By Travis Biechele, Director of Digital Media
April 10, 2017
In a previous blog post, we reviewed our process for planning paid social media campaigns and how to care for them along the way. Check out the post for:
- Key questions to ask before you discuss tactics
- Defining budgets with confidence
- Setting realistic campaign goals
- Nurturing a campaign throughout its lifetime
A critical part of #3 is pairing marketing goals with appropriate media key performance indicators (KPIs). Each campaign should have a singular KPI. It’s one of those you-can’t-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situations. For example, if the goal is to collect email addresses from Facebook or Twitter lead gen ads, don’t hold the team accountable for engagement rate or CTR. If the goal is to build awareness, then run a brand lift or consumer attitude survey before and after media runs. Looking to site traffic, for example, is not an appropriate way to measure brand awareness lift.
As you match goals with KPIs, securing buy-in from all stakeholders—social media managers, key client contacts and decisions makers and agency leads—helps avoid surprises along the ways. The campaign will have a clear path, and everyone will judge success by the same criteria.
Here are some frequently asked questions we hear from clients when analyzing campaign success:
Which of my ads performed best?
Two common presumptions of success are volume and efficiency. For example, “Ad A” earned 2,000 new followers. Or “Video B” had a completion rate of 42%. A more appropriate way to look at success is cost-efficiency against the campaign goal, aka cost-per-KPI. Looking at a given ad’s (or campaign’s) ability to earn a desired action at a lower/target cost is a better way to manage budgets of any size.
Are these results good or bad…or just normal? (Show me the money context!)
We hear this a lot, and we understand why. Most people are not “in” a campaign every day, reviewing and optimizing. Therefore, they do not have a frame of reference for evaluating results. To answer this question, we say, “The best benchmarks are your own.” And we mean that. Industry benchmarks are less reliable because they do not account for your specific targeting, budget, or geography. With past performance in hand, you have a starting point for Month 1. Moving beyond, use the past month’s or campaign-to-date data to evaluate success.
Why isn’t this working? Why am I seeing declining performance?
Every client should feel comfortable asking this of their agency or internal team. Every agency or internal team should answer without excuses or I-dunnos. Identify the cause and develop an action plan.
- Is the paid search CTR low? Perhaps your keywords and ad copy is out of alignment with user search intent.
- Is your Facebook brand awareness campaign under-pacing? Check your audience size. Perhaps you have exhausted your pool of targetable users.
- Are you earning fewer and fewer visits from Instagram ads? Perhaps you have been in market too long and the campaign is experiencing ad fatigue.
What are my competitors doing? How do I stack up?
This is a tough one to answer. Most companies/brands do not volunteer their media plans or performance results. There are some subscription services that can provide insights into competitor activity, but these are often incomplete for the reason we just mentioned. Rather than keeping up with the neighbors, focus on reaching or exceed your own campaign goals. By design, these should hold potential for growth through sales, community size, or specific on-site actions. Sure, keep tabs on the competition, but celebrate as a team when you reach your defined, campaign goals.
Like what you see or have specific questions? Let us know! Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.