When you launch a digital marketing strategy it can sometimes be hard to know exactly what to measure. If your experiences have been limited to traditional marketing channels like television, radio, print, or even face-to-face efforts, then the world of digital marketing might seem brand new, even overwhelming.
But like with most things, feeling lost is only temporary. Once you have a handle on what you should be tracking and how to judge your success in digital marketing, you’ll feel far more comfortable and have the tools and dad to tweak your campaigns towards perfection.
In this blog post we lay out ten metrics to track to make sure you are making an effective and efficient digital marketing spend or, in other words, the KPIs for Winning Digital Marketing
10 KPIs for a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy
1. Page Views and Unique Visitors
The first metric is really two different measures, each of which will tell you something a little different about the visitors arriving on your site.
Page Views are defined as the number of page requests that a web server earns. If a visitor lands on your home page and then clicks to another page on your site, you’ll earn two page views: one for the home page, and the second for the page the visitor moves to. Additionally, if a visitor refreshes a page then they will also earn you another page view, and this can be a problem if a bot or visitor refreshes pages constantly.
Hence, alongside page views you should track Unique Visitors. A unique visitor is a visitor to your site that arrives from a particular IP address. This visitor might have a single page view, or they might click around your site for a half hour racking up dozens of page views. By looking at both page views and unique visitors concurrently allows you to understand not only how many visitors you are attracting, but also how many pages on your site they are visiting when they arrive. in both cases you’ll want to aim for a higher number, and an improvement over time.
2. Bounce Rate
Your Bounce Rate is the proportion of your visitors who leave a page on your site without taking any other action. Another action might be clicking a link on your site to go to another page, entering their email details and moving from a landing page to a welcome page, or entering a forum on your site.
Every website will have a bounce rate that varies between 0 and 100% and, depending on your industry, your bounce rate will hover at different levels. It’s impossible to put a firm figure on what is a good bounce rate and even successful company can suffer from a high bounce rate. Instead, aim for the industry average and look for opportunities to optimize pages and posts on your site that have bounce rates higher than the industry average.
After some time and with more content on your site, your bounce rate should settle down, but be aware of any changes in your bounce rate that appear out of the ordinary as it could be a signal that you need to optimize your page further.
In addition to knowing how many visitors are arriving on your site, what they do when they’re there, and how long they remain on the page, it’s also very useful to know where your visitors are coming from. By tracking your Geography statistics you can see where in the world, country, and region you are getting traction.
Are your visitors coming from where you are expecting them to arrive from? Are your efforts to target sales or conversions in a certain city delivering results? Have your products or content found themselves a niche that you did not expect to find – and can you exploit that niche?
Your geography statistics will normally be broken down for the site, for each page on your site, and if you have a corporate blog attached to your site you’ll find the same information for each blog post, too. Analyzing where your visitors are coming from and ensuring that you are drawing your visitors from the locales that you are targeting will help you better direct your digital marketing spend.
Along with knowing where your visitors are coming from, another useful metric to track is the proportion of your visitors that visit your site on various different Devices.
The days of your site being visited by people from a desktop or laptop computer alone are long gone. Today, much of the traffic your site will welcome will arrive from visitors using a mobile device. These devices can be everything from a tablet computer through to a smartphone, and the device might run an iOS, Android, or other operating system.
If a significant proportion of your visitors are arriving on a mobile device then you’ll need to start thinking about the mobile experience that you offer them. Is your site effectively optimized for mobile visitors? Is your ecommerce and shopping experience optimized for a mobile user? Is it worth developing a native application to serve your website, portal, and content to the visitors on their phone even when they are not online?
Only by tracking the devices that your visitors are using to access your site will you have the information by which these questions can be answered.
Knowing about how your visitors arrive, where they come from, and what device they’re using is good information to have. But how about how your visitors feel? This is where a metric like Sentiment comes to the fore.
Sentiment is the measure of positive and negative feeling that a visitor or customer feels with regards to your site and company. It is more difficult to measure precisely and objectively as, unlike a location or activity when clicking from page to page, it is not offered freely by the visitors device.
Instead, it takes an assessment of comments that a visitor leaves on your blog or web pages, attention to social media comments and feedback, surveying visitors briefly about their experience while they are on-site, and even focus grouping of your online visitors to determine how they feel. Keeping an eye on sentiment, and ensuring that it is as positive as possible at all times, helps you to keep your public relations positive and build on the positive reputation of your company.
6. Social Shares
If you are publishing content regularly to your corporate blog or perhaps reviews of products on an ecommerce site then you’ll want to keep a track of where this content is being shared online. Tracking your Social Shares is the best way to check that your content is finding an audience, and to measure how big that audience is.
Social sharing can be tracked through specific software and alerts (for example, by companies like Mention or via Google), or track from your site if you install and encourage the use of sharing buttons that link up with the social networks’ APIs.
Additionally, you can set up alerts on various social networks to track which posts and what pages are shared, and by whom.
Over time you should get an idea of what content works best for your audience, what sort of language and headlines promote the most sharing among your fans and followers, and what images and videos are shared most often by those who visit your site.
Tracking your sharing statistics means understanding your audience better, and having a better chance to convert some of those readers, viewers, and visitors into customers.
7. Visitors per Lead
The end goal of your digital marketing campaign almost always needs to be revenue, and so you need to be able to understand how many of those people you attract to your website actually turn into leads for your sales team. The simplest metric by which to measure this is Visitors per Lead.
This is a simple proportion comparing those unique visitors you have tracked and the number of qualified leads that your sales team is able to extract from those unique visitors.
Example? Imagine you have monthly traffic of 10,000 unique visitors and, of these, you manage to convert 100 of those unique visitors into sales leads for your sales team. Your visitors per lead figure will be 100 to 10,000, or 1 to 100. The sign of a strong digital marketing strategy is that your visitors per lead proportion grows. For example, you create 150 leads from your 10,000 visitors, or 200 leads from those 10,000 visitors.
Be sure to specify with your team what counts as a lead and what does not. For some businesses an email address might represent a lead, while for other businesses only the email address of someone who is also in a certain industry counts as a qualified lead. Tracking this month-by-month and campaign-by-campaign will allow you to understand what works, what cuts through the noise, and how to build the next campaign to be both effective and efficient.
8. Cost per Lead
Another key ratio to track constantly is the Cost per Lead of your digital marketing spend. Attracting a lot of traffic to your website is not necessarily a difficult thing to do – especially if you don’t care about how much money you spend to get those unique visitors numbers up. But most businesses – especially in tough economic times – don’t have an unlimited marketing budget and marketing departments will need to justify why their digital spending is a good investment. The metric that is used to demonstrate this is the cost per lead: how much have you spent to bring in that lead?
The calculation is simple: on a monthly basis assess how much was spent in digital marketing, and how many leads were brought in as a result. This is a similar metric to visitors per lead, but is tied to the spend, rather than the traffic. Over time you would hope that your cost per lead decreases, though depending on some other metrics (leads per customer, and lifetime value – both described below) there may be times when you can live with a higher cost per lead. In short, if you bring this ratio down while growing revenue, your boss will be very happy indeed.
9. Leads per Customer
Leads are important, but customers are king! Having a large number of leads that don’t buy is a problem, and you’ll only know if this is a problem that your business faces if you track this metric specifically. Hence, Leads per Customer is an important ratio for all businesses that are seeking a return on their digital spend, and analyzing this ratio in relation to visitors per lead and cost per lead.
Start with the former: if you pull in those 10,000 visitors and, of these, 100 are qualified leads, and of these 10 become customers, then your ratio of leads per customer is 100:10 or 10:1. In other words, you earn one sale out of every 100 leads and 10,000 visitors. Ideally, if your sales team is identifying and working the leads effectively, then the leads per customer ratio should approach 1:1. Reaching 1:1 is unrealistic – not every lead will buy – but the closer to 1:1 the better.
Note, too, the importance of tracking leads to customers and not visitors to customers. Attracting 100,000 unique visitors that provide only 100 leads and 1 customer is a different problem to attracting 1000 unique visitors, 10 leads, and 1 customer. The first suggests attracting too few qualified leads and demands better targeting to be effective, the second suggests targeting that is too narrow to be effective.
10. Lifetime Value
The final KPI to keep a close eye on is the Lifetime Value of the customers that you attract through your digital marketing spend. This is important for a couple of key reasons.
First, a higher lifetime value allows you the freedom to spend a little more in acquiring that customer. If your typical customer only spends once and relatively cheaply in your business, then acquisition cots need to be kept down. On the other hand, if a customers lifetime spend is higher and the typical customer returns many time to spend again, then spending more to acquire that customer is a sensible move.
Second, the lifetime value of a customer is important as pushing this metric up over time indicates not only a marketing spend that is working but a sales process that is working as well. Determining this KPI is as simple as tracking the number of customers that a business attracts online and the average lifetime spend of those customers. Average it out, and keep an eye on the churn rate, too, being how quickly the customers leave the business not to return.
There are many indices, rations, metrics, and KPIs that a digital marketing campaign can track but the the above offer a wealth of information for businesses looking to judge returns. Digital marketing, like any marketing, is not a matter of throwing money into the wind and looking to see what blows back your way; rather it is an assessable, trackable, and scaleable process that can be kept efficient and made effective through attention to detail – and the ten details above, in particular.