By Nicole Emmerich

In today’s marketing world, things move pretty quickly, and it can be hard to keep up. Whether you work as a marketing team of one, on a small team, or at an agency with a bunch of other marketers, you likely have your hands full. With so many projects happening at the same time and so many marketing trends to track, it can be easy to lose sight of your overall goals and strategy. However, taking the time to monitor your strategy is key to your success as a marketing professional and the success of your business.

With continuous advancement in digital platforms, all kinds of new reporting capabilities have been unveiled, giving us a treasure chest of new ways to measure our marketing campaigns. You can measure everything from leads and landing page views to social media comments and reactions. You can even take an omni channel approach by hosting events and using things like QR codes and custom links to measure engagement, purchases and leads.

Below I’ve listed some reasons to make measurement a staple in your standard operating procedures and some tools to help you do so.

So, why should you measure your efforts?

1.     To see if you are getting the results you want

This really goes back to making sure you are aligned with your goals. You probably have some kind of yearly plan that outlines the goals you want to accomplish for the year and the strategies and tactics you plan to use to do so. Well, how are you going to determine if you are meeting these goals? Can you link your marketing efforts directly to sales or conversions? You need to look at whether you are reaching the correct audience and whether they are taking the actions you want them to. If all they’re doing is liking your social media posts and you’re trying to get them to view a landing page and convert to a customer, you need to reassess and determine a better way to get the result you want.

2.     To find the problem spots

Maybe people are clicking on your social media post to read your blog, but the bounce rate on that page is particularly high. If your objective is to get people to read your page, then that might be fine. However, if your goal is to keep people on your site, you might need to make an adjustment. This could be anything from moving your call to action higher up on the webpage to tweaking the audience you are advertising to or the type of content you’re writing. By evaluating your campaign early and often, you can catch any problems early and adjust accordingly.

3.     To be more efficient with your budget

Return on investment (ROI) is extremely important for proving your effectiveness as a marketing department. Make sure you calculate your cost per lead and the lifetime value of your customers and use that to determine the effectiveness of your campaign. If you’re spending a lot of money on an advertisement in a magazine or a billboard that’s not getting any traction, it’s probably time to take that money and spend it on something else. If you’re not reaching the right audience or converting any leads, you might be using the wrong platform or content. By looking at analytics and constantly evolving your tactics, you can save yourself money in the long run.

4.     To determine what you should do differently next time

Setting goals in advance and evaluating after every social media campaign, ad buy, press release, Google Ads campaign, and any other campaign is extremely important. By looking at your analytics often, you can determine the best way to reach your audience, look at what went well and what didn’t, and adjust accordingly for your next campaign.

Now that you understand what measuring your marketing efforts can allow you to do, it’s important to understand how to do it. There are a variety of tools that can help with this.

1.     Google analytics

This is a free tool that allows you to measure your website traffic. You can dig into the pages that have the most views and even look at sources that your viewers are coming from. You can also set up goals like getting users to fill out a contact form and track users’ journeys on your website. And that’s just scratching the surface. There are a bunch of other functionalities in Google Analytics that are very useful in understanding your users’ behavior and capitalizing on it.

2.     UTM parameters

Campaign URL builders are great for tracking where people came from when they land on a page on your site. They allow you to add custom fields to URLs that can be tracked in the campaign section of Google Analytics. You can use these for social media ads, organic posts, email newsletters and more. Here’s a link to a UTM parameter builder https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/.

3.     Social media analytics

When you use any social media platform, it’s important to look at how your posts and ads are performing to determine whether your content is resonating with your audience. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have their own analytics, but you can also use a software like Sprout Social, which can help with scheduling posts in advance and providing additional analytics.

4.     Media monitoring software

If one of your goals is to increase your share of voice within your community or your industry, a tracking software like Cision or Meltwater is a great investment. These allow you to look at your share of voice in comparison to competitors of your choosing. You can also integrate your social media channels to listen for trends and look at all your media coverage in one place. This is a software that you need to purchase, but it is well worth it if public relations and media coverage are your main goals.

There are a vast number of other tools that can be used for tracking, but this list is a good starting place. When you truly understand how to track, measure, benchmark and evaluate your marketing efforts, you can make adjustments to your campaigns, stay in line with your goals, and be a more efficient and effective marketer.

Nicole Emmerich is a VP of Programming for the Reno-Tahoe AMA and the digital marketing specialist at ITS Logistics. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and searching for the best cup of coffee in town.