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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How Often Should You Measure Your Marketing Progress?

 

Accurate, insightful measurement is your single greatest asset in marketing and advertising. Learning to track your metrics, you’ll be able to effectively gauge which of your tactics are working, which ones need improvement, and whether you should scrap the entire campaign in favor of something more profitable. Left to your own decision making, your subjective psychological biases could take over and lead you to a misleading or impractical option. But data? Data never lies.

This is why most CMOs and entrepreneurs take great value in reporting on their marketing progress on a regular basis. As datapine suggests, most companies choose to report on marketing progress daily, weekly, or monthly—but how often should you really be reporting?

High-Frequency Advantages

There are some key advantages to reporting more often that might push you toward daily reports:

  • Intimate familiarity. The more time you spend with the data, and with the campaign in general, the more you’ll develop a “gut feeling” you can use to quickly identify points of concern. People in almost every profession, including medical practitioners, rely on gut feelings for faster decision-making, but only through repeated exposure and development will your ability grow. If you report on a daily basis, you’ll become familiar with the natural ebb and flow of results, and you’ll be able to tell when something’s out of whack.
  • Responsiveness. Tracking your campaign more closely gives you a faster response time. If you notice something is going wrong, or you aren’t seeing the results you expected, you can proactively fix the error before it costs you any more money than necessary. If it takes you a month to figure out what’s happening, it may already be too late.
  • Experimental tolerance. High-frequency reporting also gives you more room to experiment; you can see the results of an AB test in real time and make quick tweaks to see how they impact your performance. As Conversion XL explains, marketing experiments require more statistical analysis than a high-level snapshot, but these introductory experiments are a good start if you’re new to the game.

Low-Frequency Advantages

However, there are also advantages to longer intervals between your reporting cycles:

  • Long-term evaluation. Looking at your results day-to-day could give you a false positive or negative and may not be indicative of your entire campaign. Long-term measurements, such as those that work month-to-month, help you get a feel for the high-level progress your campaign is making. This is especially important for strategies designed to develop over the course of years.
  • Working hours. Producing monthly reports over daily reports also reduces the number of working hours required to keep those reports moving. The logic here is simple; if the report takes an hour to produce, a daily report requires 30 hours of time per month, while a monthly report requires 1 hour of time.
  • Mitigation of volatility. More space between measurement cycles mitigates any inherent volatility in your campaign. For example, according to SEO authority Moz, search engine volatility is to be expected; uncontrollable, unpredictable fluctuations may interfere with your readings if you take measurements too frequently.

Factors to Consider

As you might expect, every situation is different, so we can’t make a recommendation for any specific interval between marketing reports. However, there are a handful of variables that should be able to help you make a decision:

  • Company and team size. Think about the size of your company and the size of the team handling the marketing campaign. If you have several dozen marketing teammates, who can afford the time to review the numbers on a daily basis, it may be worth tasking them with day-by-day reporting. On the other hand, if you have one marketing employee who already has a full plate, longer intervals are probably more important.
  • Investment. Also consider how much you have riding on this campaign. If you’re just throwing a few hundred dollars a month at it, you don’t need to constantly track its every move. But if this campaign is eating up the majority of your marketing spend, you’ll need to stay on it with greater diligence.
  • The nature of the campaign. Not all marketing campaigns work the same way, so think about how long your campaign is meant to develop. SEO, for example, only works as a long-term strategy; measuring its performance each day will probably do more harm than good. Conversely, you may run a PPC campaign that only lasts a few weeks, so daily measurement is a practical necessity.

There’s no “right” answer for timing your marketing reports, but there are situations where the frequency of your reporting matters. Think carefully about your unique situation and turn to the advantages of each end of the spectrum if you’re having trouble making a final call.

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