When Will I Start Seeing Results from Digital Marketing?
The above question is perhaps the one we get the most from new clients as a digital marketing agency. It’s an understandable one – you’re making an investment into your company’s public image and you expect it to pay off.
But coming up with a definitive answer to the question of how long it takes to see results from digital marketing is tough because it depends on so many things. For one, different digital marketing channels need different amounts of time to implement and start yielding results.
Similarly, the industry your company is in and the competition you have within your niche will also have their influence. Finally, the state of your customer base and your online reputation at the start of your working relationship with a new digital agency will also have a huge impact on how quickly you see results.
What this guide is for
While it might be impossible to give one universal formula for calculating how long it takes to see results from digital marketing, we’ve drawn from our years of experience within our fast-changing industry to bring you some insights into how long it might take to start seeing positive changes from your digital marketing efforts.
As these are ultimately rough estimates, the best way you can get a clear image of what successful digital marketing would look like for your business is to get in touch with the agency you’re considering – together, we can map out your path to a great online presence and a steady stream of highly qualified leads.
Without further ado, here are some guidelines that can help you figure out when you can expect to see changes from your digital marketing efforts.
Good things take time
Yeah, we know – it’s not what you want to hear. But the short answer to the question of how long it takes to start seeing results is that it’ll take some time – at least if we’re talking about wins with a more long-lasting impact. Sure, a carefully-crafted PPC campaign can get you loads of sales within just a few days, but when it comes to lasting change and building a loyal customer base around your brand, you’ll need some more time.
As with most things, someone promising you the sun and the moon is in all likelihood exactly what they sound like – too good to be true.
If a digital agency is promising you big results within a strict, short time frame, you can be pretty sure they’re either exaggerating or that they’re using some ill-advised, sneaky tactics like black hat SEO to get you initially impressive, but unsustainable results that could ultimately hurt rather than advance your ranking on search engines like Google.
Where are you just now?
Finally, before we take a look at how long it can roughly take to start seeing efforts from different digital marketing channels, we need to talk about where you are right now.
Do you have a well-established brand and a good number of returning customers who are interested in what you’re going to do next?
Or are you just starting out building these things, either because you’ve not done much in the way of digital marketing for your business in the past or because the agency you’ve worked with up until now has failed to provide you with the results you were expecting?
How you answer will obviously have a huge impact on how fast you’ll start seeing results. If you already have a large, engaged audience reading your email newsletters, you can be pretty confident that they’ll be interested in reading content marketing materials like blogs and whitepapers from you. Or if you have a decent following on Instagram, running a PPC ad campaign on that same platform advertising a discount to them will likely get results faster than if you were to advertise to an audience unfamiliar with your work.
How fast you start seeing results will also be impacted on your specific industry and niche and who your competitors are. If you’re in a very competitive and crowded market, it can take time to stand out and build a name for yourself online, even if your specific offering is quite unique.
So as you can see, giving any specific timeframes for success when it comes to digital marketing can be very difficult. That being said, through our years in business, we’ve found some common patterns when it comes to our clients’ success with their digital marketing strategy paying off.
So while the rest of this article will provide some rough guidelines, it’s by no means meant to be a comprehensive or definitive guide to how long it takes to see results from your digital marketing campaigns.
SEO & Content Marketing
SEO and content marketing are the two digital marketing channels best for building lasting domain authority and online visibility. Done right, they can secure you a spot on the first page of Google search engine results for a good long while – but it takes time to get to this point.
With content marketing, you can often see some results faster than with other SEO techniques like link building if you’re marketing your content to an existing audience. Building your authority in the eyes of Google and appearing on the first search engine results page will take longer, but if you’re, for example, emailing your engaged email list a new ebook, you can often see results quicker. But as with most things digital, the more impressive and longlasting changes take more time.
Building your domain reputation in the eyes of Google and other search engines takes time. You can’t just change your standing in the eyes of their algorithms overnight, as Google does take a while to go through and properly index changes you’ve made to your website.
With all this in mind, we typically tell our clients that they are unlikely to see huge changes in their domain authority and rankings until at least six months into us working on their SEO and content marketing.
With this in mind, your focus should be on developing a long-term SEO and content strategy rather than trying to obtain quick fixes even more so than with other channels of digital marketing.
Social media is one of the digital marketing channels that are harder to predict – how long it’ll take to start seeing results here will strongly depend on where you are at the moment. Building social media accounts and audiences from scratch takes time but simultaneously, you can feasibly double or triple a small following within just a few months with a good social media strategy.
If you are starting with a relatively small following, it’ll likely take you a good few months to grow your audience. You could see results faster by investing in some paid social ads on the platform of your choosing that look like posts native to that platform. After this, it’s time to start focusing on building engagement – more likes, comments and shares from your audience. This will usually take another few months.
Similarly, how quickly you can see results from email marketing will largely depend on where you currently are. If you already have an engaged email list when you come to a new digital marketing agency, you can turn your emails into a profitable source of income quite quickly.
On the flipside, if you’re starting to build your email list from scratch or if a large part of your list has lost interest in your company since signing up, there’s a lot of groundwork to be covered before you can start expecting big results.
With this in mind, we’d say that if your email list needs some TLC, you shouldn’t expect a whole bunch of leads coming through from your email marketing until at least four months after starting work on this digital marketing channel.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
With pay-per-click advertising, you can see results pretty quickly. This will, of course, depend on your niche, competition and offering, but with the right PPC expert on your side, you could see results within days of launching your campaigns.
That being said, some elements of PPC do take time to perfect, and there’s always a learning phase when an agency starts running PPC ads for your company before your cost per click goes down and you start seeing more conversions from your ads. This could be email sign-ups, contact forms filled or products or services bought.
This channel of digital marketing does need a certain amount of trial and error to get it right. Even if you work with a great PPC agency, what has worked for other companies in your industry may not work for you specifically, so they might need to try different tactics before getting it right. This could include extensive keyword research and building a comprehensive list of negative keywords as well as finetuning your audiences and ad creative.
With Bundle Digital, a lot of this groundwork is done in the first month or two of us working on your campaigns. By month three, we usually see a steady stream of conversions from campaigns we’re running for you. That’s why we usually recommend our clients devote three months to testing out a new channel before making up their mind about it, as this will allow us to gather enough data to get a more complete picture of how that channel can perform for you.
We should also say that PPC campaigns need lots of ongoing work to keep them performing well. This means that even after we start seeing solid results from your campaigns, this is by no means a sign for us to take a break. PPC campaigns need to be continuously optimised to keep your leads interested and to get you the best possible cost per lead.
PPC retargeting is typically the digital marketing channel our clients see the fastest results in. When working with us, clients usually see results within just one month of starting to run campaigns specifically targeting your past website visitors. We’ve even run remarketing campaigns in the past that have met our clients’ annual sales targets within days of being launched.
This channel being so quick to work is not necessarily a surprise, as you’re investing in promoting your offering to people already familiar with your brand, whether they’re past customers or have visited your website several times but are yet to make their first purchase. So for a quick boost to your sales pipeline, remarketing is probably your best bet.
The importance of marketing across multiple channels
Now that we’ve talked about how long it takes to see results from different forms of digital marketing, we should emphasise that it’s important you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by investing in one digital marketing channel only.
This is something we believe in very strongly here at Bundle – so much so that we never market your business on just one channel if you choose us as your digital marketing partner.
Think about this scenario: you have PPC campaigns running with great targeting and alluring copy and visuals that get people to click on them. The ads take them to a website that doesn’t match what they were promised in the ad, with bad copywriting and not enough information about how you can help them. In all likelihood, your leads will click off your website faster than you can prompt them to download your ebook with a well-timed pop-up.
Hedging your bets across a few channels not only means less risk as you’re not relying on just one mode of digital marketing bringing you results; it also means you can build more sustainable results from your digital marketing campaigns as a whole. Different forms of digital marketing complement each other well to build a well-rounded and professional online presence for your brand.
The bottom line
In short, starting to see consistent results from your digital marketing activities will take some time, and you need to make a long-term commitment to them in order to see some real return on your investment.
This means that once you’ve built a digital marketing strategy you’re happy with in collaboration with your digital marketing agency, you should try your best to stick with it for at least six months or so without making any massive changes. Results do take time and making major pivots within the first few months could mean losing out on the progress you might not even know is already being made behind the scenes.
It’s also worth noting that once you start seeing results from your digital marketing efforts, it’s by no means a sign to lift your foot off the gas pedal. Your online presence and authority need continuous work.
While some digital marketing channels, such as SEO, have more long-lasting results, others such as PPC campaigns will stop bringing in more customers as soon as you pause them. Your ad campaigns will slowly lose their efficacy if they’re not continuously optimised.
Working with Bundle Digital
The above demonstrates why the digital agency you need by your side is the one who can see the big picture and relentlessly optimise your campaigns in order to reach your goals. This is what Bundle Digital is all about.
The first thing we’ll do for every new client is to assess where you are right now: we’ll do competitor analysis, take a look at your backlinks, keywords and where your PPC ads, content marketing and social media currently stand. Based on this, we’ll build you a detailed marketing strategy and start work on building your online presence with the help of some clever marketing automation tools.
As time goes by, we’ll continuously learn from both our successes and missteps. We’ll review our performance regularly, with fast-paced channels like PPC at least once a week, to make sure we’re not losing out on any opportunities. We’ll also report back to you monthly with a video call or a face-to-face meeting to keep you in the loop.
Interested in finding out more about how we operate? Shoot us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get chatting!