I was recently asked the question “What are the best ways to measure online marketing success?”

Measuring online marketing success starts with defining what success is for you. This will be very individual to the organisation, project or artist. We cannot measure success until we have determined how that success looks.

One of the great benefits of online marketing and communications tools is that they are so measurable – and it is easy for us to access the statistics and data that provides us these measures.

Here are a few examples of the things you could choose to measure and what they might mean in “success” terms (but as you can see, the possibilities really are infinite):

  • Increase average length of visitor time on website by X% (this is an indicator of increased engagement with your audience);
  • Increase conversion rates to ticket sales online (this is an indicator that you are targeting the right people online and that your offer is right);
  • Increase “active users” on Facebook (this is an indicator that you are building engagement amongst your community of interest).

Tools to use for measuring include:

  • web analytics, e.g. Google Analytics;
  • reporting from the ticketing system you use;
  • stats provided by your social media host sites (eg Facebook fan page sites, YouTube stats) and also from third party sites (e.g. Twitteranalyzer).

Get together with your team and agree what success might look like to you in people or audience terms. Then decide which tool provides the data that might measure that success.

Sharing benchmarks as an industry will help us all to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound). And the more experience you gain in using each of the online tools, the more you will understand what success might mean.