The metrics that matter for digital marketing at scale

Management guru Peter Drucker’s famous words “what can’t be measured can’t be improved,” perhaps applies the most to digital marketing. Without data and models built on top of good data, digital marketing becomes an exercise in spray and pray. But when the stakes are high, we need to watch every dollar that’s spent on marketing.

In the last two pieces of this series on digital marketing, I wrote about how to think about digital marketing when you are spending more on growing the brand and how to build global digital marketing teams that work well with each other. In this piece, I’ll talk about the metrics that digital marketing teams should be tracking.

First, it is important to look at our tactics with the right metrics of measurement. Otherwise, you end up boiling the ocean. While the marketing operations teams assemble the marketing stack, the digital marketing team focuses on using data models to attribute leads– where they come from, how they progress through the funnel and so on. With a data science team, our mission is to crack audience segmentation across products and markets.

Without further ado, here is how I see the funnel (those who are not familiar with the funnel, read my earlier piece here) and the associated metrics that I track:

The key metrics digital marketers must track

Now that we know what metrics to track for effective digital marketing, we also need to be mindful about the types of campaigns you’ll run. Here’s a sneak-peek at the kind of treatment you’ll need to give each campaign for it to be effective.

Types of digital marketing campaigns for each stage of the marketing funnel

One more thing…

Even as you track these numbers, there’s one more thing that you need to keep in mind. All that goodness from investing in the brand needs to be carefully captured. That is, you have to advertise on your own keyword as well. Otherwise, you end up losing traffic and potential customers to competitors.

Take a look at the screenshot below. Even Apple, one of the strongest brands in the world, has to buy its own keywords.

Even powerful brands have to advertise against their own keywords

There are theories of why you bid on your own keywords when you own the brand. The answer is two-fold:

a) When you are a young brand (say about 5-10 years old), the user could have come across your brand through an assisted campaign- a roadshow, articles in the press, a display banner, an event, or through word of mouth. So, when they search for your brand, and they don’t find you in the searches, you’ll miss out on an opportunity. As you go along and your brand recall grows, you could taper your spend on brand searches.

b) Google offers its ad-space to multiple brands in a similar space. So if you don’t advertise on your keyword, someone else will! This will help competitors get more brand awareness even if it’s not driving clicks. If they do drive the clicks, it’s quite possible for them to siphon off your leads.

In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about how digital marketing adapts to growing geographical spread and the nuances that go with it. Stay tuned!