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2022 is just around the corner and the fourth quarter of 2021 has just begun. This is the time of year ripe for setting budgets and fresh goals for the new year. When it comes to strategy, there is no way for a business to grow and reach a destination if it does not have a destination and a road map to get there. Tracking the right KPIs is where you begin.
The utilization of KPIs through targets, goals, and events is key when it comes to measuring the success of your marketing efforts and ROI. The only thing more important than setting the right goals is how you track them.
One of the greatest strengths of digital marketing is the ability to measure your success with fine detail. Doing this correctly ensures that you are doing the best job you possibly can when you are measuring your return on investment. It’s also crucial when tracking your progress towards your goals.
- Without conversion tracking, you will NEVER be able to accurately track your ROI.
- You’d be surprised how common it is for businesses to not have set up goals or events in Google Analytics.
Defining Goals, KPI’s, & Targets
Success is never achieved without proper planning. Olympic runners never wake up one day to find themselves standing on a podium with a gold medal. This path to success involves years of painstakingly planned steps to keep them on track. This level of planning is no different when running and growing a business.
It’s as important to know how you are going to get to your destination as it is to know what that destination is. Both of these are incredibly important when it comes to defining the right goals for your marketing strategy. We will use the Olympic runner illustration as an example for the definitions below.
Your goal is the overall objective(s) that you are trying to achieve with your strategy. This is the endgame for your strategy. For example, the Olympic runner would set the goals of being a gold medalist and setting the 100m record of 9.58 seconds by the time they are 25 years old for the 2028 games.
The S.M.A.R.T Approach to Goal Setting
When setting your goals keep in mind that they should be S.M.A.R.T. That means all of your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
- Specific – The goal should have a narrow focus. The more focused, the easier it will be to plan for it.
- Measurable – Measuring your success is key when knowing your progress and what adjustments need to be made to stay on track.
- Achievable – It’s important to be ambitious but you need to be realistic both with the goal you choose and the reasonable amount of time it’ll take to get there.
- Relevant – Your goals should align with your overall business objectives and values.
- Time-Based – There should be an end-date that drives your efforts.
Most goals are usually tied to revenue but can also be tied to other performance metrics:
- Increase returning customer revenue by 18% over the next 6 months.:
- Increase overall brand awareness by growing social followers by 300% in the next 16 months.
- Increase market share by 10% over the next year.
- Reduce operating expenses by 7% over the next 2 years
Your KPIs, or key performance indicators, are how you measure your progress against your goals and objectives. For our olympic runner his/her core KPIs would be speed and gold medals earned. If their goal was to run the 100 meter they would be looking at the world record time and assess what type of training they need to initiate to get their body in a place to make that time. If the world record is achieved there is a 100% chance a gold medal would be one arriving at the same time.
Some examples of marketing KPIs include:
- Production Costs
- Campaign ROI
- Cost Per Acquisition
- Marketing Qualified Leads
- # of Returning Customers
- Cost per Lead
- Sales Qualified Leads
Targets are the metrics that you are aiming to reach when analyzing your KPIs. For our runner example, the target that needs to be hit to achieve his/her goal is 9.58 seconds. The target time would influence every training decision, dietary choice, and anything else that would influence the progress needed to achieve the goal.
The Importance of Fluidity
When considering the runner you have to know that they would be continually tracking their competitors to make sure that record time holds. If the 9.58-second record is beat then they would adjust their strategy and training to keep up with their overall goals of a gold and world record. It’s the same with adapting to fluctuations in your market.
Nothing is ever static when it comes to industries and competition so it’s important to be fluid when it comes to your goals and strategy. You don’t set it and forget it. Your worthy competitors will always be adjusting and if you have a goal related to market share or if there is a shift in buying behavior you need to be able to adapt business and strategy to still achieve your goals. It is a good idea to revisit your goals, KIPs and targets every few months or quarter.
The Power of Analytics Goals and Events
Google Analytics has the ability to establish unique goals and events. These customizable goals and events are both ways to track your website and social media activity.. Goals and events are essential when evaluating overall progress towards your business goals. These metrics measure the effectiveness of landing pages, ads, and overall messaging.
So what exactly are goals and events in Google Analytics?
Google Analytics Goals
Goals are user interactions that have a direct impact driving growth, supporting campaigns and overall business strategies. Goals are typically actions that a user will take on the website and often include providing contact information, downloading a lead generation piece, or making a purchase.
If a website has e-commerce, Google allows dollar values to be assigned to goals. These goal values can be static or dynamic. For example, every sale is $5 or each sale value is unique based on event data. This allows you to track revenue from the purchases, report on which traffic source drove the most revenue, and more.
Google Analytics Events
Events are similar to goals but instead track website actions that don’t always have an impact on your end goals. For example, events often include PDF downloads, page scroll depth, content views, non-crucial link clicks, and video plays.
While events do not impact your end goals, they are still incredibly valuable and provide insight on how to improve website performance and engagement of events can have a significant impact on goal completions.
Think of it this way, not all events should be goals but all goals should be events. For example, users looking at more than 5 pages per session is an event that supports a conversion goal but it does not impact growth itself.
Dashboards and Ongoing Reporting
Once goals and events are set in Google Analytics, it is important to monitor progress by establishing a reporting process and schedule. Goals and events can of course be tracked in Analytics, however, a custom dashboard makes it easier to keep track of the data points that matter and progress against the larger business strategy. Once a dashboard is built, using Google DataStudio or a third party reporting platform, it can easily be shared internally. Many of our own clients appreciate the simplicity of a reporting dashboard that features only the data points they care about in a format that is easily understood by everyone on their internal team.
How to Execute Your Strategy Effectively
Knowing how to set effective goals and KPIs is the first step. Now it is time to start planning, monitoring, and improving.
- Establish the overarching business strategy
- Develop S.M.A.R.T. Goals to support business strategy, including:
- Returning customers
- Brand awareness
- Market share
- Cost per lead/customer
- Determine how to measure events and goals
- Sales from new customers
- Sales from returning customers
- New leads coming from paid search and social
- Branded queries
- Develop a reporting structure and schedule
- Continue to monitor and optimize