How to measure
digital marketing effectiveness
The metrics and indicators that your marketing efforts are worth it
You can’t do digital marketing without the “measure” part of it. Or maybe you could, if you really want to, but why wouldn’t you check your online impact? The marketing’s goal is to bring a prospect closer to the goal: buying, signing up (or “becoming a deal” in simple sales terms), but this can’t be done right if it’s not strategic and verified.
How to measure the success of online marketing?
Marketing is an investment. You build a website, create your social media profiles, write content. Then, you see what happens.
You can’t leave the success of your marketing efforts to fate, otherwise it won’t be much of a success at all. In order to make sure your strategy follows through and your endeavors are worth it, you need to measure your online efforts. In this post, we’re highlighting the most important metrics you should track on a regular basis in your web analytics tool and beyond.
The digital marketing metrics you need to track
Your website is the primary source of information about your business and main channel of communication, so most of your marketing efforts will focus on driving traffic here. Tracking overall traffic numbers in your web analytics will help you spot any increases (hopefully!) or decreases in traffic on your website.
Of course, a one-time drop (e.g. a lower number of users on page on a given day) is not something that should keep you up at night, but if you notice a decreasing trend over time, it’s a sign that you need to take action.
What can you do to drive traffic to your website?
- Publish relevant, up-to-date content, e.g. blog posts
- Make sure your content is seen online by promoting it on social media
- Use ads to bring more visitors to your website
- Make use of SEO techniques
New vs returning visitors
These metrics help you see how many new visitors come to your website in a given time range and how many visitors come back.
Are new visitors more important than the returning ones?
That depends on your goals. If you want to bring a lot of organic traffic to your website, you might be happy to see a high number of new visitors. Returning users, on the other hand, are a sign that your site brings value: you’re building a base of loyal followers or buyers who come back for high-quality content or products.
Time on page
This metric shows how much time visitors spend on your pages. In different web analytics solutions, you will be able to see data about the average time on page (available for all pages within your website) or sometimes even detailed info about each visitor!
Time on page helps you understand how visitors find your page from a user experience perspective.
Is your time on page shorter than expected?
- make your content more relevant (make sure you communicate to the right target!)
- use more engaging forms within your content (e.g. videos)
- check whether navigating through your page is easy enough
- make your content easy on the eyes with images, white spaces, quotes, bullet points, etc.
- make sure that the relevant information is easy to find
How interesting is your website? Page views will help you find out. This metric points to the number of pages visited in a session, which may be an important thing to your business.
If you have an ecommerce business, you want users to browse through as many products as possible to boost the chances of increasing their cart value. However, you have to remember that we want users to naturally move around your website and not to be pushed onto pages they’re not interested in. And even a high number of pages viewed per session doesn’t have to directly translate into higher order value.
Where do your visitors come from? With the traffic source metric, you can see what sources, like social media or newsletters etc., bring visitors to your website.
Why is that important? Looking just at the basic numbers, you are able to tell which channels perform best = give you the most visitors. Let’s say you run various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You want to know where your organic posts gain the most traction (not just in likes and comments, but in site visits), so you go to your web analytics and have a look at the traffic source. You see that Facebook brings you the most visitors (keep up the good work!) but you have no visits from LinkedIn. From there, you can diagnose why that’s happening.
Going deeper into the data, you can check the quality of traffic per source: have the visitors read your content? You may find that visitors from one medium spend much more time on your page than the visitors from another source. This will help you improve your future marketing efforts.
The main traffic sources include:
This metric gives you some insight into how attractive and intuitive users find your website. When a visitor lands on your site, it’s great if they stay and interact with your page: read articles, browse products. Exit rate shows you how many users left your website after viewing a particular page. If the exit rate is high, it might be an indication that they’ve lost interest after exploring your site this far, and you should ask yourselves some questions: is your content relevant? Is the website easy to navigate? How can you keep your visitors’ interest?
When you click a Facebook post, land on a website, and see it’s not what you were expecting, you just close the tab or click back. No time to waste on the internet! If you do that, such a session is recorded as bounce rate.
Having a high bounce rate is not good for your business as it affects your SEO ranking, which can translate into less traffic from search. On top of that, it may be an indicator that there’s something wrong with your site: the content may be misleading or boring, the site may take too long to load, the site may not meet the visitors’ expectations, or the site may be of low quality (with a number of reasons here, like mediocre content, non-intuitive UX, non-mobile-friendly design).
Your web analytics can also help you measure conversions on your website, depending on your needs and goals these may mean:
- new subscribers
- content downloads
- filling out contact form
- clicking a specific CTA
- a sale.
Tracking your conversion rate is a must to measure your marketing campaign effectiveness!
Social reach and engagement
Though these are vanity metrics, it’s good to also keep track of your social media following, your posts reach, and user interactions. Social media platforms are great for creating a base of followers and staying in touch with them, giving them space to interact with your brand by liking, sharing, commenting on your content or sending you messages. You want to reach as many people as possible and the numbers of impressions and reactions show you what types of content your followers enjoy most. Ideally, your posts should generate both big reach and engagement such as clicks, likes, comments, shares. Engagement is the key to building a community around your brand and building unique experience for your followers.
Email open rate and CTR
If you send out emails, which you should do once you build some email base, the open rate is one of the most important metrics to watch. If the open rate is low, this may mean that:
- your subject line isn’t attractive
- you’re sending the wrong content to the wrong people
- your timing isn’t right.
Services such as MailChimp or ActiveCampaign help you find the best time to send emails and improve your subject lines, but you still need to make sure that the content you create is relevant to your target group.
CTR (click through rate) is another important metric that shows what the recipients click and how often they do it.
Other important marketing metrics
Marketing metrics go beyond measuring the traffic on your website and interactions on social media. You can (and should) also keep track of things like SQLs and customer acquisition cost. Below, you can find additional metrics to keep an eye on.
Marketing & sales qualified leads
Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are people who have interacted with your marketing efforts, e.g. downloaded your ebook or attended your webinar. After taking that action, an MQL is nurtured and when they are assessed as having potential to become a customer, they become a sales qualified lead (SQL). An SQL has already engaged with your sales efforts, e.g. has requested a demo or scheduled an introductory call. On top of keeping track of the number of SQLs, you can also keep information about the quality of each SQL — since not every lead passed to the sales team will meet their qualification criteria. You can also measure the MQL to SQL rate per channel to know what channels are bringing you the best quality of leads.
Cost per click
Cost per click is used in paid promotion like pay-per-click marketing and social media advertising. This metric shows how much you pay for an individual click that a user performs and is important when you’re planning and assessing your marketing budget.
Depending on the company’s needs, you have to adjust the marketing KPIs and metrics to answer the most important questions and enable your sales team. When looking at your metrics, it’s always important to know why you’re measuring this particular thing since just looking at numbers doesn’t bring any tangible value to your business. Always follow your ‘why’!
Why is it important to get site analytics?
Web analytics are important because you need to know whether it’s all worth doing. Without measuring, you can’t tell how well your marketing efforts are performing. Web analytics tools give you insights into customer behaviors and can help you spot issues with your website and improve customer experience, which leads to boosting conversions through website optimization. With web analytics, you’ll learn which parts of your website bring you the best results — you know what your best content is and you can expand it, reuse it, add different or improved call to actions buttons or links on such pages to move your visitors further down your funnel. In today’s world, it’s become impossible to do marketing without ever looking at data, and data-driven marketing has proven to be a great way of acquiring customers.