A digital marketing audit is a systematic evaluation of a business’ current digital strategies, tactics and channels. Digital marketing audits are critical to understanding what is performing, what is underperforming, what could be optimised, as well as uncovering new digital opportunities. Digital marketing audits are cyclical in nature, meaning they occur in regular intervals (usually monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually, depending on the industry and client). Without an audit, businesses risk their digital marketing efforts and investments underperforming against their objectives.
This assignment is designed to help you develop your digital marketing audit skills by analysing the digital marketing strategy, tactics and channels of a client business.
What you need to do
1. Watch the client briefing, instruction video and review materials.
Before you start the assignment, please ensure you review all of the materials provided. Watch the client briefing video, review the materials they have provided, and watch the instruction video.
2. Introduce client and identify current digital marketing activity
Introduce the client, the industry they operate within, and the business mission.
Develop an outline of the client’s current marketing and digital marketing activity. This means describing their overarching business goals and then observing, analysing and researching to create a comprehensive list of their traditional and digital marketing tactics and channels. Use the materials provided by the client, your own observations, Google searches, industry reports, or any others data or materials you can access.
Hint 1: Though it is good to mention traditional marketing elements here briefly, remember that the focus of the assignment is digital marketing specifically.
Hint 2: Try to use a table for this section, and remember that you are just introducing the client, their industry and mission, and then listing out their tactics and channels.
3. Conducting a digital marketing audit
Based on your analysis from the previous step, critically evaluate the performance of the client’s digital marketing initiatives. Ensure you go back to the week three lesson and understand all of the steps in undertaking a digital marketing audit. It is up to you to decide which strategies, tactics and channels you will include in your audit.
As an example, this could include: their website, search presence, email marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, native advertising, use of influencers, amongst many other things. You could also analyse their content strategy including the types of content, clarity, consistency, frequency, the types of content that leads to acquisitions, engagement and conversions etc.
Use any data that is available to you including the materials provided by the client, industry reports, research reports, reviews, online articles. There are lots of great free analysis tools available to you for websites and search marketing (GTMetrix, Pingdom, Moz, SEMRush, Ubbersuggest etc.), social media (social blade etc.) and many others. Use this to conduct your analysis where possible and to provide evidence in your assignment.
Ensure you describe which aspects of their digital marketing are performing well, and which ones are not, and then diagnose, with evidence, why that could be the case.
Hint 1: Remember that a digital marketing audit is a systematic analysis of all digital marketing activity.
Hint 2: The point of this section is to be as critical as possible. If you get to the end of your audit and you have not generated any insights into issues, areas for improvement or opportunities, then you need to go back and continue auditing.
Hint 3: Use the analysis frameworks we cover during semester to help structure your thinking.
Hint 4: While it is OK to use your own judgement about whether something is performing well or not, it is always best to find a benchmark or point of reference. For example, if you say that the bounce rate for a website is too high, you might also need to look up Google’s global benchmarks and state how the client website compares.
4. Evaluate audience reach and engagement
The next step is to critically evaluate how effectively the client is reaching and engaging with their intended target audience. Are they talking to the people that they want to talk to? Why/why not?
Your analysis could include looking at their intended audience and comparing this to the audience that they have attracted through their various digital marketing initiatives, and observing how followers are engaging with the brand. Profile their followers and which digital touchpoints they interact with.
Hint 1: The point of this analysis is to determine if the client is effectively reaching and resonating with their intended target audience and work out if they need to change their digital strategy.
5. Identify potential integrity, ethical, or accountability issues
Looking at the client’s current digital marketing activity, including its collection and use of customer / organisational data, its privacy policies, its accessibility levels, and its digital marketing strategies and tactics, outline any potential integrity, ethical or accountability issues that could arise in future. The aim is to identify these issues early and describe why they are important, so that they can be addressed as soon as possible.
Hint 1: Look out for potential issues in data collection, data storage, sharing of data, data privacy, ad targeting, potential bias against certain customer groups, accessibility etc.
6. Summarise your analysis
The final step is to summarise your findings and draw some conclusions. Try to pick only the most important insights from your analysis to include here. You should be addressing the areas of their digital marketing activity that need the most improvement. For each one, provide a brief ‘so what’ statement – what should they do as a result of this insight?
Hint 1: Try using a SWOT table to structure your thinking.
Your digital marketing audit should be presented in business report format and include numbered headings, such as the following:
- Executive summary
- Table of contents
- Digital marketing audit
- Target audience evaluation
Important note: Your work should be supported by evidence from a range of sources. The more relevant evidence you provide, the better. Reports with less than five sources (industry reports, industry articles, academic papers etc.) are unlikely to be eligible for a pass. The word limit is 2,000 words (excluding executive summary, tables and references). To fit within this word limit, you should focus only on crucial information, write succinctly, and use charts, tables and graphics to present analysis and evidence.
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