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8 Essential Digital Marketing Metrics You Need to Measure

Recently updated on January 19th, 2018 at 11:28 pm

Google Analytics is one of the most useful internet tools, especially when it comes to marketing. The digital marketing metrics that it provides gives useful insights on how your website, content, and social media campaigns are doing. It can also reveal opportunities that you can tap or areas that you need to improve.

But a tool is only as good as its user. And to be honest, there are a lot of choices in Analytics for metrics that one can get so overwhelmed. In fact, the freedom to choose from hundreds of choices can be very limiting sometimes

So to keep you from getting drowned in information overload, I’ve compiled the most important digital marketing metrics that you need to measure for any given digital marketing campaign. I’ve also grouped them into three categories, each corresponding to the steps in customer acquisition—generating traffic, converting these traffic into leads, and transforming leads to customers. Finally, I’ve included some thoughts and recommendations from top internet marketers on how to improve each metric.

Traffic Metrics

1. All Traffic (Total Website Visits)

Overall site traffic measures how many users visited your website. It can be sorted by source or medium and is usually one of the first things you can check in Analytics.

Marketer checking site traffic in analytics

Rahul Alim from Convince and Convert writes that keeping an eye on overall traffic gives “a bird’s eye view” of where your website stands. “You may begin to see similar patterns emerge—like seasonality—that can put you ahead of the game later.”

2. Clickthrough Rate

Clickthrough rate is the ratio of user who viewed an ad, email links, social media posts, or call-to-action statements in your websites or blogs, to the users who actually clicked them.

According to Rachel Sprung from Hubspot, “this metric is very important no matter which channel you focus on, as it is the indicator that will tell you if people are engaged enough with your content to take the next step and convert.”

As a benchmark, the average CTR for a search ad is 1.91%, and 0.35% for a display ad according to Hubspot. For email marketing campaigns, the average CTR is 3.26%, according to Smart Insights.

3. Traffic Sources

Segmenting your overall traffic by sources or channels can give you a good idea on which ones are performing well and which ones aren’t.

Sheila Olson from Buildfire writes that ideally, you should break them down to four channels (which Analytics automatically does):

  • Direct Visitors – Visitors who come to your website by typing your URL into their browser.
  • Organic/Search – Users who arrive at your site based on a search query using search engines.
  • Referrals – Visitors who arrive at your side from a link on another website or blog.
  • Social Media – Users who arrive at your site from a social media platform.

According to Jacqueline Zenn from Hubspot, one of the most overlooked aspects of traffic sources, as one of the essential digital marketing metrics, is the unusual referral traffic from outliers. She writes, “See how people are talking about your brand in ways that you didn’t expect or plan for, and determine how you can use that information for future marketing support.” This is especially important for integrated marketing campaigns, such as using catalogs to drive customers to your e-commerce websites.

Conversion Metrics

4. Cost Per Lead

The cost per lead metric measures how cost-effective your marketing campaigns are when generating leads. To review, a lead is a prospective customer which shows interest in your product or service information. We can calculate it by dividing the cost of generating leads by the total number of leads you acquired.

Leads converted into customers

According to Digital Marketing Institute, calculating cost per lead should be analyzed in relation to return on investment. “By calculating cost per lead per channel you can identify which channels are the most powerful lead generators for future campaigns and invest in them accordingly.”

5. Conversion Rate

Perhaps the most important metric for executives and business owners, conversion rate measure how many visits resulted in a desired action, usually a sale. It’s calculated by dividing the total number of goal completions by the total number of sessions. If you can figure out how to optimize your conversion rate, you can make more sales at a lesser cost.

Gianluca Fiorelli from Moz writes that segmenting your analysis can give a “better meaning to the conversion rate value and, therefore, correct and improve our sales and leads.” Here are his recommendations for good segmentation:

  • Conversions per returning visitor vs new visitor;
  • Rate of conversion per type of visitor based on demographic data;
  • Conversions per channel/device.

6. Bounce Rate

The official definition for bounce rate according to Google is “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)”. Bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can be a good indicator that your site entrance is not relevant to users.

According to Kissmetrics, the average bounce rate for a typical website is 40.5%. To improve bounce rate, Kissmetrics recommends adding more links to other pages in your website from your landing page, especially on the sidebar. Furthermore, adding more information about your products and improving the content to make them more relevant to visitors will ensure their stay.

Revenue Metrics

7. Return on Investment

Of all digital marketing metrics, Return on Investment is the ultimate indicator of the success of your marketing efforts. A great Analytics feature is the ability to generate ROI reports, which you can find in the Campaigns section of the sidebar.

Marketer analyzing return on investment

Stuart Marler from Digital Doughnut writes “we need to understand what the goals or aims of the company are, and what they wish to get from a digital marketing campaign. Then we can measure these goals.” Furthermore, he said that the sales and marketing teams should collaborate on identifying key performance indicators and their goals, as well as how to measure them.

8. Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost, as the name suggests, is the cost of converting a lead to a customer. We measure it by dividing the total marketing costs by the total number of customers acquired in a given period.

To optimize customer acquisition cost, Kissmetrics recommends improving on-site conversion, especially the checkout pages. This will reduce abandonment, enhancing user value such as implementing useful features on your website and implementing customer relationship management.

What other digital marketing metrics do you think are essential to analyze? Comment your thoughts below.

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