It was long thought that the best judge of how well your company or organization is reaching its targeted audience on social media is the number of likes you receive on your business page, so marketing reach was viewed in terms of impressions.

Impressions are the number of times your post/ad/page was viewed. In the print age it was
circulation. Magazines and newspapers would sell ads based on their circulation, which, in simplified terms, is how many were distributed. The greater the reach, the higher the number of people had the chance to see your ad. Let’s say you had a cycling shop. If you found a general magazine that reached 100,000 people, that would seem like the best way to reach the most people.

Slowly the print age started to change. Instead of reaching the largest audience, it started to become more important to reach the “right” audience. Let’s take the same hypothetical cycle shop from above. Instead of reaching a huge group of random 100,000 people, the right move might be to reach 10,000 in a cycling magazine.

Engagement during the print age was based on circulation and then ad response. In the digital age it is similar. Creating an ad that reaches 100,000 that only results in 1 response would seem like a low production digital ad or post. The “Engagement” rate would be low. And how do you know any of the 100,000 views your received were people in your target audience?

Maybe it is time to start considering engagement rate and outcome. Social media is filled with “Lurkers.” These are the people who are on social media but NEVER or rarely like/comment/share/favorite posts, pages, or ads, but they are still there. They see your post. They notice the ad, and then later, when they need the product or service you offer, they recall the ad and do a separate google search. This type of engagement will like not be recorded by any tracking site as anything other than a possible impression or view.

Knowing that engagement tracking won’t measure these customers, is it important to track these?

The short answer is yes! Very much! Engagement is how you can decide if your marketing budget is being well spent. But it may be worth investigating how many “Lurkers” you are reaching who remember you later and reach out and combine that information and the engagement rate to gauge your marketing success.

One possible way to measure that is to add a single, optional, question to your check out process to find out how people heard about you. Keeping it optional will ensure that people don’t get frustrated during the check out process and abandon their purchase. However, people don’t want to add any complications to their checkout process, so it may be worth incentivizing answering the question by offering a discount or free gift with purchase to get more responses.

Be sure the question has options that will answer your questions. So, if you want to know if they saw your ad on Facebook but didn’t click on it and googled you later, be sure to include that option!

It may seem that this type of analysis is overboard, but you might be surprised at how successful that social media or digital campaign actually was, once you look at it in a new way.

How do you measure the success of a marketing campaign and what campaign was the most successful for you? Let us know in the comments!