It's no secret that the Internet is a pretty big “place.” And, unlike the physical world – where you can only reach potential customers, if they happen to be near you – the Internet allows you to reach anyone in the world, at any time.
Just how big is it? Well, there were more than 5.6 billion Google searches conducted each day in 2021. (Sport is always the winner; the most searched term in the US was “NBA”; in the UK, it was “Euros”). That’s more than two trillion searches a year – and we’re only counting Google!
Obviously, only a fraction of the resulting traffic will be relevant to trade media. But it’s not hard to see the potential benefits of using online marketing to reach as many prospects as possible. Couple scalable, potentially targeted reach with accessible and actionable data, and you’re able to run exceptional campaigns and evaluate their performance.
But how should we evaluate digital campaign performance? Is consistently getting a thousand clicks per activity considered a success?
Don’t judge a campaign by its clicks
The most commonly used metric across businesses to evaluate digital campaign performance is “clicks.” Despite widespread use, the approach is far from perfect – and you should look beyond clicks when evaluating the success of your campaign. There are several reasons why – but here are three for starters:
1. Click quality (not all clicks are born equal).
Quality clicks have great stories to tell. These are the clicks that have the highest potential to drive customer awareness and boost your return on investment. Think of the clicks that generate sales, that download your resources, and/or request a call-back. Low-quality clicks are just casual users, browsing one page on your site but rarely providing long-term value to your business.
Invalid clicks are the lowest-quality category and mainly the result of user error, fraudulent/questionable activity, or robots/spiders. There are many tools that can help remove invalid clicks from your reporting; at Texere, our CDXP (Customer Experience Data Platform) does this for us.
2. A click on its own does not provide real insight.
Clicks are great and all, but there's often more to it. You might be scrolling through your analytics and thinking, "Holy moly, this campaign has generated a million clicks! That's so awesome!" And you're right, it is! But now what? The thing about clicks is that they give you a lot of the "what," but not much about the "why." Your click data might indicate that a whole bunch of people have landed where you want them to, but they might not be doing much – or anything – after that. They might even be getting frustrated and leaving your site altogether…
Clearly, we need something else to understand our customers' behavior. And what if that something else is also collected in our analytics? For example, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the generation of direct or organic traffic from campaign keywords (ads or emails may be seen, not clicked, and yet still provoke an active search). And there are many other metrics that help us understand how our users are engaging with our sites; bounce rates, time on page, and conversions (which I'll talk about in my next point) all give us more valuable information to help us understand the motivation behind our users' behavior. And that means we’re able to optimize our websites – and campaigns – and make smarter decisions.
3. It is not a numbers game.
OK. Call me a liar. It is always a numbers game – just not the number of clicks. As marketers, we know the only thing that really matters – to the business – is the bottom line. To get there, we need to drive conversions – the actions people take on a website (or in other marketing channels) that flow down the funnel toward your business goals. How many users have subscribed to your newsletter? How many assets have been downloaded? How many users have requested a call back and engaged in meaningful conversation? How many sales have you made?
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Quality over quantity
To summarize this short post (I could have written much more about this fascinating yet controversial topic), I know that, as a marketer, you need to see your campaign clicks. You need this information to do your job effectively and to understand the impact and success of your efforts. However, the ideal campaign should rely on quality over quantity. It makes no sense to attract a thousand clicks from people who will never buy your product or service. Moreover, meaningless clicks do come at a cost – you are wasting resources that could be going into more targeted traffic. In other words, a lower number of higher-quality clicks is almost always preferable to a higher number of lower-quality clicks – and always better value.
I will leave you with an analogy. Imagine your digital campaign is a party. The clicks are your party guests. The more you get, the better your party looks; however, when you look more closely, you realize that you don’t know 90 percent of your guests – and they’re all under 18. Most people joined because they heard some noise. They enjoy the free food and drink, and disappear into the night. Wouldn’t it be better if there were fewer party guests – the people with whom you actually want to spend time?
If your marketing campaigns are attracting people with noise and free food, you’re probably not getting enough of the right people.
Thank you very much for reading! If you’d like to talk more about this topic (or any topic related to digital), please feel free to drop me an email: