Friday, 10 June 2011

How to measure success in Digital Publishing?

Let’s start by debunking any notions that same metrics can be applied to different companies or even different campaigns and goals in one company. As Kristina Halvorson points out in her book Content Strategy for the Web, the first thing that should be assessed is what constitutes success?

Depending on the company’s goals, it can mean anything for generating sales, driving advocacy or improving lifetime value of existing customers. Once the general goal of the project or strategy is established we can get down to more specific figures. But even with the more specific numbers it’s hard to clearly measure what constitutes success. Benchmarking against previous campaigns run by the company is a good start; also comparing against what your competitors and the industry leaders are doing can help you estimate how successful you really are.

Conversion is of course the ultimate way to measure success but that can mean so many different things. Conversion of what? To start with, measure at least the ultimate goals set for the campaign or strategy. These can anything from making sales, getting people to sign up for a website / fan page or their lifetime value. When taken to the next step, publishers should measure how often newly acquired customers return to the site and how effective the company is in retaining them.

Measuring success is tricky and blindly staring at different KPIs isn’t going to make much difference if you don’t know what a chance something means. When in doubt whether you should spend time analyzing a certain KPI, try asking yourself “SO WHAT?” three times. If you can answer 3 times and see a benefit, you have something worth looking into in more detail. You can use this “analysis” to determine whether a KPI is actually worth measuring or if the change in a KPI is worth thinking about. Trust me, it works!

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