The marketer today is responsible for a complex touchpoint network, the so-called contact points between the company and the customer and in a multi-channel marketing campaign it is essential to be able to protect them at best. Marketing actions carried out on different channels have different objectives and must therefore be assessed with different perspectives. But what main metrics are useful to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-channel marketing campaign?
An answer to these questions comes from Lizzy Foo Kune, Principal Analyst of Gartner for Marketers. «Calculating the success of a multi-channel campaign requires knowing how to evaluate the target's answer to marketing actions, assessing them based on the repercussions on three different areas, namely actions, engagement and perceptions».
- Actions: an answer to marketing actions that directly reflect in business results.
- Engagement: answers to marketing actions that indicate an interest by visitors, customers and prospects that cannot be directly connected to business results.
- Perceptions: thoughts and interests, not directly connected to actions or forms of engagement, measurable indirectly, through social listening or checks/surveys.
How to measure actions
The metrics concerning actions are the simplest to be exploited, because the link between marketing levers and business results is direct. Clicking on the links of a search results that leads to a purchase; clicking on an e-mail message that results in an appointment with a salesperson are examples of metrics related to the action area.
How to measure the engagement
The engagement is the sign of a person's interest in a brand, a product, or a specific advertising message. By definition, the engagement value is not measurable in a timely way: it varies, indeed, in relation to where people spend their time (online, on social networks). From placing “Likes” on the institutional Facebook page to the number of posts and photos that are spontaneously uploaded by fans, as well as sharing posts and ADV messages. These customer (or prospect) “attention” metrics will have to be applied to advertising campaigns, channels, tactics, and creativity, to improve the effectiveness of marketing levers from time to time.
How to measure perception
Perception metrics assess the impact of the exposure to a marketing message or brand content. Perception is measured through indirect methodologies, like checks, surveys, sponsored research, and social listening assessment tools. Checks and surveys are often conducted as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign and compare a person’s perception towards a product or brand compared to that of a group of individuals with similar characteristics that has not been exposed to the campaign marketing. Sponsored research or mentioning on social media, posts or comments that contain the brand name, phrases and hashtags related to a marketing campaign are part of this category of metrics.
Connecting the different metrics through the channels
The marketer’s task is to have a transversal vision, to understand what takes place along the different touch points. This is not an easy task, but here are the most used metrics to assess the quality of a multi-channel marketing campaign along its four fundamental dimensions: reach, acquisition, conversion and retention.
1. Reach (coverage)
Reach measures people's attention level to a brand. In general, it is possible to estimate it in terms of average cost per impression (i.e. the cost of each individual visualisation of a banner or a paid advertising).
Reach is measured from the organic position on the search results list (thus, without, considering the “thrust” related to the purchase of favoured advertisements/positioning).
Reach is measured in terms of unique users reached by the advertising message. This number is usually lower than the impressions, because the same message can be shown more times to the same person.
Reach is determined by the opening rate of email messages, the unsubscription rate to the newsletters and the increase of the names added to the mailing list.
Word of mouth on social networks
Reach is measured in terms of increasing inbound links (links to our website inserted in the pages of other websites), the growth of the fan base/number of followers or number of engaged fans that contribute with their posts or mentions to increasing the reputation of the company and its brands.
Measures the interest of people (customers and prospects) to find new information on the company. In general, it is measured through the bounce rate on the institutional website’s homepage. The latter refers to the percentage of visitors that leave the website after visiting just one page without browsing other content.
In this case, the acquisition is measured through the ratio between the number of queries and clicks or between the number of impressions and clicks.
A good measure of the acquisition is the click-through rate that is the percentage of clicks compared to the total views of a banner
A good measure of the acquisition is the click-through rate, thus the percentage of clicks compared to the total views.
Word of mouth on social networks
There are many metrics to evaluate the acquisition on social networks. One is the ratio between incoming links from other websites (backlink or inbound link) and the so-called referral traffic (for example, links inserted in a Facebook post or within banners and paid advertising space). Another is the ratio between the mentions (that is, the number of people talking about the company or its brands on social networks) and referral traffic. The so-called share of voice, indicating the percentage of brand mentioning compared to that of the competitors, is fundamental to better understand the acquisition. Or even the amplification rate (the percentage of shares of a post compared to the total number of followers). Finally, the applause rate that is the rate of likes given to a post compared to the total number of followers.
Measures the translation of interactions between company (or brand) and people in a value action: newsletter subscription, commercial contact or purchase. There are many metrics that estimate conversion: the number of leads, the average cost for each visit (or for each visitor), the average conversion cost, the percentage of purchases from new customers/visitors, the percentage of recurring purchases (coming from already acquired customers), the shopping cart abandonment rate in eCommerce.
Measures the company's ability to create valuable and lasting relationships with its customers. The KPIs that are used most frequently are the visits’ frequency, the percentage of purchases from new or recurring customers, the frequency of purchase and the so-called lifetime value, consisting in future profits hypothesised by the company due to the analysis of customers’ current purchase behaviour.