When Should You Start to See Results from your Digital Marketing Campaign?
It’s normal to want to see results from your digital marketing campaign, like, yesterday. Especially if you outlaid a fair amount of money before it even began.
The results of digital marketing aren’t immediately obvious, but it is important to have a little patience. Good digital marketing campaigns will take a little while to gain traction and get engagement.
And while it can very overwhelmingly tempting to tweak and change things about your ads if you don’t see results, a lack of instant engagement isn’t necessarily a sign that there’s anything wrong with your campaign choices.
So, how long should you wait to see results from a digital marketing campaign?
And when is it time to start making some changes if you haven’t seen any results?
In a nutshell, you won’t see any results for at least three months (and if anything, your scores may take a dip during that time). Between 6 and 9 months you should be seeing the results of your efforts start to come in.
You should wait at least 12 months before reassessing your campaign and making changes to any of your ads or strategies.
These timeframes will vary a little across different campaigns from pay per click words and on-site SEO to Facebook or Google ads.
Here are 7 important things to keep in mind while waiting to see the results of your digital marketing efforts.
7 Essential Points to Remember About When You Should See Results from Digital Marketing
Results Depend on Lots of Things
It’s a matter of asking, ‘How long is a piece of string?’
How long it takes to start seeing some results will depend on a number of factors, including:
- What specific results you are looking for
- What campaign strategies you are using
- If you are brand new or had an existing digital presence, as well as how long your business has been around
- What shape your website was in and how many mistakes you may have had to fix
- The quality and amount of content you had already
- Your current link profile and the fixes you need here
- Your ability to assess ongoing results and make the right tweaks as needed.
Your Sales Cycle is a Big Factor
It varies from industry to industry how quickly a person converts into a buying customer.
The length of time a customer takes on their buying journey or their sales cycle, from when they first become aware of their problem, then they find you, then convert to a buying customer, varies across industries and niches.
Look at the average time it takes from when you first appeared in front of an individual in digital marketing form – this might be your Facebook ad, your appearance on search engine results, your friend who shared an Instagram page with you – to the time it took that individual to buy.
If you have a longer sales cycle, then it will take longer before you can assess the results of any kind of digital marketing campaign. For example, larger purchases like cars and homes have a longer sales cycle, so in these industries, you need to give the marketing results more time to evolve.
Setting the Rights Goals Will Help
Many digital marketing campaigns failed because of a lack of clear goals, rather than because the strategies themselves were poor.
You need to work out from the beginning what you are trying to achieve from this campaign – what specifically do you want to happen?
Your goals could include:
- Reaching 10k followers on Facebook
- Doubling your monthly sales by the end of the year
- Tripling the number of sign-ups to your webinar or training course
- Doubling the amount each buyer spends in a single conversion
- Achieving 10k subscribers to your email newsletter
- Getting 100 new visitors to your website every day
But you can’t just say, ‘Oh, all of that would be good, let’s aim for that.’
Goals need to be specific and clear in anything you do in life, and this is just as important in digital marketing as anywhere else. Choose one or a few clearly related goals and then target your strategies towards achieving these.
If you don’t, how will you even know what results to look for?
Results May Get Worse in the Beginning
The truth is that your results, rank, visits, likes, etc. may actually get a little worse in the beginning before they get better.
As the changes in your material align themselves and start to be seen by search engines, the old terms you were seen for may drop, and for a little while you’ll look quite invisible. As everything adjusts and you start to re-rank for your new terms your results will pick up again.
Different Platforms and Mediums will Take Different Time Frames
If you are running a paid search campaign and targeting specific keywords through PPC advertising such as Google AdWords you should start to see some sort of results almost immediately.
PPC campaigns need to be continually monitored to keep the results growing steadily, and you should be removing non-performing words and tweaking others as you go. Each time you make tweaks you may see a slight dip again before the results start to climb again.
An SEO campaign may run concurrently to your PPC one and should target the same keywords, as well as a constantly evolving foundation of longtail keywords, but results will show up differently. It will take up to twelve months to see results from an SEO campaign.
PPC and SEO may be relatively simple, ‘set and forget’ campaigns, but they work best when supplemented by a content creation strategy. Content creation is a dynamic process that changes and develops and needs to be constantly nurtured.
For example, a good content campaign of between 12 and 20 new good quality blog posts a month should start to see results in 6-9 months, but you won’t notice much before then. This doesn’t mean quit blogging however- patience is a little more of a virtue here. Then you need to continue to blog at that frequency to keep your numbers up.
A social media marketing campaign such as Facebook or Instagram posts will take at least six months before you see results.
There are Different Kinds of Results You Should Assess
When analysing statistical data showing the results of your marketing efforts, you might be looking at your search engine ranking or perhaps the number of clicks or visits. If you aren’t Number 1 on Google, then nothing else matters, right?
Effective digital marketing strategies don’t target just one keyword or even a small group of keywords – it just doesn’t work this way anymore.
And if you are ranking phenomenally on just one or a few keywords, you are still missing out on connecting with most of the people looking for you.
Marketing experts state that these aren’t the only data you should be looking at, and in some situations, there may be far more important stats such as the actual number of conversions or the increase in sales since the campaign was implemented.
You might not rank highly for your most central keywords, but you might rank strongly for some relevant longtail keywords and be effectively reaching people earlier in their buying journey. You may be showing much stronger sales from customers that you’ve built a relationship with over time rather than convincing them to click and convert right now.
This is a good reason why you should be wary of any digital marketing firm that promises ‘Number 1 on Google’ instead of one that focuses on generating tangible leads and conversions.
If you consider the number of followers to be the definition of results of a social media marketing campaign, again you might be looking at the wrong results. You can buy followers and have thousands; this looks cool but may not convert to any sales.
It is far better to have fewer followers who actively engage with and share your posts rather than a greater number of passive ones.
If You Can’t Budget for the Time, Don’t Start
A good quality digital marketing or SEO campaign will take at least 6 months to start seeing some results, and generally 12 months to start seeing results you actually like.
If you don’t have the budget for 6-12 months of a campaign, seriously consider starting one in the first place.
Throwing all of your budget at a 3-month campaign could have the same effect as flushing it down the toilet, and if you have less money this should perhaps be put into another aspect of your business or branding.
If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, it can be wiser to spend your marketing dollars engaging a marketing specialist rather than just spending higher on specific campaigns such as PPC.
Talking to an expert can help you refine your strategy and concentrate your budget on the tactics that will work, rather than just spending more on the tactics themselves.
Before Tweaking Anything, Make Sure You Know What You’re Doing…
If you aren’t happy with the results of your digital marketing efforts after a good twelve months, you could start to adjust some things that might not be working.
Every platform or option has many variables to it, however, and it may not always be clear what isn’t working.
For example, your PPC AdWords campaign might be struggling, which could mean you are targeting the wrong keywords, but your keywords could be spot on and it is actually your landing page that is failing you.
Your content marketing efforts may be struggling, which could be that you aren’t producing enough content, but it could also mean that your content isn’t the best format for your audience (for example blogs instead of video posts), or that the format is right but the quality and value for your audience isn’t there.
You could also have the amount, format and quality of content perfect, but be getting no results because you aren’t actively promoting the content, so no one knows that it’s there.
Assessing what is working and what isn’t, involves considering at what point people drop off in their journey to converting as well. Known as exit pages or exit points, this can give a very good indication of where your weak links might be.
So, when should you start to see results from your digital marketing?
Digital marketing involves setting goals, strategy and then a series of planned steps because there are so many factors that can affect its success.
If you aren’t seeing some results after 6-9 months, and the positive results you expected after 12 months, then it is time to revisit the campaign. But how do you know what to change?
If all of this sounds mind-boggling, give us a call to talk about going over your current results of digital marketing efforts, or to design a whole new streamlined campaign just for your business.