The Fallacy of the Digital KPI.

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As professional marketers, successful advertising campaigns are the pinnacle of our careers.

Digital KPIs can make you or break you.

As professional marketers, successful advertising campaigns are the pinnacle of our careers. They bear the fruits of our labour, as we watch our clients get the results they dreamed of, enabling us to retain those clients.

Right after launch, we closely monitor our campaigns in order to track, measure, and optimise campaigns as quickly as possible, hoping of generating the desired outcome.

The KPI trap.

With the rise of digital, it is now possible to measure success more quickly and precisely than ever before. Simultaneously, this has also made it easy for marketers to claim a campaign was successful because there was a 25% decrease in the average cost-per-click, or a 10% increase in click-through-rates. We call it the “KPI trap”. 

A 10% higher click-through-rate, or a 10% increase in revenues?

We think the latter; for sales shall always be the ultimate measure of successful advertising.

​Avoid the pitfalls of the digital KPI and they will become your best friend.

Don’t get me wrong – digital KPIs are vital in understanding many pivotal aspects to our campaigns. They inform decisions to optimise audiences, channels, creatives, and many more advertising variables; such that costs can be scaled down and returns increased.

In order to avoid the KPI trap, marketers must truly know how to utilise the data brought forward by digital KPIs. They need to widen their horizons, and focus on a variety of KPIs, rather than one or two.

Remember that with digital, algorithms enables us to optimise campaigns for a particular goal – such as reach, clicks, impressions, video views, etc. By becoming overly focused on a single algorithmic goal, campaigns can soon become artificially constrained, driving up the cost of your qualified impressions. Optimising for keywords that bring in lower cost-per-clicks could effectively mean you’re losing our on getting clicks from hot prospects, who may carry a higher average cost-per-click (since more aggressive keywords are searched in smaller volumes than the vanilla ones).

Measuring success:
e-commerce versus brick and mortar stores.

With e-commerce stores, its easier to measure the success of campaigns using digital KPIs. Through Google, Facebook, and several analytical platforms, you’re able to measure the sales directly generated by each campaign. 

Return on investment gets harder to calculate when dealing with brick and mortar stores; and it’s in this space that digital KPIs can sometimes be misleading.

There are a number of technological advancements currently taking place in the realm of digital advertising; ones which will enable us to better track in-store conversions from digital campaigns. Whilst this is most certainly exciting for brick and mortar businesses, current technologies are still rather limited in tracking these conversions. In using the currently available technologies, we must therefore also acknowledge their limitations.

Resultantly, effective and continuous communication between the marketer and the business owner remains of utmost importance. We must try to understand patterns between the brick and mortar store’s sales and the ads being run at the respective time. In-house measures, such as checkout questionnaires, are also a great way to help us understand the success of advertising campaigns for brick and mortar stores.

Successful advertising in the digital age.

Campaigns are most effective when you get the right message to the right people at the right times. Don’t let glamorous statistics cloud the true goal of your advertising – which is increasing sales and profitability. The quest for ‘KPI gratification’ can sometimes make you lost sight of the bigger picture. 

Today’s most successful brands know how to focus on stirring up the right mix between data, quality design, meaningful experiences, targeted content, testing, and optimisation.

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