According to HubSpot’s recent State of Marketing Report, social media is the top channel used for marketing, followed by websites.
Digital marketing isn’t limited to just those arenas, however.
There's also SEO to consider, paid marketing, strategic lead generation campaigns, email marketing — the sky's the limit.
And with all the different digital marketing strategies popping up in e-commerce today, how do you keep track of marketing performance? With KPIs, of course! Your marketing team will need to drill down on the KPIs that offer the best insights into your particular strategies.
Read below for an overview that hits all the bases, from explaining what KPIs are and how to track them, to the top metrics you should consider.
What are KPIs for digital marketing?
In a nutshell, key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics marketers use to see whether or not they’re meeting marketing goals and improving marketing campaign performance over time. Many KPIs zero in on very specific aspects of marketing campaigns, like traffic sources, whereas others offer a more high-level view — like an ad campaign’s return on investment (ROI).
How do you track KPIs for digital marketing?
Tracking KPIs means pulling in data from a variety of sources — your website, social media pages and profiles, budget information, etc. Marketing software makes this process a whole lot easier since it should offer integrations with your company's social media, web pages, and other data sources. This way, you can automatically pull in the numbers you need rather than gathering them manually.
Task and project management software like Teamwork is a huge help, too. Tracking and reporting important metrics does take some hands-on work. You can use Teamwork to list the dates from which data needs to be collected, assign analyses as tasks for individuals to complete, build a schedule with various marketing activities and their due dates, and more.
Learn more about how Teamwork's task management solutions can help marketing teams meet big-picture goals.
Choosing the right digital marketing KPIs to track
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different marketing KPIs that you can track. But should you track them all?
Tracking too many takes time — a lot of it — and that is time you can better spend on something else. Instead, list the most relevant KPIs to your marketing campaigns and company goals.
So, how many should you track? According to Twitter for Business, one is ideal, and between three and six can give you a well-rounded view of things.
Keep in mind that these numbers are per marketing channel. So ideally, track one KPI for social media marketing, one for email marketing, one for Google ads, and so on across all of your channels. If you have the bandwidth, you can bump up to Twitter's max recommendations of three to six per channel.
Find a number that works well for your team, and avoid tracking so many KPIs that you lose sight of the forest through the trees. Be sure to also include KPIs for your overall digital marketing campaign, like the marketing budget and any major benchmarks you’ll need to monitor.
The most important KPIs for digital marketing
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most important KPIs digital marketers use and organized them by channel. Scroll through to find the essentials for lead generation, websites, social media, and more!
Overall marketing KPIs
These indicators will give you a broad-strokes picture of your overall marketing plan, focusing mainly on costs and performance.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
This KPI represents how much you spend on average to gain one new customer. Be sure to include all related costs — advertising, hourly costs for your sales team to make sales calls, etc.
Customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV)
Your CLV measures how much revenue the average customer will bring in over time. You can calculate CLV on any number of timeframes, from days or weeks to months or years. It’s usually best to calculate CLV by the average length of retention for customers.
Return on investment (ROI)
You’ll see ROI everywhere — not just among marketing metrics but other aspects of business, too. In terms of marketing, your ROI measures how much you’ve profited when you compare the customer acquisition cost to the customer lifetime value.
Using tools to optimize your agency’s project management is a great way to boost ROI. See what Teamwork’s PM software can help your agency scale and increase profits.
Conversion rates can be a little bit tricky. The first thing to understand is that this metric can track the percentage of visitors who become leads and also the percentage of leads who become paying customers.
You can track this KPI in a few ways. Calculate overall conversion rates by tracking percentages across all of your channels — or drill down to track conversion rates on individual social platforms, for email marketing campaigns, and so on.
Lead generation KPIs
Running a lead generation campaign to help attract prospective new customers? If so, then the following KPIs will be essential.
Cost per lead
Much like CAC, this metric tracks how much it costs to gain one new lead. As with CAC, make sure that you’re thorough about the costs included in this metric. Include ad spending, labor hours, branded merchandise you’ve given away: if you used it to generate leads, then it’s part of this cost.
Cost per conversion
This metric takes the cost per lead and builds on it, adding the additional costs involved in converting leads to paying customers. Again, be thorough about including costs to make sure you get an accurate look at how much lead conversion actually costs.
Retention is the measure of the number of customers who continue to use your product over a given time period — or the customers who come back to make new purchases within a given time period. Rising retention rates are a sign that more and more customers are building loyalty toward your brand. However, a drop in retention signifies an issue (or a competitor) that is driving them away.
Churn is also referred to as “customer attrition.” It measures the number of customers who drop your product or unsubscribe from your service. While all businesses will experience varying churn levels depending on their industry and business model, rising churn levels signify that something about your product is not offering as much value as before.
Website traffic KPIs
Most businesses today have a website, and if yours is an active one designed to generate leads and convert customers, it’s crucial to track a few metrics to gauge content marketing efforts and website performance.
This measures where your website traffic comes from: social media, clicks on email links, search engine results, etc. Tracking your traffic sources lets you build on high-performing sources and reveals where you need to optimize to generate more traffic.
Tracking page views helps you identify trends. Are certain times of day, days of the week, or weeks in the year bringing in more traffic than others? Do you get more traffic when you launch a new blog or run a new promotion? This number helps you reveal the factors boosting your traffic so that you can capitalize on them.
Tracking returning visitors against new website visitors helps you analyze engagement. If you have few return visitors, it can mean that your website content needs to offer more value to encourage people to come back for more.
A “bounce” happens when a visitor comes to your site and leaves immediately. If you have a high bounce rate, you need to improve landing pages so visitors stick around longer.
Average session duration
This measures how long people hang around on your website. Longer session durations indicate higher engagement, whereas shorter means you need to improve content and other offerings to encourage people to stay and browse.
Pages per session
This is another metric that tracks engagement. If you have a high number of pageviews per session, it means visitors are interested enough to click around and explore. Fewer pageviews per session may mean that you need to add more value to your content, improve internal linking, or spice up your website’s design.
Search engineoptimization (SEO) KPIs
Search engineoptimization helps you generate more organic traffic from web searches. These are the most important digital marketing metrics to track when you want to boost the number of people who find you through organic searches.
Keyword ranking tells you how your site ranks for valuable keywords and key phrases. This metric is one that you should track over time so that you can learn which keywords perform best. Then, you can optimize around them.
Search traffic is actually a measure of several other KPIs, like your inbound traffic, unique visits, traffic sources, page views per session, and more. The idea is to analyze these KPIs to measure the organic traffic coming to you from Google searches and other search engines.
Backlinks help boost various site rankings, plus they can drive traffic to your site from other sites. When you track them, you’ll know how many other sites are linking to yours. Increasing this number helps you increase search engine rankings and traffic to your site through backlink clicks.
Domain and page authority
Domain authority is crucial—the higher, the better. Essentially, it measures how important your search engine thinks your website is. Thus, higher authority means you’ll have greater chances of appearing in search results.
Page authority is similar to domain authority, but where domain authority measures and ranks your entire site, page authority measures and ranks individual pages on your site.
Paid advertising KPIs
Google ads, paid social media ads, and promoted social posts — these are some of the types of paid advertising you can do. And if you’re going to pay for it, you should track it to measure performance and optimize your paid advertising ROI.
Cost per click (CPC)
CPC is a fundamental metric that you’ll need to track. This is the cost you pay to an advertiser when someone clicks one of your ads.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Click-through rates can measure the number of clicks you get compared to the number of times a page is viewed in search engine results. It can also measure the number of times your ad is viewed against the number of clicks it receives. A higher click-through rate means your ad is more effective, and depending on the advertiser, higher click-throughs can also net you lower CPCpricing.
Advertisers will generate quality scores for your ads based on whether they think your ad is more valuable or less valuable. Valuable, relevant ads will have a higher quality score — thus, they’re more likely to have a higher CTR and a lower CPC. On the flip side, if the advertiser determines that you have a less relevant ad and gives you a lower quality score, they’ll likely charge more per click.
PPC leads and conversions
This one represents “pay-per-click” leads and conversions. Track the total number of leads generated from paid ad clicks and the number of clicks that convert into paying customers. This will help you evaluate how well your PPC ad campaigns are doing.
Social media KPIs
Just as you’d track website traffic and the conversions you get from it, you should track the same sorts of metrics across each of your social media platforms. In particular, the following KPIs are important.
Creating new leads and conversions via social media means expanding brand awareness on social media, and the best way to measure that is via follower growth. When this number stalls or even drops, that’s your call to action to ramp up your digital marketing strategy to bring in new followers.
Engagement (likes, comments, shares)
Gaining new followers is great, but a high level of engagement is even better. The numbers of likes, comments, and shares reflect the number of people on social platforms who are excited about your brand rather than just passively following. It’s a metric that can tell you how much exposure you’re getting.
Social media leads and conversions
Leads and conversions can come from anywhere — including social media. Keep an eye on the number of leads you get, and compare it to the number of conversions to judge how well your social campaigns sell your product or service.
Reach is the total number of people who see your posts, and it’s a useful metric that can tell you a lot. For starters, the broader your reach, the better. But you can also compare reach to the number of new followers you receive and the number of conversions you get.
For example, if you have a high reach, but your number of followers has plateaued, this could mean that you need to optimize your social campaign so that more people follow and, as a result, see your posts all the time.
Track the right KPIs with Teamwork
Need a tool that helps you meet business goals? One that keeps you and your team on top of marketing project tasks while making it easier for you to track essential KPIs?
That’s what Teamwork is all about. Use it not only to track and assign tasks but to create custom dashboards that give you deep insights into your marketing campaign projects — including the KPIs that will help you measure success. Sign up here and give it a try to learn how it can help you and your team do more.