Defining Your Campaign Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Defining Your Campaign Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

At the start of any campaign, it’s critical to outline what kinds of metrics are most important to establish your definition of “success.” That definition will vary quite a bit, depending on the size, scope and goals of your campaign. But by making a clear distinction as to what your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are, you will have a better ability to judge your campaign’s progress as it is underway and once it’s completed. KPIs tend to differ based on what phase of the “buyer’s journey” your campaign is targeting, so let’s take a look at a few key examples for each of those three phases.

Phase One: Awareness

IMPRESSIONS & CPM
The base unit for any campaign, Impressions measure how many times your campaign creative was seen. Whether that is a Facebook ad or a banner ad, Impressions give you a sense of the overall exposure of your campaign. Higher Impressions are particularly important in an Awareness-phase campaign, where your primary goal is generating interest and knowledge of your brand. The Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) metric gives you a sense of how expensive or inexpensive those eyeballs were. 

REACH
Related to Impressions is the measurement of Reach, which counts the unique total number of people who saw your creative. Reach will always be a lower number than Impressions, as campaigns often serve your ads to the same people between 2-4 times. An important way of looking at Reach is thinking of how many people were potentially in your audience, and what percentage of them did you actually reach?

VIDEO VIEWS
If your campaign creative features video of any kind, total Video Views is another important metric for the Awareness phase. Much like Impressions, they are a measure of how many times your videos were seen. In addition to Video Views, statistics like Average Percentage Watched or Total 100% Completions (the names for these metrics might vary from platform-to-platform) are good ones to consider, too.

ENGAGEMENT
If you’re running any kind of campaign with a social media component, Engagement is a great KPI to measure. That can be broken out any number of ways, including post Likes, Shares and Comments, as well as the overall sentiment of the interactions (positive, negative, indifferent). These will give you a sense of what the overall interest-level of your campaign was, with higher engagement metrics usually indicating relevant, enticing ad content and messaging. 

Phase Two: Consideration

CLICKS & CLICK-THROUGH-RATE
Here, you’re looking at how many people actually clicked your ad once it appeared in their social media timeline or wherever your ads are being served. This gives you an idea of how compelling your creative messaging and visuals are, and which versions of your creative perhaps resonated best with your audience. (Side note: It’s always a good idea to run a few variations of creative in any digital campaign to test your messaging).

The Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is a ratio of total Impressions to total Clicks. This is good to keep an eye on when comparing creatives across different campaigns, as a campaign that has lower Impressions, but a better Click-Through-Rate might actually have more valuable messaging and visuals than a campaign with more impressions and more clicks but a lower CTR. There are also often many benchmarks for various industries with which you can measure your CTR to see how you stack up against other advertisers in your space.

LANDING PAGE VIEWS
One step beyond Clicks is Landing Page Views, which is somewhat of a Facebook-specific metric, but it can usually be calculated from other platforms, too. This looks at people who clicked your ads and then waited until the full landing page loaded after the fact. It’s a better measure than Clicks if you can get it, because it addresses more the strength of your landing page, as well as removing those accidental clicks that may have occurred during the campaign (especially if your campaign features a lot of mobile placements).

BOUNCE RATE
This measures the percentage of people who visited a specific landing page and left without interacting with the page. Essentially, it means they came, they saw, they left. Much like Landing Page Views, it can indicate how well-designed your Landing Page is. Average bounce rate benchmarks are between 40%-60%, so if you’re seeing results higher than that, it may be worth evaluating your Landing Page for potential drop-off points like load-time, irrelevant content, etc.

Phase Three: Decision

CONVERSIONS
This is where some of the most relevant, impactful KPIs come into play. Whether you’re looking at website purchases, webinar sign-ups, mailing list subscribers or any other “conversion” event, those should be the focus of your Decision-phase campaign. Now, many times you might track Conversions within an Awareness or Consideration campaign, but those should not necessarily be your primary focus if you are targeting an audience that is not yet in the decision-making phase of their buyer’s journey.

Download our KPIs infographic below:

Infographic: The Key Elements of a Well-Built Website

Infographic: The Key Elements of a Well-Built Website

A few months ago, we put together a comprehensive list of our well-built website must-haves. If you haven’t seen that yet, we definitely recommend you check it out when you have some time to dive in.

But for those of who prefer a show-don’t-tell method (which, really, we’re in the same boat), we have translated that blog post into a shiny infographic.

So take a look and learn what a well-built website needs to capture the attention of your customers (and future customers). And if you’d like to download it, just click the button below for a free, hi-res PDF.​

Case Study: The New Madison at Adams Farm SEO & PPC Campaign

Case Study: The New Madison at Adams Farm SEO & PPC Campaign

The New Madison at Adams Farm is an apartment community just 15 minutes from our HQ in Greensboro, North Carolina. After our major creative overhaul of their brand (learn more about that here), our next step was to begin a concerted effort at driving more targeted traffic to their website. And, ultimately, we were looking to drive more leads for their sales team. Below we’ll break down the two key components of those efforts—SEO and PPC—and what kinds of results they’ve yielded. 

SEO

Search engine optimization is a critical part of any website redesign project we tackle. Without the right infrastructure behind it, a website’s beauty only goes skin-deep. Because of the crowded market of apartment complexes in Greensboro, we knew that SEO would play a part in The New Madison at Adams Farm’s long-term game when it comes to redirecting attention away from their local competitors.

By creating a targeted list of a dozen or so mid- to long-tail keywords the complex would like to rank for, we were able to begin the work of slowly but surely increasing the amount of organic traffic to the new website over time. Using the website’s internal CMS system, we deployed the target keywords in a tactical way throughout the site. Those keywords, coupled with a few key internal SEO tweaks (site speed, security, etc.), allowed us to set the new website up with the framework that would eventually start drawing more visitors over time.

Since the SEO project was completed in mid-September 2018, we have seen a marked increase in organic search traffic to the website. In that month, the site saw 505 visitors as a result of organic search results. Contrast that with May 2019, where the site had more than 3,700 organic search visits. That’s an increase of more than 600%. During that same period, we’ve also seen organic search visits account for 51% of all completed site conversions (phone calls & contact form responses), highlighting the importance of SEO to this project’s overall goals.

Organic Search Traffic, September 2018-May 2019

PPC

On the paid side, we knew that Google Ads would be a significant driver of traffic to the site while the organic SEO efforts began to take hold. Our Google Ads campaign implemented a three-part system to guide through the natural buyer’s journey from awareness to consideration to decision:

  • Search Network campaign using keyword targeting
  • Display Network campaign retargeting using website traffic
  • Call-Only campaign driving mobile users to call the sales office

With these three elements, we were able to reach our target audience at multiple touch-points. And the use of the Display Network campaign allowed us to take advantage of all the great photography and videography assets created during our first campaign. This Display campaign would primarily be an awareness-driver, helping increase our total ad impressions, while the Search Network and Call-Only campaigns did the conversion-focused heavy lifting.

Without getting too far into the weeds (or revealing our “special sauce”), we can see that the Google Ads campaign has been a very successful traffic and conversion driver for this property. Here are some of the key metrics from the campaign thus far:

agsdi-eye

2,622,423 total ad impressions

agsdi-cursor

24,677 total ad clicks

agsdi-refresh

Search Network CTR: 3.58%

agsdi-ribbon

390 total Conversions

agsdi-refresh

Search Network Conversion Rate: 6.6%

agsdi-mobile

846 total phone calls

What is Native Advertising?

What is Native Advertising?

In today’s digital advertising world, there are a lot of ways to share a message or generate clicks across the web. If you’ve dabbled in any digital advertising efforts in the last few years, you may have heard the term “native advertising” thrown around. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that it’s where over 60% of US digital display ad dollars are being spent. We wanted to take a moment to look at what’s meant by native advertising, what’s involved and what our perspective is on its place in a marketing plan. 

Native ads are essentially an ad placement formatted to fit the format of a publisher in a way that doesn’t scream, “I’m an ad!” A publisher can be any website, really, whether it’s The New York Times or your favorite fashion blog.

The ad’s distinction as paid content is more or less subtle depending on the placement and publisher’s preference. Generally speaking, a small text header saying “Sponsored Content” or “Recommended Content” is how you can tell.

“Hmm,” you might be thinking, “that sounds like a lot of the clickbait ads I see.”

And you’d be right! But not all native ads are clickbait and not all clickbait ads are in “native” ad positions. Any advertisement is an opportunity to trick or scam your audience—it’s up to you to avoid chasing those empty clicks through smart, tactical messaging and creative.

Native advertising opportunities can take many forms. Some can be like advertorials, or paid placement meant to look like editorial content, where you control the message at the cost of that extra credibility you get from the media outlet.

For example, we place native ads on behalf of one client within an industry magazine that begin as a link in their monthly digest e-Newsletter to subscribers. The links look like any other link to an article they’re featuring. When they click the link, though, they land on a page with an article featuring industry expertise written by our client. On the page itself, display ads are featured with only their brand, and a CTA at the bottom directs readers to visit their website or contact them for more info.

Native ad example, courtesy of our partners at StackAdapt.

The primary example of native advertising you’re likely to see could also be referred to as “in-read” advertising. When you’re scrolling through an article, an ad may appear—static, video or somewhere in-between—that feels like part of the website you’re visiting.

Native advertising isn’t about tricking anyone—it’s about tailoring the ad experience to make it less intrusive, more appealing and more targeted.

Sometimes advertisers get a little aggressive, sidestepping that native experience with automatic ad takeover, sound or other intrusive programming features. To keep it truly “native” and get the full benefit of this type of placement, we recommend you trust your targeting and keep your creative relevant. Don’t fall into the trap of digital ads that scream, “I’m an ad, please click me!” You may not get as many clicks, but the ones you do get will be more qualified and targeted. Also, your overall brand image will remain more positive if you don’t frustrate your potential audience. That way, they’ll be more likely to look you up later or be more receptive to the next ad of yours that they see.

If you take one thing away from this post it should be this: Native advertising isn’t about tricking anyone. It’s about tailoring the ad experience to make it less intrusive, more appealing and more targeted.

If you’d like to learn more, give our native ad above a click. 

5 Key Elements of a Well-Built Website

5 Key Elements of a Well-Built Website

A brand’s website is ground zero for all its digital activity. It’s where the brand can sell products, convey key marketing messages and collect contact information from interested customers. It also provides a platform to inform and educate customers with blog posts, white papers and more.

A good website serves as the central hub from which all your digital activity radiates, offering an “owned and operated” space where you control the messaging and experience for your audience. In fact, without a properly designed, mobile-friendly site, we would argue that there is little justification for investment in other digital tactics (email, social media, etc.).

But what does a complete website need?

For starters, you don’t have to break the bank creating a deep, robust website out of the gate. Many effective, conversion-attracting websites are quite simple. Over time, you can build out your website into a robust forum for sales and education (which will help with your SEO efforts, too).

But for now, let’s explore the 5 key elements of any well-built website, no matter how large or small they might be.

1. A Mobile-Friendly Framework:

Here’s the harsh truth: Google no longer indexes non-responsive websites in their mobile search results. This means that people searching for your brand or services will simply be unable to find your site if you don’t provide a user experience tailored to mobile customers.

The fact that more than 50% of all web traffic in 2018 came from mobile devices means this is a reality you cannot ignore. And that number is up from only .7% just 10 years ago, so don’t expect that trend to reverse any time soon.

Source: Statista.com

And “mobile friendly” doesn’t just mean that you reverse-engineer a responsive design after you’ve built your desktop site. Today’s best websites are actually built for the mobile experience first, and we encourage you to take that approach whenever possible.

2. Easy-to-Use Navigation:

Nothing is more frustrating than visiting a new website and being unable to locate the information you’re looking for. And while Google is your friend when it comes to being discovered, it can also penalize you harshly for providing a confusing, unintuitive user experience.

We recommend checking out one of our earlier posts about improving website navigation, but in short, here are a few quick tips:

  1. Show your website to someone who doesn’t know your brand: How easily can they find what you want them to find?
  2. What does your site look like on a mobile phone? Is it hard to navigate buttons or can you bounce between pages with ease?
  3. Keep on top of industry trends, but don’t feel like you have to redesign your site every 6 months.

3. Lead Collection

Growing your database of leads is one of the most impactful aspects of any website. Whether you’re simply trying to build your mailing list or collect more detailed leads from prospective customers, you’ll need a mechanism to capture data.

One important element to keep in mind here is that the amount of information you’re asking for should correlate to what you’re offering your customers in return. If you’re looking for a sign-up for your mailing list, you might consider asking for only 2-3 fields of information (e.g. Name, Email Address). However, if you’ve got a lengthy, detailed eBook full of useful insights, you can likely get away with asking for more information from your lead (e.g. Company Name, Phone Number, etc.).

Bouvier Kelly Landing Page

One of our own Landing Pages, which keeps key info and the primary CTA “above the fold.”

Whatever way you set this up, make sure you’ve got a system in place—like UTM tracking—to spring into action whenever a new lead is captured, as well as trace where they came from (e.g. Google Ads, organic search, Facebook, etc.). That way, you can tell what your most effective marketing channels are.

4. A Relevant, Insightful Blog

One of the key elements of modern “inbound” marketing theory is that you can’t just sell to your customer—you need to educate them, too. You can use a blog to offer insights and helpful advice that doesn’t have a sales angle (like this one 😉), helping to create a trusting relationship with prospective customers while also improving your own SEO efforts.

Your blog can reflect a number of different topics, and it does not always have to be a deep dive into a technical subject matter. You can also use it to update your customers about relevant internal news or observations about breaking industry news.

The key to a good blog is presenting digestible, interesting information in a friendly, knowledgeable voice. Your blog posts should not read like white papers, and they should never be written just for the sake of posting new content to your website—intentionality matters! 

5. Well-Crafted Landing Pages

If you plan on running any kind of digital ads, you’ll want to have the ability to build landing pages specific to those campaigns. For example, if you’re looking to promote your latest eBook, you’ll need a landing page that only educates the visitor about that eBook only. No one likes clicking on an ad for one topic only to have to navigate through the site looking for what they were interested in.

Landing pages can quickly become an afterthought for a campaign, slapped together hastily (or not at all) and thrown into the world. However, it’s our experience that the one of the biggest detriments to a digital campaign is the lack of a succinct, mobile-friendly landing page that encourages conversion.

To learn more about landing page best practices, check out this post.

Want to learn more about improving your overall digital marketing efforts? Download our free Digital Marketing eBook today.

Choosing the Right Presentation Platform

Choosing the Right Presentation Platform

Regardless of topic or size, presentations can be stressful. From planning and creating content to perfecting your delivery, a lot of time and effort goes in to developing and executing a successful presentation. But how much effort do you put into deciding which presentation program is best to use? Not all platforms are created equal, so we analyzed four popular options so you can see what makes each of them unique (and which one may best fit your needs).

Microsoft PowerPoint

If you’ve given or sat through a presentation in your life, odds are you are familiar with the most popular presentation program, PowerPoint (PPT). A staple in both classrooms and offices, PPT’s straightforward, easy-to-use platform makes it a tried-and-true method of presenting. Its customizable interface provides a lot of creative freedom: you can customize your presentation down to the slide to better meet your topic or audience’s needs.

But perhaps the biggest reason that PPT is so popular is because it is compatible with both PCs and Macs, a feature that certainly comes in handy if you are presenting in a space other than your own office and are unsure of what technology will be available.

Good for: Content-heavy presentations or traditional audiences.
Avoid if: Your presentation needs to be shared with others. Larger PPT files often cannot be emailed, and if your recipient does not have the same version of PPT as you, everything from how the design appears to the ability to view images or videos can be affected.

Keynote

Keynote is likely every Apple product user’s dream. Its variety of built-in templates gives presentations a modern look in a very easy-to-use platform, and projects built here can easily be transferred between devices via iCloud (a feature that makes it easy to present on-the-go, or on another Apple product such as an iPhone or iPad). One of its strongest features is the ability to turn your presentation into anything from a YouTube video to a QuickTime slideshow with minimal hassle.

Good for: Crafting persuasive presentations. Keynote’s sleek and dynamic format makes content more digestible.
Avoid if: You’re not presenting on an Apple product. While you can export your slides into PPT or other PC-friendly software, there’s no guarantee everything will transfer over in its intended format.

Prezi

Prezi probably has the most “WOW” factors of all the presentation platforms on this list. It offers more unique design and distribution capabilities than PPT and Keynote, and its non-linear presentation is great for more creative, interactive demonstrations. Users can seamlessly integrate multimedia, PNGs and vector images constructed outside the web-based application. Prezi also makes it easy for multiple team members to access and contribute to the creation of the project. If you’re looking for a platform to create a story-driven presentation, this is a great option.

Good for: Presentations that require collaborative construction, storytelling and/or audience interaction.
Avoid if: You won’t have a reliable internet connection. Prezi is a web-based format and presentations can lose design quality and functionality with any disruption to internet connectivity.

Adobe InDesign

For the more design-driven presenters out there, Adobe InDesign is a great option for creating an engaging, visually stunning presentation. This platform allows users to easily manipulate presentation layouts because of the level of flexibility with components such as type, images, graphs and color. Users also can add interactive features such as movies, sound clips and cross references. For presenters looking to share design concepts or branding ideas, this platform likely aligns most with their goals.

Good for: Design-oriented presentations, larger or shareable projects or projects containing sensitive information (since it will be in PDF form you can password protect the documents).
Avoid if: You are unfamiliar with the platform and need to put something together fairly quickly—InDesign has a steep learning curve. Additionally, the need to present videos or sounds using Adobe PDF Interactive may cause issues if the device you are presenting on does not have that software installed.

At the end of the day, the success of your presentation won’t solely be determined by the platform you choose to use. But by taking the time to explore all your options, you can become better equipped to create something that will fit you and your audience’s needs.

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