Pablo Picasso was right when he said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success” (1). In the high stakes of digital marketing, setting goals is a must—especially when it comes to social media and mobile marketing campaigns. Creating campaign goals, marketers can move backward through the sales funnel to set up a plan that includes objectives at the social media and mobile levels and utilizes the proper key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success. Marketers can justify the cost of social and mobile campaigns by calculating an accurate return on investment (ROI). So what are the best practices when setting up digital marketing KPIs and goals? What other benefits are there to setting goals and proper KPIs?
First, you must clearly define your goals. Your goals could range from increasing overall brand awareness to increasing actual sales, from building better trust with your customers to increasing conversions from social to your website, and many more (2). Whatever the goal, make sure that it’s clearly defined based on what you are trying to accomplish through the use of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) objectives and realistic timelines. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If your company is currently using KPIs, try to frame your goals around them so it’s easier for everyone to follow. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, how much reach, impressions, and engagement with your social media do you need in order to make that a reality? If your goal is to increase conversions from social media to your mobile website, how many more click-throughs would accomplish that? Try setting up a 5-year business goal from which your company can work backward to set up a year-to-year target (3).
The next step in the process is to examine historical data and conversion rates and work backward from your overall goal to determine KPIs at each part of the marketing funnel. Historical KPIs can help you accurately forecast future demand and help you understand the amount of effort and or funding you’ll needed to accomplish your overall goal (4). If your overall goal is to increase online memberships by 50 people, start by determining the conversion rates of people visiting your website that become members. Likewise, what are the historical click-through conversion rates from social channels that actually visit the website? What are the conversion rates of impressions and engagements—what amount of reach the would be needed to achieve the click-through rate you desire? If this is your company’s first time using KPIs, you can use a resource like klipfolio.com to look up typical conversion rates, to set up your own KPIs, and to track how successful your company’s effort is compared to general conversion rates. Remember to choose the lower of the conversion rates if there is a range listed, as it will help you set more realistic KPIs. If your conversion rates end up higher than typical conversion rates, your additional efforts should lead to more success on your ultimate goals.
Finally, once you have set your ultimate goals and your KPIs, start monitoring your efforts. As a company, you should review your KPIs based on how often performance data are collected or changed (5). So if you collect or change data on a weekly basis, you should also be monitoring your KPIs on a weekly basis. If data collection occurs every two weeks, you should review KPIs every two weeks. It is best practice to monitor your KPIs as much as possible and in short iterations so you can adjust your campaign efforts as needed. This will help your company avoid falling behind certain KPIs in the marketing funnels, keep better track of conversion rates, and figure out which messages you are delivering that best resonate with your target customers. In turn, you’ll become a more efficient company when it comes to digital marketing.
Ultimately, social and mobile marketing campaign efforts can end up largely ineffectual without the proper legwork on your end. By establishing a challenging ultimate goal toward which your business can work backward, setting up crucial KPIs along the marketing funnel, and monitoring your efforts diligently, you’ll put yourself and your company in a position to thrive. More importantly, if you as a marketer setup clearly defined objectives, it will help you sell your social and mobile campaigns to VPs and Executives. These same executives might be wondering what exactly they are paying and the return on investment they will see.
These are some of the best practices in setting up your overall goal and how to determine your own KPIs. What are your current experiences with KPIs? What are some of your best practices when it comes to determining KPIs? What kind of successes have you had with achieving your overall goal through the use of KPIs?
(1) Sweatt, Lydia. “18 Motivational Quotes About Successful Goal Setting.” Success.com, 29 Dec. 2016, www.success.com/18-motivational-quotes-about-successful-goal-setting/.
(2) Chaffey, Dave. “Setting Goals for Your Digital Marketing.” Smart Insights, 25 Oct. 2019, www.smartinsights.com/goal-setting-evaluation/goals-kpis/goals-for-your-digital-marketing/.
(3) Native, Ted JacksonCo-Founder & Alabama. “How To Set KPI Targets: 9 Steps To Drive Results.” ClearPoint Strategy, 18 Sept. 2019, www.clearpointstrategy.com/how-to-set-kpi-targets/.
(4) Avital, Orit. “An Introduction to Contact Centre KPIs and KPAs.” Call Centre Helper, 18 Mar. 2019, www.callcentrehelper.com/contact-centre-kpis-kpas-137496.htm.
(5) Anderson, Jerry. “How Often Should Key Performance Indicators Be Measured?” Small Business – Chron.com, Chron.com, 21 Nov. 2017, smallbusiness.chron.com/should-key-performance-indicators-measured-2105.html.
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