No business owner or manager wants to waste time, money, or resources on marketing activities that aren’t performing. By tracking marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), your company can learn how to fulfil your marketing goals most cost-effectively. And while digital marketing has become something of a science these days, that doesn’t mean you have to be a rocket scientist to understand it and be successful at it. With simple tools like Google Analytics available at virtually no cost, you can readily track a variety of factors that provide important insight into the successes and failures of your company’s marketing activities. Doing so can help answer valuable questions like:
- Should I put more money into this channel? Or that one?
- Is my campaign actually bringing additional sales?
- Is my e-commerce site turning visitors into new customers effectively?
- How much is it costing us to obtain new customers?
- Visitor Acquisition
- Total Website Traffic
- Mobile Traffic
- Traffic Sources
- Ad Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Cost Per Click / Pay Per Click (CPC / PPC)
- Top Keywords
- Organic: These are visitors that come to you from the search engines. Organic traffic data shows the effect of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities, such as blog articles, short and longtail keywords, meta descriptions, and more.
- Direct: These are the visitors who found you by typing your business name in the search field. The data shows you the effect of your brand awareness efforts, such as sponsoring a key event in your target industry.
- Referral: These are the visitors that come to your website via other websites. The numbers show the efficiency of your net linking activities, and you’ll find the list of websites and marketplaces that are including links to your site and whose audience is interested in your brand.
- Social Media: These are the visitors that come from your social media pages and ads. The metric indicates how well you are handling your community feed and informs you about the quality of the content that you offer your audience via these channels.
- Paid Search: These are the numbers of visitors who clicked on your ads, such as those in your Adwords campaigns. It can also include CPC campaigns you run on marketplaces like capterra, appvizer, and softwareadvice.
- Conversion Rate (CVR)
- Bounce Rate
- Cost per Lead (CPL)
- Average Per Page Visit
- Average Time on Page/Site
- Return Visitor Rate
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Marketing KPIs tell the story of your website performance and helps you break down where the successes and failures are coming from. The great advantage of working with KPIs is that they help you find out what’s working and what’s not. As a result, you can understand your successes, in order to repeat them, and you can reduce expenditures on the efforts that aren’t getting any results. By doing so, you can reduce your costs, improve your profitability, and grow your business more quickly.
Monitoring your marketing KPIs allows you to make both short-term and long-term adjustments and fine-tune your results. For example, if you find that a segment on your Adwords campaign is burning up a lot of your CPC budget but doesn’t return much in the way of conversions, you can delete it and reduce your CPC expense. For a longer-term improvement, you might realize you need to incorporate more effective keywords in your content production planning.
The second advantage of working closely with your KPIs is to help you align your team. It’s one thing to try to convince your staff that putting the hard work into a campaign is worth it; it’s much more motivating to show them the data that tells them how many more customers the campaign has brought in this month over last.
Finally, your KPIs can soon become your best friend when you need to prove your team’s point to your boss. When marketing budget allocations are being considered, or the marketing expense account is at risk of cuts, relevant KPIs can prove the value of your team’s work and demonstrate its value to the company’s business strategies and goals.
Your Top 15 Marketing KPIs
There are a lot of metrics that you could gather that might be relevant to your business, such as your social media pages, your total likes, and the number of followers or traffic you have from blog articles or influencers posts. But the marketing KPIs that are most relevant and useful to your business are the ones focused on your team’s activities.
Here are the 15 most useful marketing KPIs to help you manage your campaigns and marketing activities more efficiently and drive your marketing professionals and agencies. They fall within three categories:
To get the full picture of your marketing team’s performance, you need to take a look at all three of these categories of KPIs. If you only review your visitor acquisition metrics, for example, you might notice a significant increase in traffic but make the mistake of thinking that the campaign is doing the job. But once you look at conversion KPIs, you might find out that your additional visitors are not testing, not reaching out, and not buying, and in fact your campaign has a very poor conversion rate. That can mean that your campaign is simply not attracting the right audience or that your landing page is not convincing your new visitors to engage sufficiently.
If you stop there and don’t take a look at your revenue KPIs, you might conclude that your campaign has been very successful since it has brought lots of new leads to your sales team. But with the insights you get from those metrics, you might find out that none of your new leads have generated any revenue, pointing out that your campaign has been painfully ineffective financially. If leads are not turning into customers, and your sales reps are doing an awesome job, you need to consider the quality of your campaign keywords as they might not be bringing the right traffic. It might be indicating that your campaign has raised the attention of consumers whose problem cannot be answered by your product. You have targeted the wrong market.
Another way of looking at it might be that an expensive campaign that has only brought in a negligible number of leads might look bad from the perspective of acquisition and conversion KPIs. But when you take a look at the revenue KPIs, you might discover that those unique leads are also your top sales of the month and seem to stick around your brand.
As you can see, when you take the time to glean the insights from all 15 marketing KPIs, you can get a far more accurate and complete picture about the performance of your campaigns, your channels, your website, and your team.
Visitor Acquisition KPIs
These first seven KPIs all have to do with visitor acquisition and traffic generation. The first three can help you determine whether your marketing activities are doing their job to bring more traffic to your website. They also give you more insights into where your traffic is coming from. You can get this data from Google Analytics.
The remaining four metrics in this category give you insights about visitor acquisition from the perspective of advertising efficiency. These apply to channels such as Search Engine Marketing, (SEM), social media, and banners you place on other websites to promote your brand. Many of them can be managed with Google Search Console, KeyWord planner, and other similar tools.
1. Total Web Traffic
This metric tells you how many unique visitors are reaching your site. You can add up visits for periods of time, such as a week or a month. It’s important to monitor your website performance from one period to the next to see how it is trending. It’s also valuable to identify any major dips or blips and be able to point to internal events or occurrences that caused them. You can also recognize the effects of external factors, such as a public holiday (probably causing a decrease) or a newspaper article about your company (likely to cause an increase in traffic).
2. Mobile Traffic
This metric tells you if your traffic is coming from potential customers on their mobile devices or from visitors using their desktop. That insight will help you better understand how your target market is looking for your product or solution—and help you determine the best way to reach them. For example, if you see that your mobile traffic is increasing over time, and you want to capture more of that market, you might want to launch a mobile app and put a “Download Our App” banner or button on your website.
3. Traffic Sources
This data tells you where your data is coming from. By reviewing it, you can determine which marketing channels are generating the most traffic for you. Google Analytics can provide data about the following sources:
Impressions calculate the total number of times your ad appeared to an audience. If you were advertising in a print newspaper, it would be the number of newspapers that were printed with your ad. On the web, it is the number of times your ad was pushed as prescribed by your audience criteria or search keywords. If your display ad was published along with ads from other vendors, you’ll need to consider the rotation rate to get an accurate number.
5. Ad Click Through Rate (CTR)
This number calculates the number of people who clicked on your ad divided by the total number of people who saw it, whether they responded or not. The result helps you assess the quality of your ad as well as your ability to attract the right audience using keywords. The higher the CTR, the better your Quality scores will be, allowing you to lower your PPC costs by receiving pricing discounts from Adwords or other advertising tools.
6. Cost Per Click / Pay Per Click (CPP / PPC)
This is literally the price you have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. It is determined by the search engine, and it is directly related to your ad Quality scores and your CTR. Note that the Quality score also depends on the quality or your landing page.
7. Top Keywords
This is the list of keywords and key phrases that are used most by your audience to find your website. It can be a very dynamic list because it is directly related to two factors: the ways in which your audience searches, which might evolve over time, and how your competitors are behaving and possibly influencing the way your consumers shop online. Key phrases are important. Now that vocal searches are becoming easier to use and more popular with the smart assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, you need to understand and pay attention to your top keywords and phrases to stay on top of them as they change.
If you’re doing a good job of bringing the right traffic to your website, then your website content and design should be able to take the ball and run with it. In other words, they should be effective at convincing your new visitors that your brand is worth a buy or a try—and convert a visitor to a customer. With Google Analytics, you can review conversion metrics for your website as a whole and also for each of your website pages, giving you a chance to prioritize your page optimization.
8. Conversion Rate (CVR)
These numbers tell you how effectively your site is converting new visitors into customers. It is calculated by dividing the number of people who took the step to click on your Call To Action (CTA) into the total number of people who simply reached your page. For e-commerce websites, the CTA consists of putting your item in a basket. For software sales, the CTA would consist of submitting a form to create a test account. Either way, you are converting your new visitors into leads. If they clicked on your CTA, they committed to your brand.
9. Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate tells you how many visitors didn’t stay long enough to do anything on your site. In other words, they quickly went somewhere else. A high bounce rate tells you that your landing page has poor content quality or layout. It could be indicating that your ad attracted the wrong audience for your product or service. Remember that your ad’s job is to attract, and your landing page’s job is to answer—in seconds—the request the visitor has googled. What works best? Short titles with keywords, a few bullet points, a nice visual, and—most importantly—a short form that encourages rather than discourages your potential lead.
10. Cost per Lead (CPL)
Cost per lead is literally how much each new lead has cost your business. This is calculated by dividing the amount spent on a campaign by the total number of real leads—people who submitted their contact information or placed an order. It is the only metric listed here that Google Analytics does not provide.
11. Average Per-Page Visit
The average number of pages that each new visitor has browsed through while visiting your website. The more pages viewed, the more chances for engagement with your brand.
12. Average Time on Page or Site
This is how much time each visitor has spent on your website on average. It will help you evaluate what content is relevant to gain visitors’ trust.
13. Return Visitor Rate
This metric tells you the percentage of new visitors to your site that returned for another look within a 30-day window. It will give you some helpful ideas about how and where to improve your content to entice newcomers to buy or test.
At the end of the day, all your efforts are worth it if your marketing work has generated more business—either by enticing your website visitors to purchase directly online (e-commerce) or by bringing more leads to your sales team (most B2B and SaaS). The last two key performance indicators in our suite of marketing KPIs can help you measure your marketing impact on revenue generation.
14. Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI points to what digital activities are driving revenue and where there is room for improvement. To calculate it, you start with the total amount of revenue generated by your campaign leads and then deduct the total cost of your campaign. Then, divide the result by your total cost or investment. It may be relevant to also look at the revenue generated by each acquisition source.
15. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Your CAC is the total cost of marketing and advertising divided by the total number of new paying customers generated over the same period of time. It can vary from a channel to another. A CAC benchmark amongst companies from the same sector can say a lot about a business’ ability to perform in marketing.
The right marketing KPIs will open your eyes to where you need more work, where to invest, and where to cut back. They will also inform, focus, and motivate your marketing team and provide you with the data you need to impress customers or CEOs with the value of your work.
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