You pour your heart and soul into your marketing campaigns. But even when you launch the campaign and share all your hard work with the world, you’re not quite finished yet. That’s because campaign measurement comes at the very end – and it’s a step you don’t want to skip.
It’s not a glamorous topic, nor is it very much fun. But no campaign is complete without measurement. This is your opportunity to look back at your campaign, see how you did, and start planning for the next one.
Not measuring your performance is kind of like learning trigonometry in high school: you study hard, take the test, then never use that knowledge again! That’s all fine and dandy for non-math majors. But for marketers who are going to keep creating and launching campaigns, you need campaign measurement to help guide you.
Here’s your ultimate guide to campaign measurement, including why it matters and how to measure the success of a campaign. Let’s go!
Table of Contents:
- What is Campaign Measurement?
- Why Does Campaign Measurement Matter?
- Challenges of Measuring Campaign Performance
- Campaign Measurement Metrics for Success
- How Do You Build a Campaign Measurement Framework?
- How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Campaign: 3 Ways
- Campaign Performance Measurement: Next Steps
What is Campaign Measurement?
Let’s start with a simple definition: what is campaign measurement, exactly?
We define campaign measurement as the intentional process of measuring the impact of your marketing campaign. You can measure campaign performance using a number of KPIs (more on that in a moment) and software tools that allow you to compare your results to your campaign objectives.
Why Does Campaign Measurement Matter?
When many marketers think about the impact of a campaign, they’re typically referring to the sales impact – the amount of revenue your campaign brought it. But it also depends on the goal of your campaign. If you’re running a marketing campaign to increase brand awareness, measuring sales might not give you the full picture of your marketing efforts.
This underscores the reason why campaign measurement matters. It gives you the full scope of your campaign performance. Know where you’re moving the needle and where your campaign may have fallen short.
With this information in hand, you can optimize your future campaigns to reach your goals faster and better with every attempt.
There’s also the matter of optimizing your budget alongside your campaign results. As the famous John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is, I don’t know which half.” When you take time to measure your campaign performance, you have a better idea of where your money was well spent and what might have been a waste.
For example, you might have found that your owned media outperformed your paid media, or vice versa. Or, you might have gotten significantly more traffic from TikTok than Facebook. You never know unless you check!
Challenges of Measuring Campaign Performance
Struggling to measure campaign performance? You’re not alone: 84% of marketing professionals feel pressured to prove ROI (and struggle to do so). What’s more 61% of marketers say they don’t consider ROI when making strategic decisions because they’re not confident in their own data.
There are a few reasons why this may be:
You Have Too Much Data
We’re living in the era of data-driven everything. There are more bits of data than there are stars in the universe! Experts predict that we’ll be generating 463 exabytes every day – that’s more than 212 million DVD’s worth of data.
Marketers are no strangers when it comes to data. Data helps us learn more about customers and helps us measure campaign performance. But there can be too much of a good thing. Too much data can become unwieldy. It’s harder to find the diamonds where there’s too much “rough.”
If you’re struggling to make sense of your marketing campaigns, you might have a data problem. Getting specific on what data matters and what data you can tune out will be key to your success.
You’re Looking at the Wrong Metrics
Just like having too much data to manage, you might also have the wrong data in hand. You might be putting too much emphasis on vanity metrics when you should be looking at month-over-month or year-over-year growth, for example.
Again, you can remedy this problem when you get specific about the data you need and don’t need.
You Don’t Have Real-Time Data
In the past, measuring campaign performance meant waiting for a marketing campaign to end, then collecting data and turning them into insights. It was a lagging process that gave you hindsight, ideally before it’s time to start the next campaign.
Today, we have real-time tools that can give us up-to-the-minute looks at how a campaign is performing. This not only makes it easier to manage your campaigns and gauge their success, but also allows you to make adjustments before the campaign ends.
You Didn’t Set Specific Campaign Goals
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. But you also can’t measure what you can’t define. To combat this, you need a specific measurement plan.
Every good marketing campaign should start with a clear, specific goal. What exactly do you want to get out of it? What does success look like?
When you start with the end in mind, you can choose the right KPIs to measure your campaign and see how successful you were.
If you don’t have campaign goals, you’re going to struggle to measure its performance.
You Don’t Have a Good Tracking System
Google Analytics or other campaign measurement systems can only take you so far. You also need to be able to use those tools to their potential.
Know what you’re looking for when combing through your analytics. Make sure your tools and systems are set up to capture the data that matters to you. If they’re not, campaign measurement just got harder.
You’re Unsure How to Turn Data into Actionable Insights
Collecting data is a big part of measuring campaign success. But marketers need to take this a step further by turning data into insights.
Data by itself isn’t enough to help you see whether you reached your campaign goals. You also need to know what that data means – particularly what it means to your business or brand.
Cross-Channel Campaigns Create Data Siloes
Multi-channel digital campaigns are inherently harder to measure. In addition to creating campaign content that works for each channel (e.g, email, PPC, social media, etc.), you also have to keep track of how your campaign is performing on each one.
Integrating data from various channels can prove challenging enough. Many marketing professionals use a variety of data tools to facilitate this, but proliferation can quickly make even a single campaign become cumbersome.
You’re Choosing the Wrong Measurement Approach
There’s more than one way to measure the success of a campaign. There’s a direct way, where you compare your campaign results to your KPIs and benchmark data. You can also compare two or more campaigns to see which one performed best.
Ideally, you’ll take several different approaches to measure your campaign’s success. This gives you a more comprehensive look at your efforts so you can connect more dots and see where you made the biggest impact.
Campaign Measurement Metrics for Success
Ultimately, you measure your campaigns to prove your success. But before you can do this, you need to define what “success” looks like. It’s a vague term that might have different definitions depending on who you ask.
Let’s look at some of the key performance indicators and metrics that can help you measure campaign effectiveness:
- Website Traffic: The temporary increase in website traffic as a direct result of a marketing campaign. Marketers should be able to track where traffic is coming from to see which source(s) are generating the most leads and conversions.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): A measurement of how many people clicked on a call-to-action compared to the total number of people that viewed your content.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who visited your website or landing page but did not take further action. If your bounce is or close to 100%, you may need to adjust your content or CTA to improve conversions.
- Channel Attribution: Refers to the source(s) that is/are creating the most and highest-qualified leads.
- Conversion Rate: The percentage of people that took action on an offer or call-to-action compared to the total number of people that viewed your content. A conversion could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, scheduling a demo, or some other action.
- On-Page Time: The average number of minutes a user spends on a web page viewing your offer. Also called session duration, higher on-page times can indicate greater campaign success.
- Cost Per Lead (CPL): The average cost to bring in one lead from a specific marketing channel. These costs can be broken down by channel (e.g, the cost per lead from Facebook vs the cost per lead from Google, etc.)
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): The average cost to acquire one paying customer. This cost adds context to the impact of your efforts based on the total cost of the campaign.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The running total of revenue that a customer has contributed to your organization, as well as the expected revenue they will bring to your brand over the entire customer lifecycle. You might also choose to measure retention rates to better anticipate a customer's future value.
- Exit Rate: A measurement that shows exactly where a user leaves your website. This is different from bounce rate because it illustrates where a user may have lost interest, even if they viewed more than one page.
- Search Rankings: The change in position in rankings for specific keywords, as well as the number of keywords you rank for.
- Number of Backlinks: The number of new backlinks from third parties earned as a direct result of a marketing campaign. Backlinks can also provide a source of referral traffic.
- Domain Authority: A change in your website’s domain authority (on a scale of 1 to 100), which typically increases as a website earns backlinks.
- Social Media Metrics: KPIs that are measured through various social media analytics. These may include:
- Reach: How many users came across your social channels
- Impressions: The number of users that were shown your content (usually in the timeline or feed)
- Audience Growth: The number of new users you acquire in a specific time period
- Share of Voice: The number of your brand mentions compared to the number of mentions for competing brands
- Shares: The number of times users shared your content
- Likes: the number of times users “Liked” your content
- Comments: The number of comments your content receives
- Cost per click: The amount of money you pay to the social media platform each time someone clicks your ad
How Do You Build a Campaign Measurement Framework?
Many marketers find campaign measurement more manageable with a framework. This framework gives you a solid, repeatable process to review your data and KPIs to understand your campaign outcomes.
But how do you go about creating a campaign measurement framework?
Your framework will be unique to your content strategy. Use these general steps and best practices to help you create it:
Define Your Campaign Goals
Your goals will set the tone for the rest of your campaign measurement. Do you want to grow your target audience on social media? Increase signups for a webinar? Grow your email list? Generate immediate one-off sales?
Each of these goals has very different KPIs that will tell you whether your digital marketing campaign was successful.
Select the Right KPIs to Measure Your Marketing Success
Once you choose your goals, you can determine which KPIs give you the best picture of digital marketing success.
Using our own list of marketing measurement ideas, things like cost per lead, cost per acquisition, and channel attribution make sense for just about any campaign.
Additionally, you’ll choose KPIs that are specific to each campaign.
For instance, if you’re trying to grow your email list, you can look at the number of subscribers before and after your campaign. The same goes for your social media audience. For direct sales, bookings, or downloads, KPIs like on-page time, bounce rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate will carry a lot of weight.
As you’re building your framework, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the KPIs you’ll need for any given type of campaign. This way, you’ll have a ready-made list and won’t need to start this process from scratch each time.
Include Technology to Collect the Right Data
Campaign performance measurement is easier with the right tools and data sources.
With social media campaigns, you have the benefit of built-in analytics that are specific to those platforms.
Google Analytics can also help you track referral sources and campaign performance. Get both granular and high-level insights into what's happening in every campaign.
In addition, you might want to include third-party tools that monitor your social media presence, media mentions, and brand reputation. Each of these can indicate campaign effectiveness, as a campaign might cause more people to talk about your brand online. If a campaign performs well, your brand reputation is likely to grow, too.
Decide How to Measure Your Campaign
Last but not least, you need a process to help you measure your campaign outcomes. Looking at target KPIs is a given. You might also compare campaigns to similar campaigns you ran in the past. Track your progress to see if you’re increasing your wins over time (ideally, you are!). You might also invest in customer feedback surveys to learn more about what they liked or didn’t like about a recent campaign.
Then, wrap up your findings in a summary and report. You can refer back to this report as you continue to launch and measure campaigns for easy side-by-side comparison.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Campaign: 3 Ways
Measuring campaign performance can take several forms. Digital marketing experts should explore their options to see what makes the most sense, given the nature of each campaign. Let’s look at three possible paths to measuring campaign effectiveness:
Compare Campaign Outcomes to Benchmark Data
KPIs and benchmark data will be your best friends when it comes to learning how to measure campaign performance. This gives you something specific to measure against and recognize whether you met your goals.
One approach is to use your own benchmark data from past campaigns. This gives you a baseline so you can see whether your outcomes aligned with the “average”.
Another approach is to use industry benchmark data. This includes data from competitors. Platforms like Linkfluence can help you conduct a competitive analysis to see whether your campaigns are performing better, worse, or the same as your competition.
Conduct an A/B Test
Another way to learn how to measure a campaign is to create two versions of the same campaign and see which one performs better. This is called an A/B test, where you have two almost identical campaigns with one small change between them. This might be a change in the image you use on social media, different colors in your creative, or different headlines or CTAs, for example.
The goal is to figure out which of those two elements is stronger. If a significantly larger number of people are responding to one versus the other, you’ll have no doubt as to what your target audience prefers.
Create a Control Group
There’s always the possibility that some of your customers that took action during a campaign would have done so outside of the campaign. This is good to know since it means you essentially paid to acquire a customer that could have possibly been acquired for free (or cheap).
To figure out how much influence your campaign had over your audience, divide your campaign into two groups.
With one group, run your full marketing campaign. With the other group, run a scaled-down version of the campaign (or leave the campaign out altogether). This can be a great way to find out how much of an impact your marketing has on driving people to action.
Campaign Performance Measurement: Next Steps
Finding how to measure campaign effectiveness can be quite the undertaking, but it’s a step you won’t want to skip. This is your chance to really understand what made your campaign tick and why people loved it (or didn’t).
As much effort as it takes to launch and measure a campaign, your work still isn’t done. All the insights you gain from a campaign are useless unless you plan to act on them. Put that information to good use by tweaking your future campaigns based on what you learn. Make it a goal to do better every time so that success will eventually come naturally.
As you practice, you’ll start spending less time figuring out how to measure the impact of a campaign and more time on the things that make a difference.
Linkfluence can help, too! Get a demo of our Campaign Measurement Suite and discover how to take every campaign to new heights!