One of the best features of Google Analytics is the ability to integrate an Adwords account into it. This is a great way to track ROI, and to make sure you are not just hemorrhaging money out of your PPC account.
Setup is easy. Google provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide to link and unlink your account. This should be part of larger strategy that will allow you to adjust your marketing budget to get the most bang for the buck, and to get the most from your keywords.
That Elusive ROI
Looking at clicks and impressions – what you are actually paying for in Adwords – is nice, but it doesn’t really paint the entire picture. Converting leads is the return we are looking for, but that’s not as straightforward as we would like. Remember, ROI in its simplest form is:
ROI = (gain on investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment
In a perfect world, we could simply plug values into the equation and be able to accurately calculate our ROI. The problem is, for most of us, the reality is not quite so simple. Especially in the B2B world, the sales cycles are long and complex. Our marketing efforts (and money) are spread across multiple channels and are sometimes hard to track.
We can take a top-down approach, and look at what we are investing overall in our marketing efforts compared to changes in our revenue, but this will not help us manage the many moving parts of our marketing strategy. For that, we’ll have to dive in to the ocean of data provided to us by Google Analytics.
The hardest part of this is that because every business is so different, there are few universal approaches – if any – that would be helpful. In fact, it’s a big enough problem that most marketers and business owners struggle mightily with calculating their ROI, if they even bother doing it all.
Here’s some interesting statistics, as reported by a 2016 Forrester survey1:
- Only 21% of companies believe they are effective at measuring mobile ROI, despite the fact that mobile is the fastest growing platform.
- Social media seems to be an even bigger challenge with only 8% of companies reporting that they can determine an accurate ROI figure.
- 81% of respondents would increase marketing budgets in their social, digital, and mobile channels if the ROI was more easily tracked.
- Content marketing is also a challenge. Only 23% and 21% of B2C and B2B marketers are successful at tracking the ROI of their content marketing strategy. 15% of B2B marketers don’t track ROI for content marketing at all.
- For those that do track content marketing ROI, video was reported as the medium that has the highest ROI at 51.9%
- Email ROI was the highest overall for digital marketing with some reporting a a 2,500% ROI
1Citations from the Forrester report can be found around the Internet, but the original report can be purchased here.
Tracking ROI in Analytics
I wish there was an easy setting or feature that we could set up to let Google do all the work for us, but unfortunately that’s not possible. The next best thing is to identify the metrics that factor into ROI and set up a custom dashboard. You can do this for each of your channels.
For example, let’s say your content marketing strategy is very social media driven. The end goal is to drive traffic from social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter into your content, and from there, to one of your landing pages. This will takes some judgment, and creativity, but it can be very illuminating. For this example, some of the metrics that would be on your dashboard are acquisition, behavior flow, session duration, average pages per session, and the ever-ubiquitous bounce rate. From these data, in order, you can infer:
- Where your audience is coming from
- Where they are going once they are on your site
- How long they are hanging out
- How many pages they are navigating to per session
- Whether or not they are finding what they are looking for
Help and Resources
Identifying the metrics, resources, and data needed to accurately track ROI is the foundation to build your marketing plan on. Our audits and custom dashboards will get you started on the right track. We’ll take the guesswork out of it and deliver the information and tools you need to make informed decisions. Find more information about our services and processes here, or contact us today for a free consultation.