Do you really know what your online marketing is trying to achieve?
Clients love measuring clickthroughs, because they know that when they stand up at the annual sales and marketing conference and say, “We generated 1.3 million clickthroughs in the first 3 months of the campaign, at a cost of only 3 cents per clickthrough!” it sounds more impressive than “We spent $2 million on billboards and transit advertising, and we’re pretty sure that it contributed to sales growth.”
Clickthroughs are a nice measurement, and combined with other data (such as what percentage of the people who clicked through went on to make a purchase during that session), they’re a good indicator of tactical success.
But as any marketer will tell you, direct response isn’t everything. Most B2C brands should spend 50% of their annual marketing budget on direct response/short-term call-to-action messages, and 50% on longer-term brand building.
So if your goal is to drive short-term web traffic increases, defining success as “1.3 million clickthroughs” may be appropriate. But if your goal is “long-term brand awareness”, clickthroughs may actually be irrelevant.
A shift in online marketing strategies: From ‘direct’ to ‘branding’
Those of us on the front lines of online marketing have known for years that online marketing was a good way to build brands, regardless of clickthroughs. Now it looks like clients are catching up: A recent Brandweek article reports that by 2014, more than 42% of online marketing spend will be focused on brand-building messages.
What does this mean for online marketing professionals – and their clients?
A more holistic approach to brand-building strategies and implementation. Clients and agencies which include online marketing in the strategic planning and creative development (instead of assigning it a budget and leaving it in a silo, separate from traditional media strategies and creative) will find they get better brand-building results.