What is a Digital Marketing Audit?
Before you can dominate the internet, you need to first figure out what’s working – and what’s not.
A digital marketing audit is a customized set of reports that look at how an organization is leveraging digital resources – like social media, email marketing, paid advertising, etc. – to effectively meet strategic goals. Audits are customized by industry, application, organization size, area of expertise, and more. Agencies, freelancers, and other industry professionals conduct audits to help see where they can support an organization or to help stakeholders better use resources to meet goals.
A standard digital marketing audit provides a data-driven analysis of current performance and recommendations on how to use resources more effectively.
A good audit goes beyond the analytics and provides expert qualitative analysis of what’s working and a narrative on areas that should be addressed. A good audit will deploy a variety of digital experts to review and shed light on their individual areas of expertise.
A great digital marketing audit will take those findings and put together an action plan on how to dominate digital results and simultaneously build overall marketing effectiveness for an organization.
The type of audit you receive will be dependent on the level of experience your Auditor has, your budget, organization size, and the timeline for execution.
Marketing Audit Components
It’s important to point out that almost every Auditor will offer something different that aligns with their individual areas of expertise. If you work with an individual who specializes in social media, their audit will likely take a social focus. If you work with an agency that specializes in marketing automation, their digital audit might review your workflows and campaigns.
However, in most cases, a comprehensive digital marketing audit should include some form of these components:
A quantitative analysis of your digital portfolio gives experts access to the most-used digital platforms and analytics to formulate recommendations on what is, or is not, working. Auditors look at efforts on platforms like Google Analytics, PPC ad reports, social media metrics, historic SEO ranking data, CRM data and reports, and e-commerce purchasing data through the lens of metrics.
Auditors experienced in key areas of digital marketing will take a critical look at existing digital efforts against industry best practices and standards. A qualitative analysis takes a look at things like website design and user experience (UX), calls to action, brand congruence and messaging, social media content, email content and messaging, lead generation forms and accessibility, and e-commerce information and experience.
Marketing Channel Breakdown
A marketing channel breakdown is a simplified look at your digital platforms individually. This gives a clear, big-picture view of the tools being used, what their purpose is, and how they can be used effectively to achieve goals.
Part of a digital marketing audit should include some level of competitive analysis. Depending on the level, a brief competitive analysis is a comparative look at an organization’s digital efforts against industry-identified competitors. A competitor analysis can reveal areas that an organization can take advantage of to help differentiate and gain additional market share.
Priority recommendations highlight the immediate steps an organization should take to build upon the positive and address any negative elements identified during the digital marketing audit.
Part of your audit should include tactical recommendations for an organization’s primary digital channels. These tactics may include a keyword strategy, content medium strategy, content type recommendations, calls to action, where to increase or decrease focus, messaging recommendations, and software suggestions.
Long Term Strategy
Based on audit findings, a comprehensive long-term strategy can be developed as a framework for building an organization’s digital marketing strategy. A long-term strategy should take a holistic look at the market and the organization to generate a forward-thinking strategy that guides digital marketing efforts over the long term.
A high-level strategic timeline for roughly the next two years that gives recommendations on key areas of investment for an organization. Whether it be a website redesign or lead generation campaign, a strategic timeline that aligns with organization goals is a great value add to a digital marketing audit.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Some digital marketing audits will include the identification of key performance metrics an organization should be aware of – and monitoring – to ensure the effectiveness of ongoing or long-term strategies. In some cases, an Auditor can also provide realistic target goals for each KPI.
A website audit is a digital crawl of an organization’s main website and landing pages to shed light on areas that of opportunity. Some website audits include items like identifying broken links, providing information on SEO performance, recommendations on speed optimization, identifying keyword ranking and backlinks, and much more.
An increasingly important area of concern for many organizations is their ability to communicate with individuals affected by a variety of disabilities. An accessibility audit analyzes the accessibility of your digital marketing efforts and makes recommendations to remove barriers to access for people living with disabilities. This is important for companies where digital accessibility compliance is a federal requirement.
Internal Governance Audit
While not a key component of many digital marketing audits, the internal governance audit helps to associate areas of opportunity among those responsible for managing an organization’s digital presence. Through interviews and observations, the Auditor will review internal digital marketing processes and make recommendations on how to improve organizational structure, team members’ skills, job roles, project management, and quality assurance procedures.
Internal Use of Digital Assets Audit
A tremendous value add to any digital marketing audit is to allow an Auditor to review and make recommendations on the internal software used by an organization. This audit looks at how technology is used for communication, project management, team management, customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and other tools to ensure efficiency throughout an organization’s internal processes.
How much does a marketing audit cost?
It varies. It’s hard to say exactly how much you will pay for your digital marketing audit. The main reason for this is because audits don’t take a standardized approach, which is to your benefit, to be honest.
The cost of your audit will depend on the level of experience your Auditor has, the complexity of your audit, and how detailed you expect recommendations to be. You can expect to pay anywhere between $2000 – $5000 for a basic digital marketing audit. For a comprehensive audit, that investment increases to between $5000 – $25,000.
While some may baffle at the cost of a digital marketing audit, it’s important to remember that the end result is a detailed report of what to do to grow, expand, and dominate the internet for your organization. An Auditor could potentially save organizations tens of thousands of dollars after providing their findings and recommendations.
How long does an audit take?
The time it will take to conduct your audit, analyze the results, and develop detailed recommendations will vary based on the individual Auditor and overall size of your organization. A small business with little-to-no current efforts will get its results quicker than a large organization with various departments and digital assets.
A basic audit shouldn’t take longer than 30 – 45 days to complete, while a comprehensive audit could take 3 – 6 months to finish and provide recommendations. I struggle with instant gratification too, but this is one time where you want to let someone take as much time as they need to get the job done right. The more time an Auditor spends collecting information, analyzing, and putting together recommendations, the better the results.
If you’re considering a digital marketing audit for your organization, we can help! Tipsy Social is an award-winning creative marketing agency located in the Hudson Valley Region of New York. Since 2016, we’ve helped countless organizations launch initiatives to help them connect with their customers through strategy, creative, and consulting. Click here to request more information on our digital marketing audits.