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Success Metrics in Digital Marketing – What, Why and How to Track


Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

Success Metrics in Digital Marketing

What are the metrics you should be tracking in your digital marketing efforts? For lead generation, there are 6 key numbers that you may want to track on a monthly basis and then set goals incrementally to improve them.

What are the most important success metrics?

Some of the top numbers that come up again and again:

  1. Conversions – Leads from the website like contact form submissions and calls Example: 20 conversions a month and a good goal might be 30 conversions a month by the end of the year.
  2. Conversion Rate – What percentage of people that are turning into customers from the traffic you received. Example: 1.7% and a good goal might then be 2.2% by the last month of the year.
  3. Qualified Leads or Sales – What amount of people that came in as a lead, ended up being a real prospect? For instance, 10 out of 20 conversions were qualified -or on e-commerce– $20,000 in direct sales on your site, where your goal might be 20 out of 30 conversions being qualified, – or – $35,000 monthly e-commerce sales.
  4. Traffic – How many people are visiting the website? Example: 10,000 unique visitors a month, and a good goal might be then 15,000 unique visits a month by the end of the year.
  5. Average Time on Site – How long are people spending on average on the website? Example: 2 minutes and a good goal might then be 1:20 minutes.
  6. Bounce Rate – What percentage of people leave before diving into the content? Example: 50% a month, where-as then a good goal might then be bringing it down to 35% – since you want fewer people to bounce.
  7. Social Engagement – How many new followers, likes, retweets and other engagement total do you have from your audience on social? Example 10,000 engagements monthly and a good goal might be 15,000 engagements by the end of the year.

If you’re the type of person where you want to do all this yourself – keep reading! If you’ve got too much on your plate – send us a message now and we’d love to help you improve these metrics!

Attempting to take on another project when you're already booked up - KPI's in digital marketing gif

 

Quick keys to getting these numbers up:

  1. Want to Increase Conversions? Add trust factors like guarantees, security badges, and reviews in areas where people are taking next steps. Add more information about the product that would be attractive from a visitors perspective, attractive photo’s, social links and easy to find contact info.  Have call-to-action buttons that are large, easy to find, and make the next steps to work with you simple and easy.
  2. Want to Increase Traffic? Blog about more things people actually want to read! Do keyword research on competitor blog posts that do well through Ahrefs or SEMRush, and use AnswerThePublic.com, and Quora to answer real questions people have related to what you’re selling. Guest post on other blogs and link back to your site, post on social media, and promote your posts on Facebook.
  3. Want to Increase Time on Site? The first trick is to get people to stay on the page when they first land. So make your page as lightning fast if you can, and include compelling elements like images, videos, gifs and other compelling elements – and string them along with easy to use structure, and intuitive headlines that allow people to get the main ideas quickly.
  4. Want to Decrease Bounce Rate? A lot of the things above will do it – particularly the increasing page speed suggestion. Use a caching plugin on WordPress, use Gzip in your .htaccess file, compress images with Smush.it, and combine and minify your JS and CSS files. Always make sure to give people what they came to a particular page for – don’t hide it, or bury answers deep in the content. People will get frustrated and… ‘bounce.’

Why do success metrics in digital marketing matter?

Success metrics define where we’re at.

They can help us see where we need to go.

You need to have success metrics in digital marketing because they help you know what you need to improve

If you track digital marketing success metrics (also known as KPI‘s or Key Performance Indicators) because it allows you to take a really good look at what your digital marketing is doing now. The first step to diagnosing a problem or pouring heavy resources into something you see that’s working really well is to find a baseline for these numbers.

The way your digital marketing is feeding sales, and the way sales is converting those opportunities – will define the rest of your strategy. Don’t be one of those companies where the answer to the question ‘how many conversions did you have last month’ is ‘I don’t know.’

Don't be one of those companies where the answer to the question 'how many conversions did you have last month' is 'I don't know.' Click To Tweet

You need to have goals for your success metrics in digital marketing so you can improve them

A 20% improvement your first year after finding baselines might be smart unless your site is currently very low on traffic. The key is to find some aggressive goals so that they make you a bit uncomfortable, and ask yourself – “what would we have to do to reach those numbers?

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Then do those things.

Key actions might be: 

  • Blog 5 times a month, with at least one piece of content being a giant blog post or deep resource.
  • Guest post 5 times a month.
  • Have a Quarterly review of existing content and targeting process – refreshing old content where appropriate.
  • Find any pages with high bounce rate, and work to improve them with call-to-action buttons, obvious next steps, or augmented content.
  • Have a Quarterly plan to work on your page speed.
  • Renew your commitment to regular posting and interacting on social – make sure someone in the organization is accountable for it.

"What Gets Measured, Gets Managed." - Peter Drucker

Track improvements in your metrics in digital marketing to improve your ROI from your website

Why do you need to track improvements?

As they say – when you track things they get improved. I have an excel document with my most important KPI’s and I make sure they are logged every month. Just for reference, mine looks like this:

February March
Events attended
Unique Visitors (New Users)
MQL’s
SQL’s – raising this one/ events/call
Quality Sales Conversations
Proposals
Sales
Recurring Revenue
Total Revenue
Expenses
Net Profit
Cashflow (money in bank)
Guest Posts
Articles on site
Social total engagement

I might even color-code them so that I can quickly reference the most important ones. Mine steer directly into my business reality so ‘Quality Sales Conversations’, and ‘Revenue’ drive the document, but directly relate to the number of visitors and conversions (MQL’s – Marketing Qualified Leads) we receive.

Over time you push your goals up, match the reality against the goals – and change what you need to change to match your goals. Checking in on this doc once a week might be all you need, but I prefer to live in here whenever possible, because these are the nuts and bolts business metrics that are going to drive growth going forward.

How can you track success metrics in digital marketing?

There are more and more tools to track KPI’s from your digital marketing – but probably the best and most powerful tools are the simplest. For instance, Google Analytics is FREE – isn’t likely to go anywhere soon, and is fairly simple to set up if you haven’t already done so. If you haven’t done this yet, do it now!

This graphic refers to paid Adwords campaign, but it’s applicable across the board – Disruptive shares stats on campaigns where conversion tracking are hooked up, and campaigns where it’s not:

Does Conversion Tracking Matter?

So if you don’t track – it’s hard to tell what’s working. That’s a huge disadvantage for the long-term success of your campaigns and makes you more likely to quit certain efforts entirely, than to selectively kill them and start new ones based on previous success. Campaigns that have tracking, are doing much better! This is likely the result of closer monitoring and taking it more seriously.

Use Google Analytics to track Conversions and Conversion Rate and Traffic

To set up Google Analytics go to analytics.google.com, press ‘Sign up for free’ – then enter your website information, and copy the tracking information to the head of your document.

 

How do you track conversions 

The easiest way to track conversions is to track a page visit to a ‘thank you’ page that people are redirected to after they contact you.

It’s super easy – but here’s a little review:

1. Press admin in Google Analytics at the bottom left.

How  to get to Admin in Google Analytics - Screenshot

 

2. Choose account, property and then Goals from the right menu:

3. Write in your goal description, choose destination, and add the /url-here and a value (optional)

Pro-tip: If you really want to get granular with your conversion tracking – why not set a value that averages what a contact from submission is really worth?

You can do this by figuring out what your customer lifetime value is – and multiplying that by the percentage of closes you get from conversions. For instance, if you’re average customer lifetime value is $10,000, you get 10 contact form submissions a month, and one of those closes on average the formula would be 10% of 10k.

In this scenario we then make each contact form submission 1k – so that we have some idea of the monetary value the website is bringing in on a monthly basis. (Even though it’s a rough estimate.)

Use Google Analytics to track Average time on site and bounce rate

Once you’ve installed analytics – you’re bounce rate and your average time on site will start tracking immediately. So it’s just a matter of finding it, possibly recording monthly totals and working towards improvements.

As the video below suggests – a nice place to look at your high-level numbers is Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium.

Use your sales team to determine how many qualified leads came in and track

Getting a bunch of people to your website means diddly squat if they don’t turn into real customers. This is where no data suite or analytics tool is going to be complete without real humans adding the information that transpired in calls, or in person (in lead generation marketing.)

In e-commerce – skip this step.

An interesting ratio to look at is how many conversions on the site turn into real, qualified leads. You can choose which one you’d like to focus on the most – if you have a marketing and sales team, marketing takes responsibility for pushing ‘marketing qualified leads’ up and subsequently ‘sales qualified leads’ generally go up as well. When they are ‘sales qualified’ it’s the sales team (or sales persons) job to close them.

  • Marketing qualified leads: Fit the criteria of a lead in general (not spam.)
  • Sales qualified leads: Have the qualities of a real customer, like a budget, timeline, and need.

Fit – is crucial of course, but if you make ‘fit’ the jurisdiction of the sales team to determine, it’s a subjective thing that can then be used to skew numbers, so I suggest for SQL’s you focus on whether they have a budget, timeline and need. If they have these things, and aren’t just a no-budget/low-budget time-waster, they count as an SQL.

Use Sprout Social to count the number of engagements on social each month

We use Sprout Social for our clients, and it’s a great way to track our progress on social media. You can record what the ‘total number of engagements’ was for the month – and then push that number up by sharing more often, using Buffer to add more content, asking questions, taking photos etc. All with the express purpose of pushing the overall engagement level up to your aggressive goal for the year.

Sprout Social - Engagement Reports

 

Articles about success metrics in digital marketing

  1. 8 Essential Metrics to Measure in Your Digital MarketingBuildFire
  2. Measuring Digital Marketing Success – Choosing the Right MetricsTop Floor Tech
  3. 10 Online Metrics You Need to Be MeasuringForbes, Jayson DeMers
  4. The 5 Digital Marketing KPI’s you Need to Track for ProfitsData Pine
  5. 50 Digital Marketing KPI’sDigital Current

 

Wrapping Up

Thank you so much for checking out the – article. As you determine you success metrics in Digital Marketing – what do you track? What are your most important KPI’s?

We’d love to hear from you – tweet at us, or leave a comment below with the KPI’s you focus on most!

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

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