Before we dig into how Google Data Studio (GDS) can help with evaluating your paid media for customer acquisition, let’s talk about your audience. A critical step to achieving success with any paid media campaign is audience research. Digital advertising allows you to get granular with targeting. The more you know about your target audience and how they spend their time, the better you can budget, select channels, and set campaign goals.
10 questions to help guide your audience research:
- What are the key characteristics of your target audience? For instance, is your audience mostly females in the 18 to 24 age range? Or professionals in their 40s and 50s?
- Which ad platforms cater most to your audience?
- Which platforms have the biggest following among your target audience?
- Where does the audience engage?
- How do they engage?
- What devices are they using?
- When are they receiving impressions?
- When are they converting?
- What is your competition doing with ad creative and messaging?
- Where is the competition reaching the same target audience?
Ready to start researching? A quick Google search is a great place to start. However, if you need deeper insights into audience demographics, competitors, or information on industry trends, there are companies like Nielson.com and emarketer.com that offer subscriptions to access market research.
Expert Tip: Using a GDS dashboard powered by a data aggregation and cleaning tool like Joinr will show you key stats on customer acquisition after your campaign is running. But you’re the expert on your audience when it comes to targeting your paid media. Don’t worry though – even experts make mistakes. If your customer acquisition stats aren’t quite what you hoped, come back to the 10 questions above and consider tweaking your campaign targeting.
Optimize your customer acquisition with clean, unified data in a funnel-focused Google Data Studio template.
Choose the right KPIs for conversion
Designing a campaign for conversion requires several well-choreographed steps, like choosing the right platforms and channels for your audience and crafting creative messaging, graphics, and CTAs.
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are metrics that allow you to quantify the progress of your digital advertising campaigns toward important business objectives.
But first, make sure you understand the business objectives set by your organization, so you can make sure your campaigns are aligned with the right key performance indicator (KPI). Perhaps your organization has set an objective to increase product sales by 20 percent over the next six months, as well as a goal to increase membership in its free online community. So your paid media strategy should include a campaign to help drive sales, as well as a campaign that converts your audience into community members. Both of these are conversion-level campaigns, and a conversion rate KPI will help you to understand your paid media performance against your business objective.
Just like thorough audience research and careful targeting, setting an appropriate KPI that ladders back up to your business objective for each campaign is essential to success. When you’re ready to do your first round of reporting on your campaign using Google Data Studio, you’ll know where to focus your attention.
Expert Tip: The quality of the data you receive from Google Data Studio is only as good as the quality of the data you put in. While GDS is amazing for helping you visualize and organize data, it doesn’t aggregate or clean your data. Clean performance data is data that has been aggregated from the channels and platforms where your ads are running and then unified into one, standardized data set.
For instance, if you’re running a cross-channel paid media campaign on Facebook and Google, performance metrics for similar activities, like video views to completion, are defined quite differently. Aggregating and standardizing that data will make those definitions match up so you can evaluate performance on an even playing field.
Don’t worry though – you don’t have to be a data scientist to properly evaluate your customer acquisition KPI across channels. You can find a free tool (Joinr, wink, wink) to aggregate, clean, and funnel the data into GDS for you.
Unlock real insights about your customer acquisition funnel with unified data in a GDS template.
Get funnel vision: CTR to conversion rate
While conversion rate may be your core KPI, there are additional performance metrics you should track for your customer acquisition-focused campaign. These will include impressions, clicks, sessions, and number of conversions.
From these metrics, you can get two additional key metrics:
- Number of clicks / Number of impressions = Click through rate (CTR)
Ex. 300 clicks / 20,000 impressions = 1.5% CTR
- Number of conversions / number of clicks
Ex. 35 conversions / 300 clicks = 11.67% conversion rate
- Number of clicks / Number of impressions = Click through rate (CTR)
CTR and conversion rate are great indicators of how well your ads are performing. And whether you consider your numbers to be successful or not can depend on the platform or channel where you’re placing your ads. Different ad platforms will have different benchmarks for how ads are performing overall and by industry.
Looking at the examples above, we can see that out of the 300 people who clicked on your ad, 35 converted, giving you a conversion rate of 11.67%. According to Brafton, a content marketing agency, paid social ads on Facebook average a CTR of .90% and a conversion rate of 9.21% across all industries. So, congrats! Your conversion rate is above the overall benchmark for Facebook. Again, CTRs and conversion rates can vary by industry, so industry benchmarks may provide additional understanding that helps you to set your conversion rate KPI.
Google Data Studio can be used to see all of these metrics, if you have a way to funnel in aggregated, clean data, as discussed in the previous section.
Expert Tip: Use a reporting template or dashboard for GDS focused on customer acquisition that connects to your data aggregation and standardization tool. This will automatically update your core performance metrics and KPI data, so you can check the health of your conversion-focused campaign at a moment’s notice. This is especially handy for those inevitable last-minute reporting requests from stakeholders and leadership.
Optimize for best performing channels
If you’ve been following our expert tips, you’ve now got aggregated, clean data flowing into a customer acquisition dashboard in GDS. Is your conversion rate performance data matching up to your KPI expectations? Whether you’re getting less than spectacular results or vaulting right over the high bar you set for your campaign, it’s likely there are opportunities for optimization.
Opportunities for optimization may be found in the following:
- Honing messaging, imagery, and CTAs in your ads through proper A/B testing
- Looking for opportunities to refine audience targeting
- Evaluating the performance of each channel and platform
It’s always wise to look at your ad creative and your own website landing page used for conversion when evaluating where optimizations can be made for your campaign. Testing changes in one creative element in your ads at a time against the performance of your original ads can tell you whether your messaging and visuals are resonating. And if your ads seem to be falling flat overall, it might be time to revisit the audience research questions in the first section of this article.
You may also find that one channel or platform within that channel is outperforming the others. For instance, if you’re running a campaign across Facebook, Instagram, Google search, and YouTube, drilling down into performance for each specific platform can be a great way to find opportunities for customer acquisition optimization.
Expert Tip: Remember, all of the data that comes into your GDS dashboard from your data aggregation and cleaning tool is standardized. So you’ll be able to see an apples-to-apples comparison of performance from channel to channel and platform to platform. Is Facebook doing better than Instagram? Perhaps shifting more budget to Instagram is the best tactic to improve your conversion rate.
Get real insights about your paid acquisition efforts with a single source of truth for your cross-channel ad data.
Say hello to new customers
Your business objective was acquiring new customers. You targeted the right audience, chose the right KPI, and then found opportunities for optimization. With all of your performance data continuously being aggregated, cleaned, and fed into your Google Data Studio customer acquisition dashboard, you can see exactly how many new customers came from your amazing strategy and planning.
And your business stakeholders can see it too.
Taking complexity out of data aggregation, cleaning and analysis can help you make dramatic shifts in where you put your time and effort. Leaning into great processes, tools, and a consistent cycle of review and optimization can create better success for your organization and a better career trajectory for you.
Are you ready to get the most out of your conversion-focused paid media campaigns?