Facts About The Objective Phase Of Digital Strategy
The Objective phase is the heart of the process. During this phase, you clearly outline your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and design a strategy to achieve them. The objective phase is focused clearly on beginning with Key Success Outcomes, identifying your KPIs and then designing a strategy that is measurable and clear.
Activities of the objective phase are intended to establish clear KPIs that will measure performance and include:
- Channel Objectives: What is the role of your channels?
- Media Benchmarks: What is an acceptable performance for your paid advertising?
- Content Objectives: What do you want your content to do?
- Audience Objectives: What do you want people to do in response to your activity?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are finite metrics that collectively you can use to prove the existence of your Key Success Outcomes (KSOs). These varied KPIs can be used to measure individual performances of content and activity.
KSOs are the resulting outcome of a number of KPIs combined to create an outcome that is used as a marker of success. Firstly, you should create a rough list of all the possible success outcomes that are relevant to your brand. Then, using the SMART goal system, you should identify from your list of potential goals what are your Key Success Outcomes. SMART goals are:
- Specific: Is the goal clear and singular. Try to avoid multiple results, “we want more site traffic and the positive sentiment”
- Measurable: How are you collecting and generating data from your activity?
- Achievable: Can you do it?
- Realistic: Is this a goal that is realistic for the business?
- Timely: Can you achieve results within your given time period?
SMART goals are important for your organization as they are the successful outcomes on which your performance on digital channels will be measured.
For any organisation there are three levels of success:
1.Low Level: your subordinates success should be measured in shorter time periods. Establishing weekly goals and objectives that are achievable.
2.Mid Level: These would be goals for yourself. What do you need to achieve during your own review period? Don’t forget that the goals set to you are the ones that management perceive as the most important. Reach your goals and it becomes easier to sell in further investment.
3.High Level: These are the priorities for senior management. These are normally long-term results. If possible, you should limit the high powers to reviewing social twice a year. Any shorter and their expectations may not be met. Try to encourage time to prove results.
The most common social KPIs are Engagement, Content Consumption and Conversions. They are also most commonly the most misconstrued:
- Engagement: How many users are engaging with your online content and the quality of those engagements? Engagement is a word that is overused. It is important to understand the difference between engagement and engagement of quality. Understand that content can be social but also pages on your site.
- Content Consumption: How is your content being received, and closely linked to engagement performance? In addition to metrics, research can allow you to test response to content e.g. propensity to recommend to family and friends, a brand like me, etc.
- Conversions: Are you converting users? This is not necessarily sales. A conversion can be tracked and confirmed by a specific site action e.g. form completion.
If you have a clear vision of success and an identified KSO, it is easier to identify which of your available KPIs would combine to create your KSO.
It’s imperative that anything that your identity as success must have data available and recorded by your business that you can use to prove success. Too often when asked what success looks like brands respond with ‘Sales’ as their answer. My next question is “are you tracking sales on your site?”. The response, more times than I wish to admit, is clients announcing they don’t have an e-commerce site. Whatever your KSO is you must have data available that you can fully attribute the outcome.
At this stage of the process whoever is your superior should be aware of your KPIs and KSOs. Getting your superiors bought into the KSOs and KPIs at an early stage will allow for much easier strategy development because everyone involved will know what the expectations are.
One of the biggest benefits of setting clear expectations and KPIs is that you will now have set metrics that you will record consistently. Over time you will be able to develop your own benchmarks and track performance against what you know to be truly positive for your brand rather than trying to compare against your competitors which can be a dangerous road. You have very little information in investment so comparing to competitors involves looking at aesthetics rather than hard statistics.
Reporting and Measurement are often mistaken as the same thing. It is important to identify the difference for your business from the outset.
Reporting is something for more junior team members to ensure work is operating correctly. Measurement is how senior members of the team identify specific measures and how they are impacting the business.
Without accountability, there is no guidance. Everybody in your team should understand:
- What they are responsible for?
- What are their KPIs?
- How can they be successful?
- What are their daily/weekly goals?
Each department has specific strengths and expertise. This should create a need for divisions of the business to be accountable for very specific KPIs and KSOs.
I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.
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