Does More Spend = More (of the Right) Results From Paid Media Buys?

By Kari Rippetoe | Jun 3, 2014
More Articles by Kari

I recently read a summary of a report from STRATA that said marketing agencies were increasingly enamoured with YouTube for their clients’ campaigns. 62% of respondents reported being likely to use the platform, up from just 31% this time last year. This coincides rather nicely with last month’s report from Outrigger Media, which shows that 41% of respondents involved in YouTube media buys are planning to increase their spend on the ubiquitous online video platform this year.


Now, anytime I read a report like this that touts the popularity of a certain advertising channel based on increased spend, my first thought is, Great, but what were the results of that increased spend? If you spent money on YouTube last year, and now you’re planning to increase that spend, obviously the results were awesome, right? Right. So what were your results?

Beware “Soft” Metrics

Many times, paid media buys (within digital marketing channels like search and social media) are made in order to drive traffic to a website, and that’s fine – customers come from traffic. But is traffic enough to justify an increased spend? Beware “soft” metrics like:

  • Engagement (subscribers, Likes, followers, etc) – fortunately, according to the Outrigger report, 80% of YouTube media buyers do NOT consider subscriber growth a KPI.
  • Awareness (you may hear terms like “eyeballs,” “reach,” “mindshare,” etc)
  • Even metrics like pageviews and time on site can be considered soft ways of measuring website traffic.

These are all well and good, and they’re certainly measurements of some sort of results – but those aren’t the results I’m talking about. When your agency is talking about spending more money on YouTube, or Facebook, or any other paid media platform, your first question should be, before you hand over any more money: “How many viable leads and/or customers resulted from our last campaign?” 

What Metrics Matter?

Soft metrics will certainly help to tell your story and support the success of your campaigns; however, it’s the hard metrics that will really solidify the long-term viability of those campaigns. Don’t just think subscribers, Likes and followers, think the full customer journey from subscriber/Liker/follower to lead to buyer. Utilize the tools you have (Google Analytics or other analytics platform, marketing automation, CRM system) to track that journey. Then, you can get a much clearer picture of where your customers are coming from, what they’re doing on your website, and what is driving their interest in your products or services – enabling a more informed decision on increasing your spend.

This infographic shows you which metrics actully matter in telling your campaign’s success story. Here’s a snippet from that infographic that shows what metrics are most important to CEOs:

Metrics That Matter Infographic

Do you see followers, subscribers, or views anywhere in this graph?

Because You’re Worth It

It’s your company, your job, and your marketing imperative to know the real results behind all the money you put into your online campaigns. More and more marketers just like you are being asked by the C-suite to prove their worth, and if your efforts aren’t contributing to the bottom line, you (or your agency) might be in trouble.

So isn’t it time you start holding your marketing accountable for the real results of your campaigns? Ask your agency the tough questions or take a hard look at your budgets and KPIs. Measure your success the right way before increasing your spend.


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