Digital Marketing Audit and Benchmarking Your Brand's Performance

Hosted 

By 

Published 

8.24.2022

Hosted 

By 

James Fratzke

Partner & Executive Strategist,

Head of Client Success

Published 

8.24.2022

Table of contents

What is a digital marketing audit?

A digital marketing audit is an examination of your digital marketing efforts. This includes a full inspection of performance across digital channels, processes, technology platforms, your team, and external partners.

Digital marketing audits can be conducted by your internal team or an independent third party firm. Just like a financial audit, getting an outside perspective can add tremendous value because you’ll get an unbiased, expert overview of your digital marketing performance.

What are digital marketing performance benchmarks?

Digital marketing performance benchmarks are quantitative and qualitative data points that are used to compare your brands online performance to industry standards. Benchmarks allow you and your team to set and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most. Some digital marketing benchmark examples include website user growth, conversion rates, social media engagement rates, and revenue growth.

Performance benchmarking can be difficult because it involves gathering and consolidating data from a wide variety of sources. This can be a time consuming and sometimes unreliable process. At Fratzke, we've done the heavy lifting for our clients. In our proprietary benchmark audit, we've consolidated and distilled the digital marketing industry's most relevant benchmarks so that you can see how your performance stacks up.

Being able to audit your firm's performance compared to reliable digital marketing benchmarks can be a game changer for your organization.

Why should you do a digital marketing audit? 

Digital marketing audits help you manage competing priorities, decide where to invest your team’s time and resources, and help your organization get a full understanding of how you stack up to your industry and direct competitors.

As a marketing leader you may want to conduct a digital marketing audit for several reasons. These are some of the most common reasons we see here at Fratzke:

  • Start of new fiscal year or quarter, new budgets
  • Pre or post-campaign assessment
  • New management, new people, restructure of teams or divisions
  • Change in key performance targets from executive leadership
  • Change in strategic direction based on industry disruption
  • Unsure of your ROI and where to invest key resources (money, time, etc.)
  • New or existing agency assessment
Top reasons marketing leaders want a digital marketing audit

Why should your digital marketing audit include digital benchmarks?

Most digital marketing audits focus on tactical elements, and are covered in a “fog of war,” so to speak. In other words they focus on the least valuable elements of your brand's strategy, and they don’t provide context into whether your performance is actually moving ahead, on track, or falling behind. 

Audits that include performance benchmarking provide reliable KPIs that help set the context for your team's efforts and identify an organization's performance gaps. These gaps can be better filled if you know the benchmarks you should be measuring your team against.

LEARN MORE: Looking for a partner to run your Digital Marketing Audit? We can help.

What can you do with digital marketing audit results?

Once you complete your digital benchmarking audit, it’s time to take action! Your audit report will surface your biggest opportunities for improvement, identify what’s working and what’s not, and justify budget allocation, among other things. You’ll be able to leverage your audit findings to create an action plan, strategic roadmap, and set better goals.

Now that we know what a digital marketing audit is, why it is important to benchmark your performance, and what to do with your audit results, let's take a closer look at how to organize a digital marketing audit.

How should you organize your digital marketing audit?

There are lots of ways you could organize your audit. At Fratzke our experience working with Fortune 1000 and industry leading companies has led us to develop our proven Five Ps Framework.

The Five Ps Framework helps marketing leaders organize and measure their digital marketing results across five critical components: people, process, platforms, partners, and performance.

The Five Ps Framework includes:

  • Performance - The results your team delivers based on measurable data
  • Process - The series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular goal
  • People - Your marketing team, and their ability to perform and collaborate
  • Platforms - Your technology stack, the software and tools you use to accelerate performance
  • Partners - Your trusted bench of experts who can accelerate growth, or hinder it

All five components independently and collectively impact your brand's ability to make a meaningful impact in the digital marketing landscape. They also help measure and assess a brand’s digital marketing strategy and tactical effectiveness.

RELATED ARTICLE: Marketing Strategy Framework - The Five Ps
Fratzke Strategic Framework - The Five Ps Framework

What should be included in your digital marketing audit?

Your audit should include all aspects of your digital marketing strategy including: 

  • Website
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Local Search
  • Reputation

Our firm divides the digital marketing landscape into 4 critical areas of focus. These categories include: Website, Path to Purchase, Search and Digital Channels.

GET STARTED: Schedule a call to learn about our Digital Marketing Benchmark Audit.

Website Audit

At Fratzke, our data continues to prove that your brand's website is the cornerstone to a successful digital marketing strategy and the customers' online experience. It serves  as an authoritative place to share your brand's story and attract new and existing customers. 

There are millions of different metrics you can look at, but as a digital marketing leader here are the key areas you can double-click into to better understand where your website stacks up.

Traffic + Engagement Audit

Measuring and comparing your website's traffic and engagement to industry benchmarks helps you understand if your team is moving ahead, on track, or falling behind. Once you’ve established how you stack up, you can chart a course to improve or continue performing above the pack. Using benchmarks also helps share the story and get alignment from leadership on setting realistic goals in line with industry targets.

Websites traffic and engagement benchmarks:

  • User Growth 
  • Acquisition Sources
  • Conversion Rates
  • User Behavior
  • Bounce Rates
  • Average Time On Site
  • Revenue Growth

Mobile + Site Speed Audit

According to Google, more than 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Additionally 54% of people say that their frustration increases as the load time for a brand’s mobile site increases. What does this tell us about your website? It better be mobile friendly, and fast!

Mobile and site speed benchmarks:

  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Mobile Traffic Ratio
  • Pagespeed Performance
Mobile Website Speed Stat From Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit

User Experience Audit

The core tenant of a great website user experience (UX) is understanding the problems  your visitors are trying to solve and helping them solve them quickly. If your website does not cater to your users needs, make things easy to discover, and easily facilitate conversions or purchases, then your brand is falling behind.

User Experience benchmarks:

  • Navigation Experience 
  • Locator Experience
  • Site Search
  • Personalization Activations

Ecommerce Audit

If your brand sells products online via an ecommerce store, it’s important to expand your digital marketing audit to include online shopping benchmarks and best practices. It’s no secret that online shopping has increased post pandemic, and according to Google, 54% of shoppers say they visit multiple websites before settling on what to buy and who to buy it from. This means your site's ability to attract and retain customers is critical to your team's success.

Ecommerce benchmarks:

  • Revenue Growth
  • Shop Experience
  • Product Page Experience
  • Cart Experience
  • Checkout Experience
  • Post Purchase Experience

SEO Audit

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, but you probably already knew that! SEO is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. 

The better visibility your site has on SERPs often correlates to the amount of organic traffic your site wins from your competitors. 69% of marketers invested in SEO in 2021. Competing in this space is not easy, but it is essential. An SEO audit with benchmarks will help your team focus its energy where it counts.

According to Hubspot, it's estimated that there are approximately 63,000 search queries every second on Google! That’s a lot of customers looking for products and services. Google survey data indicates that 39% of purchasers were influenced by a relevant search

When it comes to search, ensuring that your brand's products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs) is the name of the game. 

SEO benchmarks:

  • Organic Keyword Trends
  • Top Organic Keywords
  • Organic Traffic Growth Rate
  • Branded vs. Non-Branded Organic Traffic
  • Competitive Domain Analysis
  • On-Page & Technical SEO
Graphic Showcasing SEO Statistic from Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit

On-page SEO Audit

On-page SEO consists of both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized to impact your site's appearance on search engine results pages. This is different from off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.

On-page SEO includes:

  • Word count
  • Meta-description
  • Titles tags
  • heading tags
  • Image alt tags
  • Schema.org structured data

SEM and Paid Media Audit

SEM, or search engine marketing, is using paid advertising  to ensure that your company’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, search advertisements via Google ads and other platforms catapult your ad to the top of the result for that search query.

Paid Media benchmarks: 

  • Average Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Average Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Average Cost Per Action (CPA)
  • Average Conversion Rate (CVR)
  • Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

With our clients, we always recommend focusing on organic search first, and using paid search ads to help fill the gaps or accelerate a campaign’s performance.

Oftentimes there can be large amounts of wasted budget with search ads. Some possible reasons for this include continuing to bid on low performing, yet high cost keywords, or over depending on branded keywords that already perform well in organic search. 

Advertising tasks are often outsourced to partners, sometimes leading to miss alignment or poor communications of results and ongoing management responsibilities. For these reasons a section of your audit should be dedicated to SEM.

Local Search Audit

76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. According to Google 28% of those searches lead to purchases. Local Search (or Local SEO as it’s often referred to) is a critical component to include in your marketing audit.

Google’s algorithm is very complex. It incorporates the searcher’s intent, quarry, and location to determine the best version of the search engine results page to show.

If  a user is searching for an item “near me” or they include a city, metro, or some other local parameter, Google will often display the “Local Pack” (more on this in the next section) and the organic results displayed on the page will be heavily impacted by the user's location and other local ranking factors like user reviews.

At Fratzke we recommend identifying at least five metro areas that your brand is strategically focused on and then comparing your primary keywords performance in those markets relative to your national rankings and your competitors.

Google Business Profile (Formally Google My Business)

Your Google Business Profile is a key piece to your brands ranking and overall appearance in Google search results. Like we mentioned above, your business profile is displayed in the local pack when Google serves up a local search result page.

Whether your brand has one location or five-thousand, it’s important to make sure your profile is claimed, verified, and fully optimized. This will not only ensure a strong user experience for your customers, but it also factors into Google's search algorithm. Google Business Profiles include key ranking factors like:

  • Reviews
  • Images
  • Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) Data

When auditing your Google Business Profile, make sure to review:

  • Account Verification Status
  • List Of Products and/or Services Displayed
  • Primary Category Accuracy
LEARN MORE: Looking for a partner to run your Digital Marketing Audit? We can help.

Content Marketing Audit

Content marketing is a strategic focus on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, with the goal to drive profitable customer actions.

It’s important when outlining your content marketing audit to clearly define your content mix.

Content Marketing Mix:

  • Blogs 
  • Videos
  • Downloads 
  • Whitepapers
  • Reports
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • And more!

Understanding the content mix first will better help your team determine the scope of your content audit.

When thinking about your content marketing strategy, it’s also helpful to sort content by which stage of the customer journey it helps support. 

Customer Journey Stages: 

  • Awareness: The buyer is experiencing a problem or symptoms of a pain, and their goal is to alleviate it. They may be looking for informational resources to more clearly understand, frame, and give a name to their problem.
  • Consideration: The buyer will have clearly defined and given a name to their problem, and they are committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and/or methods to solving the defined problem or opportunity.
  • Decision: The buyer has decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach. Their goal now is to compile a list of available vendors, make a short list, and ultimately make a final purchase decision.
  • Loyalty: After a customer has made a purchase, how do you keep them engaged and turn them into brand advocates? That’s what this stage is all about.

Digital Channels Audit

Digital marketing channels are platforms or environments that can be leveraged to amplify your brand’s online presence and reach your target audience. Although there are hundreds of different channels to invest in, we recommend focusing your audit on these three commonly leveraged digital marketing channels since they can lead to higher returns on investment: social media, email marketing, and digital advertising.

Social Media Audit

Your social media marketing audit should focus on the platforms that are most meaningful to your brand. This is often tightly correlated to where your audience spends their time. In general the three largest social media platforms with the most diverse audiences include Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These three platforms are table stakes for your brand.

Social media benchmarks:

  • Followers
  • Activity (Post Frequency)
  • Engagement Rate
  • Post Type by Engagement
  • Video Engagement by Length

All three major platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube offer unique value propositions to brands and consumers. Let’s break down each of these briefly.

Top social media platforms by active users

Facebook Audit

Facebook encourages conversational engagement and interactions between users. The algorithm prefers to highlight posts that have significant engagement, including comments that signal  back and forth communication. According to Hootsuite, users often share posts with links to articles, with 49.9% of posts on Facebook categorized as “link posts”.

Instagram Audit

Instagram is a visually driven social media platform. Originally focused on user generated images, instagram has been shifting toward an emphasis on short form video content. With that being said, photos still reign supreme, Hootsuite data indicates that more than 62% of all posts are photos.

YouTube Audit

Even with mounting competition from Facebook and Instagram, YouTube is still video royalty. More videos are uploaded and consumed on YouTube than any other platform. It also ranks as the second most used search engine, behind its parent company, Google. The YouTube algorithm is built around two key areas: finding the right video for each viewer and enticing them to keep watching.

Based on your engagement rates and audience size on each social media platform, you should prioritize and audit accordingly. At Fratzke we always recommend picking a maximum of three platforms to audit and focus your team's time on. After three, we have seen diminishing returns on investment made in both time and capital.

Listen to our interview with Randi Zuckerberg, You can only pick three, to learn more about this concept and how it applies more generally.

LEARN MORE: Gain 360 degrees of clarity, with a comprehensive Benchmark Audit.

Email Marketing Audit

Email is one of the oldest and time-tested digital marketing channels - and it is still relevant today. The data shows that email is an essential piece of any brand's digital marketing strategy. In fact, email generates $42 for every $1 spent. That’s a 4,200% return on investment (ROI), making it one of the most effective strategies available to your marketing team.

One of the keys to success with email marketing is to shift the focus from a mass email approach, to a targeted strategy that segments your audience and delivers the most relevant and useful information to them in their time of need.

Email Marketing benchmarks:

  • Open Rate
  • Click-Through rate
  • Email List Growth
  • Unsubscribe Rate (Audience)
  • Audience Engagement
  • Mobile Friendliness
Email Marketing Stat From Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit
LEARN MORE: Unlock your brand’s full digital marketing potential with our Benchmark Audit.

Other Paid Media Channel Audit

The jury is still out on the future of digital advertising with industry leaders like Apple setting privacy standards higher than ever before and firing a massive shot across the bow at advertising companies like Facebook and Google. Even with uncertainty around the technology and targeting capabilities, advertising is still a large piece of many marketing budgets. 

  • Social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram, leveraging retargeting and building targeted audiences, can be a very effective way to accelerate a campaigns performance. 
  • Remarketing across Google's display network for building brand awareness. 

Whether you agree with the principles behind these techniques, they can be effective tools for your brand, and in many industries have become a necessity to stay in step with your competitors. 

Advertising budgets and campaign effectiveness needs constant monitoring, but this can sometimes fall through the cracks when your team is managing complex campaigns. 

This is why a digital advertising audit, at least annually, can help uncover optimization opportunities to accelerate performance, or right some potential wrongs.

Reputation Audit

According to research from BrightLocal, 79% of consumers say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations. This means that your brand’s online reputation via review platforms like

  • Google 
  • Yelp
  • Employee-focused platforms like Glassdoor

Can impact your team's ability to drive growth and results.

Even when your company receives a negative review, it’s important to respond authentically and try to resolve the issue. This sends a signal to both consumers and search algorithms that your brand is engaged and puts customers first.

A thorough reputation audit and review of your team's reputation management procedures can help ensure you’re putting your brands best foot forward.

Path to Purchase Audit

The path to purchase refers to a customer's journey across various touchpoints before ultimately making a purchase. Your digital audit should focus on your brand's digital experience and how users interact with your business online.

At Fratzke we've seen this piece get overlooked in favor of more tactical elements, but it is imperative that your team has a deep understanding of how consumers move through multiple touch points across the web and in person. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key components of path to purchase that should be included in your digital marketing audit, and the benchmarks that matter most.

Customer Experience Audit

How does your customer feel about your brand? Would they recommend your company to someone else? If they have a problem or need support, are their easy ways online to receive it? These are the types of questions you need to answer in this section of your audit.

Conversion Experience Audit

When it comes to path-to-purchase, your conversion experience is a key component. Conversions are essentially the desired actions you’d like customers to take online, whether that is filling out a lead form, or making a purchase.

The conversion experience can be taken for granted by marketing teams. In our experience working with clients, teams often  assume everyone is in alignment on the path the customer is taking and that improvement of this process (adding, removing, or optimization steps) is unnecessary, but this is not the case. Even a small improvement in your brand's conversion rate can lead to meaningful growth in your team's objectives.

At Fratzke, we work with our clients to build out a detailed customer journey, mapping every step of the conversion experience. Documenting everything, from your calls to action (CTA) to clearly defining what you consider a conversion, will allow your team to better track conversion rates. We recommended using your audit to focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO), looking for large and small opportunities to improve your conversion experience.

What to do after your digital marketing audit is complete?

Once your digital marketing benchmark audit is complete it’s time to take action. Below we’ll outline some of the next steps you should take with your team.

  • Develop a prioritized action plan based on your audits findings
  • Start executing on high impact projects
  • Schedule a regular meeting with your team to check in on progress
  • Leverage a project management software to keep everyone on track
  • Hold your team accountable with predetermined performance analytics
  • Develop your team by establishing a training and development plan
  • Hire new team members or find partners to bridge the gaps
  • If not already complete, create a strategic roadmap and identify objectives and key results (OKRs) with your team

How much does a digital marketing audit cost?

Like most things, your audit cost depends on many factors, from the complexity and depth of your business to the partner you select. If you use an outside firm for your audit, it could cost as little as a few hundred dollars all the way up to $40,000 or more. 

As you can imagine, you get what you pay for. A well performed adit can save your brand millions and drive even more in revenue.

Some brands may decide to do a DIY audit, keeping the project internal. This can often cost you more in time and resources than leveraging a 3rd party firm. There are opportunity costs that are often overlooked when considering a do-it-yourself audit, including:

  • Opinion bias
  • Limited workload capacity and inefficiencies
  • Leadership time constraints
  • Extending timelines
  • Hard costs (salaries, benefits, and overhead)

Our recommendation to our customers is to take all costs into account before making a final decision. Working with an outside firm like ours can streamline the process and save money.

Looking for a partner to audit your digital marketing performance?

If the digital marketing process we’ve outlined in this article sounds complex, that’s because it is, but that is the nature of Digital Marketing. With high complexity can come high rewards. Fratzke is here to help. Our digital marketing experts have decades of experience working with industry leading brands. Our digital marketing performance benchmarks are based on real data and experience. The results we drive for our clients are real and measurable, check them out for yourself!

If you’re looking for an expert, unbiased, outside perspective based on real benchmark data, that can reduce the audit process from several months to several weeks - Fratzke is the partner for you. Visit our Digital Marketing Benchmark Audit page to learn more, and submit a contact form. We look forward to connecting with you.

KEEP READING: Explore our Digital Marketing Benchmark case studies.

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The Takeaway

Looking for a partner to audit your digital marketing performance? If the digital marketing process we’ve outlined in this article sounds complex, that’s because it is, but that is the nature of Digital Marketing. With high complexity can come high rewards. Fratzke is here to help. Our digital marketing experts have decades of experience working with industry leading brands. Our digital marketing performance benchmarks are based on real data and experience. The results we drive for our clients are real and measurable, check them out for yourself!

If you’re looking for an expert, unbiased, outside perspective based on real benchmark data, that can reduce the audit process from several months to several weeks - Fratzke is the partner for you. Visit our Digital Marketing Benchmark Audit page to learn more, and submit a contact form. We look forward to connecting with you.

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