Oct 7, 2021
Are Conversions Still the Right Way to Measure Digital Marketing Campaigns?
“Conversion” is probably the most-used word in digital marketing. There are endless articles online that off opinions on what exactly is the “best way” to drive them for your client’s campaigns.
Today, we’re going to take a clear-cut look at what a conversion is and what it should do. Then, we’re going to ask you an important question – Do standard conversion strategies really work for your clients?
What is a Conversion in Digital Marketing?
Our partners at Hubspot define the term “conversion” rather excellently: “A moment when a website visitor takes a desired action. Once a visitor converts, they become a lead.”
Essentially, a conversion is a goal that a digital marketing campaign attempts to accomplish. When a user completes the action tied to that goal, they convert into a sales lead for your client.
It’s important to know that there is no single type of conversion. A conversion can be anything from form fills to signing up for an email list or downloading an eBook.
Regardless of what conversion you choose, it should offer these three key performance features:
1: Aligns with the Client’s Business
The conversion strategy you choose should align with your client’s business goals. For example, if your client is a technology sales company, you may want to use a form-fill that can provide your client’s sales team with the information they need to effectively communicate with that lead.
2: Built Into a Highly Engaging Campaign
If your digital campaign does not engage your target audience, they are not going to convert. The conversion method you choose should seamlessly integrate with all of the killer content, creatives, and targeting tactics that you’re building around it. After you’ve sold that user, completing the conversion action should feel like a no-brainer to them.
3: Measurable Performance
Conversion assets should generate meaningful data that can be measured. These performance metrics can provide insight regarding whether or not the campaign needs future optimizations, budget increases, or other adjustments.
Now Here’s The Real Question: Are Conversions the Best Way to Drive Winning Campaigns for Your Client?
Digital marketing wisdom and all of the “digital gurus” on LinkedIn feeds will say that conversions are the most important metric. Now, is that based on what the client wants to actually accomplish for their business, or based on “expert opinions”?
Here’s the harsh truth: As agency leaders, we can advise clients on what the “best” strategy is for their business. However, if they disagree with your opinion, they will start looking for a competing agency that can and will build campaigns that meet their own personal business goals.
Introducing the New Way to Measure Performance: KPAs
Beginning with the End in Mind
Key performance actions (KPAs) tell a much more complete and objective story for your client’s campaigns. Rather than building toward an end-goal based on conventional wisdom, a KPA strategy starts by understanding what the client wants to accomplish for their business and reverse-engineering a campaign to generate audience actions that support that specific goal.
KPAs are all about building campaigns that meet the client’s needs rather than using conventional wisdom to determine what might be “best” for the client based on industry narratives. When your client feels that their digital investments are generating the actions they are looking for, this results in a much more satisfied client that is far more open to expanding their account with your agency.
Insights for the Full Journey
Unlike traditional conversion-built campaigns, KPAs will account for the complete scope of audience behavior during the campaign. Examining each aspect of audience engagement, you can generate more holistic insights and understand a more complete story of the buyer’s journey. This allows the advertiser to perform more impactful optimizations with objective data.
KPAs bridge digital marketing with the real goals your client has for their business. For example, if your client is a downtown clothing store that wants to drive more foot traffic, a KPA campaign would start with that end goal and build a holistic solution around that.
KPA’s in Action
Let’s demonstrate an example of how a KPA-driven campaign would look in action. Your client is a successful software development company in the United States that builds B2B-targeted financial products. They want to increase their lead generation by 30%. After some thought, your agency decides that a paid search and an image-driven LinkedIn advertising campaign are the two best channels to support that goal.
Your Paid Search and Paid Social analysts would work to build a campaign that supports the overall end goal: Increasing lead generation. Rather than arbitrarily determining a static conversion, the campaign would be designed to generate leads at all possible touchpoints and track these actions through a Live Report.
After preparing the ad copy, shared landing page, creatives, budgets, and targeting strategies, both campaigns would go live. The Live Report would track all individual KPAs that are generated, which might include:
Sitelinks extension clicks (search)
Ad likes (social)
Ad shares (social)
Ad comments (social)
Form fills on the landing page
CTA buttons on the landing page
Video plays on the landing page
Click-to-calls on the landing page or search ad
Tracking all of these actions holistically can paint a more complete picture of how the client is succeeding at generating leads and where they need to optimize further. For instance, if they are generating a good amount of likes and comments on their LinkedIn ads, but most form fills are coming from search ads, this can generate multiple insights. The client may want to then increase their paid search budget to double down on what is working best, or you may decide that the LinkedIn campaign needs to further optimize its creative assets, ad copy, and targeting strategy.
The end goal for this KPA campaign is to provide your client with a definitive “yes” or “no” answer, determined by data. Simply put, did the campaign accomplish what the client asked for?
Let’s say that your finance software client’s campaigns have ended. You’re speaking with their CMO on the phone, and they ask you “did you increase our leads by 30%?”. Looking at the report, you see that they did increase by 31% with 25% of that coming from paid search. You can then say “yes, our team did increase your leads, with more than two-thirds coming from paid search.”
The data might also indicate that most audience members first clicked on a Sitelink extension to your client’s “Product Demos” page on the website before filling out a contact form rather than clicking through to the landing page directly. For a future paid search campaign, you then might decide to build a new landing page with a heavier emphasis on product demos content. Similarly, you might also decide to develop a new social campaign with creatives that shine a brighter light on the software’s unique features in action through video.
Drive the Audience Actions Your Client Actually Wants with KPAs
At Conduit, we build each campaign for our partners’ clients around the KPA model. We believe this paints a more complete picture of the audience actions that clients truly care about. This results in more measurable, objective performance data that our agency partners can use to land and expand new and existing accounts.
Your agency can start driving KPA campaigns, too. To learn more about how you can make our team part of your own, visit our Agency Partnership page.