Digital Marketing Audit and Benchmarking Your Brand's Performance

Hosted 

By 

James Fratzke

Partner & Executive Strategist,

Head of Client Success

Published 

5.18.2022

Marketing leaders are facing new challenges, a marketing audit can help

Marketing Leaders are facing new challenges with historic pressure to deliver more value with less resources. From decreasing budgets, to changing consumer behaviors, to the impacts of the great resignation and an increased pressure to move more digital marketing in-house, the stakes have never been higher for leaders to make smarter, faster marketing decisions. 

With all of these competing priorities, it can be hard to determine where to invest your team’s time and resources, or even get a full understanding of how your performance compares to your industry and competitors. In today's ultra competitive “digital-first” world, best-in-class marketing leaders need reliable benchmark data to help act as a guiding light for making better decisions, faster. 

Digital marketing benchmark audits help leaders prioritize digital investment according to their biggest digital marketing opportunities.

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

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.

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.

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.

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
Fratzke Five Ps Framework Graphic for Digital Marketing Benchmark Audit

Digital marketing performance

Measuring your team’s performance is paramount when it comes to setting goals and holding individual contributors accountable. The challenge in today's digital marketing landscape is that there are millions of performance metrics you can focus on. Again, this highlights the importance of benchmarks and focussing your team's performance around a clearly defined set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Remove the vanity metrics and only focus on the most essential metrics to measure, share with leadership, and improve upon.

Take Away: Your audit needs to have a comprehensive performance component, with clear benchmarks that focus on essential key performance indicators (KPIs)

Your marketing process

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. At Fratzke when we talk about process, we always include our core value “relentless consistency” in the conversation. Unfortunately marketing teams often lack consistency across processes within the organization.

You’ve probably experienced this first hand. Processes make action possible. They provide the environment that makes strategy, goals, objectives and key results, and tactics come to life. A plan without process is chaos! Key elements of your process to  audit include project management systems, standard operating procedures, customer journey documentation and data collection and reporting. These are just a few of the process elements you should consider

Take Away: Your audit should include an extensive evaluation of your team's current processes and, potentially, your lack thereof.

People - your marketing team

According to one of the most respected business minds of our time, Jim Collins, people are a critical component of what helps “good” companies transform into “GREAT” organizations. In Jim's own words “first [get] the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then [figure] out where to drive it.”

He also discusses getting the right people in the right seats. In other words, you may have a star player in the wrong position and a simple move or additional training and development can unlock his or her full potential. Of course the other side of this coin, getting people off the bus, is difficult, but research shows that it is worth it. The best teams win!

Take Away: Your audit should include a full evaluation of your team, including their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Platforms - digital marketing technology stack

“Platforms” is our defining term for all technologies leveraged by your marketing organization. In today's fast-paced world, technology can help teams automate processes, keep better track of project progress and key documents, provide world class customer-facing digital experiences, and collect valuable data on customer preferences and behavior.

Your team's technology stack can slow them down to a snail's pace, or help accelerate processes and performance to the speed of light. Platforms you will want to include in your audit include, but are not limited to, project management software like Asana, your websites content management system (CMS) like Wordpress, and email marketing automation software like MailChimp.

According to Gartner, 23% of marketing leaders believe one of the biggest challenges to executing on their marketing strategy is selecting the right technologies for supporting digital marketing efforts.

Marketing Technology Stat From Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit
Take Away: Your digital marketing audit should include a full evaluation of your technology stack. This includes current platforms and a gap analysis for missing technologies that could help make your team more efficient.

Partners - agencies, consultants, and marketing experts

One of the biggest concerns we hear from our clients is how to keep their partners accountable. Agencies and independent contractors can be difficult to manage and measuring success can be tricky.

To be clear, partnering with outside firms to help fill the gaps or accelerate a campaign's reach and performance is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. One of the key insights that often gets surfaced in your digital marketing benchmark audit, when constructed around the Five Ps Framework, are gaps between the desired benchmark results and your team's ability to reach them. Bringing in the right partners can help bridge the gap between where your team is, and where they want to go.

Take Away: Your audit should include a full evaluation of your partner's performance compared to benchmarks to ensure they are providing your team with peak performance.

What should be included in your digital marketing audit?

Your audit should include all aspects of your digital marketing strategy including your website, SEO, social media, email marketing, advertising, content marketing, local search, reputation and more. Your team's efforts should be benchmarked through performance data and expert analysis.

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

Let’s dive deeper into each category and subcategories that matter most.

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.

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 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.

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.

Search Audit

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. Below are four key areas to focus your digital marketing audit in order to achieve first page domination.

SEO Stat From Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit

Search Engine Optimization (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 helps your team focus its energy where it counts.

Paid - Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 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.

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, and name, address, and phone number (NAP) data that helps connect online users to the real world.

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. 

At Fratzke we work with our clients to establish their Net Promoter Score® (NPS) and use this data to help measure their Customer experience among other things. NPS score has become the gold standard in measuring loyalty because it identifies customers who are true promoters of your brand. Promoters are responsible for more than 80% of your referrals and are most likely to increase spend over time.

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.

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 and Yelp, and 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.

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. This can include blogs, videos, downloads, whitepapers, reports, podcasts, and webinars. 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. These stages include awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.

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.

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

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.

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.

Email Marketing Stat From Fratzke Digital Marketing Audit

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.

Digital Advertising 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. The same can be said for 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.

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

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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