Hi, I’m Ben and today I’m going to talk about the importance of benchmarking your digital marketing campaigns.
Benchmarking is an area where there’s a lot of really bad data and misinformation about what’s possible, so let’s start with some basics.
If you’re running a multi-million dollar ad campaign, you can allocate the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for consumer surveys and brand awareness measurements to find the effects your campaign has on your own brand and your competition.
But for the rest of us, there’s really no single solution, so here’s some insights and tools that can help:
First, pick the right competitors to benchmark against.
One of my biggest pet peeves across digital marketing is when someone uses Apple – or their equivalent – as an example for a strategy they want to implement.
Sure, there are things we can learn from Apple’s marketing.
But the reality is that so much of it depends on a brand that has been developed over three decades and has about a billion dollars annually in marketing budget.
Being like Apple can be your goal, but make sure to find some closer competitors that you can learn from to help you get there.
Here’s some guidelines for choosing those competitors:
They are in your industry or adjacent industries, and thus they’re targeting similar audiences, keywords and content pillars.
They’re active in similar marketing channels to your business – particularly social channels, paid search and content marketing or SEO.
Your business has an understanding of how you want to compare with them – do you want to maintain your lead in market share?
Are they an industry standard you want to emulate?
You need answers to these questions to provide the context to your benchmarking project.
Once you’ve defined your competitors and your business’ relationship to them, here’s some areas of digital where you can effectively benchmark your results:
Organic search provides the most straightforward benchmarking across all of digital.
Your rankings in Google versus competitors for specific priority keywords are quantifiable and easily measurable.
Make sure the keywords you choose are valuable to your business, and that you’re reviewing rankings for multiple locations, as well as on desktop and mobile devices.
I recommend Advanced Web Rankings as a great tool to leverage in order to track changes in rankings over time.
In addition to ranking for keywords, it’s possible to compare estimates of traffic from search engines as well.
Tools like SEMrush maintain a database of search volume and rankings for hundreds of millions of keywords.
They then leverage these to provide estimates of organic and paid search traffic to websites across the Internet.
Comparing your organic traffic from Google search allows you to benchmark your SEO campaign, while comparing paid search traffic can give you an idea of how your ad budget and keyword targeting in Adwords compares with the competition.
And while the numbers are not exact and sometimes actually really far off base, it can give you an idea of how your website matches up to the competition.
Finally, social media profiles offer another opportunity for benchmarking.
Tools such as FanPageKarma and Social Bakers allow you to compare following and engagement on various social platforms against competing profiles.
It’s essential to note though that these tools are only able to calculate engagement with your public posts, this means that all of your Facebook ad campaigns and your promoted Instagram posts won’t get included.
In addition, as social platforms for businesses these days are pretty much all paid, the level of engagement these tools show you are often reflective of the size of a business’ ad budget as much as the quality of their content.
These are just a few tools you can use to benchmark your digital marketing campaigns – and there’s a lot of others out on the market.
My biggest advice to you though is not to worry about benchmarking until you’ve set specific and quantifiable goals for your business which you’re confident define success, and then build your strategy around these goals.
Benchmarking then becomes a way to find opportunities to improve and grow further.
And if that’s the approach you take, it will have a real positive influence on the success of your digital campaigns and your business.
That’s all for today, if you’ve got any questions, definitely leave them below.
And thanks for watching.