How to conduct a digital marketing audit: Advice from industry experts - ClickZ

30-second summary:

  • In their 30+ page ebook, How to Get the Most Out of a Digital Marketing Audit, Footprint Digital, a UK-based search-marketing agency provides guidance on how to correctly perform a digital marketing audit.
  • Footprint defines a digital marketing audit as the inspection of a brand’s marketing activity that compares what’s happening now versus what they did in the past. An audit also looks at how your marketing compares with competitors.
  • This post provides a high-level summary of some key points from the ebook including setting goals, reviewing/setting up tracking, and what makes an audit comprehensive.
  • You can download Footprint Digital’s free ebook from ClickZ.

There are many benefits to learning how to conduct a digital marketing audit. Auditing helps with budget allocation. It identifies gaps in strategy and opportunities to test new tactics, creative, and channels. But audits are only helpful if they’re comprehensive and the data they’re based on is consistent.

It’s important to get the audit right or the insights you glean from it may be incorrect, sending you down the wrong path when it comes to planning out your digital marketing initiatives.

When done correctly, audits can set the direction for your future digital strategy by helping identify what’s working (and what’s not).

In their 30+ page ebook, How to Get the Most Out of a Digital Marketing Audit, Footprint Digital, a UK-based Search-Marketing agency with over two (Read more...) of digital marketing experience, provides comprehensive guidance on how to correctly perform a digital marketing audit.

In this post, we’ll cover some important points addressed in the ebook about key components to conducting a successful audit. Note that this summary barely scrapes the surface of the information in Footprint’s guide. You can download the free ebook in its entirety from here.

Content created in partnership with Footprint Digital.

What is a digital marketing audit, anyway?

Footprint defines a digital marketing audit as an inspection of a brand’s marketing activity that compares what’s happening now what was done in the past, as well as how this compares with competitors.

Writes Footprint, “A digital marketing audit is an investigation into what is working, what isn’t working, and ultimately where things can be improved.”

Expert auditors consider several criteria when evaluating digital marketing initiatives. These include access to relevant data sources such as website analytics, marketing and transactional data, organic search rankings/traffic, paid search performance, and competitor information.

One of the most important steps in auditing digital marketing performance is understanding how each initiative tracks back to goals, so let’s start there.

Setting goals is critical to success

As part of the audits they routinely provide to their clients, Footprint reviews Google Analytics data. A staggering 83% of the Google Analytics accounts they audit don’t contain goals – which makes understanding the impact of a company’s marketing initiatives difficult.

Setting up and tracking goals within your website analytics tool is critical to understanding what digital marketing tactics are working. Some questions to ask yourself regarding goals include:

  • Are the correct goals being tracked?
  • Are transactions being tracked (for ecommerce websites)?
  • Do you use events to track micro conversions like email address clicks, scroll tracking, etc.
  • Which traffic sources are driving the most revenue to your business?

Keep in mind that before you can set up goal tracking, you’ll need to define your goals in the first place. An audit can help you identify the goals that are critical to your business. Including this information as part of a written digital marketing strategy will help insure you maximize your future marketing investments.

Have you reviewed your analytics configuration lately?

And speaking of analytics, roughly 90% of websites that Footprint audits don’t have website tracking configured correctly. This means that the website owner cannot be confident that they have accurate data to work with.

For a website audit to be comprehensive, it should include a review of your Google Analytics account (or whatever website traffic tool you use). Footprint lists a few questions to ask when reviewing your analytics setup as follows:

  • Is your pageview tracking working correctly?
  • Are your account settings configured correctly? (this includes things like spam bot filtering and user access)
  • Are you filtering out your own traffic?

These are just some basic questions you should be asking (the ebook covers additional points that Footprint considers when conducting an audit).

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to review and/or revise your analytics settings, then you may need to invest in an outside expert who can help you get your analytics straightened out and on track.

It’s not an audit if it’s not comprehensive

Not every audit is created equal. “Push-button” or “free” SEO audits, for example, typically review one page on a website (the homepage), which can lead to making important marketing decisions from very little data. To get value from a digital marketing audit, Footprint recommends you:

  • Draw from more than one relevant data source
  • Make insightful data-driven recommendations
  • Prioritize and present the recommendations (with a focus on making informed decisions)
  • Manage the auditee’s expectations (what will the audit cover?)

Writes Footprint, “There are many elements a digital marketing audit could cover — thousands of data-points which can be collected and analyzed, but they will not all be within the scope. Everyone needs to understand what is in the audit right at the start — education is key.”

Follow-up is the secret to success

While a digital marketing audit is a great way to kick off any new marketing initiative, the power of the audit is in its follow up. Footprint notes that when their clients follow up an audit with an average 2-year engagement with their agency, they typically deliver a 144% increase in traffic.

The full ebook contains much more information for website owners, marketers, or agencies interested in learning how to conduct digital marketing audits. This includes a breakdown of different audit components, examples of audits, a list of auditing tools, and more.

You can download the free ebook, How to Get the Most Out of a Digital Marketing Audit, from here.

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