In today's multi-channel world, accurate attribution and measurement may be harder than ever to attain. Yet, as a corporate communications leader, it's important to know what's driving traffic, engagement and positive results for your brand. Here are the top seven metrics you should be tracking as part of your strategy.
1. Social sentiment
Tracking what people say about you on social media platforms, and whether it is positive or negative, provides critical insight into your communications strategy and helps you more effectively shape relationships with investors, potential job candidates, and, of course, clients and customers. Forrester's 2016 CX Index found that only 18 percent of brands received a "good" or "excellent" score from their customers, and even worse, 23 percent of brands got a rating of "poor" or "very poor." Sentiment analysis can help you identify and combat low brand approval.
2. IP addresses
The latest technology lets you track the IP addresses of the people who visit your website and connect that to their company information. An IP address can help you determine when a potential client or a reporter from a major publication is scouting your website and which pages they're spending time on. Give your communications and sales teams an advantage by using IP-related intelligence to fuel outreach strategies.
3. Mobile usage statistics
Do you know what percentage of your audience uses mobile devices? According to comScore, smartphones and tablets now account for nearly two of every three minutes spent online. Having a website and content that's optimized for mobile helps ensure that your communications strategy is reaching your audiences on the device of their choice. Regardless of quality, failure to optimize content for mobile can lead to damaged relationships with customers, investors and other audiences.
4. UX design and performance metrics
Is it easy for users to find the content they're looking for or complete a transaction? If not, it can negatively impact your brand and even turn off a potential investor or job candidate. Adobe research found that 39 percent of people stop interacting with a website if images don't load or load slowly, and 38 percent of people will stop if a website's content or layout is unattractive. Design matters for both utility and engagement.
5. Referral data
Where does your website's traffic come from? These sources can help you better understand where to post content, whether to invest in SEO and which partnerships are valuable for your organization. For example, if a high percentage of your traffic comes from Google or Bing, spending money on pay-per-click advertising or SEO can yield dividends. However, if an expensive sponsored content partnership with a media brand isn't paying off, referral data can help you determine where to reinvest those funds.
6. Press mentions
Tracking press mentions from websites, blogs, mainstream media and your industry's trade publications is key to any corporate communications strategy. Not only can you leverage these clips for increased credibility, but tracking the media narrative around your brand can help you understand how discussions take shape and determine what, if any, adjustments you need to make to your messaging. Anyone looking into your company for any reason will likely encounter "news" along the way; the more you're able to shape your story, the better.
7. Content engagement
Content marketing is a significant part of many corporate communications strategies today. Knowing what content your audience is engaging with — for example, which topics or formats — can help you refine your strategy and develop more effective content. One DemandGen report found that 47 percent of buyers viewed between three and five pieces of content before they engaged with a sales rep. Understand what content drives action in your ecosystem for maximum effectiveness.
Tracking attribution is a critical part of developing a successful corporate communications strategy. Out of the sea of potential metrics, focusing on what your audiences are saying, how that connects to your brand and what messaging and content is driving action will help you develop a plan that addresses your strategic goals. Investing in technology that lets you track information in a centralized dashboard saves time and money and makes it easier to spot essential trends.