By Stewart Boutcher, Founding CTO and Data Lead at Beaconsoft Ltd
A common phrase used in business is that ‘you have to spend money to make money’, and the world of digital marketing is no exception to this.
Though running digital ad campaigns can be expensive, this cost is necessary and justified when you consider the Return on Investment [ROI] that you stand to gain.
In these uncertain times, however, with many businesses and agencies alike scaling back and reviewing their marketing budgets, it is more important than ever to know that your ad spend is effective, and that you are maximising it as much as possible.
That said, here are five key ways that you can improve ROI from your digital marketing spend:
- Avoid vanity metrics
When measuring the progress of your campaign, it is important to be clear on the parameters you choose to track.
The inclusion of so-called vanity metrics, for example, can have the effect of distracting you from your business goals and ultimately impacting ROI.
Common types of vanity metrics include social media likes, shares, and followers – none of which mean much if you are unable to tie them to actionable results like clicks and website traffic.
It is far more important to pay attention to clicks, as the metric means that someone has taken the time to read what you have posted or sent via email and then clicked on it to find out more.
By closely monitoring metrics such as click-through rate, engagement rate, reach and more, you can accurately determine how well your campaign is performing and make any necessary tweaks to increase the number of potential leads.
- Tackle bot clicks
Although tracking clicks is one of the best ways of measuring ROI, the true amount of clicks you receive can often be distorted by the presence of click bots.
In basic terms, click bots are automated programs that are specially designed to conduct click fraud.
This is where a bot pretends to be a genuine visitor to a webpage and automatically clicks on pay-per-click [PPC] ads, buttons or other types of hyperlinks.
Given that a report published by security firm Imperva shows that bots – both good and bad – attribute for 52% of all web traffic, it is safe to assume that a significant portion of your digital marketing spend is being wasted.
By regularly monitoring analytics for unusual traffic – such as irregularities in the average number of page views and session times, as well as the source of referrer traffic, you can identify malicious bots and then take steps to block them.
Once negative click bots have been removed, you can then have confidence that your campaign has been optimised, allowing you to gain accurate insights that improve ROI.
- Create content that you audience craves
With so many companies competing for consumer attention in the digital space, it is essential that your brand stands out from the crowd, and producing content that strikes a chord with your audience is among the best ways to do this.
Because so many consumers’ social feeds and inboxes are inundated with conventional emails about sales and new product launches, customers have grown to seek valuable and personal connections from brands, which is why it is so important that your content is tailor made for your target audience, taking into account their interests, demographic, location, gender and more.
However, it is not enough to merely create content that is personal to your target audience – it also needs to have value by aiming to solve the problems that they might be experiencing.
Once your brand has established itself as a source of personalised and impactful content, consumers are bound to come back to you again and again, thereby driving up the ROI that you see from your campaigns.
- Use a ROI calculator
Utilising a specially-designed ROI calculator is a quick and easy method of getting an instant snapshot of where your digital marketing spend is currently, so that you can make more informed decisions about how your ROI can be improved.
ROI calculators can, for example, work out how much of your budget is being spent effectively simply by collating key figures like your approximate monthly spend, the approximate website clicks you have gained, and the average value of a lead.
It is also effective in revealing exactly how much money is being wasted by click bots, disengaged visitors, and a range of other factors that contribute to your ad spend not being maximised.
Equipped with the knowledge that a ROI calculator can provide, businesses have the potential to increase the return on their digital marketing investment by as much as 40%.
- Invest in an analytics tool
Effective analytics tools are invaluable for businesses that want to see their digital ad spends going the extra mile.
Independent platforms have the power to offer unbiased and detailed analytics on your website traffic and landing page performance so that you can gain meaningful insights and intelligence around the true effectiveness of your online campaigns.
Not only do analytics tools like Beacon reveal website visitor statistics from individual links and provide reports on when your links were clicked and how your visitors behaved, they also show the percentage of real people against the number of bot clicks.
With all of this established, companies are in a much better position to begin understanding what is working with their campaigns and what is not.
Having the right information is vital to understanding exactly how you can master the marketing ROI challenges that your business is facing.
Tracking vanity metrics, not paying due attention to click bots, and producing content that lacks value or a personal touch all have the potential to negatively impact on your ROI, whereas the use of an ROI calculator and unbiased analytics tool can really show you how to get the most out of your budget.
Without the knowledge that is needed to make your digital ad campaigns a success, it is difficult to justify either the money or time that you have put into them.