Metrics for Merriment

It’s official. The 2011 holiday season is upon us. For most of us marketers that means it’s crunch time (even more so than the rest of the year) and we really have to step up our PPC management. For many of my clients this is when they do the majority of their business and therefore spend a larger portion of their marketing budgets. Before you start throwing money at your advertising this year, consider the following questions (your CEO will thank you!):

1.What does success look like and how are you measuring it?
2.Where is the opportunity for growth/return on increased spend?
3.What is the (projected) impact of each of your marketing investments?


Know What to Measure

What does success look like? Or, more importantly, what does success look like to your CFO/CEO. While you think that the 0.5% increase in the CTR of your latest content campaign is super impressive, this is probably less impressive to people who are interested in what kind of revenue you generated.

There is really no magic bullet in terms of what your important metrics are going to be. They will be different for every company. It could be time on site or another engagement metric for a company that is doing a lot of branding, or average order value and return on marketing spend for an etailer. Either way, clearly define what your metrics are, how they will be measured and how they ultimately impact your business before trying to measure the potential impact of increasing budgets.


Where is Your Opportunity

Now that you know what your metrics are, you need to decide where the low hanging fruit is. When I started doing online marketing I focused only on paid search advertising. Now, many of my clients have multiple online channels that include not only search but content, display, social, affiliates and even the ability to link online promotions to in-store purchases. In other words, as much as I think it is all about paid search, it really isn’t. And for some, paid isn’t even where they see the best ROI or room for improvement
(according to the metrics they are using).


Focus on Results, Not Spending

As mentioned above, some of my clients are actually planning on reducing (or at least not increasing) their spend in paid search this holiday season. Why? Because they haven’t seen any appreciable gains from jumping into the fray and paying more. Instead, they’re only seeing enough new traffic to break even. However, their other channels see much greater returns during the holidays, so logically that is where they plan to focus their efforts as that is where they will see the greatest results.

While this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Q4 forecasting and overall strategy, by running through these questions and having concrete answers, you should eliminate a lot of the anxiety that your higher ups will have about increasing your budget. So now it’s time to take some action. Go, be fruitful and multiply your marketing returns this holiday season without fear of reprisal or doubt about your projections.

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