What does success look like to you?
For many marketers, the definition of success is loosely defined and typically based on whether or not they achieve their overall goal or fall short.
Does that sound familiar?
Well, the most effective marketers have a better approach to measuring success.
It starts by tracking the details, thereby making it easier to understand the intricate parts of their multifaceted marketing machine. They know which marketing KPIs help them understand the impact of their marketing more clearly.
Digital marketing is such a complex ecosystem that it’s reckless not to have a close and consistent monitoring program in place. But what do you track?
That’s where this list comes into action.
Below you will find a detailed list of the top KPIs to track, and the kind of insight each marketing KPI will deliver.
I’ve broken them up into 9 sections based on the areas they are used.
You’ll find marketing KPIs for tracking:
- Return on Investment
- Intent to Purchase/Marketing Automation
- Social Media
- Landing Pages
- Email Marketing
- Lead Generation
Read on and discover what digital marketing KPIs you should be tracking for each of your marketing campaigns, but first…
What is a KPI?
A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. KPIs are key numbers that drive the performance of key functional areas that help you determine its effectiveness. Different KPIs will be used to determine your level of success at achieving certain goals. You’re about to get numerous examples of different marketing KPIs and what they’re used to track. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a strong understanding of just how powerful a marketing KPI can be.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Return on investment (ROI) KPIs are likely the most commonly tracked, as they give the clearest picture of how your marketing is affecting the bottom line. When it comes to understanding how your marketing is impacting your profits, these are the marketing KPIs to follow.
Cost per Mille (CPM)
Your CPM is the cost the it takes to put your marketing in front of one thousand people (mille). These are the types of numbers that traditional marketing has been delivering for decades and provide a general understanding of your marketing exposure. With the focused targeting available through digital marketing, this type of exposure is becoming more and more valuable.
Cost per Click (CPC)
Your CPC is the actual price you pay for each click on an ad used for a marketing campaign. Whether you’re advertising on Facebook, Adwords, or somewhere else, the lower your CPC the better!
Cost to Acquire
Your cost to acquire gives you a deeper look into all that has gone into acquiring a new customer. It’s vital that you understand your customer lifetime value in order to determine whether or not your cost to acquire each customer is worthwhile.
Cost per Lead
This marketing KPI is an important one for sales managers and their teams, as well as the marketers delivering these leads. The cost to bring in each single lead provides a valuable insight into the big picture of your company’s marketing.
Cost per Converted Lead
Your cost per converted lead tells you two things: how effectively your sales department is selling, and the quality of the leads being delivered by your marketing. If sales is giving it all they’ve got, your marketing may be reaching the wrong people. If you’re delivering strong leads that aren’t being closed, the sales teams may want to rethink their strategy.
Cost per Visit
Cost per visit gives you a clearer understanding of what it takes to drive your website traffic. The cost will be derived from the amount being spent on all online marketing activities (SEO, paid search, etc.) divided by the cumulative total visits.
Revenue per Customer
Your revenue per customer gives you important insight into your Customer Lifetime Value. The better you understand how much each of your customers is worth in the long run, the better you can optimize your marketing budget to reach them.
Sales per Visit
The sales per visit marketing KPI is one that allows you to determine the value of each visit, or number of visits, and therefore understand and justify the marketing spend associated with it.
Churn rate is a valuable marketing KPI to understand. It provides you with insight into your Customer Lifetime Value, as well as pointing you in the direction of areas that may need attention. If you’re losing a significant amount of customers, you need to ask yourself why? Is there a strong connection after you’ve closed the first sale or are customers being ignored?
Visits per Channel
The visits per channel KPI is one that helps you understand which of your traffic-generating marketing efforts are the most fruitful. You’ll want to put your money, time, and energy behind the most effective marketing channels, but are there things that can be done to optimize your efforts on other channels?
Conversions per Channel
Conversions per channel is even more important than the previous visits per channel. Even if one channel is providing the majority of your traffic, if it’s providing low-quality leads that don’t convert, it’s not working. On the other hand, if the channel that generates less traffic brings in leads that are ready to convert, it’s working well.
Intent to Purchase/Marketing Automation
If you sell online, you can track an incredible amount of information about your leads and customers. Use that information to continually optimize your marketing and you’ll see profits climb steadily.
Tracking purchase history allows you to determine several things about your customer. This online marketing KPI allows you to reach out to them with personalized offers based on their previous purchases. It also allows you to determine the frequency with which you should market to them, the value they represent as as customer, and the device type from which they purchase most often.
Cart Abandonment Rate
It’s normal to have a high(ish) cart abandonment rate. People bail out on their carts all the time, but it’s important to understand why it’s happening, as well as if it begins to increase or decrease. What are you doing differently that would effect this KPI? Have you improved your checkout process that would decrease the rate, or added an extra step to the process that is causing more people to abandon?
With the explosion of content marketing in the past decade, everyone seems to be dabbling in this ultra-powerful strategy. Driving organic traffic to your website is becoming an increasingly important part of nearly every marketer’s strategy.
But how do you know if it’s working?
If you’re not using the following marketing KPIs to track your efforts, you’re probably missing out on on massive opportunities.
The number of organic searches your site receives will tell you a lot about the way search engines are finding your site. The sad fact is that most sites won’t be found, even though some of their owners are actively participating in SEO. Be sure your efforts are paying off by tracking your organic searches.
Search Engine Ranking
Every search engine has a ranking system for websites. Powerful, easily found sites that rank for their target keywords have higher scores than those that don’t actively perform effective SEO. Look at your ranking to see where you stand.
Unique Site Visits/Visitors
The unique visit KPI will tell you how effectively your marketing—both paid and organic—at driving traffic to your site.
Return Visits to Site
This marketing KPI will help you the qualify leads as ready to market to (MQLs). The more a person visits your site, the more they know and trust you and the more likely they are to buy from you.
Time Spent on Site
The length of time a visitor spends on your site is directly related to the amount of interest they have in what you have to offer. The time spent on site KPI is another way to determine both marketing-qualified and sales-qualified leads.
Popular Pages and Navigation Paths
The more you understand about how visitors interact with your site the better. You want to make it easy for a visitor to reach the pages they’re looking for and for those pages to convert (where applicable). Take a look at your most popular pages and the way people reach them, then work to make the rest of your site look and function in a similar manner.
Direct traffic is a KPI that will help you evaluate your brand exposure and the performance of exposure-based marketing activities. If people are navigating directly to your site, they know your brand and want what you have to offer.
The referral traffic from other sites helps you to understand where your visitors are coming from. Are other sites linking to your pages? Are your paid ads generating the traffic? What is the quality of your leads from each source?
Bounce rate is a marketing KPI that has to do more with the user experience provided by your site. If your visitors are turning tail and running (bouncing) shortly after they reach your site, it may not be easy for them to find what they were looking for or understand what you’re offering.
New Visitors vs. Returning
This marketing KPI will help determine how much of your total traffic is being generated by your marketing, as well as how much is coming from retained customers/visitors.
The total number of conversions you’re able to generate from your site will help you to establish new goals for optimizing your digital marketing strategy. If you’re able to generate a certain amount one month, what can you do to increase that number through optimization?
Number of Unique Keywords that Drive Traffic
The main reason most companies blog is to drive traffic to their sites by ranking for unique keywords related to their industry. If you don’t track the keyword that you currently rank for, you won’t know what you’re doing right/wrong, and you’ll be flying blind. Monitor this KPI to stay on top of the keywords you rank for and ensure you don’t let your competitors overtake your first page rankings.
Conversion Rate per Keyword
One of the more detailed marketing KPIs on the list, conversion rate per keyword allows you to identify the types of keywords that are producing the most (and least) high-quality leads that eventually convert. You may be able to rank for plenty of keywords, but unless they pertain to the subject that your paying customers are searching for, they won’t do you any good.
Rank Increase of Target Keywords
The rank increase of your target keywords is a great metric to follow because you’ll be able to see just how long it takes for you to rank for different types of keywords (if you ever do).
Inbound links are an excellent indicator that you’re creating outstanding content (or that your link-building strategies are paying off). The more value you provide in your content, the more likely people are to link to it.
Social media marketing has become a huge part of many company’s digital marketing strategy, but too many are doing it just because it’s what they think they’re supposed to be doing. Paying close attention and making improvements based on your findings will make a good social media campaign into a great one, and one that’s success is easily replicated.
A Facebook “Like” is the easiest way for a user to engage with your posts, ads, etc. The more likes you accumulate, the more you know you’re giving people what they want to see. While it may not lead to conversions, it’s an indicator that you’re taking a step in the right direction and that this person values your contribution.
The engagement each post gets also creates a snowball effect, lowering the barrier for other users to like, comment, and share. So the more likes you can get, the more people you’ll be able to reach. If you’re paying for ads, the more engagement your ads receive, the cheaper they are to display, so it’ll save you money as well.
When users mention your brand on social media, it’s for one of two reasons. People are either sharing something they like with their network or making a complaint. Either way, it’s something to pay attention to as you’ll be able to gather social proof from positive comments or respond to customer complaints and potentially remedy the situation.
Comments are an even higher form of engagement than likes, and give you the same benefits as your paid advertising. Rather than simply clicking on a like button, a user is taking the time to tell you what they like or dislike about your post and you get more informative feedback.
Shares are another excellent way to gather feedback on how people are receiving your posts. Users don’t share unless they like what you’re saying, so pay attention and replicate posts that get this type of engagement.
The more visits to your page, the better your posts and paid ads are working to drive traffic to a place where users can learn more about your brand and what you have to offer.
Average Interaction per Post
The average interaction you’re receiving from each post gives you a great way of understanding how well your overall social media strategy is performing and whether or not there are areas that need to be improved.
Volume of Traffic from Video
Video is becoming more and more important in the world of social media and digital marketing as a whole. This digital marketing KPI helps you to understand how your videos are being received, how well your audience takes to video, and whether or not you should focus more of your efforts on video.
If used properly, landing pages grab the attention of your visitors and get them moving in the direction of your choice. Whether that means opting in to a content offer or converting on a product page, be sure you know which landing pages are working most effectively and why.
Opt-Ins/Downloading Content/Conversion Rate
Your opt-in/conversion rate on a landing page will tell you how well people are receiving it. This marketing KPI will also tell you a lot about the perceived value of your content offer.
Time on Page
If your landing page is providing visitors with something of value, you’ll know based on the time they spend on page and the number of conversions generated.
If your landing page is annoying and struggles to provide any value to your visitors, they may click off immediately or even leave your site.
Form Abandonment Rate
This marketing KPI tells you whether or not you’re asking for too much information for what you’re offering. The number of fields in your capture form should be directly proportionate to the value of your offer, otherwise people may decide it’s not worth it and leave the form halfway through completing it.
Just like anything else, your email marketing need to be tracked to determine whether or not you’re successfully reaching your customers. Use the following email marketing KPIs to gain some insight.
Your subscribe rate tells you a few things. This marketing KPI shows you how strong your exchange offer is, as well as how much focus your site puts on gathering emails. The content you’re offering in exchange for an email address should be powerful, so make sure it’s something worth giving you their valuable information. Also, your site should ask for their email in a powerful way, does yours?
Unsubscribe rate is an important email marketing KPI to follow. If you’re sending too many emails, too much salesy content, or simply sending the right marketing message to the wrong people, they may not want to receive emails from you anymore. If you have a high unsubscribe rate, be sure to take a close look at what you’re sending to your list and how often.
Your bounce rate should be low if people are giving you their correct email addresses. You need to look more closely at your email capture system if it’s accepting false addresses without confirmation. Yes, you want people to have your content, but you also want to make sure you’re getting their email in return.
Your open rate is an email marketing KPI that will tell you a lot about your email subject lines. If you’re sending emails that aren’t getting read, why not? Take a look at your subject. Would you open your email based on what you’re reading? If not, what can be done to improve it?
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Every email marketing campaign should have a goal, and one of the ways to realize those goals is through CTAs within your copy. If you include a CTA, it’s important to measure just how many people are actually clicking on it and heading to your landing page, website, etc.
Lead generation KPIs will help you understand which marketing channels should be focused on and which need to be optimized.
Lead origination is a marketing KPI that many are familiar with, but few follow as closely as they should. The sources of your leads is one of the most important things you can understand about your marketing. If you know which sources are proving to be most effective, you can focus your efforts on those and pull budget away from the least fruitful.
Lead volume is the number of leads being generated by an individual channel or as a whole. Understanding your lead volume helps you to determine how many leads you need to generate in order to reach a sales/revenue goal.
Determining lead quality allows you to optimize your marketing. If a marketing channel is generating an abundance of leads but you’re finding them difficult to convert, it may be that your message is reaching the wrong people. If it’s generating a strong number of MQLs (marketing-qualified leads) or SQLs (sales-qualified leads), you know your message is strong and your targeting is accurate.
Now that we’ve covered lead generation, let’s look at the sales process and the strategy you’ll use to optimize it.
Understanding your stake in the market is a great way to determine how your piece fits into the puzzle. How many potential customers exist in your industry, niche, etc.? How many do you serve? How many are you capable of serving? What will it take to get there?
Advertising Awareness (Top-of-Mind and Aided Awareness)
Your brand awareness is an important part of the entire marketing process. Evaluating your top-of-mind awareness is a more difficult metric to track, but plays an important role in understanding your level of public exposure and their retention of your brand.
Net Profit Margin
To truly understand your return on investment, you first have to evaluate how much of that return is actualized as a profit. Only then can you make smart marketing decisions.
The time it takes for your resources invested (marketing dollars) to be returned to cash is an important marketing KPI to evaluate before making any investment. How long will it take to see a return, and will the projected return be worth the money invested for that amount of time?
Number of Sales
When it comes down to bottom-line figures, there are few marketing KPIs that have more of an impact than number of sales. It’s probably the easiest to track and the most common.
The number of people choosing to participate in a trial offer versus your overall visitors will help you understand the perceived value of your offer, as well as determine whether or not the barrier of entry is too high or the risk-to-reward ratio makes your offer viable to your visitors.
% of Sales from Digital
Many companies participate in both digital and traditional marketing actions. Understanding your sales and return from digital versus traditional will help you to understand where you’ll want to be focusing your efforts and whether or not there is a need to adjust the budgets.
Customer Lifetime Value
The value your customer represents over their entire lifetime with your company must be understood in order to effectively adjust your marketing budget. You may determine that it’s worth breaking even to close a customer because the average lifetime value of your customers is 5 times the value of a single transaction.
Following customer complaints is the best way to improve your customer experience, and improve your brand in the long run. The more you can learn from your customers, the better.
Customer Retention Rate
The process of marketing to and closing a customer is difficult and expensive, so it’s important to track the rate at which you are losing/retaining them. Your marketing shouldn’t stop at the close; you need to continually be in contact with them in order to keep your brand at top of their mind and keep them coming back to you.
Mobile marketing is a whole different ball game. With users’ limited attention spans and the lack of real estate to work with, you have to have your marketing at its most optimized.
Your mobile bounce rate will tell you about the user experience delivered by your mobile site. If people aren’t finding a reason to hang around, you’ll want to determine why they’re leaving. Is your site too busy, confusing, hard to navigate? Find out and make the appropriate changes.
Mobile opt-ins are even harder to come by, so you’ll probably need to keep the barrier to entry to a minimum. If you’re not getting the opt-ins you’re after, you may need to change your layout to be more opt-in focused. Every page/site should have an end goal, what’s yours?
Time Spent on Website
The time your users spend on your site tells you a lot about its usability. Mobile site are becoming increasingly user friendly, but they’re still too small to offer a full-size experience. If you’re seeing users engage with the content on your mobile site, you know you have a good layout. If not, you may want to rethink your design to provide a more pleasant experience.
Popular Pages and Navigation Paths
Which pages are your users navigating to most? Where do they spend the most time? Determine what about those pages/navigation paths makes them so popular and use them to optimize the rest of your site as such.
Your referral traffic will tell you which of your paid and organic marketing channels are working best for your mobile users. If you advertise on mobile channels like Instagram, it’s important to track how many visitors they’re sending your way.
Organic traffic is a marketing KPI that shows you how many mobile users are performing the searches for keywords that you rank for.
Conversion Rates from Mobile-Optimized Landing Pages
If you have a mobile-optimized landing page on your mobile site, you’ll want to track how well it’s working. Are you collecting emails in exchange for a gated content offer? How is that gated offer affecting the way people interact with your site as a whole?
What is your most important digital marketing KPI?
You’re now more than prepared enough to start tracking your marketing efforts more closely. From this list you can see the importance in understanding how each and every marketing action you take affects your outcome.
The more closely you follow your marketing, the better you’ll understand each action and the easier it will be to make smart decisions that improve your results and move you closer to reaching your goals. Be sure to bookmark this “must” list of digital marketing KPIs for future reference.