Clients frequently ask me how we should interpret the results of a campaign. Of course, the answer to this question depends on the goals of your specific campaign and your industry. The same campaign can look very different when measured against financial return, click volume, lead or conversion volume, etc.
Whichever metrics you use to evaluate your campaign, it is crucial to implement some sort of detailed tracking tool. Yes, implementing and interpreting this tracking data can seem daunting, but tools like Google Analytics have made it a lot easier to track. In this post I will mostly reference Google Analytics because it’s the most widely adopted analytics tool, but the same results can be achieved using other tools like Omniture.
Regardless of your tool, you will need to properly code your advertising links to track individual campaign details. Unless you’re running a Google Adwords campaign, which integrates very nicely with Google Analytics, you can use the Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) tracking system, which can provide incredibly accurate measurements of unique visitors and visitor behavior like frequency of use, click paths, and return loyalty.
I recommend tracking everything possible, including ad variations, traffic source details, etc. It can be surprising how much data is needed to perform rigorous campaign optimization. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to track everything in Google Analytics – just use their URL builder to construct your URL.
When running a new campaign, it’s important for a team to clearly define how they will measure success before the campaign launches.
To make sure you’re properly conveying data to your team:
- Define the metrics you’re going to track
- Take baseline metrics before you start
- Define potential outcomes
- Think through the impact on the metrics in each of the potential outcomes
- Gain agreement from your team on how you’ll interpret campaign results
- Run the test
- Measure the results
- Interpret the results
- Convey campaign results to your team
Thinking through the potential outcomes of the campaign and deciding whether your current framework for measuring success is appropriate is an essential step of each and every campaign. With proper campaign tracking and agreement from your team on how you’ll interpret results, you’ll be able to deliver truthful and accurate campaign results to your company.