Being a marketer in a small or medium-sized business means being involved in all sorts of activities, from raising brand awareness and acquiring new customers to nurturing leads and maintaining customer loyalty. Depending on your niche, the competition can be tough, leaving you with little room for error. So, it’s absolutely essential that you ensure that your marketing strategy is as successful as possible within the constraints of your budget and resources.
But how do you measure and substantiate the success of your efforts? Most importantly, how can you do even better?
While it’s easy to fall back on experience and instinct for decision-making, research has shown that they’re not the most productive or reliable resources for building a successful business. In fact, data, and more specifically, key performance indicators (KPIs), have proven to deliver better direction for optimal performance.
In this guide, I will clarify the use of KPIs and show you how to build your digital marketing dashboards to share with your team and your boss.
Why You Absolutely Need Marketing KPI Dashboards
Make sense of your data with visualizations
Most of us interact with data visualizations every day in one form or another. For example, we visualize our workout and weight improvements on a Fitbit app or monitor our household income and spending on a banking mobile app. Data visualization is a great tool to help us read and understand the data that has accumulated about performance. It gives us the ability to compare, monitor trends, and even see if there are any outliers to know if any action needs to be taken. It keeps us informed so we can make the smartest decisions.
Nowhere is this more true than in marketing. While marketing uses creativity to innovate and stand out from the crowd, it is first and foremost a science— based on data analysis. Data analysis helps marketers monitor their performance so they can better understand what happened in the past, build predictive analyses to optimize campaigns in the future, and hone almost every aspect of the marketing games.
Why You Need Marketing KPI Dashboards
A single version of the truth
Data visualizations and dashboards are convenient and easy ways to communicate your results with the rest of your team and with management. Aligning your team on the same KPIs and data allows everyone to identify and focus on the optimal actions so you reach your marketing goals faster. You will need a set of KPIs to measure your performance at every stage of the marketing and sales funnel, which I will list below.
Fresh, automated reports– done for you
If you have dashboards with real-time data, you can make them available to your team and your boss and save yourself a tremendous amount of time. How would you like to stop having to do manual data exports of every tool you’re using, manual data processing, and data visualizations on Excel? With the right dashboard tool, you can automate your report delivery and get the latest data every day—and deliver it to whoever else needs to see it—before you finish your cup of coffee in the morning.
Choosing Your Marketing KPIs
KPI vs. Indicator
To measure your marketing performance throughout the marketing funnel, you need a full set of KPIs. But before we begin identifying them, let’s go over the difference between indicators (or “metrics”) and KPIs. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably but being able to differentiate them can support you in making better decisions.
Indicators or metrics can be raw data, such as numbers, or they can be “derived measures,” which are results of a calculation. For example, the number of unique visitors on your website is a simple indicator—no calculation is needed. But your conversion rate is a derived measure since it divides the number of conversions by the number of visitors on your website.
On the other hand, key performance indicators (KPIs) are, as the name suggests, your most important indicators—the ones you’ll use to evaluate whether your actions and efforts have been successful or not. They can become the foundation for all of your business decision-making. They will also evolve as your company grows. In the early stages of working with KPIs, you’ll most likely focus on your website traffic in your targeted region, your social media community, and your mailing listing growth rate. At more advanced stages, you will likely focus on increasing your marketing ROI, optimizing your Cost Per Acquisition, and reducing your Churn Rate or Attrition Rate.
In a nutshell, all KPIs are indicators, but not all indicators are KPIs. And KPIs evolve along with your business.
Marketing KPIs To Build Your Performance Dashboards
Social media KPI dashboard
Social media offers powerful channels to raise your brand awareness, get closer to your customers, promote your company brand, and sell your products or services. By delivering meaningful content to your audience, you will strengthen the bond between your customers, your prospects, and your brand. As you probably know, the key to a successful social media campaign is keeping your audience engaged with your content and with other individuals in your community.
To learn more about that, I highly recommend Tony Tran’s article about social media engagement tactics, in which Tran says:
Any way that your people interact with you on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is social media engagement. And these metrics are crucial for measuring the effectiveness of your social media campaign and accomplishing goals such as generating leads and sales.Tony Tran
What should your social media dashboard include?
- Fans growth: Counts the number of new fans over a specific period (per day, per week, per month).
- Post impressions: How many times your posts appeared in your audience’s feed. The number can be bigger than your total followers since a person can see your post multiple times.
- Likes or reactions: See how many likes you’re gaining on your posts over the weeks.
- Comments: See if your content sparks conversation within your community.
- Shares: This is a great indicator to see if your content is appealing, funny, or interesting enough for people to actually recommend it to their friends or peers.
- Mentions: See how many times your brand has been mentioned across all social media platforms. Mentions can be @YourBrand or YourBrand. When the @YourBrand type of mention is used, you’ll be able to track them easily; but when people mention “YourBrand” like this, it is trickier to monitor.
- Clicks: The number of clicks you got on your posts. You can compare the data from social media with your Google Analytics data.
- Click-through rate (CTR): Compares the number of clicks on your post against the number of impressions.
Of course, there’s more you can do with your social media dashboards to get more insights from your performance analysis of your social ads, sales, and financial KPIs.
SEO KPI dashboard
SEO is probably the biggest—and hardest—part of an online marketer’s job. We’re not going to go over SEO tactics; other blogs, such as Ahrefs, do an awesome job providing ideas and tips to level up your game! The bottom line is that implementing an SEO strategy will help drive traffic to your website, increase your online visibility, and level-up your authority in your niche. Your SEO dashboard will help you find out exactly what’s working and what’s not. You can easily build your SEO dashboard with data from your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.
What should your SEO dashboard include?
- Average position in SERP: See how well your website is ranked in the Search Engine Results Page for all keywords.
- CTR: How many people clicked on your blog article or landing page after seeing it in the search results.
- Average monthly visitors from organic search: Instead of looking at the raw data, monitoring your average number of visitors can help you see if you’re heading in the right direction or if a trend is falling.
- Bounce rate: How many visitors left your website after seeing only one page. The lower your bounce rate, the better your content.
- The number of referring domains: How many websites are linking to your blog posts or landing pages. The more links you’re getting from notorious websites, the better your ranking in the SERP will be.
- Top pages by pageviews: Which blog posts or landing pages are being seen the most. It will give you information on the type of content or topic your audience is the most interested in. It can also feed your social media content planning.
- Top keywords by traffic: See the effectiveness of your keywords based on the traffic they bring to your website.
- Conversions rate: Among visitors from organic searches, what percentage actually converted.
Ads KPI dashboard
If there is one set of activities you absolutely must report on, it is your ads and paid campaigns. No matter the size of your company or your marketing budget, you need to know if the money you’re spending is well-spent.
You might have different reasons for doing paid advertising on Google or on social media, or you might be sponsoring campaigns on other websites. You might want to raise brand awareness and get more exposure with your targeted audience. Or you might want to get more signups on your platform and boost sales on your e-commerce website. Or perhaps you want to get your website visitors to revisit more often.
To do these things, you need to know:
1) if your campaigns are seen enough
2) if the audience you’re targeting respond to your ads
3) if your landing page and messaging are effective enough to drive conversions, and
4) if your ads generated profit.
Notice that I said “profit” and not “revenue.” In order to know why, I’ll refer you to the great post on NerdMarketing’s blog on the different between ROAS and ROMI (Return On Ads Spend vs. Return On Marketing Investment).
What should your ads dashboard include?
If your goal is to raise brand awareness, include:
- Impressions or Views: How many times your ads or videos have been seen or viewed.
- Average position in SERP: How well your ads are doing against your competition. The top three are usually the best spots.
- Reach on social media: How many people you reached with your ads across all social media.
- Engagements on social media: Likes, comments, and shares.
- Mentions of your brand: How many people are talking about your brands on social media and online (blog articles, videos, etc.)
- Traffic to your website from your ads: Since it is advantageous to tailor the messaging of your ads according to your brand personas and audience interests, you might have several ads running at the same time. You can track the traffic coming from each individual ad using a UTM code.
- Direct traffic on your website: Direct traffic is a great indicator of brand awareness. It means that people searched for your brand name directly or have already visited it and have come back.
If your goal is to boost your signups or sales:
- Ads costs: How much money you spent on each ad. You can also monitor your daily budget to make sure you’re not overspending.
- CTR: How many people who saw your ads clicked on them.
- Conversion rate by ad: Compare the conversion rates of your ads to know which one is most engaging and convincing. If AD A brings a low volume of conversions but has a higher conversion rate, that means you need to focus on it and maybe improve it to increase the volume of conversions.
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or Sale: Find out how much you spend to acquire one order or signup. If your average cost per acquisition is higher than your average order or sales amount, you need to find a way to decrease the CPA. The lower the CPA, the better.
- Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI): Evaluates the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by comparing all the costs related to your campaigns and the profit they generated.
ROMI formula: ROMI = Amount You Made / Amount You Paid to get it
Learn how to build your ads Dashboard in our webinar “Marketing Analytics & Calculating ROI.”
Email Marketing KPI Dashboard
Email marketing plays a huge role in marketing since it’s the most effective channel to acquire customers, nurture your leads, and keep in touch with your customers. Emails can be sent to your contact list every step of the way. What’s most challenging of the effort is to tailor the messaging to your audience and automate your workflow as much as possible.
Again, to optimize your efforts, you can’t just send your emails out and not measure how your audience are responding to them or, worse, not know what impact they are having on your sales. In your email marketing dashboard, you will be able to know when your audience is most likely to make a first purchase, how often they make a purchase after receiving your newsletter, how much traffic your email campaign brings to your blog, and much more.
Related article: Track Your Constant Contact Email Performance
What should your email marketing dashboard include?
You can build two dashboards with these indicators—one at the campaign level and one at the email level.
- Email list subscription growth: Track the growth of your contact list based on when people signup for your product, purchase an item on your e-commerce website or subscribe to your newsletters.
- Open rate: How many people open your emails against the total number of contacts in your distribution list.
- CTR: How many people clicked on your call-to-action in your email against the number of people who opened it.
- Total direct sales generated: you can track conversions using the UTM codes and see which campaign or email had a positive impact on your sales. Of course, your campaign can also generate indirect sales, which is harder to track. Attribution is a real brainer for marketers.
- Conversion rate: by email or by campaign.
- Unsubscribe rate: by campaign.
- Top three campaigns: by click-through rate.
Here are two dashboard examples to see as you explore the power of marketing dashboards:
Get Started With Your Marketing Dashboard Set
You can get started with the help of our marketing dashboards examples and KPI templates, available online, and use your own data.
Or, learn about the fundamentals of dashboard building.