John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This problem with advertising is still very common today. Companies are blindly spending large portions of their budgets on advertising, knowing that half of it works, and half does not—never understanding which half.
A number of things have changed over the years since Mr. Wanamaker made his statement about advertising ambiguity. While we may not have 100% certainty on what works and what doesn’t, there are ways to gauge your current marketing efforts to measure success.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on evaluating the effectiveness of your current marketing:
1. Use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a great resource that gives you all kinds of information about your website visitors. You can see where these visitors are coming from (i.e. which ads they clicked to get to your website). This information can help you figure out if your digital ads on other websites are increasing your traffic, or if you are just wasting your money.
2. Start Doing Social Media Analytics.
Social media provides you with all the analytic information you need to determine whether its investment is being wasted. Use in-network analytics or a third-party software to help you better understand what your social media efforts and spending are yielding. It’s important to have goals and make sure you are using the right resources to meet them, whether that means more or less spending. You can pair your social media analytics with Google Analytics to optimize your social media marketing and help drive additional traffic to important webpages.
3. Conduct Surveys.
Surveys are a great way to get realistic feedback from your customers and associates. They can help you understand what parts of your marketing are effective. Create a survey with a couple of different ads in it, asking which are most interesting and memorable. Give an incentive to those who will participate in your survey, and use their input to better your advertising and determine what is unproductive.
4. Constantly Gather Information.
In case you haven’t gotten the idea by now, information is the key to understanding which half of your advertising efforts work. Set up ways to gather information at as many customer/lead touch points as possible. Use forms as a way to gather data from customers in exchange for coupons or deals. When you provide something of value, people will be willing to give bits of information to you. Create as many opportunities to gather information as possible so that you can better understand the results of your advertising and eliminate wasteful expenditures.
Data analysis is a crucial part of gauging your current marketing efforts. The more information you have to work with, the more accurate your conclusions will be. Work to create a consistent flow of information that allows you to constantly evaluate your marketing in order to continually improve it. Recurrent improvement will make your dollars go further, which can help you maximize your advertising budget.