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The Year in Review –Evaluating Digital Performance

Evaluating Digital Performance

As one year comes to a close and we move into another it’s that time when we look at a client’s digital performance and ask ourselves – how did they do? What worked? What didn’t? What did we learn? What were the most profitable channels? What didn’t perform and why?

A year-over-year (YOY) performance review is a valuable exercise for measuring the success of your digital marketing efforts. By comparing data from one year to the next, you can identify trends, assess the effectiveness of your strategies, and make informed decisions about future marketing efforts.

YOY Percentage Increase

Did you have a target?

“We need a 20% lift in traffic and 15% lift in sales, 50% lift in signups YOY.”

Every client wants to see a percentage lift YOY but only same set specific targets. Often there is a lot of pressure to get more out of the campaigns. But how much can be achieved depends on how much the budget increased by, impact form external factors, macro-economics, industry changes, weather, supply chain, or new competitors.

Clear targets and objectives with understanding of seasonal or market conditions allow for more insightful and balanced understanding of the data.

2023 – What is your Target % Lift?



Google Analytics – Reviewing Google Analytics data YOY is the first thing we do to analysis a websites performance. It’s what I refer to as the “window of the soul” to work out what’s really going on.  To begin with we review the following metrics: Users and Sessions, Sales, Revenue, Signups, Leads, Goals, Conversion Rates, Device Category, Geo Location – and we compare each month YOY by source medium.

What was the percentage lift / drop?

What activity was responsible?  There is always a reason for a lift, or a drop and you just need to dig around to find it – and not all of them may be as negative as them seem.  Examples:

  • Drop in total traffic. Although from a top level it may appear that performance slipped you may find that you just drove a different type of traffic. For example, in the previous year you may have invested more heavily in display or programmatic that drove a higher volume of traffic – but also a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate.
  • Lower conversion rate? From a top a level a drop in a conversion rate could indicate an issue with the website… but upon a deeper look, you may discover that a few blog articles drove a high volume of organic traffic. These articles are designed to educate and inform and don’t’ have a strong sales CTA – pulling the overall conversion rate down.

Deep investigation is key to truly understanding the data.

Cost per acquisition per channel

Google Analytics default channel grouping view is an easy way to get insights into channel traffic and engagement and conversions. Compare conversions, sales and revenue per channel against your investment and costs.  Deep diving here will assist in determining which channel has the highest ROI or conversions and allow you make informed choices with your budget weighting.

Mobile Vs Desktop

How well the traffic from mobile or desktop performed YOY can inform on where most conversions are coming from and help drive informative decisions on website improvement or investment in marketing to grow performance.

GEO Location

Check which geographic location the traffic is coming from. If you find there are volumes of traffic coming from countries or locations you don’t service, investigate further on the source and be sure to identify any campaigns that are driving non targeted traffic.

Organic Traffic

Always take a close look at your organic traffic volumes. For many clients the ongoing free traffic from search engines plays a critical role in digital performance success. If you experience a drop in organic traffic – always consider if you are running Google Ads on brand terms – and what impact this may have had. Look at opportunities to continue to invest in SEO – the gift that keeps on giving.

Sign ups & EDM Performance –  Having a strong EDM database and growing your first party data should be a forefront of your marketing strategy. Comparing YOY and MOM database growth and performance of your email marketing strategy will give you insights into what is working well and where to make further improvements. Utilise UTM tracking with campaign names to evaluated and compare which EDMs result in targeted business outcomes.

Data Driven Planning

Use the insights you gained from your YOY performance review to inform your future marketing efforts. Based on the data, you may want to continue investing in certain strategies that have proven to be successful, or you may want to pivot and try new tactics. By regularly conducting YOY performance reviews, you can continually optimize your marketing efforts and improve the ROI and performance.

Send me an email if you have any questions you want answered about your YOY performance.

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