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How Do You Measure Digital Marketing?

A cheat sheet of the most important metrics.

As advisors embrace digital marketing, the tracking of this activity becomes both more important and more challenging. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube each have their own set of metrics. Websites, newsletters and podcasts do, too.

In an effort to simplify this, I’m going to offer you a cheat sheet of marketing metrics. For each element of your approach, I’ll suggest one or two key metrics we find most important.

I should also mention that these metrics shouldn’t be pulled manually. By leveraging a marketing dashboard to automate the data gathering, you can focus simply on the analysis. Among many others, programs like Salesforce’s Datorama or Google’s Data Studio work well for this. Here are our recommendations on how to best measure your digital marketing.

Measuring Your Facebook and LinkedIn Posts

When you post on Facebook or LinkedIn, you’d like to know how many people are seeing it and how many people are engaging with it. This helps you determine which topics and formats are most effective. For example, if you learn that your Market Commentary posts are a bust but your personal photos get quality engagement, it helps you in planning your content mix for next month. Here are the key metrics to follow:

  • Reach—This measures the number of people who saw your ads at least once. Low reach isn’t just a sign of a small follower base, poor content can limit your reach as well.
  • Reactions—On Facebook, these include like, love, care, haha, wow, sad and angry. In LinkedIn, it’s just likes. On either network, it’s the most visible sign of whether your audience is engaging with your content.
  • Comments—When someone writes a comment on your post, it’s treated differently from a like when it comes to the algorithms. It’s weighted more heavily and tells the algorithms your content is worth spreading more widely.  

Measuring Facebook and LinkedIn as a Whole

Success isn’t measured by any one post; the entirety of your efforts needs to be measured. This means followers, overall reach, overall engagement and so on. Over time, you’re building an audience that not only engages your posts but also comes to you when there is a financial need. Here are the key metrics:

  • Total Followers—This is your audience, whether it be followers of your LinkedIn company page or your Facebook page. It’s a good indicator of your total success in that network. 
  • Monthly Follower Growth—This shows your follower growth each month. This number can go up or down, depending on your content and efforts to build followers.
  • Monthly Reach, Reactions and Comments—This shows the cumulative number between all posts in a given month.

Measuring Your Digital Advertising

Digital ads are measured by objective. After all, you should grade yourself differently if you’re looking to build brand awareness versus looking to capture leads. Thankfully, it works very similarly between LinkedIn and Facebook.

  • Awareness—Cost Per Mille (CPM)—This is the cheapest objective, one in which you’re simply looking to make people aware of you and your ideas. CPM tells you the cost to reach 1,000 people.
  • Engagement—Cost Per Result—Engagement comes in different forms. It could be a link click, a video view or any number of other actions. In these cases, you’ll measure cost per desired result.
  • Conversion—Cost Per Lead—Even leads come in a variety of forms. It could be a lead captured within Facebook or LinkedIn or even a conversion on your website. Either way, it’s best measured as cost per lead.

There is one important caveat to all of this. Some people need certainty of results before ever getting started with a new content or advertising initiative. It usually stops them from the trial and error necessary to see digital marketing success. We’d prefer doing the activity first, then figuring out the tracking second. Kind of the same way it’s best to exercise first, before measuring the impact it might have on your body. Getting started is the only way to truly know what will work!

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

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