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Metrics that Matter

Johannesburg, April 24, 2015.

Digital marketing is evolving at a rapid rate. Keeping up to speed with the latest trends and terminology is a challenge. Quite often this results in an unwarranted focus on more traditional metrics and a lack of focus on the underlying metrics that tell the full story.

Many performance campaign briefs have goals set as a number of clicks or impressions. It is expected then that the subsequent reports are created to focus on the click-through rate (the ratio of clicks that are derived from the booked impressions). This is fine if that is the end result that you want to achieve with your campaign. However, if you are looking for those clicks to result in further actions down the line; such as an online sale or completed lead form, relying on these surface metrics is extremely deceptive.

Clicks and click-through rates are easy to manipulate – an opportunistic agency could inflate clicks with irrelevant traffic, or increase the click-through rate by narrowing targeting. If you, as the client, aren’t looking at the end of the funnel, a report could look great but result in very poor performance further on in the user journey.

Top level metrics should not be discounted, but deeper levels of data reveal insights that could have performance advantages. Understanding the end metric (conversions, sales, engagement on site) will allow you to evaluate and optimise your campaign far more than purely the click-through rate or number of clicks.

Take the time, initially, to set goals so that the correct metrics are used to gauge performance.

A few points to consider:

· If goals that have a direct impact on sales or revenue cannot be set, goals that allow for the understanding of visitor behaviour and interests should be set.

· Study data behind metrics – look at keyword search queries and actual placement pages, this is the easiest indicator of your target profile.

· Take advantage of the drill down features that most application interface reports offer – study key metrics on a keyword or placement level. Sometimes keywords or placements that offer branding opportunities (high impressions with low click volume) skew overview metrics.

· Link campaigns to the website analytics platform, where possible. Comparing overall website data with campaign specific data reveals valuable insights.

Looking at metrics that matter will not only give you a better view on performance, it will also allow you to gain deep insights and learnings that could benefit the planning, and success, of your next campaign.

By Reshall Jimmy, Head of Search and Optimisation at NATIVE VML