Measuring marketing campaign performance is one of the most important aspects of the marketing professional’s job. However, metrics used to measure how successful we are don’t always tell the entire story. Sometimes we rely on metrics that make our marketing campaign performance look really good, but the truth is they are nothing but vanity metrics. Promoting numbers that give the illusion of effectiveness leads to a superficial analysis. Instead of focusing on numbers easily skewed by fraud, we should turn our attention to marketing performance metrics that give us a true picture of our campaign’s successes ... or struggles.
Finding the Right Angle
Fraud is rampant; Adobe estimates that upwards of 28 percent of online traffic is generated by fraudulent activity. Now apply that math to how you are measuring your marketing campaign performance. Are you looking at metrics like viewability and website traffic numbers? If so, you are likely counting quite a bit of fake activity in your totals. Do you trust bounce rates? Efforts spent there are a waste of time and money if you aren’t pulling in the right audience to begin with.
Even metrics that people see as marketing campaign performance cornerstones can be subject to watered-down statistics. Think about how easily a bot can fill out hundreds or thousands of lead generation forms, or how easily a human fraud farm can conduct illicit e-commerce transactions with stolen or falsified payment information. Your marketing team should consider all of these angles when analyzing campaign performance to better understand if and how to modify your strategy.
But not all metrics tell the wrong story. Metrics that measure true marketing performance can help you really look into what works and what doesn’t.
Metrics That Help Your Marketing Campaign Performance
Avoiding meaningless marketing metrics isn’t as easy as it looks. It is often hard to move away from them because vanity metrics are easy to massage to tell the story we want. We can say we’re getting our message in front of more people with through-the-roof viewability statistics. We can boast about generating hundreds of new leads and talk about the great numbers we’re seeing. However, if we don’t measure performance on our ability to drive actual business, then the entire company fails.
Metrics that matter show how much growth your marketing efforts are bringing to the business. Relying on these to measure performance means that when the numbers are in the right spot, the business as a whole will see results.
Just what are some of these metrics? Below are four that you can get started measuring right away to get a true picture of your marketing campaign performance.
These are important for evaluating growth markers like the number of leads generated or downloads of a white paper. However, not all conversions are created equal. Sometimes criminals make purchases with stolen payment information to commit outright theft or even affiliate fraud. This usually results in a chargeback to the business, so not only do you lose the sale but you are also hit with chargeback fees. Make sure to measure true, validated conversions to understand your audience’s actions.
Return on marketing investment
Everyone in marketing should be measuring this one. As a business, how much money do you make for each marketing initiative? For example, when you run an ad campaign you should know how much you are spending and how much new, qualified business you are bringing in as a result.
Just about every business has some type of revenue goal for each quarter. Tie metrics into this revenue goal so that you can find opportunities for collaboration with other departments in your company.
Bringing new customers into your business should be the fundamental goal of any marketing team. Measuring how successful you are at this task is one way to make your team stand out as a success.
Make Metrics Matter
Fraud surrounding click rates, viewability, and other vanity metrics are often talked about and easy to spot. However, even some of the higher-quality metrics that measure what really matters are subject to illicit traffic. For example, imagine a new pay-per click ad campaign. Let’s say you have moved past the vanity metrics and want to compare the return on investment (ROI) between two different ads, Ad A and Ad B. An easy A/B comparison test should tell you how much each click costs and how much actual money is spent by customers driven from each ad.
What happens if Ad A is targeted by a botnet or a human fraud farm? You register thousands of illicit clicks as a result. These fraudulent actions obviously result in no revenue or actual conversions.
Now the return you get from Ad A may not look as good as the return from Ad B. As a result, you launch Ad B. However, if you take a closer look and remove the fraudulent clicks from your data set, you might find that Ad A is actually more successful. Not only could you lose money due to click fraud, but you could lose money because you looked at skewed data and made the wrong choice.
Protect Your Metrics with an Ad Fraud Solution
Once you are measuring the right metrics, make sure to protect your business with a solid ad fraud solution. Relying on software that pulls from hundreds of data points to block illicit activity while avoiding false negatives not only protects your business from criminal activity, but it helps preserve the integrity of your marketing campaign performance metrics.
Not all ad fraud solutions are up to the task. They need to do more than just block fraudulent clicks. You need a solution that detects traffic generated by botnets and human fraud alike. In order to ensure that you are truly protecting your business and not just creating a false sense of security, you need to turn to a trusted partner.
Since 2005, Anura has provided marketing professionals with peace of mind when it comes to preventing fraud. Because they are advertisers themselves, the team at Anura knows how to help keep malicious activity away from your campaigns while still making sure legitimate transactions are allowed to happen. Set up a demo today to see how Anura can make sure your metrics are measuring true performance and not allowing fraud to pollute your data.