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How to Measure Your Digital Marketing Strategy

There’s always a lot of buzz on new digital marketing strategies, from SEO to social media to content marketing, with many “experts” and “specialists” blogging about a revolutionary idea nearly every single day.


But yet there isn’t a lot of buzz on how to report on these new ideas. Maybe reporting just isn’t as sexy as strategy, yet reporting should be the step taken before a strategy is born. Or maybe that’s a “chicken before the egg” debate for another time.


At PCG, my job revolves a lot around reporting. Each month I create a business operations report for the company partners on client billing, employee hours, staff training, so on and so forth. Depending on the numbers and any digging I may have to do to find out why X worked and why Y didn’t, it takes a considerable amount of time to create the report with final notes and such. Of course, as with any report, it takes about 10 minutes to review.


Why does it take so long? The simple answer is that I adjust my metrics each month. Some metrics always stay the same – hours and budget for instance – but how I measure them changes. At one point I would pull the average amount of time it takes to create a report for a client but now I pull both the average and how long it takes for each individual employee to identify opportunities for individual improvement or training. The more detailed my metrics get, the more patterns I can recognize and the better I can improve upon how our company operates.


Moral of the story: stay curious, dig deeper, and know when your metrics no longer serve your end goal.



How does this apply to your digital marketing strategy? Well, have you adjusted your metrics to your advanced strategies?


My guess is you’re judging how well your website is performing based on outdated metrics.


Let’s start at the top. I don’t want any business owner to completely throw out your overall traffic numbers thinking that is an outdated metric. Just like overall time and money will always remain as top metrics for my business operations report, traffic is your top metric.


The #1 Outdated Reporting Metric


Search Rankings: How many times have you heard, “I can get you on Google Page One!” or worst yet, “I can get you on Google Page One in a month!”. Due to Google constantly improving their search algorithm to offer more personalized results to each user, measuring Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is almost becoming impossible on a month-to month-basis.


I highly suggest reading “The Fallacy of SEO Ranking Reports”, but here are some highlights:


  • Ranking reports don’t work, plain and simple. Scraping Google for this data is against their terms of use. Search from different computers, in different locations, with different browsers to seek how you rank. “Focus on metrics that matter…instead of chasing the moving target called rank.”
  • Rankings change day to day, hour to hour, device to device. What’s the actual ranking for that keyword? Who knows!


New Reporting Metrics To Adopt


Non-branded search traffic: To assess your SEO strategy from the overall traffic or even the overall organic traffic is a mistake.

  • Drill down your organic traffic into branded and non-branded terms.
  • Follow up with Google Trends and see how your brand fairs overall in terms of market interest.
  • Report on non-branded terms YOY for best comparison results
  • How is that new traffic converting? Remember, most customers wont’ fill out a lead form.


Impressions: Google Webmaster Tools somehow became the ugly redheaded stepchild in dealer reporting, but it is the technical arm to your reporting suite in understanding how Google views your website.

  • Connect Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics
  • Determine search visibility through overall impressions
  • Match any sharp declines with recent Google algorithm changes


Content Drilldown & Social Shares: Content, content, content! But where is it all going?

  • Google Analytics offers a content drilldown of your top pages. Understand which of your blog posts have gone “viral” and audit your current top pages for conversion optimization.
  • Social metrics have been not just a priority in Google’s search algorithm but in their reporting as well. See how many referrals come from social networks, but understand that social isn’t in place just for referrals. There’s also a cool breakdown of social mentions in Analytics for Google social networks (YouTube, Google+).



I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’re measuring your digital strategies and if you have any additional metrics that have helped you better understand how your website is performing.


Comment below, or contact me at:



Views: 1191

Tags: analytics, digital, engine, google, marketing, reporting, results, search, seo, strategy


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Comment by Alexander Lau on May 8, 2013 at 11:23am
  1. What does Google want? They want relevant, real content on the internet that people want to read and tell other people about. If Google doesn’t bring you the most relevant content when you search, they aren’t doing their job. So by definition, even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web. The bottom line is that all external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one: Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search.
  2. SEO of any kind is pursued by gaming the system. There is nothing “natural” about any form of SEO. The fundamental concept of SEO is exploiting a flaw in a search engine’s ranking algorithm. The difference between white and black hat tactics is merely a function of where Google decides to draw a line, and this line is at least somewhat arbitrary. Google's goal is to confuse search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and to uncover aggressive SEO techniques through delaying, or obfuscating results from SEO changes being made.
Comment by Alexander Lau on May 8, 2013 at 11:22am

Been through this here a bunch of times, but here it is again:

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