Part I: Top Considerations for Mastering Digital Marketing ROI

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Calculating the ROI of digital marketing activities has become the Holy Grail of marketing measurement. But like all other marketing campaigns, organizations must measure their return on investment to gauge their success or failure.
Many digital marketing platforms promote customer engagement through advocacy and awareness, but how does consumer value translate into commercial value? This question amounts to one conundrum: How do you measure the ROI of digital marketing?
To achieve success, companies must step back in their journeys toward digital proficiency. Digital, of course, doesn’t operate within a vacuum, and therefore should become an integral element of marketers’ overall marketing strategies and budgets. Companies must approach their digital marketing strategies in the same manner as all others in order to create the seamless omnichannel experience customers have come to expect. This entails starting with structured thinking about a digital strategy’s objectives, necessary infrastructure, and measurements.
Use these top considerations as a guide to effective investment and measurement of digital marketing.
User experience: To discover the “why” of user behavior via mobile, companies must move away from traditional analytics like Google, which provide only the “what”. Visual analytical tools are the next frontier. They go beyond traditional analytics to monitor how visitors are using websites via user session recordings and eye-tracking heatmaps that analyze site usability. By applying the use of such analytical tools for mobile, app developers and publishers will be able to dive deep into the user experience and see the app through customers’ eyes.
Providing the optimal user engagement within mobile devices requires a brand to really understand why a user has decided to connect with the brand in a mobile way. Is it because the user is actual mobile, or is it because they are looking to connect to a call center, find directions, download an app, etc.? Tracking and surveying your mobile visitors is critical to uncovering their true intent and developing mobile experiences that are relevant and engaging. Many brands believe that the utilization of responsive design allows them to check mobile off the list, but the true reality is that responsive design ensures your content loads correctly, but it doesn’t ensure the content you deliver matches the desire of your users.
Advertising: Marketers determine a mobile campaign’s ROI in different ways depending on the goals of the campaign. Some marketers will compare the monetary cost of a program to the raw number of leads it generated, then determine ROI based on their cost per lead (CPL). More sophisticated marketers will measure a campaign’s cost per sales opportunity instead of CPL. The most successful marketers are the ones who measure ROI by determining how much revenue a program helped generate. Call tracking software and scoring leads help with these efforts.
Mobile advertising opportunities are growing exponentially and it is imperative for an advertiser to test and measure the success of different advertising options. Video, search, in-app advertising, click to call, banners, and retargeting are just a few of the most popular forms of mobile advertising. The key to success is developing a suite of key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you appreciate the full value of your investment. The further you can track to a revenue-generating event, the better you will be equipped to optimize to performance. Measuring calls, clicks, and leads are a good start, but connecting them to new customers is what true measurement success looks like.
Attribution: Tracking sales back to mobile campaigns is a daunting task, especially with the emergence of cross-device customer engagements. Consumers engage with mobile to take an action entirely on their device (make a purchase, sign up for notifications, etc.), but increasingly use devices as part of an online/offline customer decision path, driving in-store or call center sales. In addition, while Web-based cookies allow marketers to track performance on online channels, mobile has lagged behind.
Because mobile apps don’t support cookies, tracking and attributing spend to revenue has proven to be difficult. However, the introduction of the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) has provided a way to attribute the revenue generated by mobile. IDFA is a temporary device identifier used by the Apple set of handheld devices. It provides device identification while giving end users the ability to limit the device/consumer information accessed by advertisers or apps. The upshot is that mobile apps have the power to track more events tied to a single user, and that means advertisers have a better picture of advertising performance.
Align with intent: Search, often referred to as a database of intentions, provides advertisers a paralleled opportunity to connect with prospective customers at the exact moment they are expressing interest. The key to tapping into this database of intentions and driving new customers in a profitable way is to ensure you capitalize on keywords that represent users’ intent. Sophisticated search marketers know that by customizing their ads, websites, and offers based on keywords, more sales at a more profitable rate are sure to follow.
Balance paid vs. organic: With more than 18 billion searches per month, both paid clicks and organic listings are highly visible and can connect a brand with prospective customers. One of the biggest problems that search marketers have is not running their paid and organic optimization efforts in an integrated and synergistic way. Understanding how each perform individually, but better yet, how they perform together is important to fully reaping the benefit of search marketing.
Test and iterate: Cost per click in many verticals continues to rise, making it more difficult to drive new customers at an acceptable cost to acquire. This is why your most sophisticated search marketers continuously test all the variables that influence outcomes in search marketing. Landing pages, keywords, creative, and day parts are just some of the most common testing elements.
Recently we see brands testing the integration of first- and third-party data to better pinpoint their best prospects. For example, Google now allows you to import a list (cookie pool) of users who have engaged with your website previously. Many brands will use this technology to track a login section of their website, to allow for greater targeted messaging. Even if marketers don’t use cookies to identify customers, knowing which users have been to their websites can increase their value, as they already have engagement with their brand. Advertisers can bid higher on the search results for people who have been to their website before, and knowing which sections of the website are most popular among visitors in aggregate can influence more appropriate messaging.
Check back next week to learn about the top considerations for display/video, email and social marketing efforts.

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