Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.

Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (Ed: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).

For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas.

Are we selling audits wrongly?

Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?

All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, affiliate network or analytics suite.

health check

How important are digital audits anyway?

In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.

Proper auditing, UX testing and CRO analysis means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.

Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment – you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.

Regular servicing is vital

Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.

To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.

As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car’s value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.

It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.

car service

What a digital audit can do for you

Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability.

The Lessons of the Audit

Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:

  • Keep up to date with the latest channel trends – Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social.
  • Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand.
  • Help you (re)define your goals.
  • Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.
  • Understand new opportunities.
  • Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.
  • Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.
  • Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.

Should you take the plunge?

Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.

Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.

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