Are your ad campaigns worth the money?
On the face of it, it seems fairly straightforward to set up an advert. How many times has Facebook asked you if you want to boost a post for example? I bet it seems like a million. Creating social media posts can be simple if that’s something you enjoy, and even Google makes it seem easy to create Google Ad accounts. Do these marketing tactics work though and how do you tell?
How many of you say…
“I’m doing [x marketing tactic] but I don’t know if it’s really worth the money i’m putting in”?
And if you’re not asking yourself this question, then you should be. But the trouble is, how do you know if your marketing spend is worth it? The answer is in proper conversion tracking.
When I embark on any marketing campaign, I ask my client “How do you measure success?” and I tend to get the following answers;
- I don’t know
- Hopefully the phone will just start ringing off the hook so i’ll know
- Business will just “get busier”
Seems a bit vague right? Whilst you might be able to measure how many times the phone rings or how many customers you see a day, attributing these directly to your ad spend isn’t a clear path. This means you’re no closer to knowing if you got back the money you put in & you’re just hoping it worked.
So how do we track conversions from digital ad campaigns (properly!)?
To start tracking anything at all, you’ll want to install Google Analytics on your website. This comes as standard with any website project we build. It’s an easy job to do but if you get stuck, or are unsure if you have it ask me and I’ll pop it on there for you.
Once that’s done, ask yourself what a conversion is for your business. It could be one of the following;
- A phone call
- A contact form submission
- A purchase on your website
- A sign up to your newsletter
- More visits to your premises
- More website traffic
- The list goes on….
After you’ve identified what a conversion is, you can monitor these actions through website tracking methods. Here’s what they are and how you can use them.
Introducing the holy grail of website tracking, Google Tag Manager.
Google Tag Manager (or GTM for short), places a piece of code on your website which allows you to track user events and actions in more depth. These conversion actions can be sent through for you to see in your Google Analytics account. You can also set up combinations of events if you want to. This means you can attribute any one of your conversion actions to any one of your individual marketing efforts. It’s not that simple to set up, but it’s AWESOME and totally worth it if you really want to see your ROI.
Tracking Facebook Ads
To track your facebook ads, you’ll need to install a Facebook pixel on your website. This allows any activity which happens on your website to be attributed to your Facebook Ads campaign. If you run an e-commerce store, then you can even see how many people have completed the check out from your ad. We’ve found that using the Facebook pixel to create remarketing campaigns has a great success rate for our ecommerce clients.
Tracking Google Ads
There are multiple ways you can and should be using conversion tracking in Google Ads, these include
- Use a Google phone number – this can be set up in your ads account and changes the phone number website visitors see if they click on your Google Ad. This means, if they called that number (and not the usual one) then it knows it was a Google Ads conversion.
- Use Google Tag Manager – Common things to track include, phone call tracking, newsletter sign ups and contact form submissions. For example, using GTM you can track “Phone calls, but only if they click on an ad first”.
- Create Call Only Ads or use the Call Extension – this allows users to click on the phone number straight from your ad, to your business. Google then knows this was attributed to your ad.
I use Google Tag Manager for all my Google Ad accounts, it’s a really powerful tool which really helps you to follow the user-flow from ad to website to conversion.
Tracking Organic Social Media
This one is tough so you’ll need to set expectations about what you want to see. Social media is a great tool for brand awareness, creating brand loyalty & communicating with your customers on a personal level. The route to conversion through organic posting can be long or invisible.
You can use Google Tag Manager to track the various actions you’re hoping your followers might take.
Another way to find out if your social media is working is to measure engagement. Not follower count, ENGAGEMENT. So to spell it out even clearer, that’s when somebody writes on your post, directly talks to you because of something they’ve seen or shares your post for example. Why not follower count? Well, you can purchase followers so really, it’s a vanity metric. Also, who cares if you’ve got 10k followers on Instagram if 0 purchase your product. It’s better to have 20 really happy, engaged, regularly purchasing followers than 10k fake followers who never buy a thing.
Tracking SEO campaigns
You can see how many website visitors your website is receiving in Google Analytics over a period of time, but this isn’t always the full picture. Taking a reality check, as a client, you probably aren’t interested in reviewing that complex and confusing data yourself regularly either. You are entitled to ask for reports on any SEO work you have done on your website. If someone is “doing SEO” for you, then you should know what it is and track whether it’s working. Most professional SEO tools allow you to export full reports which as a customer you should be receiving (even if you don’t read it!).
Ask your customers
And finally, ask your customers, don’t be shy! Ask your customers how they found out about you and what made them purchase. The better you know your customer, the better. Digital conversion tracking is a great help, but many customers like the offline experience. Your end of campaign report should take into consideration the offline conversions because it takes on average 8 “touchpoints” (aka, times the customer has seen you/your business) to convert. It is very likely that a customer saw one of your digital ads but then decided to physically visit you to complete the final conversion action.
So is your digital marketing strategy working? Is your ad spend worth it? If you don’t know, try some of these tracking methods. If you need help setting up conversion tracking, get in touch, we’ll be happy to help!