Ways to Evaluate Digital Marketing Impact
This is part 3 of our Insights Journey from the Super Bowl – in which we evaluate the business value obtained by the brands that bought advertising during this years’ big game.
Part 1 was semiotic coding of the TV advertisements. Part 2 extended to evaluation of the contextual relevancy of multi-channel elements of the digital marketing campaigns. Part 3 takes a look at Digital Marketing Impact.
But first – we need to address a bit of an elephant in the room. As one of our internal editorial team commented last week – if we are all about contextual relevancy, why are we still talking about the Super Bowl?
The answer to that question is that there are two main reasons:
- Most campaigns that began at the Super Bowl are still ongoing. For those brands that are doing it well, the big game is the start of the conversation not the end. For example, I was served this ad on Facebook last week. The merits of the approach are open to interpretation – but the point is that the really successful campaigns tapped into the zeitgeist of the nation at the start of 2015; they were much more than just ‘Super Bowl Ads’
- The discussion enables promotion of themes that are in the zeitgeist for marketers and those who benefit from the work done by marketers (i.e. the C-suite). Below is a word cloud generated from Part 2. It paints the picture that most of what is discussed is perennially relevant – the Super Bowl is a high profile ‘moment’ where many brands very visibly lay their best and brightest campaign strategies out for the world to see.
So who won?
We’re still not going to tell you.
But the rubber will start to hit the road in part 3, as we look at the digital marketing impact of campaigns.
And in a further nod to contextual relevancy, we’re going to do it in an instructional format – as we have been tracking trends in content shared by influencers in the Customer Experience space and found that articles advertised as “Ways to” or “Strategies for” were the most successful at engaging influencers across all elements of Customer Experience and Digital Transformation.
Therefore, instead of sharing results from our in-house tools – Part 3 will look at some free tools that you could use to evaluate competitors campaigns.
To make the advice easier to consume, we’re also going to narrow the field of campaigns to the companies in the web hosting and website creation space: GoDaddy, Squarespace, and Wix.com.
Measuring Social Impact for Free!
There are 10s if not 100s of possible metrics that could be used to measure the social media impact of a campaign – but most tools that enable competitive comparison are paid-for.
However, there are some free tools that will give you great insights. I love the free reports from SimplyMeasured, especially the competitive comparisons, which let you really dig in. However, for the purposes of this blog I used TwitterCounter to compare the 3 brands because of the greater historical capability – and because increase in Twitter followers gives a very clear view into how a marquee event like a Super Bowl ad increased social audience on an ongoing basis. Yes, ideally we would want to look at the engaged audience rather than the total audience – but the remit here is free tools.
At a glance it looks like Squarespace ‘won’ the Super Bowl – but if you follow this series you know by now that we go much deeper than a glance at the data.
Squarespace’s increase looks like an exponential one because of the scale of the index. The change in followers was in fact only an increase of 2,500 – from 130,124 to 132,618. It looks large because in the past 3 months there has been little change outside of that small period around the Super Bowl – with the total change in the period from 129,000 to 133,000 (3.1% increase in followers). Wix has had the steadiest and largest proportional increase in followers – from 288,985 to 309,908 (7.3%). So although they did not see a Big Game Bump their overall campaign is successful. GoDaddy has seen the least change – 200,285 to 204,143 (1.9%) – and actually experienced a bump prior to the Big Game (something we will also see in other metrics).
Measuring Search Impact for Free!
Google is still the place to go for free search data – you can use a variety of free tools but my favorite is Google Trends (not even a log-in required!).
What is interesting is that the patterns that emerge in search data are fairly similar:
Squarespace saw a bump around the Super Bowl date…
Wix did better at sustaining interest overtime…
And GoDaddy saw the biggest increase in interest prior to the Super Bowl.
Though it is clear that GoDaddy (blue) has a lot more search interest overall than either Squarespace (red) or Wix.com (yellow).
The comparison also makes clear the timing of the GoDaddy bump occurring prior to the Super Bowl. As those of you with a finger on the pulse of pop culture will remember – that was related to GoDaddy pulling their spoof ad of the Budweiser puppy for animal cruelty reasons. As we mentioned in the first blog in this series, that was taken by several commentators as an example of a Super Bowl Ad fail. Looking at the data – that seems unlikely. It provided both a bump in Twitter followers and a large bump in search traffic for GoDaddy.
Measuring Web Traffic Impact for Free!
For web traffic analysis, my favorite free tool is Similar Web – there is a great web interface and you also get very comprehensive reports emailed as PDFs.
For this portion of the analysis it is important to bear in mind that each of these companies has an eCommerce revenue model – which is part of the reason they were chosen for analysis. Unlike many of the other advertisers (e.g. Coca-Cola, Budweiser, etc.) there can be no argument that web traffic is not directly tied to business outcomes.
In relation to this metric, only Squarespace saw a significant jump in traffic in January and February 2015 (the period reasonably connected to directly Super Bowl influenced upticks).
It is also interesting to note that the primary Traffic Source for Squarespace is referrals – as their Super Bowl campaign was based around highlighting real websites enabled by Squarespace – like www.dreamingwithjeff.com.
So come on – who won really?
We’re still not telling – and the reason is that for each brand it will depend on their intention.
It seems likely that Squarespace intended to drive visits to their website through referrals, and if that is the case they succeeded.
Wix may have wanted continued name recognition (their primary traffic source is Direct) and continued community growth and they achieved both.
And perhaps GoDaddy were seeking some notoriety to support their eclectic brand perception (the puppy debacle) alongside an appeal to a new audience with their small business focused advert.
When we work with clients we take the time to find out what success should look like for them, so we would be foolish to sit in judgment on brands that we didn’t define success measures for.
However, we can clearly see that each brand achieved different things with their Super Bowl campaigns – a Super Bowl ad is not a one-size fits all experience – and that is an interesting finding, because it shows how customer centricity can be the goal for all brands in all circumstances.
We’re going to take a break from this blog series for a while, as other business value metrics take time to develop.
We hope we have whet your appetite for engaging in your own analysis with these free tools – and if you want to dive deeper with the comprehensive Customer Experience Insights platform we bring to the table; get in touch!