If there’s one thing guaranteed to send cold shivers down a marketer’s spine it’s the thought of mastering their marketing ROI challenges.

Return on Investment isn’t just a buzz phrase, it’s something which is embedded into the heart of any digital marketing campaign or social media message. We all need to know that our efforts aren’t being wasted and that the money and time we’re spending actually bring value to the business we’re doing.

ROI is probably one of the most important calculations in the business world and you need to understand it properly and find the right metrics to measure which work for the service, business or company you’re marketing on behalf of.

Justifying Your Marketing Efforts

We’ve blogged before about the ROI challenge, specifically as it related to social media messaging. But it’s a subject worth coming back to again, especially now that tools like Beacon exist to help break down some of the more difficult aspects of measurement and monitoring.

As Jay Baer says in his – Not Tracking Social Media ROI is Your Fault article – “figure out what you want to track, where you can track it, think about both current customers and new customers, and go do it.”

Simple advice perhaps, but it works. So how do you do this? For Buffer’s Kevan Lee the key elements of tracking ROI are:

  • Identifying your monetary investment in social media;
  • Attaching a monetary amount to your social media goals.

Essentially, your ROI is the amount of value you generate after making an investment in something. Many marketing efforts are measured in time spent rather than overall monetary cost and, while there obviously is a financial implication – hopefully you’re paying your marketing team! – sometimes the time factor is just as important.

No-one wants to spend five hours diving into the depths of Google Analytics to make sure that the two hours they spent earlier setting up a completely new cross platform marketing and social media campaign is working.

But often that’s what you find yourself having to do in order to justify those marketing efforts and to make sure you’re meeting the marketing ROI challenges for whatever campaign you’re promoting.

Finding The Right ROI Metrics

When you’re spending time and money on behalf of your business, or that of a client, you need to track that expenditure and to be able to justify the outlay with either increased business or product sales – the monetary ROI.

You also need to make sure that you’re not spending too much time for too little return. Fortunately, most social media platforms have tools in place, or there are third party options like Hootsuite and Buffer, which can cut down on the repetitive nature of social media marketing by letting you schedule multiple posts or Tweets at once.

First of all – vanity metrics aren’t really relevant. A bold statement perhaps, but the impressions, likes, and even shares, don’t mean anything if you cannot tie them into actionable results i.e. clicks and website traffic.

Clicks are important. It means someone’s taken the time to read what you’ve posted or sent in an email and then clicked on it to find out more. Website traffic is the ultimate aim. You need people to land on your website to find out more about your services or the products you’re selling. 

However, “About 28% of website traffic is likely … from bots and other ‘non-human signals’” according to the Wall Street Journal & Adobe.

Not all bots are bad, there are obviously those like Google’s spider bots which are cataloguing your website for changes and updates and adding that information to their search engine information.

How do you identify the bot from the actively engaged human visitor?

Beacon’s Digital Intelligence Tool Gives You Real Data

Beacon gives unbiased detailed analytics on your website traffic and page performances, providing valuable insights and intelligence into the true effectiveness of your online campaigns.

Answering your digital marketing ROI challenges is much easier with Beacon. It reveals website visitor statistics from individual links, reporting on when your links were clicked, how your visitors behaved, and the percentage of real people vs bot clicks. 

The latter is becoming increasingly relevant as organisations look to achieve more for their digital marketing spend. To illustrate the scale of the problem, businesses lost $16.4 BILLION globally to ad fraud in the year 2017 alone.

How Do You Track Your ROI?

Beacon lets you set up unique URLs for any link you’re using, no matter what platform or marketing tool you’re using to distribute it.

And once you’ve established the URL, you can then identify the visitor traffic and Beacon’s inbuilt analytics will break that down into bots and real human visitors. Those human visitors are then properly identified and you can check out each individual visit to see what their activity was once they landed on your website.

image shows the actions of visitors to the Beacon Dashboard - enabling easier tracking of marketing ROI challenges
Individual visitor behaviour tracked in the Beacon Dashboard

Having identified how your visitors are behaving, which channels they’re coming from and what the effectiveness of that campaign was, you can then begin to understand what works and what doesn’t.

This then lets you understand the value of what you’re spending on each channel and what the actual Cost Per Visit is, not just the Cost Per Click.

The metrics you’re measuring need to be actionable and provide insights which can inform future decisions rather than just look good and justify the marketing budget. They need to give you marketing ROI which you can present to your clients or your financial director which proves your strategies are working.

In other words, marketers need to not only reflect on what the return was, but which platform or channel achieved the right result for the marketing ROI challenge and then be able to harness that insight for future campaigns.

According to Forrester Analyst Tina Moffett, B2B companies are seeing an average rise of 15 tov18% in revenue as a result of optimising their marketing programs based on this more detailed approach to analytics and data intelligence.

What Have We Learnt?

Having the right information is vital to understanding how to master your marketing ROI challenges. Without it, you cannot justify anything, monetary or time.

Step 1 – Vanity metrics are still useful, but by no means the full story.

Step 2 – Measure only traffic that has a pulse – bots don’t engage/buy.

Step 3 – use a unique URL for every message you send out.

Step 4 – Score each visitor by activity against desired outcomes for the landing page you send them to and each subsequent page they could visit. Aggregate for volume.

Step 5 – Get a real understanding of how your channels perform.

Step 6 – Look at the channel the message was delivered over, the time of day, the geography, anything else which was happening at the same time.

Iterate over time by comparison of content, channel and campaign.

Book a Beacon Demo to find out just how much campaign intelligence you can discover which will give you the insights you need to master your marketing ROI challenges.