Measure Effectivness of Marketing ChannelsIn a HubSpot webinar Chris Brogan said that when it comes to social media you should give up control because you never had it. However, it is hard to give up control of all your marketing. A way of controlling your marketing or at least managing it is by understanding what works and what doesn't.

Most companies doing internet marketing take the multi-touch approach and use a variety of channels such as blogging, seo and more recently social media to generate interest in their products and services.  But at the end of the day their traffic charts look like this:

What Does This Chart Tell You About Your Visitors from Your Email marketing, or Social Media Marketing?

The answer is absolutely nothing.  Here's how I envision a conversation would go at your office coffee station:

You: Visitors are up this month! 

Colleague: Oh Yeah? How come?

You: Umm...not sure.  I think it was the email. I'll have to check to be sure.

To control your marketing you have to be sure. Here are some ways you can improve your tracking of channel effectiveness:

1. Go Granular

Your visitor graphs should like this one below, (fondly known as the mosaic) where you can see the volume of visitors you are generating from various marketing channels. If you had this graph, your answer to the colleague at the coffee station would be, "We drove a higher volume of direct traffic to our site this month.  Our site and brand name are really out there!"

Visitors by Channel


2. Analyze the Entire Funnel

Using the data from HubSpot Marketing Analytics I take this granular analysis a step further and create similar graphs (below) to understand what channels are delivering the most leads and, more importantly, what channels are delivering customers!

Leads by Channel

Remember, channels that are driving sales and business for your company are the effective ones -- where you want to invest more of your limited marketing dollars.  Besides direct traffic, looks like the blog and webinar channels are driving customers in the example below!

Customers by Channel


3. Measure Conversion

While your marketing channels may be driving a healthy volume of visitors, leads and customers every month it is important to track the conversion rate of each channel on a regular basis to see if they are performing consistently.

Conversion by Channel

In the example above the conversion rate for the Webinars channel (green) dropped for several months -- December through February and regained some momentum in March. At the same time, the blog consistently delivered a reliable conversion rate month over month. I can look at these charts and make pretty reliable estimates for leads for future months.

4. Track Business Results

At the end of the day, the job of marketing is to help drive business success.  You should be able to look at each individual marketing channel and understand what is the yield for the effort and dollars to convert some number of visitors to customers.  If you know how a channel performs you can make informed decisions about where to invest more energy and dollars to get an even higher return.

Net Yield by Webinar Channel

What strategies are you using to track the effectiveness of your various marketing channels?  Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

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Originally published Apr 30, 2009 7:35:00 AM, updated March 21 2013


Marketing Analytics