As digital communication continues to explode more organizations are recognizing its importance within the marketing mix. In order to develop strategy and allocate resources business leaders need to understand the effectiveness of their existing digital initiatives. A great way to do this is to conduct a digital audit – a study of your brand’s digital presence (on its own and in relation to your competitor set) across six key areas: Reach, Architecture, Content, Conversion, Integration and Measurement.

Before launching the digital audit it’s important to establish basic criteria with respect to rating status, structure and performance. To help guide next steps set up a simple decision filter that will aid in prioritizing your findings. One simple way to do this is to assign a color coding systems as follows:

  1. Green – Continue your current course. Monitor and look for incremental improvement.
  2. Yellow – Pause and assess. Adjust based on priorities and capacity.
  3. Red – Stop and fill gaps. Change strategic/tactical direction based on objectives and budget.

Reach – Organic and paid exposure across digital channels

  • Use tools like Rank Checker to measure how well you rank (organically) on branded and category/industry keywords and phrases across major search engines
  • Do you have an email marketing program in place? What are your open rates, click rates, etc.?
  • Do you have a presence on social media channels relevant to your organization? Measure potential reach via likes, followers, subscribers, channel views, video/image views, etc. More importantly, measure % effective reach per channel by adding engagement activities such as likes + comments + shares and dividing by potential audience size.
  • Are you running pay per click advertising campaigns, display advertising campaigns or mobile ads? Measure impressions and click through rates per ad channel.

Architecture – Channel design, structure and functionality

  • Assess website usability. How are graphic elements used? How effectively is information presented and consumed? Test things like loads times, link integrity, navigation, etc.
  • How well are your social media channels set up? Are profiles, descriptions, tags, links, etc. optimized?

Content – Process and assets

  • Do you have a content strategy in place? Do you have content creation workflows in place? Is there a mechanism to measure what’s working and what isn’t?
  • How strong are your content assets? What formats are you using? Text? Video? Photos? Audio? Applications?

Conversion – Activation of visitors

  • Are your digital channels designed with a conversion funnel in mind?
  • Do you have any forms on your website, Facebook, blog, etc? What is your rate of form fills per visitor? What is your form abandonment rate?
  • Do you have clear calls to action on your web pages, Facebook pages, blog, etc?

Integration – Connection of all online and offline touch points

  • Are social media channels accessible from your website?
  • Are you cross linking from one social media channel to another? Are you linking back to your website from social media channels?
  • Do your offline activities connect back to digital channels i.e. print ads, trade shows, etc.

Measurement – Digital objectives, metrics and performance

  • Do you have objectives in place for awareness, influence, engagement and action?
  • What metrics are you using to gauge performance?
  • Do you have reporting protocols in place? What is the frequency of measurement and reporting? Are there feedback loops in place? Are reports analyzed and acted upon?

Assess these audit areas internally and benchmark your performance against your competitors where possible. Has your organization conducted a digital audit recently? Were the findings helpful in advancing your digital strategy? Is there anything else you measured? The comments are yours.

 

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at Solopreneur.ca and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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