July 30, 2011 ↘︎

5 simple steps to make it count.

I’m still generally stunned that companies find thinking about measurement so difficult, and tend to either leave it to the last minute, or have nothing in place to effectively determine the success of something, and as a consequence have no method to improve on the ROI.

As marketers in a digital age, we’re far more fortunate than our offline counterparts in that we have, at our disposal, a multitude of tools, that allow us to measure success and further optimize the user experience.

The general approach to measurement seems uncoordinated and to many, it’s in the too hard basket.

It’s not difficult though and there are 5 simple steps that you can use to put in place a focused measurement plan.

These 5 steps work at the micro and macro level, at the campaign or the site level, and they also work at the channel level too.

1) Define your business objectives.

You’ve probably already done this. This is the reason that the “thing” exists. This is the reason you’re in business. It might be to sell products, or generate leads. The key here is to keep it simple and definable in less than 5 words.

And you might actually have multiple objectives…that’s ok too. For each objective, you’ll need to answer each of the other 4 steps.

Example: Generate leads

Example: Create awareness

2) Define your goals.

Goals are the outcomes we want to achieve. Again, these should be easy to define.  These are typically the specific strategies that you’ll leverage to achieve your business objectives.

Example: Capture leads through a form

Having multiple multiple goals per objective is pretty common too; just ensure that each goal has KPIs, targets and segments attached to it.

3) Define your KPIs.

This one should be easy. Key Performance Indicators are the name of the “thing” that will be used to measure success. It could be revenue, it could be number of visitors, it could be engagement. And it’s likely to be more than one item.

Example: Number of new leads and conversion rate

Example: Amount of content viewed per visit

4) Define your Targets.

You might well be handed this one (and if you are, you still need to know that you can achieve it, so don’t just accept it).

Example: 1,000 new leads per month with a 5% conversion rate

Example: 5 pages viewed per visit

5) Define your Segments.

A lot of people struggle at this one, but these can be as simple or as complicated as you like, and as a result, many people don’t actually do this.

Generally, you’ll start with channels, such as email, display, mobile, social, organic search, paid search etc., which you’ve already partially defined in your targets.

You might also segment by customer type if you’re re-marketing. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of ways to segment, and each segment will have a different target and a different cost associated to it.

Example: 500 leads from Organic Search, 500 from paid search

Today you must segment your traffic to gain any sort of insight.  No segments, no point.  Might as well wrap it up, hand in your keys, take your mug and go home.  Segment everything.  It’s the only way you’ll get value from your analytics.

So, through this plan, what have you achieved?


You can clearly communicate how you’re doing on a frequent basis.  You can clearly identify what is expected from your agency (if they’re part of this).  You don’t get caught up in all of the other metrics available to you.  You get focused.

And, you get to tweak things if they’re not quite performing to plan.  You get to use the other metrics available to you to figure out where things are different, and more importantly, why they’re different.

For example, you get to look at form completion rates by different segments, time of day, day of week, new vs. repeat and so forth.  You get to look at how many bits of content people consume before they become a lead, or buy something.  You get to look at the 3-5% of people that do convert and understand their behaviours that led them to convert, so you can try to influence the 95-97% that don’t convert.

Do me a favour.  Figure out for yourself what an increase of 1% in conversions means to your business, either in sales volume or revenue, over 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.  Do the math.

Now tell me it’s not worth having a measurement plan, even one as simple as the above.

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