The main mistake made by novice digital marketers is focusing on the implementation of specific instruments and promotional strategies without having a well-designed system of measurements in place.
When you invest money in paid search or change your keywords, your basic assumption is that these activities will increase your website visibility. Months later, many marketers find out that the traffic and revenues have not changed substantially (if at all) despite their best efforts.
At this moment, they start looking for performance measurements in an attempt to compare the results ‘before’ and ‘after’ and come to the conclusion that a different strategy should have been implemented from the very start.
A well-designed set of key performance indicators allows you to measure the short, medium, and long-term results of any single technique you utilise to quickly identify ineffective tactics and start investing into ones that work best for your business.
Digital Marketing KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable goals which help you to track and measure success. In a challenging environment, such as the global pandemic-led recession, it’s more important ever to plan your short-term and long-term KPIs.
For that reason, I have compiled the ultimate list of digital marketing KPIs subdivided into several categories.
Website Traffic KPIs
The first group of indicators that you should monitor before you start developing new marketing campaigns is the inbound traffic received by your website.
Overall Monthly Traffic
This indicator represents the total number of website visitors. You can further subdivide it by website pages to see which parts of your resource attract the greatest attention.
This KPI can be especially relevant for measuring the outputs of paid advertising or promotion through third-party influencers drawing traffic to your platform in general.
Average Time Spent on a Page
If you use paid promotion instruments to attract traffic to your website but do not get new conversions, it is time to appraise the average time spend by your visitors on your resource.
When you open one of the suggestions in search outputs and the page contents are completely irrelevant to your search topic, your natural urge is to close the page instantly. This so-called bounce rate allows you to instantly see major problems with your website keywords.
In addition to optimising your positioning, you may also revise your page design to put the most relevant information where your visitors can instantly see it.
Returning and New Visitors
Another interesting indicator that can be measured via Google Analytics is the proportion of new visitors to returning visitors. This element is critical for understanding your retention rates and your capability to create long-term interest towards your resources.
If you have thousands of new visitors per month but only see 50-100 returning ones, you may want to shift your focus from external promotion to content management and website design.
The second group of factors is related to the actual ratio between the number of visitors coming to your website and the number of purchases at the end of your accounting period.
To put it simply, poor sales can be caused by a lack of traffic, poor quality resources that distract prospective customers, or both. Each situation requires a different marketing strategy to address it, which is why conversion KPIs are so important.
Number of Leads
As simple as it seems, the number of leads reflects the sheer number of candidates interested in your sales offer and interacting with your website to learn more.
This indicator may take the form of subscriptions to newsletters, orders made, queries to your sales team or any other indicator you see fit.
The conversion funnel concept implies that you need to increase both the number of leads that you have and the conversion rate in order to grow your business, which is why increasing this KPI may be a good idea for any company.
Every marketing strategy works differently and instant conversion may not always be preferable to establishing a long-term customer-firm relationship.
However, you may want to use your CRM system to measure the average time between a prospective customer visiting your website and the ‘conversion point’ in the form of any action you determined earlier.
In many cases, this allows you to optimise the ‘customer journey’ scheme embedded in your platform design by making it more straightforward and logical.
The most critical element that is often overlooked by marketers is the actual cost per conversion.
While the increasing number of sales may lure you into thinking that your marketing strategy is effective, this number is of no use if your promotional spending ‘eats up’ all your revenues.
Always keep an eye on the average cost-per-conversion and try to reduce your expenses by introducing passive ‘pull’ instruments such as FAQs or free help materials.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO increases the number of customers coming to your website upon finding it in search engine outputs. It is important to implement effective KPIs before introducing any changes in this sphere in order to really see if they produce positive results.
Organic Search Traffic
Most popular analysis instruments such as Bing SEO Analyzer and Google Analytics allow you to identify the traffic generated by organic search. It is produced by incoming visitors drawn to your resource via search engine outputs.
This KPI can be seen as a meta-indicator reflecting the quality of your keywords and keyword phrases, your ‘online rankings’, and other parameters determining your website visibility.
When a reputable web resource mentions your website in their article, podcast or YouTube video, this is beneficial from multiple standpoints.
On the one hand, you get additional (referral) traffic to your platform, which increases the numbers of potential leads and conversions.
On the other hand, these inbound links from multiple quality domains increase your Google PageRank and can help to put you higher in organic search results.
Even if you have selected the most optimal keywords for your resource, their relevance may change over time.
Monitoring the ranking of these elements is the best way to instantly recognise any targeting inefficiencies and adjust your marketing strategy to target high-conversion audiences.
You also need to focus on unique keywords and keyword combinations to maximise the overall amount of traffic received by your resource.
Paid Advertising Effectiveness
In addition to organic traffic, most marketers purchase various forms of advertisements to promote their resources online. However, the number of ad impressions shown to consumers does not always correlate with revenue growth.
KPIs in this sphere allow you to understand whether you are promoting your business to the right customers via the proper channels using the optimal instruments.
Overall Number of Leads
The most basic metric for paid advertising is the sheer number of leads created by it.
While it may seem extremely straightforward, it can be used in multiple sophisticated ways to fine-tune your marketing strategies.
You can start several paid campaigns at different time periods to identify which of them produces the greatest number of leads.
This may also bring valuable insights into your audience composition if you suddenly find that your resource on media technologies is more interesting to stay-at-home mothers than the busy office professionals you were targeting originally.
The same is true for different time zones since you can literally boost your campaign effectiveness manifold by simply finding the ‘ideal time’ when the largest per cent of your prospective customers are online and ready to receive your marketing message.
Cost per Conversion
A popular marketing bias is to focus on cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) indicators as the key financial KPI in paid advertising. However, the actual calculations may show a completely different picture.
Select a certain advertising strategy, calculate its costs, and divide the financial income from all conversions within the selected period by this figure.
Try to select a two-month or three-month period for your analysis since some techniques take time to gain momentum and generate conversions.
If you are using a pay-per-click advertising strategy, you need to measure how many people are interested in clicking your ad when they see it on Google, Facebook or any other platform.
If this indicator is low, you may want to experiment with the design or call-to-action parameters to increase it before ordering new impressions.
Social Media Integration
Finally, the analysis of social media indicators allows marketers to see if they are using this instrument effectively to drive quality traffic to their website or e-store and increase conversion rates.
Social Media Traffic and Conversions
Since many brands use Instagram ads or other social media advertising methods to draw traffic to their website, it is critical to analyse this traffic in isolation from the streams produced by other sources.
This can be done using CRM software and Google Analytics to track customer journeys alongside average conversion rates and times.
If some social media platform provides better results, you may want to primarily focus on those, to maximise your overall marketing efficiency.
Number of Shares and Reposts
If you are pursuing the content marketing strategy based on ‘pull’ marketing, you still need to measure visitor engagement even if your materials are not directly aimed at instant conversions.
One of the best ways to do this is to appraise the number of shares and reposts of your materials on social media as well as the number of quality links referring to your website pages.
These indicators allow you to appraise your reach and identify if some third-party activities (such as a popular influencer mentioning your resource) affect it.
Social media provides for a better capability to track the behaviours of your followers as compared to website visitors.
With modern tools, you can study their demographics, psychographics, and the dynamics of their engagement with your platform.
For example, a person liking and reposting all your materials to their personal page can be highly valuable as a creator of electronic word-of-mouth even if their ‘traditional’ involvement in the form of product purchases is absent.
These followers may not be interested in your offerings but have sincere feelings towards your brand and can greatly assist its growth and development.
Digital Marketing KPIs – Final Words
Implementing an effective KPI system is a challenging task for a good reason. On the one hand, you need to know all metrics mentioned earlier and be able to effectively implement them.
On the other hand, this knowledge is not going to transform into superior performance results if you lack an in-depth understanding of your own business model and your key customers.
In some cases, you need to focus on the sheer number of leads since your firm operates in a new and unsaturated market providing for scaling effects.
On the contrary, the companies in maturing segments have a more limited number of prospective new customers and should focus on maximising conversion and engagement rates.
In this aspect, KPIs serve as a cyclical system providing for an inflow of knowledge about your customers and their characteristics, which allows you to target them more effectively and learn more about them.
Additionally, continuous measurements provide for better longitudinal performance tracking. From a strategic standpoint, this means that marketers can set more realistic plans for future campaigns and make reliable predictions regarding the return-on-investment figures for different advertising instruments and
Ellie Richards is an online Marketing Manager for Original PhD, specialising in PhD research paper help. She specialises in research, content and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.