There is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that goes like this “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters”. When I worked in media and advertising I’d hear a variation on this quote every time a media property attempted to explain away the customer’s complaints about an underperforming marketing campaign.
Just because you can’t measure everything that matters doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter if you’re not measuring anything!
Whenever you create something new, be it a product, a service, a website, or marketing campaign, know by which results you will determine its success or failure and put tracking elements in place to record your progress (or lack thereof) toward those goals.
I’m working on a Google AdWords campaign now where sales conversions are the things that matters; not ad impressions, not ad clicks, and not the cost-per-click. The product has a high price point and virtually any sale on the website will easily cover a high CPC cost — but only if the visit converts into a sale.
The campaign managers were really excited about the increase in clicks over the previous month because that’s how they measured the success of most of their campaigns (get as many low-priced clicks to the client site as possible). When I read the report and compared the increase in clicks to the actual sales conversions it was easy to see we had fewer sales conversions even though we had more visits. The measurements they saw as successful were less than ideal by the measurements that mattered to me.
The stats showed that the bulk of the AdWord impressions and clicks were coming from mobile devices, but when juxtaposed with the stats from the visitors who actually purchased something we could see that virtually all the sales came from desktop devices and very few from mobile devices. Our tracking also revealed it took far fewer impressions and clicks to get a desktop user to complete a purchase that it took to convert a mobile user.
Based on these measurements we could adapt the campaign settings to improve the results that mattered. We greatly reduced the number of ads that would display on mobile devices and increased the number of ads we displayed on desktop devices.
This is another important point in tracking and measuring your results…
Don’t wait until the project is over to review your tracking and measurement data
Schedule time to review your tracking stats and analytics as often as needed to monitor your progress. For some projects that might be daily, for others it might be weekly, and for a few it might be monthly.
I like to monitor some things daily (sales conversions and lead generation), while I prefer to track paid campaign traffic weekly. Organic traffic and audience engagement I review on a monthly basis and always compare it month-over-month and year-over-year to see how the analytics are trending.
But what is way more important than knowing how many Page Views you had last month is knowing how much revenue your site generated in relation to those Page Views. If your revenue is up but your page views are down, it’s not so much a problem and validation that you’re getting more of the right kind of traffic to your site and you’re shedding visitors who have no interest in buying what you’re selling.
What you decide to track and measure will differ depending on the goals of your individual project.
Always take time at the start of the project to know what you want to happen. Know what your ideal goals are, know what your acceptable results are, and know what you’ll do if things aren’t going the way you envisioned so that you can get what you want to track back on track.