How digital marketing has evolved into a major business weapon

By Alan Ible, below, Managing Director, Digitel

In today’s fast-paced and competitive landscape, it’s important for SMEs to have a strong online presence; one that also positions them towards the top of the page in search engine results.

Creating reams and reams of content isn’t the answer anymore, neither is it just relying on Google Ad campaigns, or content optimised for keywords. It needs to be a combined focus. While it’s also essential to be measuring results and crunching the data to understand whether a digital campaign is working, and if it is worth continuing to invest in or not.

Over recent years digital marketing has evolved to be a major weapon in the marketing manager’s arsenal. The latest findings from the 2023 CMO Survey, which collects opinions and insights of marketing leaders, revealed that companies are now spending over half of their budgets on digital marketing activities. Armed with the right metrics, SMEs can now accurately track the true value and results of their online marketing efforts.

So, what are the key metrics that your business should be focusing on, what’s the difference between indicators and key metrics, and how do they contribute to overall business growth?

Turning data into action – measuring success within digital marketing campaigns

Data can be your compass to ensuring a campaign is pointing in the right direction. However, measuring success isn’t just about assessing past performance, it’s about understanding what worked and why, as well as what areas need to be adapted, and if the campaign still aligns to your goals.

Nowadays there is a vast amount of data available to help you measure success, and there is information that can support informed decisions about your future digital marketing plans, as well as helping to set clear goals. In the world of SMEs, cashflow is integral to business continuity, setting clear objectives can help your business to be more efficient with its time and money.

Difference between indicators and metrics

The distinction between indicators and metrics is their differing functions. Indicators are a window into your campaign’s success, a qualitative signpost if you will. They offer a general diagnosis in the form of brand awareness, customer satisfaction and user experience, and can feed into business objectives.

These common indicators include engagement rate, overall reach, lead generation, and online reputation. All of which are crucial in assessing overall growth strategies. Indicators are a great way for SME leaders to investigate the health of their business, and for marketers to justify their spending.

However, for a more in-depth look, marketing managers and business leaders need to complement indicators with quantifiable metrics. Metrics such as click-through-rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), return-on-investment (ROI), open rate, engagement rate, and average sessions, can all provide quantifiable data that assess different elements of a digital marketing campaign, and can help analyse results and measure success.

Combined, these two elements create a comprehensive toolkit for SMEs to gauge the overall effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns while also identifying potential areas of weakness.

How each metric provides unique insight that can be used for business growth

The metrics you choose to measure serve as a framework for assessing the effectiveness of a set strategy and provide you with a deeper insight into a campaign’s performance. Let’s delve into what’s on offer.

CTR – Measures how many click-throughs your website/landing page/social media channel receives compared to the number of times your ad is shown. A good CTR translates to more people hitting your set destination. It is important to keep an eye on this statistic as a below-average rate will mean either your ad needs better optimisation or you may not be targeting the right audience.

Open rate – Email marketing campaigns are a good tool for delivering ads, promotions, or information directly to your customer base. Simply put, the open rate of a campaign measures the percentage rate at which emails are opened, the higher the rate the better. Email marketing campaigns can be tailored to suit interests and target customers on previous purchase patterns. The more tailored a campaign, the higher chance there is of customers clicking through to find out more, whether that’s to your website or another landing page.

Engagement rate – Engagement rate indicates the percentage of visitors who visit your site and then explore further. Knowledge of this metric can help you to analyse your website traffic and user engagement, especially in conjunction with digital marketing campaigns such as Google Ads. The engagement rate also gives you an insight into the effectiveness of your website. If the rate is low, this could indicate that there may be a problem with your website’s layout, copy, or technical capabilities which may need addressing to improve the user experience.

Average sessions – The amount of time spent on a particular website during one session can be measured through the average session length. Monitoring how long your audience stays engaged on your site can help you determine interest levels in your brand, products, or services, and the specific page itself. If your website is sectioned into different products or services, you can also measure how long visitors are spending on each webpage, helping you to make important decisions when it comes to which products or services to invest more time and money in.

Having a strong online presence is not enough in today’s business world. Insights and understanding of the metrics enable SMEs to make data driven decisions on the effectiveness of campaigns, allowing businesses to prioritise the ones that are working.

When running digital marketing campaigns, or monitoring website analytics, it is important to understand what each metric shows you, what this means for key indicators, and how to best capitalise on data that supports overall business objectives and fosters growth.