How to Understand the Marketing Metrics that Really Matter
When you’re running a digital marketing campaign, how do you measure your return on investment (ROI)? In our data-driven world, there are many metrics out there—but which ones offer the information that counts?
A bad habit that many marketers fall into is only focusing on the metrics that are simple to track – like followers or clicks – but these numbers are often lacking when it comes to providing in-depth insight about the success (or failures) of your campaigns. This is why it’s vital for marketers to access a variety of metrics when it comes to analyzing their campaigns. Understanding these metrics will help to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and—with the right strategy in place—work to increase profit.
So, are you ready to step up your marketing game? Let’s jump into the marketing metrics you need to start paying attention to right now.
Traffic Share by Channel
You might already be tracking the efforts that are resulting in more hits to your website or landing page. Traffic, overall, is a great metric to measure but it gives very little insight into what parts of your campaign are really working. To step things up, you’ll want to analyze your traffic share, which will let you know exactly where your traffic is coming from. Additionally, monitoring traffic share will show where your traffic is coming from and how much traffic you’re getting from each source. These numbers will show which sources to focus more of your attention on.
In Google Analytics, you can visit the acquisition section to learn more about which channels are driving the highest amount of traffic as well as engagement and conversions. You can also add links with tracking capabilities (tied to goals) into your posts.
How many users are interacting with your posts? While gaining and growing a following is important, if the audience isn’t engaging with your content, you won’t see much in terms of ROI.
To determine your engagement ratio, you’ll need to track likes, comments, and total shares on your content. Compare this to how many posts you’re putting up on any given day and your total number of fans. This ratio will provide invaluable insight into the quality of the following you have built.
Most social media sites will give you access to these analytics for free. Visit the account or administrator section of your profile for details.
Unique and Returning Visitors
Looking at website visitors as just a number will not give you the information you need. Tracking how many unique visitors are coming to your site provides more insight into how your campaign is performing. If you aren’t reaching a new audience with your content, your posts may not be worth the money that you’re spending on them.
On the flip side, if you don’t have any returning visitors, that’s bad news, too. People should be engaging with your brand well beyond the original click. If they’re not, then your marketing efforts are definitely not reaching the people who will ultimately contribute to your bottom line.
To track new and returning visitors, visit the audience section of Google Analytics and find “behavior” on the menu. There, you will find information on the different types of visitors coming to your website and any other insights that will be useful to you.
Getting visitors to your website is half the battle, but are you holding their attention? The goal is to get visitors to click beyond your homepage, which is only looking at the total number of visitors is not enough information. That metric tells you how many people landed on your site, but it doesn’t reveal how much time they spent looking at the content.
If many of your users are clicking on the website but then not exploring any further, it suggests two things:
- The user did not find what they were looking for and moved on
- Your marketing campaign might not be targeting the right people
Google Analytics will give you information on your bounce rate. Additionally, you can find the average amount of time users are spending on your site and individual pages. If you’re looking for tips on how to reduce your bounce rate, Google’s got you covered.
Why do inbound links matter? Well, a great indication that you’re providing valuable content is when other businesses and websites start to link from their content back to yours. Having high-quality inbound links from authoritative websites will also boost your SEO efforts.
It’s also important to track inbound links so that you can make sure that spammers aren’t linking to your content and hurting your online presence.
How do you track inbound links? You can use Google Analytics to view your website's referral traffic. This metric will show you who is linking to your website and what content they’re linking to. Monitoring this on a regular basis will allow you to see who’s finding your content useful.
After getting new fans on social media and more traffic on your website, you might think that those things alone will guarantee you a large ROI. This isn’t always the case. What really matters is determining if those leads are qualified or not.
The truth is that there is no way to guarantee that a certain number of fans online or website visits will translate into your desired number of sales. However, you can get information about which portion of your audience is likely to purchase your product or service. How many people went beyond your social media pages or homepage to sign up for the email list? Did anyone take a free course? Did a prospect contact your customer service department to learn more? These are your qualified leads.
The way to track this metric down depends on the tools you’re using. For example, if you’re running an email campaign with software like SumoMe or Mailchimp, those services will provide you with qualified lead analytics.
The next step beyond figuring out the number of qualified leads is determining how many of those leads are converting to sales. After all, the goal of marketing your business is to gain new customers and to make more money. So, where are the people who are buying your product coming from and how are they finding you?
Remember, you don’t need to be doing billions of dollars in sales for your marketing campaign to be considered a success. What you should pay attention to is which digital marketing strategies are working and resulting in sale leads.
How to track this metric will, again, depend on the product or service you are selling. However, most applications will give you information on how many sales you made and where they came from. Do not forget to factor this in when you’re looking at your campaigns as a whole.
Now that you have a better understanding on campaign performance via the metrics we discussed above, another question arises: How much is this costing you? Are the ads you’re purchasing and running on Facebook driving more traffic than the cost it took to create the ad in the first place? If so, you have a problem.
Companies can easily spend anywhere from $500 to $25,000 per month on social media marketing. It only makes sense to double down on what’s working and eliminate the campaigns that are not. This is how you maximize your marketing dollars.
So, how do you know what kind of content is worth the money? Add up what you’re spending on each outlet per month, and compare that to the number of qualified leads and conversions you’ve gained. Doing so will allow you to see how much each piece of content contributes to your customer acquisition.
The key to understanding the marketing metrics that really matter is by digging into analytics beyond the surface. Sure, you can access the “easy” numbers at any time, but the key is being able to dive into the truth behind how your content is performing. This is what will ultimately drive better results and earn you a bigger ROI.
There are a plethora of options out there when it comes to how you can track these results. It is critical, however, that you’re able to get information on each effort individually.
And, keep in mind, the statistics you find as a result of your current marketing efforts can change in the blink of an eye. The difference between a great campaign and an average one comes down to listening to what your audience is telling you. When it comes to digital marketing, your performance goes beyond the ability to gain an audience. You want a quality audience and you must have the ability to continue to engage with them in the ways they respond to. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply pay attention to the right marketing metrics and work to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns over time.
About the Author
Grayson Lafrenz is the CEO and co-founder of Power Digital Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency in San Diego with an emphasis in e-commerce and lead gen growth.