Sorting Through an Abundance of Data

Digital marketing can create endless streams of data. These data streams can be analyzed in a variety of ways to determine if marketing or advertising campaigns are effective. And that’s really the holy grail of marketing — measuring results and effectiveness — especially when you are looking for a return on your investment (ROI).

But the issue with endless streams of data is that those data streams are subject to interpretation. You have to decide what is relevant to your marketing efforts. While some might categorize the time we’re currently in as the “Golden Age of Digital,” it could also be categorized as the “Age of Digital Confusion.” In the end, you have to monitor the metrics which best track the performance of your marketing efforts and contribute to the growth of your business.

Success is Relative

Every measure of marketing success is relative to a reference, and every measurement must be taken in context. Most marketing activities can be measured, but how do you determine which measurements provide the most accurate measure of success?

For example, clicks are easy to count, but not necessarily meaningful. Just because someone clicked on an ad doesn’t mean they were really interested or engaged. Conversions are meaningful, but attribution is tenuous in most cases, especially where direct sales are involved.  Demand-generation campaigns, used to create awareness and build brands, can be measured by views — but duration and unique views may be better indicators of actual interest. Lead generation, the precursor to revenue generation, can be measured by conversions, sales leads, and purchases, but it can become a lengthy journey for the buyer.

It’s also important to realize that while these are generally accepted, hardcore indicators of success, there are other “squishy” success factors, such as brand awareness, goodwill, and developer community building, as well as trust-building within established developer communities. These measurable factors are squishy because tracking cause and effect is tenuous, and subject to skepticism.

Fighting for Attention

According to a 2015 study by Microsoft, consumers have an average 8-second attention span, compared to a 9-second attention span for the average goldfish. Blame it on computers, social media, smartphones, and the effects these have had on our thought processes and brain structure.

Digital saturation has changed the way we think, making it more challenging for marketers to get people’s attention. The best way to mitigate this effect is to make sure you are focused on your target audience, and ensure that you are serving content which resonates with them. Measurement of your efforts enables you to adjust campaign elements so that you can stay ahead of saturation. Remember, your developer audience is unique, and tailored content will go a long way in earning their attention.

According to a comprehensive white paper recently published by MarketBridge, titled  “Measuring Marketing’s Effectiveness,” email remains one of the most effective means of reaching your target audience — and one of the best aspects of this tactic is the ability to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Even in this age of over-saturation, email is still an effective way to reach your target audience, and it is inherently measurable.

Measuring Campaign Success

Unless there is a direct line from the developer to product purchase, the hardest measure of marketing success is the sale itself, which is why related metrics are KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators — and they should be part of any campaign development effort. Essentials such as advertising, promotion, web elements, or visitor activity each have an associated unit of measure, including clicks, views, conversions, and leads. But the real measure of any campaign is ultimately the developer’s response to your call to action.

Creating an Effective Call to Action

It’s important to be realistic when setting expectations as you develop your call to action. You also don’t want to create a campaign with a call to action as an afterthought.

Creating a successful call to action starts with understanding your target audience and their motivations. This is best accomplished through the creation of realistic personas. Once you’ve designated your target(s), create content which excites and engages, and has a plausible and realistic call to action.

It’s important to note that audience responses are predicated on a level of trust between the advertiser and the audience. Take care to cultivate trust with your developer audience, and do not engage in tactics which could be received as untrustworthy or predatory. Place your content in the right context, and then measure the results.

For more information and guidance on developer advertising, the Advertising Guide by DeveloperMedia is a handy reference. You can find plenty of analytics packages on the market that will let you create dashboards to track all kinds of parameters, but it’s important not to be distracted by the data. For greater success, choose only what’s important for your needs, and focus on the call-to-action responses. Measuring the audience’s reaction to your marketing and advertising is really what counts.


A holistic approach is the best way to evaluate campaign analytics, taking the following into account:

  • The top-level purpose of the campaign. Is it lead generation or demand generation? Are you expecting sales results, or do you want to build brand awareness?
  • What are the parameters you can measure? Which measurement(s) best explain the results you expect?
  • What measurements will be best understood by your audience? Consider the effort needed to explain a marketing metric to a non-marketer, and adjust accordingly.
  • While there are a lot of metrics to consider, limit your measurements to 3-4 key metrics. Too many metrics will cause confusion. Clear, concise results are a mark of professionalism.


MarketBridge – Measuring Marketing’s Effectiveness whitepaper

Microsoft Goldfish study

Call-to-action — Examples

Persona Development

Developer Advertising Guide

DeveloperMedia — Measuring Marketing