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Paid search is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website, but it can be expensive if you’re not careful about which keywords you’re bidding on. Display advertising is a solid way to reach a wide audience, but it can be less effective if your ads are not well-targeted.

Getting the most out of paid media means understanding how different channels work together to drive high-quality traffic, and tracking the right data to make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget.

When you see a high number of website visitors completing the actions you’ve marked to define success, you know your efforts aren’t just drawing in visitors, but the right visitors.

4. Clicks are converting into customers.

If you’re running paid social media campaigns, assessing “success” means digging deeper than surface metrics. Who’s clicking on your ads? How many of those clicks have converted into customers?

By using tools such as demographic segmenting, audience interest segmenting, and browsing behaviors, you can really fine-tune your ad audience. Once your audience is properly segmented, take a look at the click-through rates (CTRs), which give a sense of how many of the people who saw your ads are actually interested in what you’re promoting. If your CTR is low, it could mean that your copy isn’t compelling enough or that your targeting isn’t defined enough. Either way, the data gives you direction toward investigation and adjustment.

Next, take a look at conversion rates. Those tell you how many of your clicks followed up with your desired action, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. A low conversion rate might point to a poor user experience on your website or an unfinished sales funnel. Knowing pushes you to investigate and make improvements.

Key takeaway

How do you know if your digital marketing efforts are working? Short answer: Know the right data to pull, know what that data means, and track it consistently so you can assess, iterate, and accurately measure results.

Skip that, and you’re likely wasting time and money on campaigns that aren’t effective and missing out on opportunities to capitalize on what is working.

If this isn’t in your wheelhouse—or your team doesn’t have the time to do it right—it’s more than worth it to call in a knowledgeable, trusted digital marketing partner. And if you don’t have one, the Snapshot team is ready to help. Reach out and let us know what you need.

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