The Digital Marketing KPIs You Should Be Tracking17 min read

by Mar 20, 2024Marketing

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When reviewing digital marketing campaign performance data, it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of information and think all of it is important to track. However, tracking too many metrics is cumbersome and not tracking enough can paint a false picture of success. That’s why it is imperative to include measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in your marketing strategy so you, your colleagues, and company leadership are all aligned in what metrics contribute to the bottom line.

The measurable goals of a marketing plan are the high-level objectives that ladder up to a company’s business plan. KPIs are the data used to track performance to the marketing plan goals. It’s the data you track each month to ensure your campaigns are performing well and on target. Digital marketing KPIs show the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives.

Engagement, Engagement, Engagement!

There are several digital marketing KPIs you should be tracking (and I will get to them), but the single most important one is engagement. This goes for all of your digital marketing efforts— paid and organic. Are your audiences engaging with your content? What’s the point of producing and publishing content if audiences are not engaging? And, are they engaging with it in a meaningful way that goes beyond a 10-second glance or skim? This is key to knowing if you’re attracting your target audience AND giving them the information or solutions they want.

PPC Campaign KPIs

The data you see from a platform about the performance of a pay-per-click advertising campaign depends on the platform and the type of campaign you’re running. Some campaigns, like Google Search, give many data points so you can fully understand what is working and what is not. Google Performance Max, on the other hand, is more vague and you can’t drill down as far. This has pros and cons, but the type of campaign you run on a platform should be chosen based on the target audience and objectives.

Overall, here are the data points to keep an eye on.

  • Reach – The number of people reached each month will vary. You may think the more people you reach, the better, but that is not always true. Remember what I said about engagement? Yes, you want to reach a lot of people, but if they aren’t interacting with your ads, then it’s not worth it. Keep an eye on reach, but more does not always equal better.
  • Clicks and Click-Thru-Rate – These are important data points because they show if your ad copy is compelling enough to get people to click through to the content. Think of this as the carrot that leads the donkey, or as I like to say, the cookie that leads the mouse. Ideally, the higher the clicks the better, but keep an eye on that click-thru-rate (CTR). If the CTR is not meeting or exceeding industry benchmarks (or your own established benchmarks), then something is off and the copy and keywords need a review.
  • Conversions and Conversion Rate – Meeting conversion and conversion rate (CVR) benchmarks show if the page your audience landed on contains the information they want. A conversion is when your audience performs a desired action. You hooked them with the ad copy, but if they aren’t converting then a review of the landing page and its keywords is in order.

It is important to keep an eye on the cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-conversion (CPCV), but this data fluctuates depending on industry and seasonality. There are industry benchmarks you can use as a guide, but it’s best to rely on your own benchmarks here. If a conversion costs well over the benchmark, say $383, but you know that conversion will bring $100K plus in business, then it’s probably worth it in the long run, CPCV rate be d*mned.

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Website & Social Media Data

It is easy to get bogged down with website data because Google Analytics 4 and Search Console provide A LOT. Depending on your business goals, some data points may be more relevant than others. And, the data you show leadership will likely be a condensed, high-level version of it all.

The key website metrics we recommend using are:

  • Website Users – Like PPC reach, more website users aren’t always better. If you have many users on your website, but they aren’t engaging with content, then what’s the point? Either they aren’t your target audience or your content sucks. Likewise, you should keep an eye on new versus returning users. Think of new users as potential new customers and returning users like returning customers—they know your content and came back for more.
  • Engaged Sessions and Engagement Time – It keeps coming back to engagement, doesn’t it? You want your website users to engage with your site and its content. Doing so means you’ll see a higher percentage of engaged sessions and a higher average engagement time.
  • Bounce Rate – Ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be low. Many studies claim the average bounce rate is 60-70%, but it all depends on the purpose of your site and what brought a user to it. You do want to shoot for a low bounce rate because it means audiences were engaged and didn’t “bounce” from your site after a few seconds.

The key social media metrics we recommend using shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you’ve been following along.

  • Engagement – This is the key metric to pay attention to when it comes to social media. Yes, you want to increase followers, but again if those followers aren’t engaging with your content, what’s the point? You want them liking, commenting, and sharing your content with their followers.
  • Followers – Yes it is important to grow your social media followers, as long as it is done strategically and follows the goals you set. Growing your followers by inviting your aunt, second cousin, and third-grade art teacher isn’t going to do much unless they truly are your target audience. Company social media accounts exist to allow two-way communication between a company and its target audience. It’s a chance for authentic interactions and relationship-building, and not necessarily to make money. Although, a few CEOs out there who will disagree.

Email Metrics

Email campaign metrics are relatively simple—open and click rates. Are the intended recipients opening your email and clicking on content? If they are, then they are actively engaged (there’s that word again!) and want the content you’re providing them. If your open and click rates are falling below set benchmarks, then it’s time to review and adjust.

If the open rate declines, it means the subject and preview text are not compelling enough for someone to even open it. If the click rate declines or stays low, it means the content in the email isn’t what the audience wants (or signed up for). It is important to keep track of unsubscribes and spam notifications as well because those signify when people are no longer interested in your content or didn’t sign up for your content in the first place (we could dedicate an entire blog just to this).

DVS and Digital Marketing

Data collection and analysis can be overwhelming because there’s so much of it! It’s hard to sift through what’s important, what isn’t, what should be tracked regularly, and what should just be monitored. A solid strategic marketing plan with measurable objectives is the first step to helping sort through it all. Once you know what the goals are, then you can establish the KPIs you need to fulfill those goals. And, once you know the KPIs, you can identify what data informs them.

As a marketing agency, DVS tracks and reports digital marketing metrics to clients regularly. We work alongside them to make sure all of the marketing efforts are laddering up to meet the goals of the strategic plan and the overall business plan. Need help getting started? Drop us an email and let’s figure it out together.