The Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

How to Measure Marketing Effectiveness: A Step-by-Step Guide


Are you struggling to prove that your marketing efforts are having a measurable impact on your company’s performance? We get it.  

You would think that digital marketing would make it easier to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. But in many ways, it’s harder than ever. With so many channels and strategies competing against each other, it can feel impossible to pin down the campaign that caused a conversion. 

That leaves you in a tricky spot as a marketing manager. It can be hard to know which campaigns to persevere with and harder still to prove your worth to stakeholders. 

Thankfully, there are several strategies you can use to measure the success of your campaigns and put a value on your efforts. So, if you want to learn how you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing, improve the ROI of your efforts and prove your value as an employee, read on. 

What is marketing effectiveness?

Marketing effectiveness measures how successful a marketing strategy or campaign is and the extent to which it achieves goals and business objectives.

What Is Marketing Effectiveness

It’s a growing concern for brands, with research showing that 61.2% say measuring marketing effectiveness has become a more prominent factor in decision-making over the last three years. In other words, it’s becoming critical for marketers to know how to measure their effectiveness. 

But it’s getting harder to do so. A combination of factors, including channel fragmentation, increasingly convoluted customer journeys, and the deprecation of third-party cookies, makes it hard for marketing teams to measure marketing performance. 

Why you need to measure marketing effectiveness

Imagine ploughing thousands of dollars into a campaign and not being confident that your efforts bore fruit. It’s unthinkable, right? If you care about optimising campaigns and improving your worth as a marketer, measuring marketing effectiveness is necessary.  

Why you need to measure marketing effectiveness

Optimise marketing campaigns

Do you know how effectively each campaign generates conversions and drives revenue? No? Then, you need to measure marketing effectiveness.

Doing so could also shine a light on ways to improve your campaigns. One paid ad campaign may suffer from a poor return on ad spend caused by high CPCs. Targeting less competitive keywords could dramatically reduce your costs. 

Improve ROI

Today, marketing budgets make up almost 10% of a company’s total revenue, up from 6.4% in 2021. With so much revenue at stake, you’ve got to deliver a return on that investment.  

Measuring marketing effectiveness can help you identify the campaigns or strategies delivering the highest ROI so you can invest more heavily into them. On the other side of the same coin, you can use the data to strike off any campaigns that aren’t pulling their weight — increasing your ROI even further. 

Demonstrate value

Let’s get selfish for a second. Whether you’re an in-house marketing manager or work for an agency, the security of your paycheck depends on your ability to deliver high-ROI campaigns. 

Measuring your marketing effectiveness lets you showcase your value to your company and clients. It helps you build stronger relationships that can lead to bigger and better opportunities in the future. 

We should take this opportunity to point out that a good tool for measuring marketing effectiveness is equally important. You probably think Google Analytics will do the job, right? But when you start implementing the strategies we discuss below, there’s a good chance you’ll have data quality issues. 

That was the case for full-service marketing agency MHP/Team SI, which found Google Analytics’ data sampling severely limited the quantity and quality of insights they could collect. It was only by switching to Matomo, a platform that doesn’t use data sampling, that the agency could deliver the insights its clients needed to grow. 

Further reading:

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How to measure marketing effectiveness

Measuring marketing effectiveness is not always easy, especially if you have long buying cycles and a lack of good-quality data. Make things as easy as possible by following the steps below:

Know what success looks like

You can’t tell whether your campaigns are effective if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve. That’s why the first step in measuring marketing effectiveness is to set a clear goal. 

So, ask yourself what success looks like for each campaign you launch. 

Remember, a campaign doesn’t have to drive leads to be considered effective. If all you wanted to do was raise brand awareness or increase organic traffic, you could achieve both goals without recording a single conversion. 

We’d wager that’s probably not true for most marketing managers. It’s much more likely you want to achieve something like the following:

  • Generating 100 new customers
  • Increasing revenue by 20%
  • Selling $5,000 of your new product line
  • Reducing customer churn by 50%
  • Achieving a return on ad spend of 150%

Conventional goal-setting wisdom applies here. So, ensure your goals are measurable, timely, relevant and achievable. 

Track conversions

Setting up conversion tracking in your web analytics platform is vital to measuring marketing effectiveness accurately. 

What you count as a conversion event will depend on the goals you’ve set above. It doesn’t have to be a sale, mind you. Downloading an ebook or signing up for a webinar are worthy conversion goals, especially if you know they increase the chances of a customer converting. 

A screenshot of the Matomo goals dashboard

Whichever platform you choose, ensure it can meet your current and future needs. This is one of the reasons open-source content management system Concrete CMS opted for Matomo when choosing a new website analytics platform. The flexibility of the Matomo platform gave Concrete CMS the adaptability it needed for future growth. 

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Decide on an attribution model

Marketing attribution is a way of measuring the impact of different channels and touchpoints across the customer journey. If you can assign a value to each conversion, you can use a marketing attribution model to quantify the value of your channels and campaigns.

While most web analytics platforms simply credit the last touchpoint, marketing attribution offers a more comprehensive view by considering all interactions along the customer journey. This distinction is important because relying solely on the last touchpoint can lead to skewed insights and misallocation of resources and budget. 

By adopting a marketing attribution approach, you can make more informed decisions, optimizing your campaigns and maximizing your return on investment.

Pros and cons of different marketing attribution models.

There are several different attribution models you can use to give credit to your various campaigns. These include:

  • First interaction: Gives all the credit to the first channel in the customer journey.
  • Last interaction: Gives all the credit to the last channel in the customer journey.
  • Last non-direct attribution: Gives all credit to the final touchpoint in the customer journey, except for direct interactions. In those cases, credit is given to the touchpoint just before the direct one.
  • Linear attribution: Distributes credit equally across all touchpoints.
  • Position-based attribution: Attributes 40% credit to the first and last touchpoints and distributes the remaining 20% evenly across all other touchpoints. 

Consider carefully which attribution model to use, as this can significantly impact your marketing effectiveness calculation by giving certain campaigns too much credit.

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Analyse KPIs

Tracking KPIs is essential if you want to quantify the impact of your marketing campaigns. But which metrics should you track?

To improve brand awareness or traffic, so-called vanity metrics like sessions, returning visitors, and organic traffic may suffice as KPIs. 

However, that’s not going to be the case for most marketers, whose performance is tied to revenue and ROI. If that’s you, put vanity metrics to one side and focus on the following conversion metrics instead:

  • Conversion rate: the percentage of users who complete a desired action. 
  • Return on ad spend: the revenue earned for every dollar spent on a campaign.
  • Return on investment: a broader calculation than ROAS, typically calculated across all your marketing efforts.  
  • Customer lifetime value: the total amount a customer will spend throughout their relationship with your company.
  • Customer acquisition cost: the cost to acquire each customer on average.
A screenshot of a conversion report in Matomo

Your analytics platform and advertising tools should track most of these KPIs by default. Matomo, for instance, automatically calculates your conversion rate in the Goals report

How to present your marketing effectiveness

Calculating your marketing effectiveness is one thing, but it’s important to share this information with stakeholders — whether those are executives in your company or your agency’s clients. 

Follow the steps below to create an insightful and compelling marketing report:

  • Set the scene. There’s no guarantee that the people reading your report will know your goals. So, add context at the start of the reporting by spelling out what you are trying to achieve and why. 
  • Select the right data. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with facts and figures, but you do need to provide hard evidence of your success. Include the KPIs you used to measure your success and show how these have changed over time. You can also support your report with audience insights such as heatmaps or customer surveys.
  • Tell a story with your presentation. Give your presentation a narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end. Start with what you want to achieve, describe how you plan to achieve it and end with the results. Support your story with graphs and other visual aids that hold your reader’s attention.  
  • Provide a concise summary. Not everyone will read your presentation cover to cover. With that in mind, provide a summary of your report at the start or end that shows what you achieved and quantifies your marketing effectiveness.  

How to improve marketing effectiveness

Don’t settle for simply measuring your marketing effectiveness. Use the following strategies to make future campaigns as effective as possible. 

Understand customer behaviour

More effective marketing campaigns start by deeply understanding your customers, who they are, and how they behave. This allows you to take an audience-first approach to your marketing efforts and design campaigns around the unique needs of your customers. 

Gather as much first-party data as you can. Surveys, focus groups, and other market research techniques can help you learn more about who your customers are, but don’t disregard the quantitative data you can gather from your web analytics platform. 

Using Heatmaps, Session Recordings and behavioural analytics tools, you can learn exactly how customers behave when they land on your site, where they focus their attention and which pages they look at first. 

Screenshot of Matomo heatmap feature

These insights can help you turn an average campaign into an exceptional one. For example, a heatmap may highlight the need to move CTA buttons above the fold to increase conversions. A session recording could pinpoint the problems users have when filling out your website’s forms. 

Further reading:

Optimise landing pages

Developing a culture of testing and experimentation is a great way to improve your marketing effectiveness. Let’s dive into A/B testing.

By tweaking various elements of your landing pages, you can squeeze every last conversion from your campaigns.

A screenshot of a Matomo A/B test campaign

We have a guide on conversion funnel optimisation, which we recommend you check out, but I’ll briefly list some of the optimisations you could test:

  • Making your CTAs actionable and compelling
  • Integrating images and videos
  • Adding testimonials and other forms of social proof
  • Reducing form fields

Use a different attribution model

It might be that some campaigns, strategies or traffic sources aren’t getting the love they deserve. By changing your attribution model, you can significantly change the perceived effectiveness of certain campaigns. 

Let’s say you use a last-touch attribution model, for instance. Only the last channel customers will get credit for each conversion, meaning top-of-the-funnel campaigns like SEO may be deemed less effective than they are. 

It’s why you must continually test, tweak and validate your chosen model — and why changing it can be so powerful. 

Measure your marketing effectiveness with Matomo

Measuring your marketing effectiveness is hard work. But it’s vital to optimise campaigns, improve your ROI and demonstrate your value. 

The good news is that Matomo makes things a lot easier thanks to its comprehensive conversion tracking, attribution modelling capabilities and behavioural insight features like Heatmaps, A/B Testing and Session Recordings. 

Take steps today to start measuring (and improving) the effectiveness of your marketing with our 21-day free trial. No credit card required.

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A powerful web analytics platform that gives you and your business 100% data ownership and user privacy protection.

No credit card required.

Free forever.