The Key Metrics for Digital Marketers


Have you ever wondered how marketers measure their success or what constitutes a good marketing campaign versus a bad one? For many businesses it’s usually a matter of cost and the return on that investment, but there are many marketing KPI’s (key performance indicators) to look at and how the hell are you sure which ones are right? Why do we even need to look at this shit?


In order to measure the performance, first we must decide which metrics we’ll want to observe. So, let’s look at some of the most common ones that we see in today’s marketing channels. Keep in mind, some of these won’t mean a thing to some of your campaigns, so just read through and hopefully you’ll gain some clarity as to what these metrics mean and how they work. 

Conversion Rates: In digital marketing, whether it’s websites or apps, this is the rate in which visitors become buyers or complete a desired action or goal. If this number is close to 1% it probably sucks and you can do better. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t suck but depending on the channel most people wouldn’t like reporting that their conversion rates are this low. Now, 80% that’s a number that’ll raise some eyebrows! Mostly because that’s outrageously unrealistic. Do some research or consult with some team members and find some numbers that will be both aggressive and achievable. Not so damn high you’ll never reach your goals and you end up doing nothing.

If you really wanted, or were able to, you could get fancy with some analytics software that will allow you to connect third party sources which can then tie together customer data and website/app data to create conversion funnels which can provide an even more detailed picture of your marketing efforts. However, I’m not here to be too fancy. I’m just here to provide some metrics and how they may be helpful in measuring good performance. So, another key metric that can prove useful when measuring performance is Leads. 

Leads: Now, sometimes these may break down into more categories, but for the sake of a detailed report we’ll just say Leads here. In short, leads are potential customers who have shown some interest into your marketing. They can do this by filling out a form, calling your number, clicking “Subscribe”, and a bunch of other options that can be tracked and recorded to measure performance.

So if Leads are a relevant metric to track for your marketing campaigns, then another key point may be your website Traffic Sources or Channel Overview. Think about it, how do you know where your visitors are coming from? Did that email work? Does having a good social media channel really drive people to a website? These are questions that can be answered by looking at traffic sources.

Traffic Sources: Specific channels that your analytics software can track and report. Common types of channels include Email, Social, Referral, Direct, Paid, & Organic. These channels are important track if you’re paying for different types of campaigns. Remember now, we need to be able to show the return or we won’t get more money to do more work. 

Now, again, these are just a few metrics to consider when trying to measure the success of marketing. It’s always best to speak with the client directly or whoever the decision maker may be in order to prioritize which metrics you should be tracking and why. For an SEO team member, measuring success looks very different from the success of the email team and vice versa. Also, keep things simple if needed. Sometimes just 3 charts will do.

So, the last key point of interest we can look at here is New Visitors or Users. While it may not be exciting, having a good overview of New vs Returning users and  if these numbers are growing or falling will ultimately show you if your campaigns are gaining any traction. You have to attract new clients in order to have the opportunity to keep their interest and make them want to return. 

New Visitors vs Returning Visitors: So this marketing metric might be confusing to some of you but it really is as simple as its name. Visitors who are there for the first versus the ones who’ve been there before. Both are important, each can show success in different stages of your marketing campaigns so it’s a great number to know and understand. 

There are still many marketing metrics out there that were not mentioned. Cost per acquisition, cost per click, sales funnels, bounce rates, social media metrics and so on. There’s a time and place for discussing those points but those tend to get into the weeds. The key topics addressed above were just a few examples of how to measure marketing campaigns. Success can come in many forms so choose what matters most to you and dive in. The key takeaway here is that there are many metrics and some are more important than others, choose wisely, and make sure they’re helping you make your case not fighting against it.

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