Tracking your success on the web with digital measurement planning

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One of the (many) reasons we love working on the web is that we know how measurable our work really is. The amount and quality of the data we're able to pull not only helps us give our clients the best solutions for their users but also ensures we can continue improving the work we've done.

In fact, it's our belief that no matter how awesome the traffic generation effort, custom web application or e-commerce website looks and feels, it's going to be totally worthless if it's not being measured, analyzed and improved constantly.

Why invest in digital measurement?

Successful digital measurement takes time, but we think it's worth every minute. The launch of a new web product or the beginning of a new social media campaign is only the beginning. When you invest in detailed measurement and analysis, you're able to better track your progress toward the goals you laid out before the project started. Is your ad getting as many clicks as you need it to? Are users finding the information they need on your app? When you're able to answer these important questions with solid data, you can pinpoint the problems with your campaigns or apps and determine why they exist – so that you can ultimately fix them.

Hard data can also be used to identify opportunities. When examining the data from a client's e-commerce website, we were able to infer that social media ads which took users to landing pages featuring multiple products weren't converting, while those taking users straight to detail pages were. Since then, we've focused on advertising specific products and have been able to put more effort into identifying the best ad types and placements while continuing to convert.

What needs to be measured?

Figuring out what numbers you need to be pulling and analyzing is as easy as looking at the goals you laid out when you built your marketing or web project plan. You can take your broader goals and break them down into measurable pieces with clearly identified key performance indicators (KPIs).

We recently worked with a veterinary medicine developer to create a digital measurement plan. The goal of the measurement plan was to provide their marketing team with a means for tracking the success of efforts to gain exposure for two new medications the company had recently released. They had two main goals: to build brand awareness and to increase media coverage.

We transformed the marketing goals into measurable metrics and set up the appropriate tags to track them. One of the primary tactics for achieving increased brand awareness was driving more repeat traffic to the news portion of the company's website, so we set up Google Analytics content groups and event tags to allow the marketing team to identify exactly what kinds of content were most successful in getting users back onto the site.

What should a measurement plan include?

A plan for measuring and reporting on a single social media ad campaign, is going to look a lot different from a plan for measuring and reporting on user behavior across an e-commerce website, a mobile application and a marketing campaign. You can tailor your measurement plan to suit your needs, but we like to include a few staples in every plan we create:

  1. An overview of the product or campaign goals, strategies, objectives, tactics and KPIs
  2. A breakdown of the tools we'll use to track and measure (which almost always includes Google Analytics and Tag Manager for us!)
  3. An outline of the customization required for successful tracking (segments, custom events, content groups, etc.)
  4. A timeline for implementation, reporting and reevaluation

The most important thing to consider when building a measurement plan is room for change. Nothing on the web is static. Your goals will grow and evolve with your business, and the ways you measure success should be flexible enough to grow with it.

What comes next?

So you've developed a plan, implemented all the tracking customizations you identified and created your first report. Now what? Now it's time for the really fun stuff. It's time to examine your data and turn it into the valuable insights your team will use to drive growth.

Every metric you're measuring should relate back to your goals, providing you with a glimpse of how close you're coming to reaching them. Regularly assess your progress toward those goals. When reviewing your reports, be sure to keep an eye out for missing information noting where additional items need to be tracked to help you turn a hunch about why your traffic is down into an actionable insight – a clear idea of what needs to be changed to get traffic back up.

It's absolutely critical you stay in constant communication with your team to ensure no issues or opportunities are overlooked. When the social media team launches a new ad campaign, you should know about it. When the UX team is testing a new landing page, you'll want to track it.

Did we say your website launch was just the beginning? Oops – the measurement plan is where it all really starts. The web offers more opportunity to track, analyze and act than you can imagine. Don't pass up the chance to learn exactly what you need to know about your business!

Let our team of web experts help you figure out exactly how to measure your online success! Reach out today.

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