Top Digital Marketing Metrics to Monitor
One of the biggest advantages in digital marketing is that everything is measurable. This valuable visibility provides detailed insight into customer behaviors and actions, which marketers can use to evaluate, optimize and improve the effectiveness of their online campaigns.
Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are the values used by marketers to track and measure the performance of their online activities. To streamline analyzing results, marketers typically select a number of data-driven targets and measure their performance based on those values.
What is the difference between a metric and a KPI? A metric is a calculable, consistently defined measurement of digital (website, email, social media or online store) performance. A KPI is essentially an important metric – typically where the data is used to track growth. While the terms are often used interchangeably, the key point to remember is that metrics measure process and KPIs measure the performance of those processes. As an example, Average Order Value would be considered a metric but the dollar target amount for Average Order Value is considered a KPI.
As a digital marketing agency, we know how essential monitoring digital marketing metrics is for the success of your business. Below, we’ve broken down a complete list of the top digital marketing metrics and KPIs your team should consider tracking for Email, Social Media, Paid Social, Display Advertising and eCommerce campaigns so you can start optimizing your online performance, drive more qualified traffic and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Digital Marketing Metrics for Email Marketing
The percentage of emails that could not be delivered to the recipients´ inbox is referred to in email marketing as the bounce rate. It is quite simple to calculate bounce rate, just take the total number of emails bounced and divide it by the number of emails sent and multiply by 100.
125 bounced emails / 15,000 sent emails * 100 = 0.83% bounce rate.
There are two types of email bounces – soft and hard. A hard email bounce is when an email address is invalid or has been closed and the message will never be successfully delivered. Soft bounces indicate a temporary problem, typically with the recipients’ server and the message may be able to be successfully resent once the issue is resolved.
Email Bounce rate isn’t something that is typically linked to your marketing goals, but it is still important to review to ensure that your emails are working properly. For example, if you have too many hard bounces, your email address may be flagged as spam by an internet service provider. For this reason, you should always immediately remove any hard-bounced emails from your mailing list so that you don’t risk damaging your sender’s reputation.
The open rate is the percentage of recipients that open the email you send, which is a vital metric for email marketing. The bottom line is that we you don’t have a good subject line, your recipient won’t see your message. It is important to keep in mind that the open rate metric is slightly misleading because an email is usually only counted as ‘opened’ if the recipients also receive the images that were embedded in the message. However, many users have image blocking settings enabled, which can alter the accuracy of this metric. With that said, when used as a comparative metric, the open rate is a vital metric. For example, if you sent an email last week to the same mailing list as you did today, since the variables are essentially controlled, you can compare the open rate to look for any potential optimization insight.
This metric is complex, as it varies on a number of elements, such as email list quality, sender domain, service provider, and IP reputation. It is important to note that this does not mean email delivery rate – this measures whether or not your emails are getting into the inbox of your readers and not their spam folders.
Email Sharing Rate
The email sharing rate metric tracks the percentage of readers that click on the embedded ‘Share This’ or ‘Forward to a Friend’ button that will post your content to their social network or private message one of their contacts.
This metric is calculated by calculating the number of clicks on your share/forward button divided by the number of total delivered emails.
150 Share/Forward clicks / 10,000 sent emails * 100 = 1.50% bounce rate.
The email sharing rate is often an under-utilized metric or may not seem that significant, but it actually is a really good one to be monitoring and tracking. Why? It is through sharing that you will attract new contacts to your mailing list. By tracking how many readers are finding your content useful and shareworthy, you can start setting goals, for how many new people you can add to your database via this method and optimize your content to include the types of offers or information that tend to get the most shares.
The unsubscribe rate metric is the percentage of email recipients that unsubscribed from your mailing list after receiving an email from you. Similar to how the open rate metric can be slightly misleading, your unsubscribe metric should not be used to gauge the overall health of your email list. Why? Often when people are tired of receiving your emails, they won’t actually take the time to unsubscribe from your list but instead, just stop reading or clicking on your messages. Where your unsubscribe rate can offer value is by using it as a gauge to calculate overall mailing list growth.
Tip: Measuring subscriber engagement is best done with your click-through and conversion rate metrics.
One of the metrics that is most analyzed by email automation marketers is the click-through rate. Used to determine the percentage of readers that clicked on one or more links included in an email message, this metric helps calculate the performance of your campaigns.
Example: 700 total clicks / 15,000 delivered emails * 100 = 4.6% click-through rate.
This metric is frequently used to measure the results of A/B tests, which are designed to uncover opportunities to increase clicks on your emails. It also functions as a solid day-to-day metric for evaluating the performance of each email sent.
While what can be considered a ‘good’ click-through rate can vary by industry, this metric is vital for understanding how many people on your email list are engaging with your business and learning about what you offer.
If lead generation is your focus, your emails should offer lead generation content that requires the reader to complete a lead capture form in order to access the offered content. The leads generated metric can be used to track how many new leads your business is generating every day, week, or month.
Landing Page Conversion Rate
The landing page conversion metric indicates the number of people that completed the call- to-action in your email and went to your landing page. While this metric can vary across industries, the overall average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%.
Cost Per Lead
To measure how cost-effective your email campaigns are when it comes to generating new leads, the cost per lead metric is used. If your organization spent $1,000 on your email campaign and 10 recipients turned into leads, your cost per lead would be $100.
Digital Marketing Metrics for Social Media
There are a number of granular ways to track how engaged with your content and brand your audience is. At a granular level, consumers ‘engage’ with your business by ‘liking’, ‘commenting’, following, and sharing your content. Likes/Shares/Number of Followers help indicate how much and how often your audience is interacting with your brand and whether or not they are truly interested in the content that you are sharing.
The metric that measures the number of people who could realistically see one of your posts during a certain time frame is considered the potential reach. This often considers if your followers tend to share your content, as each social share within one of your followers´ networks can expose your post to 2% to 5% of that person´s person audience.
The post reach metric highlights how many people have seen a post since it went live. This simple-to-understand metric is easily actionable as it is largely influenced by timing like when your audience is online the most and if they find your content valuable.
Social Share of Voice
The metric that measures the number of people that are mentioning your brand compared to your competitors is called the Social Share of Voice (SSoV). This measures both direct @Blueprintim or indirect ‘Blueprint Internet Marketing’ mentions. In essence, SSoV is a competitive analysis that indicates how relevant your brand is within your niche.
The applause rate social metric refers to the number of approval actions (likes or make favorite) taken on a post, relative to the total number of followers your page has. This metric is valuable as it indicates how motivated your audience is in finding your content, which can be used to create new, similarly engaging content moving forward.
Average Engagement Rate
The number of engagement actions such as likes, shares, and comments that a post receives relative to your total number of followers is your Average Engagement Rate. This is a very important metric to track as higher engagement on your content means that it is resonating with your audience. Having a high engagement rate is more important than the actual number of likes, shares, or comments on a post.
The ratio of shares per post compared to your total number of followers is your amplification metric. Avinash Kaushik, an industry-leading marketer at Google describes amplification as ‘the rate at which your followers take your content and share it through their networks.’ Simply put, when your amplification rate is high, it means that your followers are willing to associate themselves with your brand.
The number of people that shared your post compared to the number of unique views that post received (impressions) is the virality rate. As with many of the other metrics used in social, the virality rate is deeper than just the number of ‘likes´ a post received. For example, a post could have 15,000 likes and only a 0.1% vitality rate whereas a post with 8,000 likes could have an 8.87% virality rate, making it the clear winner.
Number of Leads
This metric calculates the number of potential sales prospects your business earned through social media per reporting period.
Social Media Conversion
This metric calculates the number of total conversions or sales that can be attributed to your social media campaigns, divided by your total conversion rate.
Is a metric that tracks users that find your site through another blog, social media account, or website.
Audience Growth Rate
The audience growth rate metric calculates the rate at which a brand adds or loses audience members for each social channel. The rate is determined by dividing new audience members by the total.
Digital Marketing Metrics for PPC
This traffic metric is calculated when your paid search ad is served on a search engine results page. It is calculated by search engine data via their API reports.
Clicks is a straightforward metric – when a user clicks on your ad and visits your landing page, it is counted as a click. This data is provided by search engines but can also be monitored with other on- site analytics programs.
The click through rate, usually referred to as CTR, measures how many clicks a campaign has generated and is an important metric to monitor to determine the performance of your campaigns.
CTR is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks that your campaign received during your reporting period by the total number of impressions in the same time frame. If your campaign had 120 clicks out of 1,000 impressions, your CTR would be 12.
One thing to keep in mind with CTR is that there isn’t a perfect number, the average can vary widely based on what industry you are in. For your measurements, a benchmark should be set and then an increase in percentage would be considered a success.
Often considered one of the most elusive KPIs amongst PPC marketers, the Quality Score metric is a Google creation that indicates how relevant your ad content is by comparing certain performance variables and other metrics like CTR. Quality score isn´t as straightforward as other simpler metrics like clicks, but it is an important one for advertisers to monitor as it determines how much money a company needs to pay to advertise with Google.
Google is very transparent about what factors are considered when calculating Quality Score and these include CTR rate, keyword relevance to ad group, the relevance of ad text, historical Google Ads account performance. A good quality score is considered between 7-10 and will lower your average CPC to advertise with Google. Monitoring and having a good understanding of quality score helps advertisers refine their campaigns and make better marketing decisions.
An impression is counted when someone sees your ad, regardless of whether or not they click on it. This metric isn’t an indicator of campaign success because it doesn’t consider whether or not people found the ad effective. Impression share does however add context to overall reporting as it indicates how much of the total available impressions your ad campaign is receiving. The impression share metric is calculated by dividing the total number of impressions your campaign received by the number of impressions your campaign was eligible for.
Once you know what your impression share is, you’ll understand what your competitor’s share is as well. For example, if you had a 40% impression share for a keyword, that means that your competitors have 60%. When you focus on increasing your impression share (which is often accomplished by increasing your ad bidding or budget), you’re ultimately decreasing how often your competitors’ ads are being viewed.
Cost Per Click
Cost per Click (CPC) is the average amount that an advertiser will pay for a click. CPC should be distinguished from the bid amount or the established maximum CPC amount as often the true CPC rate will end up being lower than the bid amount due to how PPC auctions work.
When most search queries are entered, Google will serve a balance of both paid and organic results. The average position metric is intended to average out where your ad appears in SERP results (with the top position being page 1 / position 1). It can be difficult to isolate the average position metric because of the nature of search engines serving increasingly personalized results.
Number of Leads
When the goal of an advertising campaign is to attract qualified consumers for long-term committed services or high ticket items, where a purchase often needs a nurtured experience, an important metric to track is the number of leads. Ways to gather leads can include an email sign- up sheet, application submission, or information request.
Cost Per Lead
Especially in the high ticket or committed service industries, it can take months before a lead converts into a customer. When this is the case, advertisers need a metric to measure the efficiency of their lead generation. If a cost per lead metric is used, advertisers can project a cost/ lead target to work towards profitability goals.
Cost Per Acquisition
PPC marketers set a cost per acquisition (CPA) when they set up their advertising campaigns. The CPA is the price that an advertiser pays for each customer that they acquire, and it’s calculated by dividing total conversion cost by the number of conversions. Marketers also use targeted CPA, which is a technique used when bidding that helps automatically set bids to increase as many conversions as possible. In order to apply targeted CPA, you must have conversion tracking enabled on your campaigns and have had a minimum of 30 conversions within the previous month.
A broad indicator of overall account health and a paid advertiser´s abilities, the Lifetime Value (LTV) calculation can be complex. LTV is designed to measure a customer’s lifetime of purchasing products or services from a business. A SaaS company could measure this metric by the number of months or years that a customer subscribed to their service but a large company like Burger King, trying to calculate the LTV can be incredibly complicated.
Digital Marketing Metrics for Display Advertising
This metric doesn’t do much by itself but is often used to calculate other metrics and KPIs. Impressions are the number of times your ad has been displayed but that doesn’t mean that someone saw the ad each time it was shown – it just means that it was displayed on a website or app X number of times throughout your campaign.
The number of clicks generated per impression of a banner ad is the click-through rate (CTR). This is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions and multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.
CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions)
Display advertising is usually sold on a CPM basis, which is the cost of 1,000 impressions of the ad unit.
CPI (Cost Per Impression)
Cost Per Impression (CPI) is the cost incurred to each potential customer that has viewed your display advertisement.
The number of clicks on an ad that you are running that lead a person to leaving the ad unit is calculated as the number of clicks received.
Click to Lead Conversion Rate
The click-to-lead conversion rate calculated the percentage of visitors to your website that was captured as leads, resulting from clicking on your display campaign.
Cost Per Lead
The metric that measures how cost efficient your display campaign is when it comes to generating new leads for your business is called cost per lead. It divides the campaign spend by the number of leads that have expressed interest in your services or completing the lead generation goal established in the campaign.
Cost Per Acquisition
A metric that directly measures the revenue impact of marketing campaigns, cost per acquisition (CPA) measures the cost to acquire one paying customer on a channel or campaign level.
The bounce rate metric isn’t used a lot in display advertising, but it does measure the percentage of single-page sessions from a particular traffic source where your visitor left without interacting with anything else on the page.
Engaged Visit Rate
This metric is essentially the opposite of a bounce rate and measure the quality of visits to your site from your display ads. The calculation for engaged visits is 100 – Bounce Rate = Engaged Visit Rate.
Cost Per Engaged Visit
The cost per engaged visit metric is calculated by dividing the total display ad cost by the number of engaged visits.
Page Views Per Visit
Pageviews the number of pages on your site viewed by each visit. With a lot of interactions happening on one single page now, this metric is losing its value. However, for the time being, it is still a helpful metric for ad-supported sites.
Cost Per Page View
Similar to page views per visit, this is a valuable metric for an ad-supported site to figure out the cost of generating an extra page view.
The revenue metric is the calculation of all revenue attributed to visits resulting from your display ads. It works well for eCommerce but can be difficult to track offine conversions.
Revenue Per Visit
Shows the direct revenue achieved per visit originating from the display advertising. It is calculated as Revenue Generated from Display Ads divided by the total Visits.
Digital Marketing Metrics for eCommerce
Impressions are the number of times your ad or organic content is presented to someone and in many cases, one of the metrics you can control the most as it is largely related to advertising budget. Impressions can occur from search results, social platforms, third-party websites, and paid ads.
Simply put, reach is the total number of subscribers and followers that will see your content. Your reach can include your followers from Facebook, your email subscribers, or participant in a monthly loyalty program. The better defined your brand and voice are, the more effective your campaigns will be, which will improve your reach.
Essentially, the meeting point of impressions and reach is engagement. This metric is the calculation of how many of your subscribers and followers are actively engaging with your content. Engagement can include likes, shares, and acquisition-related activities like click-throughs. Good engagement is typically a result of continued activities that promote your brand and services.
Email Click-Through Rate
The number of recipients that have received your email opened it and THEN clicked through to your website is your email click-through-rate. By constantly looking for ways to optimize your email campaigns, ensuring your design is mobile- friendly, including strong CTAs and compelling subject lines will help improve your email-click- through-rate.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
A vital metric for eCommerce marketers, cost per acquisition shows how much you are paying to acquire your customers. This metric can compare how different marketing campaigns and investments are performing as far as driving traffic and conversions. It is important to keep in mind though that what is considered a ‘good´ CPA is largely dependent on what your average order value is. As an example, if your CPA is $15 and your AOV is $100, that would be considered good whereas if your CPA was $20 and your AOV was $25, it would not be a good indication.
Tips for improving your CPA can include segmenting your campaigns so that you are targeting customers that have a higher likelihood of responding to your CTA´s and landing pages.
Organic Acquisition Traffic
Ideally, you want to be able to attract as many people as possible to your site organically without having to pay for it. This is an easily available metric that can be tracked within common analytic programs and will show you how many people are reaching your site organically and from where.
A key factor for improving organic traffic is by ensuring that all technical on-site SEO elements are properly implemented and optimized.
Social Media Engagement
Many of the social media metrics already mentioned are incredibly valuable to eCommerce organizations. The top ones to track are likes per post, shares per post, comments per post, and clicks per post to help get a better idea of what type of content and advertisements are generating engagement and action for your products.
The number of people that add a product to their shopping cart but leave your website without purchasing is considered your abandonment rate. This is an important metric to monitor so that possible sticking points in your funnel or website glitches that may be preventing someone from completing your checkout process can be corrected.
Average Order Value (AOV)
The average price that your customers pay for their ‘basket of goods’ in their online shopping cart when they check out. Ideally, AOV should be measured over time to see the evolution and if marketing initiatives such as offering upsells or cross-selling are effective.
Sales Conversion Rates
The total number of sales divided by the total number of sessions your online store received is your sales conversion rate. This is a critical metric for understanding how much traffic your site needs to consistently receive in order to generate your target sales.
In order to effectively understand your Sales Conversion Rate metric, it should be segmented into different areas such as:
- Sales conversion rates by channel (organic, social, AdWords)
- Sales conversion rates by product category
- Sales conversion rates by campaign (influencers or affiliates)
Once you have identified your sales conversion rates amongst your campaigns, consider putting more budget behind those that are performing well and optimizing or cancelling those that are not.
Customer Retention Rate
The percentage of customers that you maintain over a period of time is referred to as your customer retention rate. The better you are doing at servicing your customers, the higher the number will be. In order to accurately track this metric, it is essential that you remove your new customers from the list so that your metric is only reporting retained customers over a certain time period.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The total amount earned from customers over the period that they are customers with your business is the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) metric. This is determined by calculating the length of the relationship, AOV, repeat transitions, and retention period.
Repeat Customer Rate
The repeat customer rate metric indicates what percentage of your customers have made multiple purchases. It is a helpful way to track how well you are servicing your customers, as repeat purchases indicate they are happy with your products and services.
Refund and Return Rate
Refunds and returns are a challenge for online retailers. While returns can be a powerful motivator to influence a customer into making a purchase, they can also a burden on businesses if not properly forecasted in financial models. Tracking your refund and return rate can help monitor spikes, indicate quality issues with products, and identify the overall health of your online store.
Ecommerce Churn Rate
The metric that tracks the turnover of customers lost over a given period of time is your eCommerce Churn Rate. While this metric can vary widely based on the industry and sales model approach, it is important to monitor to continually try and improve how you can implement new strategies to keep customers happy and coming back to purchase more.
The subscription rate metric shows what percentage of visitors have opted-in for your email lists – which is a strong signal that they want to hear from your business. Tips for improving your subscription rate are to always deliver an exceptional communication experience, be consistent in your messaging, avoid spamming your list with unnecessary emails, and using strong call-to-actions.
It is also important to monitor your unsubscribe rate as well. If you notice a significant increase over a reporting period, you may want to reconsider your approach and content. While there will always be some percentage of people that unsubscribe from your list, your goal should be to have an unsubscribe rate of under 0.5%.
Program Participation Rate
Many online retailers have adopted advocacy programs like loyalty incentives. The Program Participation Rate metric measures the number of your customers that are members of it. The higher your percentage is, the more you can be confident that you are doing a good job of making your customers feel special and valued.
By regularly monitoring the metrics and KPIs most valuable to your organization’s goals and tracking performance, you’ll gain a solid understanding of how your business is performing, how to better drive progress in key areas and fine-tune your overall digital marketing strategies to gain improved results.
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