The Role of KPIs
As we’ve discussed, marketing is rapidly evolving into a data-driven creative model, with technology as a backbone for empirical research and proof. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are valuable metrics to measure the success of marketing campaigns, but it takes critical thinking and a big picture mindset to maximize their potential. The most common indicators are listed with their marketing methods below, but the future of performance tracking may surprise you.
Email is still a key player in low-cost, high-conversion, high-ROI marketing, and competition is stiff between agencies to show KPIs indicative of data-driven creative. Direct mail—and the subsequently email—became one of the earliest forms of market research with A/B testing and segmentation based on demographic information.
Email marketing software services provide dashboards with easy-to-read KPIs and visual displays. Delivery, open, click-through, forwarding, and conversion rates measure engagement. Unsubscribe, complaint, and bounce rates measure dissatisfaction and list health. Besides the basics, email marketing has become more interactive. Instead of a timed sequence of emails sent to segmented audiences, marketers can now measure a customer relationship and send emails based on the amount of rapport built (more on this later)! A tip for optimizing your email campaigns: 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
Likes, shares, clicks, comments, and hashtags are the key indicators of engagement for social media. Active followers and profile visits can help you understand the size and demographics of your audience, and all of these can be used for sentiment analysis studies. Sentiment analysis can process language data to determine types and categories of emotions associated with a brand.
Similar to traditional media buying, online advertisers sell space at CPM (based on impressions), which allows a clear understanding of return on investment for paid ads. Click-through rate lets you know your ads are engaging and well-targeted, and buying options give marketers a way to choose what type of traffic they want to pay for.
Website and E-Commerce
Website and online store analytics are the most in-depth and studied KPIs available. From the initial first visit to the completed sale, websites provide data on user acquisition and behavior unparalleled by other mediums. Finding this information is especially vital now; 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store. Integration with online stores can help marketers follow the buyer journey with flowcharts and sequential data points based on browser and cookie data.
Even more detailed information is available, including average order value, days or visits until conversion, visitor frequency, and custom goal tracking for specific campaigns and objectives. Analytics rewards big-picture thinking. Conversion data can determine if people using certain devices or browsers are more loyal than others. You can see if certain pieces of content reduce the average amount of visits until conversion, or even A/B test landing pages or item descriptions to see if they change average order value.
The Future is Convergence
The possibilities are endless, but the Internet of Things promises even more on the way. With the growing popularity of customer relationship management (CRM) software, analytic data from all of the above sources can be collected and analyzed in one place to give a holistic view of consumer behavior. Points systems based on user actions can quantify relationship strength to send specific marketing materials at opportune moments. The faster, more reactive future of marketing is convergence, where every contact point—from wearable to website—is quantified and actionable in real-time.