How to Choose a KPI for Your Digital Marketing Campaign: Decisions, Decisions!

Picture it: you’ve been tasked with building a digital marketing campaign. You’ve done your homework and identified the ideal budget, optimal audience targeting and written some snappy ad copy. Depending on the ad format, you may have even worked with a creative agency to build some eye-popping images that make your brand stand out. Clearly, you’re well on your way to becoming a digital media rockstar.

Alas, something is missing. All the great work you’ve done means nothing if you can’t quantify success. Ultimately, you need a surefire method of proving to your stakeholders that their investment in your campaign is indeed worth it. You need to identify a key performance indicator (KPI) for your ad campaign. In other words, you need to find a metric that measures performance in a way that will allow you to make optimizations that will deliver the best possible outcome for the client.

Users come across your ads for all sorts of reasons and have varying levels of familiarity with your brand. These ever-evolving dynamics are at the core of what we refer to in the digital marketing world as “the funnel.”

Think about how a funnel looks – wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. At the top of the funnel lies your less familiar audience. They’ve probably never even seen your brand’s content before, but they’ve likely expressed intrigue in a brand similar to yours. So maybe they view your ad on Instagram for a few seconds and keep scrolling. Then a few days later, they take a tour of your landing page. Finally, a week later, they sign up for email alerts. And voila! Just by taking those three steps, this user has made their way down to the lower end of the funnel.

Lower-funnel users are regarded as the crown jewel for advertisers. They’re the ones that are most likely to purchase your product, which results in direct revenue for your client. But that can lead to a point of diminishing returns, and here’s why.

Build from Both Ends

It may be easy to write off upper-funnel strategies as ineffective, but think about it this way: how can a lower-funnel audience remain viable if advertisers aren’t nurturing the upper-funnel folks? The best digital marketers are the ones who are able to prioritize the growth and development of both ends of the spectrum, as that will ultimately lead to long-term sustainability in the marketplace.

When we think about what an ideal KPI would be for your client, the best place to start is always going to be, “What’s the ideal end result?” And the answer to that question might not always be, “Get me as many new leads as possible.” For instance, perhaps you’re less interested in lead generation and more inclined to increase brand reputation. In that situation, you’re not necessarily looking to garner a whole bunch of new customers. Rather, you need to get the word out about their product, which is best done via a brand awareness campaign that optimizes to link clicks or total engagements.

So, what’s the big idea here? The main point is that goals in paid media, much like other areas of PESO, are not cookie-cutter. Sometimes a campaign needs support from the top of the funnel to help develop the bottom. Knowing when to utilize each methodology will come down to your goals, both immediate and long-term.

Facilitate the Right Conversations

Ad buying platforms like Google Ads have only become more robust over the years and will only become more powerful with the ongoing advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). But as fundamentally smart as these platforms have become, they don’t have the capability to make futuristic subjective decisions. Ad buying platforms can’t facilitate those conversations about what’s really paramount in terms of business objectives, so that’s where you, the activator, come in.

Ask yourself and your stakeholders, “What’s important now?” If it’s acquiring new customers, then great, leads is your KPI. But maybe your brand is new to the digital advertising space and needs to build a presence, in which case clicks and engagements are your KPIs of choice. Put in the communicative work, use business objectives as your north star and you’ll end up picking a KPI that’ll enable you to rule the digital marketing world.

By Jack McElduff

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels