Five years ago we outlined five simple steps to better understanding and approaching marketing metrics. At the time (2014) we had all the data we could dream of but translating that data and pinpointing conversion attribution were becoming the name of the game.
In the past five years, the data points all remain nearly the same – impressions, site visits, clicks, likes, comments, duration of video watched, pages visited, emails captured, conversions, etc. What has truly changed is user behavior (2014 was two full years before Instagram Stories launched!), and the way audiences are interacting with our content.
In 2014, we addressed the idea of reverse engineering your goal-setting and metrics tracking:
- What is the end action you want your audience to take?
- What engagement metrics will lead to that action?
- What exposure/impression metrics will lead to that engagement metric?
- What do we know historically that might help?
- What other marketing functions might be having an impact?
The concepts above are an updated way to think about the “AIDA” marketing model (awareness, interest, desire and action) in a digital format. But I’ve highlighted #4 above because if we’ve been doing our job well over the past few years, we now not only have tons of data, but we also have a good sense of the “why” behind the data – how our audiences behave, and what might drive them past action to the Holy Grail of being a “brand advocate.”
The Audience Journey and Developing Brand Advocates
Keeping a close eye on behavioral data – how often do your audiences interact with your content and on which channels, what drives action, what keeps interest, what time of day are our audiences using digital platforms, how often different audiences like to be “asked” for something – is crucial in mapping your “audience journey.” Your audience’s behavior will inform how you might best interact with them in the future, building relationships based on what they’re looking for in that moment and not necessarily what we want them to read/see/do.
There’s no doubt your digital marketing goals include driving action of some sort via digital channels, but we also know that there is a limit to how often an audience will take action so we can’t be making that ask at all times. Mapping your audience journey means understanding why an audience might pause at a certain point in their AIDA path and ultimately, what they want at that time.
Sample Audience Journey
Step 1: A potential customer watches one of your well-produced marketing videos
Step 2: You create a promoted content campaign to serve up “part 2” in the series of marketing videos; potential customer watches that video as well but does not click through to purchase your product
Step 3: You create a second promoted content campaign to deliver “part 3” of your video series, but the potential customer does not click through to watch
Step 4: You give the potential customer a week or two, knowing she is interested, but not wanting to inundate him or her
Step 5: You create an additional promoted campaign aimed at people who have expressed interest, but have not purchased, promising real-time product updates in return for their email address; potential customer is interested and provides email
Step 6: You craft a well-thought-out email strategy, potentially combining a timely, holiday or coupon-related call to action; the potential customer finally makes a purchase
Step 7: You follow up with a timely thank you email, including the opportunity to engage on one or more social platforms where the customer can engage with other product owners
Next Steps: This individual has been moved from “potential customer” to “customer” where you have a strategic plan for keeping customers engaged and ultimately, moving them to become a brand advocate
There are clearly numerous paths/actions this customer could have taken throughout the steps listed above, but where we’re headed with data and metrics is using the information we have to understand what your customers are looking for, when they’re looking for it, and delivering the right message at the right time.