How to Create a Digital Measurement Plan in Six Steps

“The root cause of failure in most digital marketing campaigns is not the lack of creativity in the banner ad or TV spot or the sexiness of the website. It is not even (often) the people involved. It is quite simply the lack of structured thinking about what the real purpose of the campaign is and a lack of an objective set of measures with which to identify success or failure.”
— Avinash Kaushik

Google Analytics can be overwhelming at times, I know, I have been there myself. Signing into your account, opening the dashboard and being confronted with lots of data, reports, funnels, goals, events, segments, etc.

You can often find yourself wondering “Where do I begin?”

That is why it is crucial to develop a digital measurement plan before jumping into any analytics tool or data. Having a clear and structured measurement plan will help you to focus in on the data and metrics that matter to your business.

The process for developing an effective digital measurement plan involves taking a moment to pause, reflect and ask the right questions regarding the overall objectives of your business, the existence of your website and the desired outcomes you wish to achieve from a particular campaign.

To help me in my efforts, I use a common 6 Step Process to guide me, which you can also use for your business, the steps are as follows:

  1. Identify your business objectives
  2. Define your goals for each objective
  3. Decide on your key KPIs
  4. Create a set of targets/benchmarks
  5. Select your target audience and divide into segments
  6. Analyse and refine

Working your way through these six steps will require critical thinking and an investment in time, but by going through this process upfront, you will gain a better understanding of what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts and ensure that you can accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

It is important to point our at this stage, that this should not be a task to be undertaken wholly by yourself, you will need buy-in from your senior leadership team and stakeholders to create a plan that is truly reflective of the companies goals and vision.

Working Example: Digital Measurement Plan for Atlantic Tours

To help demonstrate the six step process for developing a digital measurement plan, I have put together an example of a simplified plan for a fictitious tour operating business called Atlantic Tours.

Company Profile: Atlantic Tours is an Irish tour company offering guided bus tours along the Wild Atlantic Way. The company has no physical booking office; tours are booked by customers through the company website.

Mission Statement: Help tourists to explore the Wild Atlantic Way in a timely, cost effective and comfortable manner, while providing a unique, interactive and authentic tour experience.

Step 1 — Identify the business objectives

In this step, it is important not to put a focus on how to achieve an objective but rather state what the general top-line objective is. At this stage, we want to answer these questions — What is the purpose of Atlantic Tours? Why do we exist?

Based on answering these questions, we identified the following objectives.

  1. Generate Brand Awareness
  2. Develop Leads
  3. Sell Tours Online

Step 2 — Define your goals for each objective

Now that we have identified and agreed on our top-line campaign objectives, the next step is to focus on the goals for each of our three objectives.

This involves creating clear strategies that will deliver on our objectives.

  1. Generate Brand Awareness — To achieve this objective we want to ensure that our website supports all offline advertising activity and that we have an online acquisition strategy that is consistent with our objectives. Therefore our goal is to reinforce all online and offline marketing activities on our website.
  2. Develop Leads — By generating increased awareness of our brand and service offering, we want to set a goal of generating quality leads (enquiries/referrals) and newsletter/email signups through our website.
  3. Sell Tours Online — We want to offer visitors to our website the ability to book tours online seamlessly. To achieve this, our goal is to provide an optimised online booking system or path to purchase.

Step 3 — Decide on your key KPIs

At this stage, we identify the key performance indicators that will help us to measure how we are performing against our top-line objectives. Some of our objectives will have multiple KPIs but as mentioned this is just a simplified digital measurement plan.

Generate Brand Awareness

  • Branded Traffic — This is essentially traffic generated through search terms that include our brand name or direct URL traffic. If we see an increase in traffic generated by branded search terms, it is a good indication that we are achieving an increase in brand lift.
  • New vs. Returning Visitors — As traffic comes through to our website, it is important to compare the number of new vs. returning visitors. We can measure the impact of our awareness driving campaigns by measuring the change in the percentage of new visitors to the website during our campaign.

Develop Leads

  • No. of Enquiries — Number of enquiries received by visitors completing a contact form or making a call (Google Adwords Call Tracking).
  • No. of Newsletter Signups — Number of sign ups to our monthly newsletter generated through our website.

Sell Tours Online

  • Conversion Rate — The percentage of visitors who booked a tour through our website.
  • Average Order Value — The average value in monetary terms that a customer spends when booking a tour through our website. This is calculated by dividing the total company revenue by the total number of orders for a given time frame.

Step 4 — Create a set of targets/benchmarks

For us to provide context to the perceived success or failure of our campaigns, we need to set targets and compare results to benchmarks. Benchmarks can be viewed through companies historical data or by viewing industry benchmarks.

Targets should be clear and have a numerical value. From the example above, you can see I set specific and measurable targets for each objective:

  • 5,000 web visitors per month
  • 3,000 first time visitors to the website per month
  • 30 web enquiries per month
  • 50 newsletter signups per month
  • 0.5% increase in our websites conversion rate per month
  • €5 increase in our average order value per month

Step 5 — Select your target audience and divide into segments

It is at this point where we begin to report on our efforts, given the amount of data that is available, it is very important to maintain a focus on the data that aligns with our top-line objectives. If you do not keep a focus on what you are trying to analyse, you can find yourself spending hours delving into reports that are not of significant value to your business.

To assist in keeping focused, we can segment our data based on our target audience and our desired outcomes.

In our example, I have segmented data based on:

  • Traffic sources
  • % of new visits
  • Most popular content
  • Converted visits
  • Geography

Step 6 — Analyse and refine

Now that we have completed the first five steps, the last step requires us to analyse the data so that we can unearth insights that will allow us to make better data-driven decisions going forward.

It is important to note that a digital measurement plan is not rigid and should be refined on a regular basis to reflect the changing needs of the business.

Conclusion

Putting the time and effort into creating a digital measurement plan pays huge dividends, as when done effectively, it provides you with a structured measurement guide. It should allow you to answer questions like — What’s important to the business? Where to begin? Where should our efforts be focused?

As a marketer, it is a particularly useful tool to demonstrate the value of marketing to senior leadership within the company and gives an accurate insight into what success and failure look like.

Again, the example above is just a simplified measurement plan to demonstrate the process. A truly effective plan would delve deeper into a range of metrics and KPIs that would be of relevance to your businesses unique objectives.

Do you have an effective digital measurement plan in place for your business?