For some, the word “metrics” sends a chill down their spine, especially when it comes to measuring digital marketing performance. In our experience, this typically happens with clients who want to track their online efforts, but simply have no idea where to start, or which metrics to actually measure. For the uninitiated, it can be daunting.
If you fall in this camp, let us immediately put you at ease. Once you start tracking the right metrics, it gets easier over time. And while measuring digital marketing performance you’ll not only determine how effective your efforts are—you’ll also learn when to pivot, all for the sake of generating desired results.
In getting started, it’s important to establish clear-cut goals, create realistic time frames, develop quantifiable outcomes, and then settle on the metrics that make the most sense for your business. Today we’ll discuss 20, which fall into three distinct measurement categories: traffic, conversion, and revenue.
Traffic Measurements to Consider
1. Site Visits
While this is certainly a view from 10,000 feet, tracking total site visits can still give you a pretty good idea of how effective you are at driving traffic to your website. For this metric you should see steady growth; if the number is declining, or too up and down, then it’s time to turn your attention to your channels.
2. Traffic by Channels
If you’re not measuring your channels individually, how can you possibly know which ones are working, and which ones need a new approach? Here are the four channels you should be monitoring:
- Organic Search: This refers to visitors who found your site via a search engine (probably Google).
- Direct Visitors: These are users who know you—they typed your URL in or bookmarked your site previously.
- Referrals: These visitors landed on your site by clicking on an outside link.
- Social Media: These are users who came over from your social media platforms.
3. New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors
Having new visitors means they’re finding you, and hoping you can solve their specific problem with your product or service. But when you have return visitors, that gives you the answer that you want: your content is bringing them back for more. What’s nice about this two-for-one metric is that it tells you which webpages are resonating, and which ones aren’t. Then you can adjust accordingly.
4. Unique Sessions
This metric refers to the number of user interactions on your site within a certain time frame. For example, a session can include page visits, events, or even transactions.
5. Average Session Duration
This is obviously related to the previous metric, but is more focused on how long the sessions are versus how many. It should be fairly obvious: if visitors are having longer sessions, they’re probably interested in the content you’re providing. And once again, the pages with those protracted sessions serve as a compass for your content going forward.
6. Page Views
Though this is a big-picture metric, it’s a helpful one nonetheless. This refers to the number of times a page is loaded in a browser; by measuring this over time you can determine the most valuable pages (and content!) on your site.
7. Most Visited Pages
This takes the previous metric and digs much deeper. By using the “Behaviors” section found in Google Analytics, you can see your most popular pages, and how long visitors are engaging with them.
8. Bounce Rates
While some of the previous metrics tell you what’s working well, this one, unfortunately, is a signal that there’s much work to be done with your site. Though it’s another high-level metric, bounce rates show the visitors who arrive to your site but immediately leave without clicking any deeper into your site. A large number of bounce rates can indicate an isolated issue, such as an ineffective targeting campaign, or a more widespread problem like a lack of compelling content throughout your site.
9. Exit Rates
Exit rates go a step further than bounce rates by telling you exactly which pages visitors are leaving from (this is given as a percentage of all the visitors who visited that specific page). Analyzing this data can be extremely valuable, especially when evaluating your conversion rates. For example, maybe you need to reexamine/revise some CTAs and forms?
10. Mobile Visitors
By now you know that mobile is a different animal, so knowing your user trends can help you optimize accordingly. This includes the amount of mobile traffic, as well as what kinds of devices your visitors prefer. For example, you might discover that certain channels are more effective on mobile than they are on desktop.
Conversion Metrics To Consider
Now we’re getting into the metrics that matter most to your sales team and management: how your website is helping or hurting the bottom line. Conversions come in many forms: a visitor providing an email address for an offer, subscribing to your email list, or, better yet, an actual purchase. When you consider that the goal of inbound marketing is to support your sales funnel, this metric will tell you, definitively, where you stand. For many, a lack of consistent conversions indicates that a website redesign might be in order to update the content and design of your existing site.
Now we take a closer look at conversions at the campaign or channel level. Maybe you’re pushing out an offer for a white paper in exchange for contact info, but you’re losing the visitor on the landing page. While it’s not ideal, now that you know exactly where you’re failing within the funnel, you can update your CTA, all of the content, or even the design. And don’t think it’s only about identifying failures—sometimes it’s about turbocharging a channel or campaign that’s already performing admirably.
Conversion Funnel Rates
While your conversion processes vary, how you measure them really shouldn’t. By knowing how far visitors make it through the steps of a specific process, you can gauge success or failure and make the necessary tweaks for improvement. Better yet, it turns you into Nostradamus: you’ll start noticing (or accurately predicting!) trends and/or behaviors that you can take into account.
This metric is important for your efforts around email marketing and pay-per-click ads. Successful CTRs can boost your relevance score—and lower your cost per click via Adwords, too.
New Visitor vs. Returning Visitor Conversions
New visitors and returning visitors have completely separate experiences on your website. Understanding their unique behaviors can help you lower bounce rates and bump up your return visitor numbers—and potentially your conversions as well.
Cost Per Conversion
No matter the product or service you offer, this metric is critical since it’s directly tied to your ROI. For example, a high conversion rate on a campaign is less meaningful if there’s a higher cost to convert.
Lead to Close Ratio
A measurement of sales effectiveness, the math on this metric is fairly straightforward: simply divide your leads by the numbers of sales. Whether the rates are high or low, it’s all data that shines a light on your digital marketing ROI.
Revenue Metrics to Consider
Value Per Visit
Value per visit is tough to track—and somewhat subjective—but it gives you valuable intel about your visitors’ value-added actions. Interactions like Facebook shares and blog comments show how visitors are connecting with the content on your site, and can validate or discredit aspects of your digital marketing strategy.
Cost Per Acquisition
We’ve finally reached a metric that shows an actual sale! Cost per acquisition is important because it gives you a bigger picture of overall digital marketing performance, telling you exactly how much you had to spend to get a visitor to click that magic “Buy” button on your website.
Overall Return on Investment
If you’re a marketing director, this is probably the metric your boss cares about most. Here’s the good news: if you’re tracking many of the preceding metrics, measuring this will be much easier. Again, ROI plays a role throughout your digital marketing efforts, and you can look at it on a micro and macro basis to gauge success.
Believe it or not, there are other metrics. However, if you’re just getting started, take a deep breath and build a good foundation. Once you master tracking one metric, move on to the next one. Then, before you know it, you’ll have all the data you could possibly need to take your digital marketing performance to the next level.
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.