As more businesses are embracing the digital development of brands and industries, so must they find a way to measure such efforts. While many companies have come to understand the most fundamental digital marketing solutions available out there, a lot of them fall short of making use of such knowledge. Yes, creating a proper and complex digital marketing strategy is a large part of the process to grow your online presence and build strong brand awareness. However, no strategy today is bulletproof, and digital marketing agencies understand this better than most.

If you want to make a lasting impact through your advertising efforts, you need to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy regularly, do cross-comparisons, and come up with ways to tailor it to the specific needs of your market and niche. Today, we take a closer look at the metrics necessary to determine the effectiveness of your strategy.

Essential digital marketing KPIs to focus on

  • Digital Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics that you can use to measure and monitor the partial and overall success of your digital marketing strategy.

KPIs can help professional marketers establish clear objectives when it comes to the campaigns and tactics they implement for any given part of the digital marketing approaches they use, be that:

Despite what one might think, measuring the digital success of your advertising efforts is much simpler to handle than measuring the offline success of it. Therefore, we are going to go through some of the most important KPIs that a business should cover when analyzing the success of their digital marketing approach:

1. Overall Website Traffic

The official website of your business is the face of your brand and the foundation for your digital marketing activities. Driving traffic to it is one of the primary goals of marketing campaigns. Whether your campaigns are more focused on boosting your email marketing engagement, earning links on other websites, or boosting the number of followers on social media platforms – it all circles back to your website. And so, measuring your website traffic on a daily basis can provide a lot of insight into the performance of your digital marketing efforts.

Whether you are looking for ways to boost organic traffic to your website, lead generation, conversion rate, or ROI – look to your overall traffic first. Consider troubleshooting your website from time to time, to search for broken links, duplicate content, page loading issues, missing metadata, or other issues that might sabotage the functionality of your website.

2. Traffic by Source

It’s always useful knowing where most of your traffic comes from. That way, you can segment which parts of your digital marketing strategy are more effective and which you need to improve. By monitoring traffic by source, you can concentrate your resources on low-performance campaigns, making educated decisions on whether or not they are even worth the effort.

Here are the four main website traffic sources tracked by Google Analytics:

  • Organic Search: These users clicked a link on a search engine result that brought them to your website.
  • Direct Visitors: These users typed your URL directly into the search bar, or perhaps have it bookmarked and returned to visit.
  • Referrals: These users were sent to your website when they clicked a link from another website.
  • Social: These users came to your website after finding your social media profile or content posts.

3. New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors

If you want to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy, you need to understand how your content influences your visitors. This KPI is a dual metric that can help you determine the number of new visitors vs. the number of returning site visitors – each of the two bearing its own value on the matter:

  • The rate of New Visitors on your website can help you find new ways to boost organic traffic to your website.
  • The rate of Returning Visitors can help you define the overall quality of your content by measuring how many people choose to return to your website for additional information and advice.

4. Sessions

Sessions exemplify the number of visits that a website receives. According to Google measurements, each session has a time frame of 30 minutes. That means that if a user were to come to your website in the morning, and then again in the afternoon, Google would count it as separate, unique sessions.

5. Average Session Duration

As a general indicator of how much time visitors spend on your website, the usefulness of this metric can vary in relevance, depending on the niche and functionality of a website. For example, an informational website will aim to keep visitors engaged as long as possible whereas eCommerce sites or service-oriented businesses will be more interested in making conversions as soon as possible.

There are many factors that directly influence the average session duration of a website, some of the fundamental ones being:

  • Navigational capabilities of a website
  • Structure and layout of a website
  • Quality and engagement of website content, etc.

6. Page Views

As one of the broadest and most important ways to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy, the total number of times someone views a page can be a very important metric. Once you establish a specific time frame for monitoring the number of visits each of your web pages receive, you can determine whether your website as a whole possesses real-time value or if it comes down to a limited number of pages on it.

7. Most Visited Pages

Once you establish which of your web pages have the most visits, you can use heat maps and other indicators to determine which parts of those pages keep the attention of site visitors. This can help you uncover ways to improve the remainder of your pages, by mimicking the more engaging elements from the most visited pages of your website.

8. Exit Rate

If you are looking for a way to understand the effects your branding efforts have on website visitors, the Exit Rate is a very useful metric. Since it shows exactly where users were on the page before leaving the website, you can use it to analyze the potential flaws in your web design or user metrics. And unlike the Bounce Rate, this indicator focuses on visitors that spend time on a page before leaving it.

Suggested Read – What Is Dwell Time? and Why It Is Important for SEO?

9. Bounce Rate

Unlike the Exit Rate that focuses on the users that spend longer amounts of time on a website, the Bounce Rate focuses more on those that choose to leave instantly. The reasons for visitors bouncing from a website can vary, the most usual ones being:

  • Slow page loading speed
  • Lack of information they are looking for on the landing page
  • The content was useful but not engaging enough for them to remain on the website
  • Page loading error

For those businesses that are more oriented toward SEO or paid advertising campaigns that lead to separate landing pages, monitoring the Bounce Rate can help you improve the overall quality of those and future landing pages. This metric can be especially useful for A/B testing new marketing campaigns. However, there are established tactics that can help businesses reduce the bounce rate on their websites:

  • Improving page loading speed
  • Creating a structured and versatile internal linking strategy
  • Using optimized images, infographics, and videos in content
  • Creating engaging calls to action (CTAs) and positioning them properly.

10. Conversion Rate

Making the full circle means following up the entire marketing process – from getting traffic to converting site visitors into customers. And so, the conversion rate is the final step in measuring the effectiveness of your digital marketing solutions. After all, no amount of quality content, paid Google Ads or Facebook Ads will be of much use if people come to your website, only to leave after a while without subscribing, downloading, signing up, calling, or making a purchase.

Other digital marketing metrics that matter

1. Impressions

Impressions are an essential metric for measuring the overall impact of your branding campaign. They represent the number of times a person is presented with your Google Ads or paid social media advertising campaign. Each showing is counted as an individual impression. The overall number of impressions is influenced by the overall quality of the ad – use of relevant keywords, quality of content, brand bidding, etc.

Suggested Read – Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads – which advertising to choose for your business?

2. Social Reach

As a KPI, social reach provides you with an understanding of how effective your social media marketing posts are. Meant to reach a wide number of users, you need to be able to measure the reach each of your social media posts had (how many saw your content). The number of reaches is always higher than the number of those that engage. A common goal is to for social media campaigns to experience 2-5% engagement based on the overall reach.

Tips to increase your social media reach:

  • Fully brand all your social media profiles
  • Post curated and original content consistently
  • Engage with your community

3. Social Engagement

A metric that measures the number of interactions you gain for any social media post, be they clicks, shares, likes, retweets, comments, etc. Engagement is the yardstick by which to measure all of your social media success. You can pay for all the others, but engagement is only earned when a user chooses to interact with your content. Because of this, you can easily rank your content types based on how much engagement they receive. This helps to guide your future content creation!

4. Email Open Rate

If you’re list building with your website (and you should be), this is one of the most important email marketing metrics you need to watch. Your Email Open Rate measures the number of people who open your email campaign as compared to the overall number of those who received it. High open rates indicate:

  • Properly segmented list
  • Attractive subject line
  • Appropriate send time

Low open rates tell you at least one (if not all) of those factors above are lacking.

5. Click-Through Rate

The Click-through Rate (CTR) can be used as an email marketing metric as well as a paid advertising metric. Clicks on email blasts are often some of the highest conversion-drivers across the board. Your CTR as it relates to pay-per-click helps to determine your relevance score and affects your Cost Per Click.

6. Cost Per Click

Cost Per Click (CPC) applies to both pay-per-click marketing and a number of social media platforms that offer the clicks-to-site ad type. These online advertising metrics reflect the amount you pay for each individual click a user performs. This is relevant as it directly relates to your overall marketing budget in this area. Your budget can only go so far; the lower your CPC, the farther it goes.

7. Cost Per Conversion

Cost Per Conversion relates completely to your individual business model, and often to your individual online marketing campaign. As I mentioned previously, not every metric matter to every campaign. This might be one to leave off if you aren’t converting sales directly online. However, if you’re running an eCommerce website where users can add something to a cart and convert there, CPC is a must-track metric. Simply put, these digital marketing analytics tell you how much it costs to convert a site visitor into a sale.

8. Cost Per Acquisition

Your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is only relevant when you have returning customers. This doesn’t just apply to subscription-based businesses or even eCommerce sites. Consider how a private golf community calculates CPA knowing that their members pay monthly dues. Understanding the lifetime value of a customer helps you back into the proper amount you should spend to acquire a new one.

9. Overall ROI

The return on investment marketing metric should come as no surprise as it serves as a true baseline for success. Basically, ROI equates to how much you spent (investment) vs. how much you earned (return). It’s easy to lose track of exactly what you’re spending on marketing because we often fail to count hours of effort. Ensuring you properly calculate your online marketing campaign’s ROI will be the key to determining if it was an overall success or not.

7 steps to help you measure the success of your digital marketing strategy

  1. Establish your digital marketing campaign objectives. One of the keys to success in Digital Marketing is to get everyone in your organization or business directly involved with your campaign efforts, from top management down to every employee or member of your organization. At this point, the business objectives you set may still be at the broadest of parameters, but it may require deeper thinking and brainstorming than one might expect.
  2. Set clear targets for each of the objectives you establish. Once you’ve identified your business objectives, you can now set specific goals for each of these objectives. Top management should still be part of this process of identifying the goals of your digital marketing campaign as this will involve a critical thinking process that involves leaders, analysts and the marketers who will execute the campaigns to reach these goals.
  3. Define target segments of your strategy to focus on. Once you have a firm target or targets for your digital marketing campaign, it would be necessary at this point to identify the target segments that your campaign will be focusing on. Segments can be people or groups of people from a certain demographic or you can focus on certain businesses or organizations involved in a particular undertaking or niche.
  4. Establish the KPIs to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy. While specific objectives provide you with pinpoint accuracy to guide your campaign, you will also need to establish Key Performance Indicators or KPI as your overall digital marketing performance gauge. These metrics can help you monitor and identify your performance against the goals and targets you set in your objectives.
  5. Identify targets for each of your KPIs. Once you’ve identified the KPIs you will track and monitor, you need to set specific targets for each of your KPI. Targets are numerical values and measuring performance against these values can help you measure success in quantifiable terms.
  6. Find a good analytics platform. Monitoring and measuring these metrics would be too tedious (or nearly impossible) to do manually. You need good programs and applications, both free to use or paid, that will help you facilitate measurement.
  7. Apply real-time solutions to improve performance. Once you have good and substantial analytics and measurement data available, you can now make adjustments and changes to your digital marketing campaign to cater to the insights presented by these gather information. These insights should trigger immediate action and should be executed promptly should the situation calls for such kind of actions.

Make your digital marketing efforts count

As the online presence and digital efforts of a business are more important than ever before, it is essential to continue to work on improving business performance. Whether you decide to hire a digital marketing agency or a freelancer, or make your own conclusions – tracking, analyzing, and measuring the success of your digital marketing strategy plays a crucial role in your brand development process.