This blog post is our preview of Proof Week, a celebration of LinkedIn’s ability to deliver data-backed ROI that takes place April 16-23. During Proof Week, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions will provide tons of meaty content to help today’s sophisticated marketer understand how to prove the value of their marketing efforts on LinkedIn and beyond.
In the age of marketing data, B2B marketers are being held more responsible for proving ROI. We’re called upon to demonstrate progress throughout the funnel, to provide quantifiable evidence that we’re making a difference.
To prove marketing’s value to upper management, it’s time to get more strategic about measurement. It’s time to design campaigns with specific goals and metrics in mind—to know what success looks like and exactly how you will measure progress.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most common goals for upper and lower funnel marketing, and the metrics you can use to prove your success.
Upper Funnel Metrics
Goals in the upper funnel are often seen as “soft goals,” difficult to measure and relate to revenue. Goals like increasing awareness and building the brand are just as quantifiable as lower funnel metrics, however, and we should hold ourselves just as responsible for measurement and reporting.
Here are some of the most common upper funnel goals and the B2B metrics you can use to measure them.
This goal has a less-than-stellar reputation. It seems to encompass everything and nothing. You could say awareness is a goal without having a plan for measuring it or connecting it to revenue.
But it is possible to be accountable for awareness. Design your campaign with these metrics in mind:
- Lift in branded search terms
- Added followers to Company Page
- Lift in website traffic
- Added subscribers to blog
Like awareness, engagement can be a meaningless buzzword. With the right metrics, though, it can help you evaluate audience response in a meaningful way. Use these metrics to measure engagement:
- Open rates, likes, comments, and re-shares
- Increased traffic to targeted pages
- Increased pages per visit and time-on-page
- Decline in bounce rate
- Increase in inbound links
- Increase in opt-ins to gated content
Use LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to measure how engagement on LinkedIn leads to engagement on your site:
3. Brand Perception
It’s good to have people talking about your brand, but are they talking about the topics you want your brand to be known for? How well is your brand building a reputation? Measure how well your thought leadership programs are working with these metrics:
- Increased quality of leads generated
- Mentions in industry publications
- Lift in organic ranking for key topics
- Increased company page followers in target demographics
LinkedIn Company Page Analytics can help you prove that your content is resonating with the people you’re most trying to reach.
Lower Funnel Metrics
Goals in the lower funnel are more closely attributable to revenue, which means they tend to be more valuable for proving ROI to upper management. Just remember that without strong upper funnel strategy, you won’t have a lower funnel.
Here are just a few lower funnel goals and their corresponding metrics:
1. Nurturing Leads
Nurturing is how you lead upper funnel leads toward a purchase decision. It’s about sustaining interest and deepening the relationship. Measure the success of your nurturing with these metrics:
- Returning visitors to your site
- Progress from ungated to gated content
- Growth in marketing qualified leads
- Growth in sales qualified opportunities
2. More Efficient Conversions
The end goal of all marketing is conversions that drive revenue. This specific goal is about getting those conversions with less expenditure of time and resources. Measure your effectiveness at finding those efficiencies with these metrics:
- Increased organic leads
- Lowered cost per lead
- Increase in sales accepted opportunities
3. Sales Enablement
A marketer’s work used to end at the handoff to sales. Now marketers can and should continue to contribute to the relationship through the sales process and after the sale. These metrics can demonstrate your success:
- Shortened average sales cycle
- Increased retention rate
- Increased customer lifelong value
- Increased upsell/cross-sell
Some of these metrics may seem like the sole responsibility of the sales team. But marketing content can help with each one.
Proving ROI is a top challenge for B2B marketers. The problem isn’t access to data—we have more data than ever before. The issue is creating campaigns with measurement built in. When your marketing efforts align specific goals with quantifiable metrics, you can demonstrate exactly how marketing contributes to movement through the funnel all the way through conversion.