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June 25, 2020


Understanding Marketing Metrics


By Natalie Howells

Every marketing effort works towards achieving your business goals. To meet these goals, you need clear plans that are executed properly. And, in order to have an effective marketing strategy, you need to track its progress.

To do that, you need to know what metrics you’ll be measuring.

We have a popular ebook focusing on the 6 metrics that truly matter to the business, but there are a lot more that you’re likely to be tracking and optimising before you get to the stage of reporting back on your progress.

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What are marketing metrics?

Metrics are measurable values used by your teams to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. They serve as guideposts towards achieving your goal, identifying whether you’re still on the right track. At the same time, metrics will let you know if there is something wrong.

Additionally, metrics translate your customer’s vague behaviour into actionable numbers. This, in turn, provides an accurate measurement of your campaign’s efficiency. They’re used to inform you whether you’re meeting your customer’s expectation or if there is still room for improvement.

Once you track your metrics, you can improve the overall results of your marketing efforts and align them towards your overall business objectives.

Although almost every action can be measured, it doesn’t mean you should. There are tons of metrics you can track but doing so is not always advisable nor effective. Instead, focus on important marketing metrics that can be turned into actionable plans. Otherwise you can get bogged down in the numbers and never make any real progress.

Website and Blog Metrics

  • Organic traffic: This is traffic driven through results from search engine, where visitors find you without using paid ads
  • Referral traffic: This is the traffic redirected to your site from other marketing channels, such as links on other pages or email links.
  • First visit: Number of hits from visitors who come to your website for the first time.
  • Total visits: Total number of visits to your website over a given period.
  • Returning visits: Total hits from visitors who have been on your website before.
  • Users: Number of unique users who have visited your website
  • Sessions: Number of pages viewed
  • Click-through rate: Ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page.
  • Time on page: Average amount of time visitors spend on your website or page before exiting.
  • Bounce rate: Percentage of visitors who viewed only a single webpage before exiting.
  • Pageviews per session: Average number of pages visitors view on your site before exiting.
  • Downloads: Total number of times downloadable assets—like e-books, checklists, templates, etc.-- have been downloaded.
  • Sessions by device type: Visits received categorised into different devices used for access (Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone, etc.)
  • Top pages: Pages with the best performance, based either on conversion rate or number of traffic.
  • Page views: Total number of pages that have been viewed.

These metrics can give you an oversight of how your content is performing and how people are interacting with your site.

A word of caution – focusing on a single metric can give you a skewed idea of results. For example, bounce rates get quite a lot of attention, and obviously you want to keep them as low as possible. But if your contact page has a high bounce rate, there is a decent likelihood that people are finding that page, getting the information they need (your location or phone number), and using it. They don’t need to spend much time browsing, because they know what they want and they’ve found it. So look at the wider context of behaviour before focusing on any individual number.

You can find these metrics on Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

SEO Metrics

These metrics are designed to give an idea of your website’s standing in search results, or against the measures that we know search engines use as part of their ranking algorithms. It’s not exhaustive – Google especially does not release full details of what goes into determining a site’s ranking for different keywords, but these factors are definitely relevant.

  • Search traffic: Volume of traffic from a search engine.
  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP) visibility: Percentage of clicks received based on your organic rankings positions across keywords tracked.
  • Keyword rankings: Rank of a page in search engines based on a given keyword.
  • Domain authority: Measurement of a website’s authority based on its entirety, as determined by search engines.
  • Page authority: Measurement of a single web page’s authority, determined by search engines.
  • Total backlinks: Number of links from other websites redirecting back to the webpage.
  • Page load speed: How fast a web page or website loads.

Organic click through rate: Ratio of click throughs in the search engine results

Most of these metrics need to be found through sources outside Google – using paid services like SEMrush and AHrefs, or sometimes through freemium services like Moz and UberSuggest.

A word of caution: Domain Authority and Page Authority are not hard and fast numbers. If you check each of the tools mentioned, you’ll get a different number on each of them. The key here is to consistently use the same tool to check, so you can see trends over time, and use the same tool to benchmark your site against competitors, rather than focusing on the number itself.

Social Media Marketing Metrics

  • Likes: Number of likes for a given post.
  • Comments: Number of comments on a given post.
  • Shares/Retweets: Number of times a post has been shared/retweeted by another user or page.
  • Follower growth rate: Rate of gaining followers in a given profile or page.
  • New followers: Number of new followers or fans gained over a given period of time.
  • Post engagement rate: The number of engagements divided by impressions or reach.
  • Social media traffic: Amount of traffic driven back to the website from social media.
  • Social media conversions: Amount of conversion driven by referral traffic from social media.
  • Page demographics: Breakdown of demographic data of your follower’s age, sex, location, education, etc.
  • Account mentions: Organic mentions of your page from your followers or other pages.
  • Impressions: Number of times a post shows up in someone’s timeline.
  • Reach: Number of potential unique viewers a post could have.
  • Share of voice: Indicates your brand’s share in the online sphere. This also includes the volume of discussion for your business or brand.

Likes, comments, and shares are what’s known as “vanity metrics” – if you get a lot of likes but no one ever comes to your site or buys anything from you, there’s no tangible benefit. So don’t focus too much on these, and instead use conversions as your key metric.

If you want to increase brand awareness, then reach and impressions are important, and shares can help achieve that, so they’re not useless metrics by any means. Make sure you focus on the metrics that actually measure what you’re trying to achieve.

Email Marketing Metrics

  • Open rate: Number of subscribers that opened the email sent.
  • Click-through rate: Measurement of how many people clicked the links in the email.
  • Conversion rate: Percentage of people who clicked on the link and performed a certain action.
  • Bounce rate: Measurement of subscribers who did not receive the email.
  • Unsubscribe rate: Number of people who unsubscribed from your list after receiving an email.
  • Spam rates: Rate at which your emails are reported as spam.
  • Revenue per email: Rate of individual success of emails.
  • Revenue per subscriber: Average revenue generated from individual subscribers.
  • Mobile open rate: Number of subscribers that opened the email sent on a mobile device.
  • Overall ROI: Overall rate of return of investments from campaigns.

A word of caution: many email clients don’t effectively provide data on whether or not an email has been opened – this is why you’ll sometimes see an email with clicks but no opens. So don’t get hung up on your open rate number, it’s almost certainly incorrect. What you can do, however, is look for trends (especially when you’re sending to the same database) to see which emails have higher or lower than average open rates.

Spam rates are important – too high, and your email provider (like HubSpot or MailChimp) may prevent you from sending emails in future, to protect their systems. Make sure you have a legitimate database, don’t buy contacts, don’t send too many emails in quick succession, and tidy up your database regularly.

PPC Metrics

  • Clicks: Number of clicks generated by the ad.
  • Click-through rate: Ratio of how many people clicked the ad, based on the number of times it appeared.
  • Quality score: Measurement of an ad’s relevancy based on keywords, quality of destination page, and search intent.
  • Cost per click: Cost of the click on an ad. This is a measurement of how much an advertiser has paid for the ad.
  • Cost per conversion/acquisition: Cost of getting new customers from the ad.
  • Conversion rate: Rate of customer conversion based on the total clicks the ad received.
  • Impression Share:Proportion of searches including your target keyword that will have been delivered your ad.
  • Impressions: Number of times the ad was seen in search results, whether it was clicked or not
  • Total conversion value: Total monetary value of conversions over a period of time.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Amount revenue generated measured against the costs of the ad.Lead Acquisition Cost: Cost of getting a lead from your activity
  • Customer Acquisition Cost: How much you spent, in total, to acquire a customer (cost of campaign divided by number of new customers acquired).

When you’re spending money, metrics are even more important. A PPC or social ad campaign should have a clear purpose. Once you know what that is, you can accurately measure success against the cost of the campaign. Don’t forget to include time in the cost calculations, too.

Understanding Key Performance Indicators

Now that you’ve identified the important metrics you should track, you should now prioritise them based on your goals. Metrics that are prioritised based on your current goal are your key performance indicators (KPI.)

KPIs are direct indicators of your progress towards a given goal or objective. These are values measured to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and how it impacts your success.

Although there can be multiple metrics you can track simultaneously, it’s recommended to focus on a small number of KPIs.

In order to choose which of your metrics are to be considered as KPIs, it’s important to go back to your goals. Understand which metric directly correlates with achieving your goal. Then, focus on other relevant metrics as you achieve milestones in your goals.

As every business is unique, your KPIs should be as well. Understand what you want to achieve for the overall growth of your business, create goals, execute strategies, and keep track of your progress!

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