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How to measure marketing performance effectively

The old adage “You can’t improve what you don’t measure” is still just as true as it always been.

The challenge (at least for digital marketers) has arguably flipped on its head… everyone wants to track everything – but why?

Because we can!

Yet this does not create action.  Far from it, it creates paralysis – no one can see the wood for the trees.  Too much data, too many analytics platforms.

Below, we’ll run through how to create a plan, identify issues, analyse the data and pull the levers required to correct the course.

The key here is breaking down the wood, and determining which trees need examining and when.

The way to do this is by creating a simple measurement plan to utilise.  This provides an independent ratified source of truth away from reporting to reference back to, when those pesky reports grow arms and legs.


So what actually is a measurement plan?

A measurement plan a simple document that catalogues measurables that are important KPIs to affect decisions, actions and making an impact. We recommend breaking this down organisation-wide, or at least across the marketing function.

We’ll use a performance marketing team below to illustrate how this can be done effectively;

Ecommerce marketing team example

Lead-generation marketing team example

Clearly these are two very simple illustrations focused on performance marketing “bottom-of-funnel” metrics.  But they offer a better starting point than over-thinking the whole thing… dropping into analysis paralysis once again.

The idea is that this cascades, and the Paid Search team would have their own measurement plan that breaks these down further, and then to personnel level, so everyone is clear on their part of the puzzle – leading to clear accountability.


The objective now is two-fold; build a weekly top down report solely around the agreed measurement plan metrics. This means that you can spot trends and have channel-specific reports (in-team) breaking down their KPIs further (as per their measurement plan).

With this weekly trend, identification of drifting and off-course KPIs becomes straightforward.

For instance – should you notice that non-homepage traffic begins to decline against the seasonal expectation… then the team can begin to dig into landing page traffic, assessing visibility and rankings to narrow down the off-course aspect of the plan. With this being identified both at a holistic department level and team-level everyone arrives at the same identification point together.

(Further – this avoids email ping-pong scrabbling for reasons why revenue might be down – “Is it paid, organic?… brand activity… rankings… the weather… the Bank of England…”)

Analyse and Action

Now the dig begins, we’ve used our metal detector, we know this is where the search begins.

The team can now easily break down the right metrics to determine the levers to pull & adjust accordingly.

Now clearly, some channels take longer to spin up than others.

If rankings have tanked in a certain aspect, maybe there is a quick-fix where a technical issue has occurred, but what this holistic planning and reporting delivers is the ability to bait and switch capacity.  “Can we push paid in the short-term?” becomes a question on Monday, not later in the week following multiple rounds of email tennis and blame-apportioning.

Parting thoughts

Find clarity in your metrics, focus on actionable data and keep yourself honest to the Metrics that Matter to your organisation.

That’s not to say these important metrics can’t be re-assessed or changed, but consistency and clarity is key, rather than continually changing the goal posts.

Remember to Plan -> Identify -> Analyse -> Take action


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