As a business owner you are faced with a range of challenging questions. Questions like where do I get the best return on my advertising? How do I find the right staff? What should I invest any spare money in? And even, what small thing can I do today to improve my health?

Questions like these take time to answer. Some live with us for a while as we struggle to find a way to answer them. I believe that once the right measurement tools are established then answers for them all should come in minutes, not hours.

For instance, let’s take on the health question.  My job is probably like most of yours – I spend most of the day at a keyboard and screen, tapping away and taking the occasional call. Sitting and tapping. Lunchtime, Ben and I sometimes head out for a run but there are plenty of occasions where there’s too much sitting and not much movement. Hence the Fitbit.

To follow is a picture of something that has been attached to my belt for the last week. It’s a FitBit Zip. A handy electronic pedometer that syncs with your smartphone so you can see exactly how many steps you have taken that day. The daily goal it comes with is a massive 10,000.

fitbitSo now when I’m having a day of too much sitting I can look at the phone, see how few steps I have taken so far and force myself to get up from my desk and do a quick loop around the block to get the blood going again. If all is going to plan I’ll get out once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Two 10-minute loops that get me back on track. All driven from my handy dandy measurement device, the Fitbit.

Here’s an example related to money. A while back I was left a small amount of money. Nothing amazing, just enough to make me think twice about deciding what to do with it. The boring and lazy option was to send it to the bank and pay down a smidgen of my Auckland-sized mortgage.

I decided to spend some money to learn how to spend my money so discussed the situation with my accountant. He’s a keeper. Within a few moments he produced a report from his laptop and showed me the effective percentage return on my money by a) paying down my debt, b) placing the money in the bank on term deposit and, finally, c) investing the money in my business.

Needless to say, the difference between the three was startling and the money was quickly diverted into Permission to drive some much needed marketing. That’s the beauty of having the right type of measurement tools – once they are correctly set up the decisions that flow from them can be derived in lighting speed.

Thankfully, this all applies nicely to the online marketing space. In fact, I would hazard a guess that 100% of super smart online marketing decisions should take less than five minutes to make. Once, that is, the correct measurement systems are set up.

The system that will help answer a sizable chunk of online marketing questions is the one we talk about each and every month – Google Analytics. A day doesn’t go past without me peering into the reports it provides to help a customer squeeze an ounce more effectiveness out of their spend.

Once correctly linked to your paid advertising channels and any other streams of traffic that a website receives, then a range of complex questions can be answered in double quick time.

For instance, last month we had a client who wanted to increase their online spend by a substantial amount – think thousands of dollars. Their cost per lead online was a fraction of what they could achieve through radio, print or TV, so all three received a shaving of budget and the excess was sent our way. So the question we had to answer was, where was the best place to invest these funds to provide the greatest return?

stopwatchWe had the answer nailed in less than five minutes. Here’s how we did it. First off, they were already spending money with Google AdWords, applying their spend across a range of campaigns. All were converting at an acceptable rate but – as always – a few were the stars.

We looked through these “star” campaigns in their Google AdWords account, customised the reporting we could see, and noticed that three of them were not seeing all the clicks they could as their budget was running out. The reports then went on to tell us how many extra clicks we could get IF we increased our spend with Google.

Spreading our client’s extra spend over three high-performing AdWords campaigns moved their click share close to 100% of the search traffic available. We already knew these campaigns were converting well on the site – Google Analytics told us this before – so, all things being equal, this extra traffic should produce more leads at a very similar low cost. Which is exactly what we saw after the campaign ran for a few weeks.

There’s a really neat report in Google Analytics that provides a summary of this process for E-commerce website owners who also buy their clicks using Google AdWords. It’s what I call my “pull out any spare cash from under your bed” report.

Here’s a picture of one in action. It shows the cost per click compared to the resulting revenue to provide an ROI at a campaign level. The picture to follow shows an overall ROI of 730.59% – not a bad return on investment! But, as always, there are some stars and I have highlighted a campaign that shows a whopping 1101.15% return.

analytics data

My point being that if you had any spare money hanging around in the business – or under your bed – this is where you would spend it. And to take this even further, you could borrow the money at, say, 15% and use this to give you a 1000% return. Now I realise we are talking gross figures here so margins need to be allowed for. But still, a 1000% return should produce a sizable amount of profit per click.

Without the correct measurement systems, making decisions like these would be practically impossible. Remember that great marketing comment, “I know that 50% of my marketing is wasted. I just don’t know which 50% it is”? Well, this is the voice of a person who doesn’t have the right measurement tools running. And when Google Analytics is free, there’s no reason why you need to be asking the same question.

Call us today if you are ready to start making quick decisions that will have a meaningful impact in your online marketing.