Nine Questions Your Agency Doesn’t Want You to Ask PART 1
Working with a marketing agency can create tremendous value for your business, but working with the wrong marketing agency can have quite the opposite effect. Accountability is key to any successful relationship or business goal, but holding your agency accountable can be easier said than done. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of three key questions you should be asking your agency. Check back often over the coming weeks as we release the next two parts of this series.
1. How qualified are the leads and traffic you’re generating? What metrics are being evaluated to determine quality?
One of the most common mistakes we see as an agency is focusing too much on the volume and quantity of traffic, as opposed to the quality of traffic. We often see agencies bragging about large increases in website traffic, without taking a closer look into the quality of that traffic. Let’s walk through an example of how not monitoring quality can be a big misstep.
Grassy Hill Equipment Co saw 150,000 site visitors in 2021, then started working with a new agency that drove 250,000 site visitors in 2022. Upon first glance, an increase of 100,000 site visitors looks like a great accomplishment! But let’s look at some of the metrics to evaluate when assessing quality.
Bounce Rate - represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave ("bounce") rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site.
Time-on-Page - the average amount of time all users spend on a single page.
Pages-Per-Sessions - the average number of pages a visitor browses per website session.
Goal Completions - the percentage of visitors completing goals on your website. These goals could be phone calls, form fills, or other events.
Now that we know what metrics to look at, let’s revisit the traffic increase for Grassy Hill Equipment Co. Take a look below at their key quality indicators in 2021 compared to 2022:
Goal Completion Rate
When we take a look at the key quality indicators above, we see a not-so-shiny picture of Grassy Hill Equipment Co.’s traffic in 2022. Although the site visitors saw a large increase, the quality of the traffic saw substantial decreases.
Breaking it down a bit further, in 2021 there were 52,500 site visits that navigated to more than one page (didn’t bounce). In 2022, with the increase in bounce rate, there were only 25,000 site visits that navigated to more than one page. While the objective of the campaign could have changed, the combination of the above metrics imply that although the quantity of visits increased, the quality saw steep declines.
2. What KPIs are we measuring, and how were they decided?
Key Performance Indicators, more commonly known as KPIs, are the key metrics that are used to measure and evaluate the success of objectives. KPIs can vary drastically depending on the objective, channel, and type of business you are in - but they should always be set, measured and used to decide the success or failure of an objective or campaign.
Far more often than not, KPIs are set at the beginning of a campaign and then not actually used for their intended purposes - measuring the success of said campaign.
This can be for a variety of reasons, some of which are more sinister than others. A common reason we’ve witnessed is due to poor campaign performance. Instead of owning up to the performance of the campaign, the KPIs are shifted in order to save face.
In reality, though, not meeting KPIs does not mean your campaign is a failure - it may just mean that the channel, audience or creative needs to be shifted to align more closely with the overall objective.
Deciding KPIs starts with defining the business objective and then translating that objective into relevant metrics for the channel you are advertising on. Let’s take the following business objective as an example:
“We’d like to grow product sales by 40% in 2022”
Now that the business objective is defined, we can now translate that into measurable KPIs. Let’s assume that this client was wanting to run media on digital channels. We know they are looking for product sales, which means we would be wanting to measure purchase or purchase intent-based KPIs.
From there, purchase-based KPIs could be set per channel, and benchmarks could be developed using industry data or historical first-party data. See, that wasn’t too hard!
3. Are my campaigns being A/B tested?
A/B testing and experimentation are thrown around a lot in the day-to-day life of a digital marketer, but is your agency actually ensuring your organization is reaching peak performance with its advertising?
A/B testing is an experiment run between at least two variants to inform marketers on which variants perform better (or worse). An example of an A/B test could be showing two variations of the same creative to your audience, and measuring the change in engagement between the new variants.
A/B testing is vital to the longevity and success of any marketing campaign. Without it, optimization becomes near-impossible and the cause-and-effect from changes to advertising become harder to track and attribute.
Make sure to ask your agency about their experimentation and testing methodology especially with Responsive and Dynamic capabilities to ensure your marketing is the best it can be.
If reading these questions make you nervous, then we’d love to chat about how we can help take your marketing to the next level. Call, email, or chat with us for more questions you should be asking your agency.