How to Measure Digital Success

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How much time do you spend on Facebook and other social platforms? How much time do you spend blogging and editing your website? How much time do you spend emailing customers or even passing out business cards?

Now, how much time do you spend measuring digital effectiveness and analyzing if your digital efforts translate into digital success? 

A Marketing study done in 2012 by BRITE-NYAMAfound that 65% of marketers have a “major challenge” comparing the effectiveness of multi-platform digital media efforts.

If marketers are having a difficult time measuring digital then it’s safe to assume that most small businesses are having a difficult time as well.

The main reason marketers and businesses have a difficult time determining the conversion rate and ROI (return on investment) of their digital efforts is that there are some many variables to measure that it can be difficult to know which one matters. Let me assure you, sending the CEO the month over month growth of how many “Likes” the company has on Facebook only reinforces his concerns of spending money on digital without a clear understanding of whether it’s working.

It’s time for you to prove that digital is working.

Measuring Digital Effectiveness By Finding Your “Success Action”

Start by forgetting about Likes, Comments, ReTweets, Shares, Pins, and every other vanity metric.  Doesn’t that feel better! Take a deep breath, you’ve just removed layers of data that mean absolutely nothing to your bottom line.

Now, let’s get back to work.

Figure out what action (click, fill out a form, etc) a reader on your website can take that is essential to your business. This is your website’s “success action”. From now on, all analytics, reports, and graphs sent to the CEO should be measured based on this action.

You can find your success action by asking yourself, “Why am I in business?” Or “How does my business make money?” For example, let’s say you’re a non-profit organization that uses social media marketing to drive people to your website.

How does your organization make money? I guarantee you the bills don’t get paid by Facebook “Likes”. Most likely, the most important thing a person can do on your website is make a donation by clicking the “DONATE” button.

From now on, everything you do online is going to revolve around getting people back to click on that “DONATE” button – maybe not directly but that should be your goal and the center of every ROI report you do moving forward.

Think about it, what action can your web visitors take to help your business or organization succeed? Do you want people to book an appointment? Schedule a free consultation? Buy your product? Figure out what that action is and begin looking at your digital efforts in the terms of “how many people do I need to get to my website in order for one person to complete my success action (click DONATE button)”.

Determine Your Conversion Rate

Once you’ve decided what your success action is – the action that you want your website visitors to take when they’re on your website – then take that number and divide it by the total number of people that visit your website.

For us to determine the conversion rate for number of donations, we simply take the total number of people that click the DONATE button and divide it by the number of visitors that went to the website (250). In this example, our conversion rate would be 10%.

25 / 250 = 10%

Segmenting Success

We now know what our overall conversion rate is for this website. One out of every ten visitors complete our success action – click the DONATE button.

But what’s our conversion rate for Facebook visitors? How many of our total visitors come from Facebook.Of those visitors, how many end up making a donation?

Let’s say that of the 250 website visitors, 100 of them come from Facebook (we will only be looking at this segment of 100 to determine our segmented conversion rate).

If our analytics tell us that 30 of those 100 Facebook visitors made a donation, then our conversion rate from Facebook would be 30%.

30/100 = 30% 

30% is much higher than the total average of 10%.

Next, examine the traffic from all other major traffic sources and figure out which traffic sources are your highest converters so you can allocate your digital efforts appropriately.

Comparing Success

When you’re first getting started it’s difficult to know if your efforts are working or failing because you don’t have much context – or history – to compare it to. However, if you’ve been in business for a while then you should be able to look at your conversion rate on a monthly – or even weekly – basis and compare it to the previous time period to determine if your digital efforts are improving your conversion rate.

For example, if next week the non-profit organization gets 500 people to the website, then at the 10% conversion rate they should expect to get around 50 donations. However, if they only get 25 donations (the conversion rate falls to 5%) then they should look into why that increase in traffic didn’t translate into an increase in conversions. Here are some questions they would want to think about:

  • Did they get traffic from a bad traffic source?
  • Was the latest content not as good as before?
  • Should they find a different place on the website for the “DONATE” button?

Start Analyzing!

These are only a few things to think about when you’re measuring digital effectiveness. Once you’ve chosen your success action, analyzing your efforts online will be much easier to wrap your brain around.

In the comments tell us what your success action is and which traffic sources yield the highest conversion rate for your website?

If you have questions about how to measure traffic from sources like Facebook, or how to figure out how many people are clicking on your “DONATE” button, don’t worry you’re not alone and we can help get you going.

Feel free to contact me at or fill out the contact form and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

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