Digital Marketing KPIs: The Most Important to Measure in 2020 and Beyond

Measuring digital marketing campaigns is critical for success. However, some marketers forget or neglect to do so.

That’s like shooting the dark. They’re performing campaigns without knowing what’s working and what isn’t.

On the flip side, that’s what KPIs are for. Key performance metrics are the numbers that matter to your business. And, while every brand has unique goals and strategies, there are some universal metrics to measure.

These give you insight into what strategies to keep investing in and what to leave behind. 

Here are the most important ones:

    1. Traffic (and traffic sources)

    How much traffic your website and other assets are generating is a very important part of digital marketing.

    After all, without traffic, you have no customers. But, how much traffic you get isn’t nearly as important as where it’s coming from. Perhaps you’re getting 1,000 visits per day. Great. But what channel delivers that?

    I recommend opening up Google Analytics (presuming you’re connected) and navigating to the “Channels” tab under “Acquisition”. Here you will find all of the major traffic sources, including:

    • Organic
    • Social
    • Direct
    • Referral
    • Paid
    Google analytics traffic

    What traffic source is generating the most users for your website? How about the least?

    Take note of this to invest more in the highest generating sources. Often a couple of channels will drive a bulk of the traffic, making them the biggest focus.

    2. Conversions/Conversion Rate

    Why do we run SEO, PPC, and other campaigns? To generate conversions! At least, most of the time.

    That’s why conversions are a metric that every marketer needs to track. 

    Conversion rate is the number of visitors that complete a desired goal compared to the total number. For example, if you have 100 visitors come to a website and 3 purchase a product, that’s a 3% conversion rate. Not too shabby.

    It can be tracked in many different ways, as well. Firstly, consider installing Google Analytics to your website and allowing it to collect data. 

    You can create goals that appear on the conversion section of the dashboard. These can be for anything from sales to subscribers or form completions.

    Analytics conversion

    We also recommend analyzing conversion funnels. These are steps visitors take to convert. Pay attention to customer profiles, traffic sources, and content that leads to the most conversions.

    Additionally, audit where conversion drop off. You can optimize these pages and areas of the funnel to boost conversions.

    3. Cost-per conversion

    While conversions are important, how much you spend to generate conversions is equally critical.

    You want to ensure that you have good profitability and margins, right? Otherwise, you could be breaking even without realizing it because it costs as much to acquire a customer as they are worth.

    For instance, you can go into platforms like Google Ads and clearly see a cost per conversion for different campaigns or individual ads.

    Cost per conversion analytics/ google ads

    Calculate your customer’s lifetime value by multiplying purchase value by frequency. For example, if you sell a SaaS product for $100/month and the average customer retains for 3 months, that’s a $300 lifetime value.

    Now, simply divide the total cost of a marketing or advertising campaign by the number of new customers it generated. Is it less than the customer lifetime value? If so, continue investing in that channel.

    4. Leads

    If you run a service-related business, you know that leads are the heart and lungs of your company. Without a consistent source of them or a lead generation funnel, you won’t have paying clients.

    The amount of leads an organization generates is very important for this reason. Measure the number of leads you acquire, where they come from, and the traits of highly qualified leads.

    Similar to our last point, don’t forget to analyze how much you’re spending on acquiring leads and nurturing relationships with them, as well. This will help you determine the channels that offer the most optimal cost per acquisition.

    5. Email subscribers 

    Email marketing, despite it being decades old at this point, is still one of the most effective ways to drive sales, grow relationships, and increase brand awareness. 

    Don’t believe me? Consider for a moment that the average ROI of email marketing is 122%. Yep, you read that right.

    However, you won’t experience that unless you have subscribers. Keep a close eye on how many subscribers you’re generating every day along with:

    • What traffic source collects the most.
    • What forms or opt-ins get the most leads.

    All of this data can be used to continually optimize email marketing campaigns to generate better performance, subscribers, and returns.

    6. Social shares

    All marketers would agree that it’d be great if content would go viral and naturally attract more visitors. That’s where social shares come into the picture. If a piece of content is unique, helpful, and entertaining, users will be more likely to share it. This is because they want others to gain value from it.

    You can use free social tracking tools like SharedCount to see how many social shares a piece of content receives. Enter the URL of a piece of content.

    Sharedcount screenshot1

    This will display the following results. Replicate content that has received more social shares to keep a viral effect going.

    Sharedcount screenshot2

    7. Bounce rate

    How many users visit your website and leave without visiting any other pages is considered bounce rate.

    The lower, the better. This indirectly implies that you’re attracting the right type of users and offer high quality content. Otherwise, more users will bounce.

    But, don’t worry. If yours is high, it isn’t always a bad thing. Some industries like news, weather, etc. have high bounce rate. It makes sense. Readers will consume content and leave once they’re finished. 

    In fact, the average bounce rate for a blog is expected to be between 70-90%. Measure your own bounce rate and use the following strategies to lower it if necessary:

    1. Use more internal links to relevant pages to keep users on your website. Also include calls to action like “Read this” or “Check out this.”
    2. Experiment with different topics and keywords to see which generates more sticky traffic.
    3. Improve the speed of pages and the overall user experience to make it more delightful.

    8. Average time on page/ Dwell time

    Similar to how many users leave a web page without visiting others, how long they stay is important.

    This implies that content is useful as they are staying on the page for longer. It also plays a role in Google’s ranking, making it important for search performance.

    But, how can you increase the average session duration? Firstly, try developing long-form content. This will naturally keep users on pages for longer and extends further information and resources. Secondly, format content so it’s easier to read through shorter paragraphs, visuals, and headers.

    You can track this metric in Google Analytics by visiting the “Behaviour” and “Site content” tabs.

    9. Click-through rates

    Ads, search results, and everything in between involves click-through rate or CTR for short.

    And, if more people click your assets, that results in more traffic and revenue. For instance, you can see the CTR of Google Ads campaigns by navigating to the individual ad and checking the CTR column.

    Keep in mind that the average click-through rate is 1.81% in google ads.

    Use this as a benchmark for your marketing strategies. Is it lower? Audit anything holding it back like sales copy or targeting. Is it higher? Study how you can replicate its performance for future campaigns.

    10. Retention and churn rates

    Consider for a moment that the average churn rate for software companies is 5% annually.

    That means a business with 100 users loses 5 per month. That’s a lot. Oppositely, increasing this number can significantly increase revenue and other KPIs as a result.

    Reducing churn and keeping more users involves many different factors. Firstly, improve the product you’re selling by making it easier to use and more impactful.

    Also consider split testing the price to see if it keeps more users.

    Retention can also be increased by enhancing customer service. Don’t forget it’s a part of your product and brand.

    How you treat customers and the resources you give them to succeed will directly affect if they stay around. Offer different forms of contact, FAQs, and documentation to help them succeed. 

    Conclusion

    Digital marketing is huge. So, naturally there are lots of KPIs you need to track. So much, in fact, that it can become intimidating. However, there are some major metrics that every marketer can track and improve to grow their business faster.

    Consider the key performance indicators we mapped out today and use them to scale your brand.

    Bio: Carmine Mastropierro is a freelance copywriter who has written for Neil Patel, GoDaddy, Marketo, and other publications. 

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