A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Interpreting Metrics for Content Marketing Success

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We recommend that all our clients install and monitor Google Analytics or a similar analytics tool. There’s simply no substitute for the knowledge you’ll gain monitoring what is and is not working on your website, and no better way to get the most out of your investment.

But there’s a danger in over-simplifying that data. Open rates and clicks by themselves don’t tell the whole story.

It certainly makes sense to measure any effort’s direct effect, whether it’s an email marketing campaign, a series of blog posts, or a new set of landing pages, there can be significant secondary effect that we might attribute to the campaign.

So if the only thing you’ve changed (more on that idea in a second) in your marketing is the addition of new product landing pages on your ecommerce site, and phone sales have picked up far more than online sales, you might dismiss the landing pages’ effectiveness.

You’d potentially be wrong. The landing pages may be the reason your phone sales have picked up. (You’re driving more traffic, doing a better job of laying out the value of your offer, but maybe your ecommerce shopping cart is poorly done, driving people to the phones.)

I would caution swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction, though. The idea that you’d changed nothing but the landing pages is absurd. Even if you’ve done nothing different, all the work you’ve been doing has been out there that much longer, with that much more opportunity for seeds planted previously to sprout.

So, as measurable as online marketing can be, it can also fall somewhere between brand building exercises and direct-action campaigns. Be sure to evaluate on the appropriate terms and, most importantly, evaluate all marketing – online and off – from a global perspective. The pieces are all working together, and they’ll influence each other in ways you might not expect or immediately recognize if you don’t dig deeper into your analytics.

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