Solar marketing managers know that not all solar advertising campaigns are the same, especially on social media. Furthermore, they understand that sometimes traditional success metrics may not apply. For example, for solar firms targeting leads at the top of the purchasing funnel, the immediate goal isn't to instantly convert, but instead generate brand awareness and exude expertise. To that end, metrics like click through rate and social media engagement may be a better barometer of success instead of conversions.
Since your solar marketing campaign will consist of different channels and goals, we'll look at the best ways to measure effectively performance across four solar-friendly advertising platforms: Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
As we've noted in the past, Adwords can be a great advertising platform for solar companies looking to attract customers, especially by promoting offers like free consultations. Sometimes the ad's effectiveness will be obvious; for example, you may see a considerable jump in free consultation requests. Regardless, you should track your effectiveness across three key metrics: clicks, impressions, and CTR. Click the Campaigns tab in your AdWords account and check out the statistics tables on the Ads and Keywords tabs.
The previous version of Facebook's Insights page was a bit more difficult to navigate, as users had to toggle back and forth between different screens. Now, thanks to a simplified Overview page, all pertinent data is available on one page to allow users to measure ad performance. The six metrics you should be tracking are fan reach, organic reach, engagement, people talking about this, and CTR.
Twitter Promoted Tweets
Twitter's Tweet analytics dashboard lets you measure the performance of your organic (non-paid) Tweets and paid ones. Twitter's own help page suggests the best way to measure ad performance is by comparing impressions, total engagements, and Retweets month over month. Users can also drill down to a Tweets detail page to see how many Retweets, replies, favorites, follows, link clicks and embedded media clicks each Tweet received.
LinkedIn's Best Practices page lists two distinct approaches towards measuring ad effectiveness. For example, if your goal is raise awareness by generating clicks to your website at a certain cost per click (CPC), use their My Ad Campaigns tab and Reporting tab to track progress. The key metric here is generated clicks versus total budget spent. Meanwhile, if you're goal is more mid-to-bottom of the funnel oriented — generated leads, inquiries, or sales — track users' actions on your website using tools like Google Analytics. Doing so will allow you to trace these leads back to LinkedIn. For a deeper dive, LinkedIn provides a helpful analysis on how to quantifiably measure ROI here.
As we just noted in the previous section, tools like Google Analytics will be instrumental in helping you determine if solar advertising campaigns on social media drives visitors to your site. This is important because at some point, you'll also need to view the effectiveness of your ads at a higher, cross-channel level to see if, for example, your Facebook ads generate more web traffic than, say, Twitter ads.
Tracking Offline Advertising Campaigns
Tools like Google Analytics can enable you to track website visits from offline advertising campaigns like TV, print and radio. Here are two easy ways to accomplish this:
- Create a custom landing page specific to your offline campaign. Then simply access Analytics to track how many people visited this unique page.
- Redirect domains. Let's say your firm is called Stockton Solar. Your buy another, slightly more-memorable domain, SolarSavingsStockon.com and put up a billboard listing this domain. Simply redirect people from SolarSavingsStockton to your "real" home page and track the number of visitors.
Now we'd like your feedback. How does your team track solar advertising ROI? What metrics have proven the most valuable? What's particularly difficult about tracking social media ROI?
Looking for more assistance in measuring your marketing efforts? Download our Tracking ROI eBook.