Digital Marketing ROI — Pains and Gains #Semrushchat

Elena Terenteva

Jul 27, 20158 min read
Digital Marketing ROI — Pains and Gains #Semrushchat

How often did you face the problem of measuring the actual benefit that you marketing efforts have brought to your company? And how often did you have difficulties when explaining to your executives why they should invest in a certain marketing channel? Let’s find out which are the best metrics to track, which toolkit is ideal for measuring ROI and how you can justify the benefits of your strategy to you CEO together with our special guest HubSpot and Twitter chat participants.

Marketing success metrics

An e-commerce shop owner and a video blogger will both want to know the results of their marketing efforts, and indicators of their success will definitely differ. The very first question to ask: what is your final goal? Do you need to drive new customers that will buy your product, increase your brand awareness or bring traffic to your blog? “The metrics depend on the marketing goals & type of site. Many cross overs with #seo, #sem, #pr & #social” — Nishan Khednah ‏@Nishan

While keeping track of your ultimate goals it is important to measure not only the final results of your strategy. “You want to look at metrics from each stage of your inbound funnel regularly,” as HubSpot @HubSpot suggests. This will give you the possibility to understand the pitfalls or successes of each stage.

Do not focus on vanity metrics that simply show impressive numbers, but do not demonstrate the actual benefit of your campaign. Concentrate on what brings you money. “Depends on what marketing you're talking about — different channels have different keys. But its all about £$” — Charlie Williams ‏@pagesauce.

No data is valuable in isolation, keep tracking your results over time, because the dynamic will tell you more. “Common pitfall is to compare against others, but not yourself.” — HubSpot ‏@HubSpot.

So, according to our chat participants the most essential metrics of marketing success are:

Marketing success metrics recap

How to justify benefits of a social media share to executives

Sometimes it gets really hard to explain to an executive certain aspects of your marketing strategy and to be persistent about your opinion. We even held a Twitter chat fully dedicated to communication between SEOs and CEOs. Let’s find out what you can do if your CEO doesn’t understand the value of a social media presence.

Social shares and likes create buzz around your brand, and the more people interact with your content in social networks, the more attention your company will get. To convince your executives, “show them the snowball effect that occurs when someone engages with a social media or blog post,” as Netvantage Marketing ‏@netvantage advises.

Social signals and comments increase brand awareness as a whole and boost your discoverability.

What is even more valuable — your brand is directly delivered to an audience that is interested in it. “A share is like paying to advertise in front of a lookalike audience, but getting it for free,” as Tim Welsh ‏@Twel5 says.

Yet, to prove that your point of view is correct, you need to separate metrics that really matter for your executives from useless data. Here’s some advice on how you can do this:

And this is one more reason to care about social media shares and blog comments:

The benefits of a social media share

The hardest digital channel to measure success

According to our Twitter Chart participants, social media is absolutely the most difficult channel in which to track your success. “Using engagement metrics show worth, but it is hard to tie back to ROI (since it is top of funnel activity)” — MacKenzie Krantz ‏@kenziemmk.

Google+ and LinkedIn were considered among the most difficult platforms to measure the true results. “G+ and LinkedIn are the hardest to measure in terms of nailing down true engagement/results” — Julia McCoy ‏@JuliaEMcCoy.

The same goes for Facebook: “insights are helpful, but they're not everything” as Tara Clapper ‏@TaraMClapper points out.

Measuring your Twitter strategy’s results is no easy task either.

“Channels w/limited internal analytics are the most difficult like Snapchat or Instagram.” — as Brian Honigman ‏@BrianHonigman admits.

The hardest digital channel to measure success

Mistakes when measuring ROINow let’s take a look at the most harmful mistakes that one can make when measuring ROI. The first one is rather obvious — if you’ve set up your tracking incorrectly, you have no chance of understanding how successful your strategy is.

The next most common mistake is “not correctly setting up goal conversions in GA” — Netvantage Marketing ‏@netvantage.

One of the most serious pitfalls is “using the wrong metrics that have no relevance to what you're trying to do,” as Suzie Blaszkiewicz ‏@GetApp_Suzie admits. This eats a lot of your time and resources but brings no benefits.

Understanding your goals allows you to focus on parameters that are actionable for your business at the moment. Still, it would be wrong to take into account only one type of metric. For example, your number of visitors doesn’t mean a lot without conversion.

Focusing on the wrong pieces of content is another mistake. Pay special attention to pages that generate sales.

So, here is a list of the most destructive mistakes that our participants mentioned:Mistakes that wreak the most havoc when measuring ROI

Tools for calculating ROI

“Google analytics are powerful, but you need more than web analytics to determine ROI — you need marketing analytics,” as HubSpot ‏@HubSpot mentions. Now we will take a look at which tools our participants prefer to use when measuring their marketing results.

Let’s start with the very basics. Megan Ingenbrandt ‏@eZangaMeg claims: “A great Excel spreadsheet can do wonders for your analytics.”

By focusing solely on collecting and analyzing Google Analytics data from your website, you won’t get the whole picture. A good marketing strategy consists of many parts, and you need to track all of them. “Get information from as many sources as possible: GA, social media analytics, email marketing program, etc. Then refine” — Medium Blue ‏@MediumBlueSEM.

Measuring your social media buzz is absolutely essential; here are some tools that may help you:

To track your sales and conversions you will need a good CRM tool.

Numbers are useful, but always take a look at your overall brand image and awareness.

To sum up, here are some preferred toolkit recommendation:Tools marketers need to calculate ROI "Pro tips" on improving digital marketing ROI During our Twitter chat, we collected from our participants the most insightful “pro tips” on improving marketing ROI.

Tips to improve the ROI of digital marketing

That's it for today, hope to see you during out next Twitter chat on Wednesday!

Author Photo
Elena TerentevaElena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at Semrush. Elena has eight years public relations and journalism experience, working as a broadcasting journalist, PR/Content manager for IT and finance companies. Bookworm, poker player, good swimmer.
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