By: Chad Giron, Vice President, Client Relations
It’s the one question that client relationship managers either dread hearing, or can’t wait to crow about. “So, how’s the campaign going?”
On modern campaigns (marketing, advertising, advocacy or otherwise), measurement is not optional. First, clients are savvy enough to demand it and, frankly, for the trust they’ve placed in you and the money they’ve spent, they deserve it. Secondly, analytics tools across digital properties, including site, mobile and social, are so baked-in and so good that the challenge for campaign managers today isn’t in extracting data; it’s in determining which key performance indicators (KPIs) to track in the first place.
Obviously, each campaign has unique goals and, therefore, unique indicators of performance. Some advocacy campaigns are purely about grassroots activations. What we’re talking about here is the digital world, not the hardcopy, bricks and mortar, flesh and blood one of grassroots campaigns. That said, I’ve quizzed some colleagues here at DDC Advocacy, and below are some KPIs that we think you should be tracking for your clients (or at least be prepared to speak intelligently about). The following is certainly not an exhaustive list, but some of the important KPIs that we regularly keep an eye on.
Facebook – ‘Share’-ing is Caring
Everybody likes ‘Likes’ (it must be the thumbs up icon), but Shares are a better indicator of content quality (and reach). Let’s face it, you’re creating content in the hopes that your message is seen by as many people as possible. How does that happen? They Share it.
A Share is like a ‘Like’ on steroids. It gives the content the implicit endorsement of the sharer (just like a ‘Like’ does), but the person has taken the next action step and actively spread the message to others. The ‘Share’ says, “You need to see this! I think it’s important!” rather than, “I agree.”
Emails – ‘Take Action’
Beware the ‘open rate,’ celebrate the ‘take action.’ Just as Facebook’s ‘Like’ is the minimum possible action of someone viewing your content, so is opening the email the least that the recipient can do. Yes, at least you know that they received your message, but did they do anything with it? Did they spread your message, and imply their endorsement by sharing it?
Your email almost certainly has a ‘take action’ button or link in it, or else why would you borrow your recipient’s precious time? These buttons are the primary drivers of donations, petition sign-ups, sending letters to Members of Congress and website visits. While the 2012 Obama campaign was interested in email headlines that effected open rates, I’m sure they thoroughly tested and agonized over every aspect of the ‘take action’ buttons which ultimately netted them $690 million dollars.
A former colleague of mine at analytics company Webtrends, John Boyle, (now with Expedia) wrote a great article about Presidential candidate donation form optimization for ClickZ back in 2012—which remains a good resource today. John examines landing page optimization, but the lessons about maximizing ‘take actions’ are relevant for emails and websites alike.
What we’re talking about when we’re discussing the KPI above could also be broadly referred to as the ‘click-through rate’. But there are plenty of different flavors of the click-through depending on what you’re actually clicking on.
If you’re running paid display advertising online, click-through rates are very key indeed. They are the first level of your ad’s (and your message’s) effectiveness. While click-through rates can vary hugely based on the quality of creative, ad buying strategy, message, etc., it’s reasonable to shoot for an industry average click-through rate of about .08% to .10% on paid media (though this is absolutely not a guarantee to current or future clients of that figure).
When you’re talking about video ads, the KPIs are a little different. Here, cost per view and percentage of total ads served which are actually viewed are better indicators of performance. Whether video, banner, social or other, the click-through rate of the ad is still the reigning king of paid advertising KPIs because it is the most universal and most basic measurement of effectiveness.
For advocacy campaigns, particularly on social media, you’re most likely trying to recruit a person to opt into receiving your messages and sign up as part of your coalition effort. On Facebook, these are most likely a ‘Like’ or a follower—and on Twitter, a follow or an ‘engagement’, like a re-tweet of your content. Therefore, when advertising on social, it’s important to track and manage the cost that it takes to acquire followers, ‘Likes’ and, pardon the pun, the like. Keeping an eye on the cost per ‘acquisition’ of these elements not only benefits your clients by being stewards of their investment and ad budgets, but also by having a powerful indicator of the effectiveness of your advertising and messaging.
The Ultimate KPIs
For me, as a client relationship manager, the ultimate key performance indicator is client satisfaction. And while, yes, that too is a KPI that can be tracked quantitatively through customer satisfaction surveys, I think the ultimate measures of satisfaction are qualitative. Are your clients happy? Would they recommend you to their friends and colleagues? Are they extending their contracts? Do they send you bottles of scotch during the holidays? (OK, that might be a very specific KPI.)
The road to client satisfaction is paved with data, and the KPIs are the highway signs along the way to prove to you, and your clients, that you’re on the right track.