One of the most important aspects of the marketing plan in 2014 will be allocation of resources across channels to support optimum results. Far too often, marketers depend on search position, fans, likes, shares and +1s to validate allocation of resources to execute the marketing plan.
With an emphasis on the website as the ultimate destination for all marketing activity (email, social media, etc.), marketers should be able to predict ROI of time and resources invested using web data. It’s easier said than done, for most. I’ve outlined 5 simple ways to insure action aligns with performance.
The proper balance between organic search, social media, email, paid search, referrals will vary. Data can guide proper allocation of resources of owned, earned and paid media for optimum results.
1. Create an Multi-Channel Integrated Strategy
An integrated approach will always yield better results. An orchestrated optimization and deployment of owned assets (website, social media, blog, PR, video, images, etc.) amplifies the ability of the brand to reach target audiences, wherever they are.
Reaching the “perpetually connected” consumer is more achievable when efforts span multiple platforms. A recent Pew Study reveals that there is crossover between social media platforms, as illustrated in the context of news.
An important aspect of social media that is often overlooked is that the typical social media share is a link to content. The website should always be the ultimate destination for online activity, including social media engagement, email campaigns, video channels, images, etc. There are many benefits for this approach, not the least of which comprehensive insight on performance.
2. Use Data for Asset Allocation
When planning an integrated marketing approach, a historical perspective provides the insight needed to guide allocation of resouces to promote profitability. In other words, if your marketing department loves to be on Facebook all day, with little attention to generating unique content or promoting on other platforms and that focus has not yielded ROI on that time, it is time to tweak the strategy.
We’ll use Google Analytics to illustrate how to use data to make informed decisions. Since encrypting search, Google has replaced “not provided” organic search data with organic search represented in Channel Reports; this is just one way to assess a multi-channel approach.
As illustrated by the data, this particular organization did not have an active social media program during this time frame.
Each channel represents sources of traffic to the most visible destination for the brand: the website. Channels become more influential when fully integrated, according to a strategic plan. When choices have to be made to minimize channel activity, or scale up the investment in any channel, it is important to identify the channels that yield the greatest results. Measuring visits, engagement and revenue provide a holistic perspective of what works as a guiding force for future activity.
Danger: Curve Ahead
Data is useful when it is interpreted properly. Misinterpreting data can prevent your plan from succesfully achieving objectives.
If any channel is not being leveraged properly, the data may not be indicative of potential within any one channel.
To illustrate, this report demonstrates social engagement over ten platforms. This organization relies heavily upon Facebook and does not adapt social engagement to other platforms easily. Facebook appears to deliver the lionshare of visits.
3. Optimize All Owned Media
To make the most of the investment in owned and paid media, it is imperative that assets be optimized for all platforms. In addition to the optimization of owned, earned and paid media for search, owned assets should also be orchestrated with one another using every available tactic to achieve optimum reach, enabling audiences to interact with the brand on its own terms, on their preferred platform of engagement.
Upon review of transaction data, we learn that Facebook yielded only two transactions during this time period.
In the revenue by channel report, you see that Facebook yielded 0.28 percent of annual revenue during this period.
4. Assign Values to Results to Quantify Results
In the example I have provided, we would not have the ability to define revenue, if the necessary data was not provided to enable the calculation.
Comparison of the Social Channel to organic search, paid, referral, direct traffic and social media can define bottom-line results.
However, that may not be the whole story. To some, this data may imply that organic search is where all the budget should be invested, because social media offers no value to the brand. To an experienced eye, this data and supporting data provided related to content indicate that organic search is working well, and that optimization of a more balanced approach to social integrated with on-site content would be likely yield a greater ROI.
Bottom line: The data must be evaluated in the context of KPI’s and goals to be meaningful.
5. Collect, Assess and Adapt
In an ever-changing landscape, it is imperative to collect data, analyze it and adapt your plan accordingly. Make the commitment to review and respond to what your customers are responding to.
Having a strategic plan based on fact, not fiction or feeling, will go a long way in achieving goals in 2014.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!