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11 Things to Measure Besides Clicks and Conversions

  |  August 18, 2009   |  Comments

Online branding doesn't just drive impressions. Eleven metrics for measuring brand engagement.

Here we are in the midst of a true digital revolution. Dollars are being slashed from traditional ad budgets, and anemic online ad budgets are growing in proportion with the total spend. The new media economy is turning the old on its head, and marketers are looking for new ways to measure the impact of their investments. As a result, many online marketers are still enjoying days in the sun despite all the doom and gloom. The prospects get better if you look down the road to when overall media budgets start to grow again.

Even better is that branding dollars are moving online at an unprecedented rate. And why not? Online branding doesn't just drive impressions. If done properly, it encourages high-value brand engagements. And these engagement open the door to a new world of measurement possibilities that go way beyond clicks and conversions. These new metrics also have far more immediacy than awareness studies and traditional brand measurement methodologies.

Today I'll share a list of high-value brand interactions that can be measured and reported. These items are often overlooked metrics that can be shared with your clients, who are more anxious than ever to show value and ROI (define) from their advertising investments.

  • Video views. Get people to watch an entertaining branded short, quick sales presentation, educational content, or even an ad.

  • Newsletter and e-mail opt-in. The most overlooked and underappreciated metric of them all. Opt-in e-mails are the gift that keeps on giving. No marketer who has a big e-mail list will deny that it's the most valuable asset he has in his online marketing arsenal.

  • Material downloads. The Web can be the ultimate way to hand out flyers, coupons, white papers, anything you want to get into people hands. Yet the tendency is to make people fill out a form to get the item. Try removing the form and letting the material flow! Encourage people to download, print, and share, and measure the results.

  • Page views per visit. Try landing people on an engaging page that funnels them through a messaging sequence that builds your brand and escalates sales. Measure the results and optimize on the path that gets people to the end of the sequence. Also, measure the lift in total page views of your site's high-value product pages. Did the pages that educate consumers about your products go up?

  • Reverse IP lookup. This is the most overlooked metric in business-to-business. Let's say you drive 100 clicks from a source like Google AdWords and only 5 percent convert. Typically, marketers apply zero value to the 95 clicks that didn't convert into a form complete or lead. Use reverse IP lookup to show them the companies that took the time to visit the site, and suddenly the value of those nonconverting clicks will go through the roof.

  • Phone calls. OK, these are conversions but very often they aren't being measured. We apply very complex technology to measure everything online, yet rarely is that level of sophistication applied to inbound calls. Try dynamically publishing the phone numbers on your site and landing pages by source and apply the incoming calls to your online campaign's ROI. We have clients who more than double their online ROI by simply tracking the source of their incoming calls.

  • Social and viral sharing. Turn one click into many impressions and more traffic. Socially enable your ads and content with strong chiclet-based calls to action. If even a fraction of your traffic engages in these activities, your efforts will pay huge dividends.

  • Social connections. I've heard metrics putting the value of a Twitter follower or Facebook fan as low as $2 and as high as $10. I would put that value at the higher end of the spectrum. Incorporate friend and follower calls to action into your campaign and then measure their lift!

  • Return visits. This is an easy one! A visit to a site is good, but a return visit is better. It shows a high level of interest, and of course many conversions happen long after the first visit. What percentage of the visitors you drove to a site come back?

  • Comments, content, and opinions. Have you run a poll asking people about their tastes or opinions? Have you run testimonial content? Asked people for a story, a photo of themselves with your product, or a product review? Not only are these great high-value brand engagements, but they also create very precious content you can use in your search engine optimization and other marketing initiatives. Ask people to engage with your brand and add their content to your site. You may be surprised at how many people say yes.

  • Direct sales escalation. Are you driving clicks to bricks? Measure the things that drive people into your client's stores and into your reps' and resellers' arms. Actions like store locator queries and rep searches should always be measured and are clear indicators that a future purchase may be imminent.

There are many more interesting success indicators that could be measured, which I'll list in a follow-up article. In the mean time, please feel free add in the comments section below any you think should be included.

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Harry Gold

As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.

Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.

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