Awareness and interest don’t get potential customers very far down the funnel, but they are critical steps nonetheless. Before your target audience becomes customers, you need to promote brand awareness and demand generation. This is because conversion cannot happen if your audience doesn’t know you exist. Therefore, top of the funnel marketing is a crucial step in the process. Analyzing and tracking the associated metrics is key to ensuring that your efforts are hitting the target instead of simply shots in the dark.
Brand Awareness & Demand Generation
The two main goals to focus on at the top of the funnel include:
Brand awareness refers to the familiarity of a consumer with a particular product or service. It establishes trust with customers and creates positive associations. Once a consumer is aware of your brand, they will make direct associations when dealing with a pain point that your product or service solves. They will also begin to prefer it over other similar brands, and establish a loyalty that not only generates additional purchases, but also inspires them!
Generation is the industry phrase for gathering leads. Demand generation at the top of the funnel stage means lead generation. It is necessary to obtain leads to deliver your marketing content to. Otherwise, there is no one to read your content!
Lead generation comes from gaining the interest of potential customers who are then added to your database. Once captured, these leads can be nurtured through the sales funnel.These ultimately end up with your sales development team to guide them through to the end goal of making a purchase.
Essential Marketing Funnel Metrics That Substantiate ROI
Return on Investment, or ROI, is the key to creating successful marketing content that converts to sales. By measuring items such as website traffic, average time on page, bounce rate, impressions, clickthrough rate, and reach, you are able to understand the performance of your marketing campaigns. This provides essential research that will be put to use in future campaigns.
For example, if your ads reach a large number of people but your conversion rate is very low, this disparity will direct course corrections that improve the campaign’s outcome. As your numbers improve month-over-month, you are able to quantify the success of your marketing efforts.
Driving traffic to your website is one of the most important goals within a Top of the Funnel marketing strategy. Bear in mind that when analyzing data that the web traffic that is linked to, middle and upper-funnel marketing will be included in your overall traffic report. One easy way to make the distinction is to include Urchin Tracking Module, or UTM, codes in your URL links. These can be utilized in social posts, blogs, email campaigns, etc. Including these codes allow you to pinpoint which source the website visitor originally came from and use it as data for your next campaign.
Users vs. Sessions
Google Analytics is the most popular tool to track these codes. In Google Analytics, website traffic is mainly broken down into “Users'' and “Sessions.” “Users” means unique visitors to your website. “Sessions” track every time an IP address visits your website (new or returning) and ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. Each pageview, click, transaction, etc., that occurs during this period is tracked and makes up one “Session.” “Users” and “Sessions” both display on the default Google Analytics dashboard and can also be found by navigating from “Audience” > “Overview.”
Average Time on Page
Google Analytics measures the average “Time On Page'' by how long - on average - a visitor spent on a specific page of your website. In the metrics, you can see what the “% Exit” rate is for each page of your website. This tracks how often a user exits the website from a certain page.
If you have a specific page of your website that is a top Exit Page, there may be an opportunity to improve the page by adding an additional action item. This can be in the form of a video to watch, a form fill, or a link to a blog post. The more time a visitor spends engaged on a specific page, the better chance you have of overall conversion.
Along with “% Exit,” it is also possible to track a user’s time spent on a specific page. You can find the “Average Time On Page” by navigating to “Behavior” > “Site Content” > “all Pages” in Google Analytics. This allows you to see which pages visitors are most interested in by their time spent viewing it. With this data, pages can be edited to include more of the popular content visitors would like to see.
Google Analytics has a section called “Bounce Rate” to show which percentage of your website visitors triggered only one request from the Google Analytics server. This can be a single page view without triggering any other request such as another page view, conversion, etc. Simply put, it is the number of single-page sessions divided by the total number of sessions.
Bounce Rates are a clear indicator of how well potential customers are interacting with your content. If your website provides a poor user experience or if a page is uninteresting andt irrelevant, visitors are more likely to exit your website without any further interaction. The lower the Bounce Rate percentage, the more interesting your visitors find your content. “Bounce Rate” can be found on the default Google Analytics dashboard and by navigating to “Audience” > “Overview.”
One of the most basic measurements of brand exposure is impressions. Impressions are calculated as the total number of times your ad or post is served to users on screens. For example, if your Facebook ad was served to users a total of 1,000 times, it would mean the ad received 1,000 impressions. This helps marketers to measure the number of people who have seen a post or ad, even if they don’t click, comment, or otherwise engage with the content.
It goes without saying that impressions are a base requirement for building awareness. If your target audience is not seeing your ads or content, they are not necessarily going to know about your brand.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
In order to achieve the highest rate of brand awareness you will also want to measure Clickthrough Rates (CTR) to understand how engaging your content is to consumers. Clickthrough Rate is how often your audience clicks on a call-to-action within your post. CTR measures the ratio of clicks to impressions. A high Clickthrough Rate is an indication that visitors find your content helpful and relevant. A low Clickthrough Rate is indicative that your content may need a rework to better catch audiences’ attention.
Reach is a measurement that indicates the total number of people who were shown content through Facebook, Instagram, ads, posts, or pages. For Facebook, Post Reach is the number of people who saw a specific post in their newsfeed. Page Reach is the number of people who saw any of your posted content during a given period of time. Facebook further breaks this down into Organic and Paid Reach. All of this data can be tracked through Facebook Insights.
Google Ads has a few different metrics for Reach, including:
- Unique Users
- Average Impression Frequency per User
- Average Impression Frequency per User Over 7-day Period
- Average Impression Frequency per User Over 30-day Period
Reach and Frequency data for Google Ads can be viewed by adding the columns for these metrics to your statistics table or a presenting statistical data sheet. The time frame of presented data can be changed by selecting dates in the dropdown menu. This can be done through the Campaigns page within your Google Ads account. The columns can be found under “Reach Metrics.”
What To Look For
When looking at Reach, if your audience is wide, but your conversion rate is low, that is a sign that you will need to concentrate your efforts on adjusting your audience so that it will have a higher likelihood of engaging with your ads. Alternatively, if your conversion rate is high for your audience, that indicates your target audiences’ interest in your content. This is a sign of a successful campaign.
Substantiating Top of the Funnel Marketing Efforts
As any savvy investor will tell you, if you don’t see an ROI, move on to something else. Since investing in brand awareness and demand generation is crucial to building lasting customer relationships and driving conversions, tracking these metrics enables you to measure your ROI in greater detail. Knowing your metrics gives you the crucial knowledge needed to invest your top of the funnel marketing efforts (and dollars) wisely.
Are you still challenged by using these metrics to prove ROI?
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