For many marketers, 2020 will indeed be a year of hindsight clarity. While some metrics are as strong as ever, others are seemingly falling by the wayside. There are even a few background metrics expected to pull ahead after the New Year. Considering there were over 120 marketing channels analyzed by marketers in 2017 alone, each year witnesses a new overflow of metrics to be digested, analyzed and acted upon.
But which metrics should you prioritize?
Multichannel and Omnichannel Strategies: An Overview
One thing is certain: Multichannel and omnichannel strategies are still primary approaches for many digital marketers. Regardless of your next campaign approach, you’ll need to prioritize your investments in the correct individual channels to assure success.
If you’re like most marketers, though, it isn’t feasible to manage every channel in its entirety. See, the strategy’s plot thickens: Some channel resources offer better returns than others. And some channels, hypothetically, might increase your ROI if their optimization precedes that of another.
Offline and social media channels, for example, tend to ebb and flow based upon their respective prevalence in any given campaign: Studies show that the unobtrusive, opt-in, offline-online nature of branded emails net about 50 percent of recipients—each spending between five and 30 seconds to read them.
The inherent channel priority considerations can get pretty complex, too, when factors like dual-screen consumption enter the mix—wherein about 44 percent of adults hop between screens at least once per week. Consumers between ages 25 and 24 are particularly susceptible to dual-screen digital consumption: 26 percent of the age bracket looks at a second screen while watching television every day.
Between smartphones, social media, e-commerce portals and messaging boards, multichannel and omnichannel marketing has plenty of moving parts. To understand, then, why several metrics are expected to highlight 2020’s most effective digital marketing strategies, we’ll need to get a closer look at one particular brand quality which necessitates them.
Letter-Perfect Presentation: A Seamless Customer Experience
Even today, it’s still tough to ascertain every connection between various marketing channels. A display ad might increase a brand’s brick-and-mortar sales, but the same ad might also reduce social media engagement—resulting in greater brick-and-mortar sale losses.
Fortunately, many businesses have stepped up to better understand multichannel and omnichannel “thread gaps.” Simultaneously, digital marketers are utilizing social media, print ads, content campaigns and mobile marketing in tandem to better gauge the metrics that matter.
The connections derived from such multi-angle approaches, when used effectively, can greatly intensify a brand’s potency across many channels. In doing so, they offer a seamless experience to customers—perpetuating insights into each channel, individually.
It’s possible to capture and capitalize on such a seamless experience, connecting not only your brand to consumers—but consumers to other consumers. A seamless representation of your brand, both online and offline, can transform your multi-channel approach into its own ecosystem—one which takes full advantage of printed advertisements, emails, paid ads, blog posts, social media posts and brick-and-mortar promotions alike.
You don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel, either. Instead, you can just focus on breeding new channel connections—weighing out pre-existing campaign approaches to amplify your channel reach and conversion.
The Activation Loop
This “extend and amplify” approach to building consumer networks is fantastic for boosting ROI. It’s even better at coordinating the many metrical variables to help you discern the impacts of each, on their own. In any event, however, some metrics still tend to outweigh others by default—and they’ll continue to in 2020.
This is primarily due to the perpetuation of activation loop marketing—or marketing which emphasizing the above-mentioned coordination. Many activation loop approaches have an underlying approach directing them: the use of offline and online marketing, simultaneously.
This jumping-off point is so important, in fact, that researchers suggest that social media platforms are driving offline purchases. A Twitter study, for example, focused on the 94 percent of retail sales which take place in brick-and-mortar locations. Various tests covered 35 brands utilizing paid and organic Twitter activity to promote offline sales, taking note of multiple CPG categories—like food, beverages, household products and wellness products.
Users engaging these brands via Promoted Tweets found a 12-percent increase in their physical storefronts. Even users who simply viewed the Tweets found themselves making more in-store purchases, boosting sales by another two percent. This type of activation loop kickoff method includes, but isn’t limited to, something called ‘showrooming.’
Jumpstarting Activation: Showrooming
A great way to hone your metric relevancy analysis is to use this tactic. Showrooming, itself, happens when shoppers view products in a physical store—only to buy them online. Is showrooming a necessary approach to discerning valuable metrics? Well, not necessarily.
It is, however, one of the best ways to examine many marketing channels with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak. Showrooming is considered to be a major threat to retailing, as 26 percent of consumers engage it regularly—directly reducing in-store browse-and-buy behavior. Meanwhile, 41 percent of customers browse products online before purchasing them at physical locations: ‘reverse showrooming.’
Both tactics jumpstart the activation loop for obvious reasons, of course. When your brand’s product-search-and-buy funnel begins with a forked road, it’s much easier to divide and conquer your channels, analytically. You’ll simply have a much easier time narrowing down the metrics that matter—further examining these metrics in reverse to reveal larger, more insightful, truths.
Remember: The metrics we’ll list are still likely to await you at your activation cycle’s finish line. But using a hands-on approach to valuable metric identification will make it much easier to determine which 2020-relevant metrics you should prioritize in your company’s unique marketing journey.
A Pitfall Preamble
As a final note before diving into today’s most valuable metrics, we’d like to talk about a major pitfall which can render a sizable slice of them useless: Exclusively focusing on website sales and conversions. Doesn’t it make sense, though? At the end of the day, your branded site’s views, page visits, checkouts and cross-channel travels are the most important indicator of campaign success—aren’t they?
In this case, not exactly. Today’s best analytics tools are limited to the online realm. They’ll often fail you when examining online-offline browsing and purchases—handicapping your activation cycle if you’re utilizing showrooming, or some similar tactic, as firing fuel.
The same goes for social media campaign ROI calculation: It’s useful to examine, but it should become lower on your priority list. Cross-channel customer participation is definitely a valuable piece of information, but an over-reliance on it may blind you to other valuable insights which beget innovative solutions.
So, to be successful, consider creating a strategy to directly process your customers’ movements across online and offline channels. A good way to do this is by using digital coupons and QR codes promoting in-store discounts and seasonal deals. Another great way is to feature a branded app, or a social media campaign with specific in-store discount allowances.
The Top Metrics to Watch in 2020
Once you’ve hashed out the details of your own activation loop, you’ll be ready to put the upcoming year’s most valuable metrics to good use. Let’s check them out.
Lead Conversion Rate Per Action
The first metric to keep an eye out is a natural development from lead tracking. Your e-commerce website, likely, is already powered by lead analysis. In 2020, however, the best digital marketers will look at conversion rates in a more heterogeneous way.
Rather than measuring base conversion rates, they’ll measure them on a per-action basis. More importantly, they’ll measure the actions, themselves. Instead of recording direct purchases, newsletter signups, and email subscriptions, tomorrow’s marketers will measure conversions garnered from free account creation, webinar sign-ups, and e-book reports.
In doing so, they’ll view cross-channel conversions through a better lens—especially when a website-based, lead-generating action has stemmed from the offline world.
Social Media Story Views
As social media becomes increasingly video-based, live-feed user stories are taking over. By and large, this trend exists due to the saturation of business advertisements sweeping through Facebook and Instagram. Live user stories guarantee a top-shelf, consistent spot atop a given platform’s chaos—and businesses are following suit.
Already, 83 percent of digital marketers consider social media videos to be one of the most important factors of 2020. It’s estimated social media users will consume more daily minutes watching multimedia than ever before, too.
The rise in live-feed stories is a great opportunity to measure when brand followers view their content. It’s also a great opportunity to see which follower groups commit to multi-video branded slideshows. About 60 percent of digital marketers are even going so far as to craft personalized videos for their followers—harnessing the key strategies destined to succeed this coming year.
Website Lead to In-Store Customer Ratios
This trend is deceiving, as online-to-offline lead-based purchases are already popular. Building from this popularity, however, is the dawn of cross-channel lead measurements and the non-subscription-based, online-offline purchase measurement.
Where cross-channel lead measurement is considered, marketers are being more aggressive about figuring out where their leads leave their online sales to funnel before paying the brick-and-mortar store a visit. Rather than measuring simple non-purchases resulting in physical location sales, they’re measuring exact points of online exit.
In doing so, a better visual of cross-channel effectiveness in terms of direction. Are website visitors jumping to your brand’s Facebook page before hitting the road? Or, are they finding your website through an Instagram link—only to drop off at the landing page.
Subscription and non-subscription-based leads, too, are an increasingly important factor. If your website visitors aren’t subscribing—but they’re still buying from your brick-and-mortar—why? If they’re subscribing to your newsletter, or your email campaign, are they more likely to open your location’s doors? If not, would a new sales funnel direction be viable?
These approaches work particularly well when combined with solid SEO and SEM campaigns—each of which can help track your customers, cross-channel, before they disappear from the online world.
New Visitors Vs. Return Visitors
A good metric to examine alongside website leads and in-store customers is the ratio of your website’s new visitors to its returning visitors. Even if your social media campaign—or your brick-and-mortar promotions—attracts website visitors, are they sticking around?
In 2020, understanding the number of unique visitors will become important. That is to say: Visitor accounts unique to their respective users. If a new website visitor opens an account, but if their Facebook profile also follows your brand’s Facebook page—take note. This statistic can be compared to new website visitors who don’t match up, contact-list-wise, with your social media pages.
Where returning visitors are considered, knowing which of your fans are attracted to your content can provide great insights into your website effectiveness. Alone, the “returning user” metric isn’t very useful. But when it is broken down to a content-engagement level, its results can be directly compared to your unique visitor count. In most cases, you’ll unearth some rather precise statistics pertaining to your social media content strategy’s effectiveness.
Return on Ad Spend
While return on ad spend, or ROAS, is already used by many marketers, it’s fallen behind other metrics in recent years. This is, in most cases, because a single year’s ROAS measurements can identify a digital marketing campaign’s most lucrative channels. Sure, marketers will still examine ROAS, year over year, to tweak their strategies based upon results—but too many place ROAS on the back-burner to focus on other statistics.
In 2020, however, ROAS will become vital. Many advertising trends are disrupting the industry, and plenty of digital marketers are still trying to catch up—leveraging various metrics to recover fallen lead generation channels. By and large, not paying close enough attention to ROAS results in such a scramble.
Instagram Likes, Views and Comments
Facebook is still the most popular social media outlet, having logged 2.38 billion active users in July 2019. The platform’s number-one spot isn’t necessarily anything new, but it’s time for marketers to look at the massive numbers powering Facebook’s other properties:
- WhatsApp, with 1.6 billion users.
- Messenger, with 1.3 billion users.
- Instagram, with 1 billion users.
More or less, these properties are consistent in their popularity ranks. But something interesting is happening: While Facebook has the most popular, it’s actually Instagram which attracts the most Americans between ages 18 through 29. Millennials and post-millennials make up the platform’s bulk of active users, so companies compelled to target new consumers as they enter the buying world should take note.
Instagram Likes, Views and Comments are a good place to start. Each metric, while independent of one another, can be easily cross-examined for clear-cut insights—especially when the live user Stories are examined as well.
Chatbot metrics are also becoming exceedingly invaluable. A Salesforce research report in March 2019 depicts an AI chatbot growth rate of 136 percent over the next year. Useful for garnering in-depth user insights by answering questions, these automated brand bots are perfect for examining various metrics.
Sure, they’re useful for aiding online customer support—a historically difficult realm to breach—but they’re also useful for logging additional customer “waypoints” before conversions. Moreover, chatbots can provide unique information into the customer’s responsiveness, down to sentence increments, before leaving, joining, switching or engaging a channel.
Here’s the best thing about automated chatbots: Their provided metrics can be used to enhance, well, chatbots! These nifty things are built to offer supreme personalization, improving conversion rates by utilizing the most relevant metrics around. As your branded chatbot is fueled with more data, it’ll become better at increasing the customer’s lifetime value.
In recent years, influencers have become a popular social media marketing impactors. Influencer marketing taps channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with follower-heavy brand representation, product reveals, how-to YouTube videos and more. By directly promoting a brand, these influencers not only boost brand awareness—but also conversions and reach.
Many influencers already have a high degree of follower trust, which makes them invaluable entities in the vital online-offline space. On YouTube, for example, about 70 percent of teen subscribers feel they relate far more to their favorite video creators than direct representatives—and even celebrities. Considering roughly six out of 10 YouTube subscribers also adhere to influencer purchasing advice, website visits, product purchases, and in-store conversions can easily be tracked.
Instagram’s influencer marketing potential, in particular, is growing rapidly. It’s growing so fast, in fact, that the global market is expected to double its $1.3 billion U.S. value by 2020. Simultaneously, the amount of brand-sponsored Instagram influencer posts is expected to double in the next year—passing six billion users.
Getting the Most Out of Your Metrics
Every digital marketing campaign is different, which means your own will need to rely on a custom-tailored metric relevancy hierarchy. Often, content still remains “king” among the many outreach approaches available to today’s decision-makers. If you continue producing branded content, reach out to followers via media and target the vital gap between online and offline buying scenes—you’ll put your metrics to good use.