Today’s fast paced world can make it feel like you should have seen results yesterday. This is especially true for digital marketing. As a business, you invest significant time and budget in digital marketing, so it’s fair to ask how long it will take to see a return on your investment (ROI)?

It’s crucial to have an understanding of a reasonable timetable to see those desired results. There are several factors that can influence how long it takes to see results in digital marketing.

Your Existing Digital Marketing Strategy

Any previous digital marketing activity (or lack thereof) will impact how quickly you see results. Digital marketing requires research, testing, and refinement to see meaningful results. If you haven’t done the heavy lifting yet, the first few months can require a lot of data collection, analysis, and website fixes.

For example, if your website is well-positioned in search and is earning qualified traffic, you may be ready for an advanced marketing strategy that yields greater results. However, if your website provides a poor user experience or has technical errors, you will need to make improvements before you will see consistent results from your efforts.

See if your current digital marketing strategy is working with WTM’s Digital Audits.

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Alignment with Your Teams

To see the best results from your digital marketing efforts, your teams must be aligned. This includes internal teams and outside marketing agencies or vendors. Each team must  row in the same direction to achieve the desired results. For example, you may need to collaborate with a web developer to design PPC landing pages or implement redirects to ensure your marketing efforts will have the greatest impact.

We often find that if marketing teams aren’t working together efficiently, it takes longer to see results.

The Focus of Your Strategy

While a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can provide a quick ROI, the results depend on maintaining your ad spend budget. By comparison, implementing an SEO strategy can improve your organic visibility, but takes time to show results as search engines crawl and index your content. And like PPC, SEO requires consistent effort to see results.

It’s important to define your marketing objectives and campaign goals, and then develop a strategy that utilizes PPC, SEO, and other tactics in order to achieve both short and long-term results. We often find that comprehensive strategies that utilize PPC and SEO yield faster and better results. Such strategies are usually best equipped to deal with the ever-changing digital landscape.

Competitive Landscape

There are some industries that are simply more competitive than others in the digital space. You may be dealing with higher costs-per-click (CPCs), competitive bidding, or competing against large retailers or market places in the organic results.

If your competitors consistently outrank your business in search, they may be a more digitally mature brand. In this case, it becomes even more important to focus your marketing on differentiating your brand. You may need to identify opportunities for quick wins or market in less competitive verticals in order to gain market share.

Budget and Time Investment

Any successful marketing strategy will take time to implement and money to support. As you develop your strategy, make sure that you have adequate time and the budget required to accomplish your goals. Digital marketing requires a consistent investment in order to achieve results.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Digital Marketing Strategy

Below are a few tips for measuring the impacts of your digital marketing efforts.

Set Clearly Defined, SMART Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Clearly defined goals and KPIs help to ensure there is no ambiguity around whether or not a campaign is working. With clear goals, everyone knows what to aim for.

Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience and how they search is key to achieving results. It will be much easier to tailor your messaging and advertise to your end consumer. If you haven’t defined your target audience yet, consider doing this first before investing further into a marketing campaign.

Take Vanity Metrics in Stride

Vanity metrics are indicators that look impressive but don’t reflect any actual success with your marketing efforts. These metrics may not help to explain important business outcomes or demonstrate ROI.

Instead, focus on your KPIs and how they pertain to the goals that you set. Then you can better assess what tactics are working and where you need to pivot.

Use Google Analytics and Other Data Sources

Setting up platforms like Google Analytics will give you access to a detailed picture of your business’s digital performance, including information on traffic sources, visitors, engagement, and conversions.

Google Analytics and other platforms can provide you with historic data and insights so you can understand what is working or not working in your digital campaign, and why.

Remember: Digital Marketing Takes Time

The factors that we mentioned in this blog post will influence how quickly you see results. If you aren’t seeing any positive results after 6-12 months, it may be time to re-evaluate your strategy. Digital marketing is a long-term investment in your company’s online presence.

If you are working with an agency or third-party vendor, be sure they are transparent with you about how long they expect about the results they are seeing and why. Digital marketing can be unpredictable, and no one can accurately guarantee results.

Are you wondering about your current digital performance? Are you not seeing results as quickly as you expected? Reach out to our team to learn about our digital audits, which can address factors that may be hindering your digital success.