This post has been updated as of May 2019
Digital marketing is one of the most popular ways for businesses to try to increase sales. In fact, spending on digital marketing is projected to increase by anywhere from 12-15 percent.
What’s surprising about this number is that, according to recent research, many businesses have a hard time measuring the results of their digital marketing campaigns. A third of marketers don’t know which digital marketing efforts have the best revenue impact, and some businesses don’t even track metrics that give this information.
To make sure you’re spending your digital marketing budget in a way that’ll help you increase sales, here are the top digital marketing KPIs you should be tracking, and information on how they help inform your strategy.
What is KPI marketing?
Digital marketing KPIs are one of the most important parts of tracking your marketing efforts. KPIs are key performance indicators, and represent essential metrics to keep track of, especially when it comes to inbound marketing.
Using inbound marketing strategies, like growing long-term customer relationships through content that’s subtle, informative, and effective, determining the ROI depends, in part, on analyzing your digital marketing KPIs.
Tracking your marketing ROI is one of the most effective ways to make future improvements on your campaigns. The more you learn from your KPI, the more potential you have to optimize your content, as well as customer retention.
What are the most important KPIs to watch?
Customer retention happens to be one of the single most important digital marketing KPIs, along with customer satisfaction, which goes hand in hand with customer retention. The more satisfied your customers are, the more customers you’ll retain.
On the flip side, employee retention is just as important as customer retention. High turnover is costly and indicates turmoil and potential weakness in an organization. The higher retention you have, in terms of both customers and employees, the more successful your brand will be. That makes these two metrics some of the most important KPIs to watch.
In considering employee retention, one of the factors you’ll need to examine is your company’s employee productivity. In this case, employee productivity means the company’s resources to make employees more productive.
Companies need to be able to furnish employees with the tools and resources that they need to be successful in the organization. Firms who ignore this step and don’t take the time to outfit staff with the appropriate resources run the risk of suffering from much lower rates of employee retention and high turnover. The high turnover will be expensive and, ultimately, the cost will fall upon the customer, making it essential for you to pay attention to the needs of staff just as much as those of customers.
When analyzing your digital marketing KPIs, it’s important to pay attention to the little things—every metric makes a difference. Even the seemingly most simple and minuscule of KPI metrics, such as open rates, all add up to something big.
The key is to keep these metrics in check before they can ever get out of control in the first place. You should also make a continuous study of current email marketing tips to manage KPIs effectively.
Source: Really Good Emails
If you’re wondering what KPIs you should start tracking, Campaign Monitor has your back. Here’s a breakdown of other marketing KPIs you should manage.
1. Email marketing KPIs
It probably won’t surprise you that email marketing is among the best marketing techniques to increase sales. In fact, 60% of marketers say that email marketing is producing an ROI for their organization, and 32% of marketers say that email marketing will produce an ROI for their organization. Other reports even indicate that email marketing can yield $44 for every $1 spent.
While marketers believe email marketing is the best e-commerce tool, it’s important to remember that not every email will be as equally as effective in generating sales. The process of getting emails to convert includes a mix of creativity, strategy, and data analytics.
To help you make sure your email marketing strategy is converting into sales, here are the top email marketing metrics you should be measuring.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the measure of how many people clicked on a hyperlink, CTA, or image within a particular email.
Click-through rate is important because it helps you measure how well your emails are performing, which calls to action are encouraging activity, and if your click-through rates are changing (for good or bad) based on your email marketing strategies.
The conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who complete a goal action. Conversions tell how many of the subscribers followed through on your desired outcome. This could include making a purchase, subscribing to an email list, downloading a report, sending a referral your way, registering for an online class, and more.
Return on investment (ROI)
Not only is it a good idea to measure conversions, but it’s also important to measure your overall ROI. Overall ROI will tell you how much you made in total sales minus the money you invested in the campaign.
Overall ROI will give you an idea of how well your campaigns are contributing to the overall profits of your company.
Unique open rate
If you’re looking to understand just how effective your subject lines are, unique open rate is the perfect KPI to monitor.
Unique open rate determines the amount of distinct opens of your email. Unique open rate will only count one open, no matter how many times a subscriber reopens the same email. Total opens, on the other hand, counts the total number of times any and every subscriber has opened your email.
Measuring unique open rate is the better way to determine how appealing your topics and promotions are, while monitoring total open rates will give you an idea of how appealing your actual content is.
Bounce rate will tell you how many of your emails are not being successfully delivered. There are two different types of bounce rates to measure: hard bounces and soft bounces.
Soft bounces occur when an email isn’t delivered because of a temporary error, like a recipient’s mailbox being full, a server problem, or your email message being too large. Soft bounces are minor problems, and most email service providers will automatically try to redeliver an email that registers as a soft bounce.
A hard bounce, on the other hand, occurs when an email isn’t delivered because of a permanent error. This could include something like a non-existent recipient email address, a fake domain name, or delivery being blocked by the server.
Remember that, for one in five companies, email marketing yields an ROI of more than 70:1. However, the only way of knowing how well your email marketing campaigns are performing is to measure the KPIs listed above.
2. Social media marketing KPIs
Another vital part of your digital marketing strategy to increase sales should be social media marketing.
Ninety percent of young adults (ages 18-29) use social media. Something that’s particularly interesting, especially for B2B companies out there, is 84% of VPs and CEOs report that social media influences purchasing decisions.
However, making sure your social media marketing strategy is converting to sales for your audience isn’t as simple as just posting content on your profiles. To really determine what content is leading to conversions, you’ll want to keep track of and test the following metrics.
Impressions will tell you the number of time your social media content is displayed across a particular social media network. For example, in Twitter, “Tweet impressions” will show you how many times your tweet has been displayed across Twitter.
Impressions don’t directly tell you how many, and who’s converting, but it does tell you that people are engaging with and sharing your content. The more engagement you have on your content, the higher the impressions you should see.
Click-through with bounce rate
Clicks tell you the number of people that click on your content, which will give you an idea of how much interest your content is generating. However, if you really want to know how many people are responding to your social media content, a better metric is click-through with bounce rate.
Click-through measured with bounce rate will tell you the amount of people that clicked your link (click-through), and bounce rate will tell you the percentage of people that clicked that also left your linked page immediately.
When you measure these two social media metrics together, you get a better idea of how much interest you are actually generating.
Social shares tell you not just the amount of traffic that’s coming to your website, but the amount of traffic that’s driven to your website by particular social media channels.
When tracking social shares, you can use analytics programs to segment and test which campaigns and social media platforms are driving more traffic to your website. This is the perfect way to determine how well your social media campaigns are reaching your target audience.
When tracking social media metrics to increase sales, there are several other important metrics, including shares, likes, referrals, conversion rates, and more.
3. Digital ad KPIs
If you’re looking to really boost your e-commerce sales, then it’s important not to leave digital advertising out of the equation.
Online advertising is one of the most profitable ways to increase sales. In fact, according to recent studies, when non-viewed ads are filtered out, brand lift improves by 31%.
While digital advertising is a great way to increase brand awareness and boost sales, just like with email marketing and social media marketing, there’s a science to it. The best way to make sure your ads are resonating with your target audience and really hitting the mark is to keep your eye on e-commerce-related digital advertising metrics and adjust your strategy based on what the numbers are telling you.
Here are the top digital advertising metrics to keep your eye on when looking to increase your sales.
Cost-per-click (CPC) is the most dominant model of payment for online advertisements. CPC refers to the actual amount you pay for a click to your website (click-through). The amount you pay for a keyword will depend on your industry and the competition.
Measuring CPC is important in regard to your e-commerce strategy because it’ll give you an idea of how much your digital advertising campaign is going to cost to run and, ultimately, give you an idea of the financial success of your advertising efforts.
Another common model for payment for online advertising is CPM, or cost per thousand times your ad is displayed (impressions). Rather than bidding on a specific keyword, you simply pay a specific amount of money each time your advertisement is seen a thousand times.
Just like with CPC, CPM will tell you how much value your ad is producing in terms of how much it costs. If you find that your overall ROI is high and your CPM is low, then you know that your advertising campaign is producing value at a relatively low cost.
Lead to close ratio
When looking at your digital marketing efforts in terms of how it directly affects your sales, you’ll want to measure your lead to close ratio as well.
To gather this information, you’ll want to divide the total number of leads you acquired from your digital marketing campaign and divide it by how many of those acquired leads resulted in a sale.
This will give you an idea of whether you’re underspending or overspending on display advertising, and help you form a better strategy for moving forward.
4. Website KPIs
Finally, since the majority of your e-commerce sales will actually take place on your website, it’s important to keep track website KPIs that’ll help you increase your sales.
The bounce rate will show you what percentage of visitors leave (or bounce out of) your website before leaving.
For example, someone may click through to your website through an interesting social media post, but, upon reaching your website, they click away before further exploring your website.
The goal is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible, and, if your bounce rates are high, it might indicate that your website needs adjusting to keep people there in order to lead to more sales.
Things that affect bounce rate could be slow load times, poor design, too many pop-ups, alternate advertising, cluttered content, and more.
Time on site and pages per visit
Time on site measures how much time someone spent on your website and pages per visit measures how many pages a particular user visited during a stay on your site. These metrics are important to measure because they tell you how involved or interested a user is when they come to your website.
If you notice that your average time on site and pages per visit are low, then it may mean you need to include more compelling content, make it easier to lead visitors to purchase, or find ways to make sure you’re attracting the right audience.
Cart abandonment tells you how many people added a product or service to their shopping cart but clicked away before actually buying the product.
This metric is especially important because it tells you that people are interested in your products, but, for whatever reason, they clicked out before making the final decision.
When you know who’s abandoning a cart, you can employ marketing tactics to help push them toward actually purchasing. For example, if you see that someone has abandoned their cart, you can automatically send them an email to remind them to make a purchase.
Additionally, you’ll want to check your e-commerce software to make sure there aren’t any technical issues preventing customers from easily making a purchase.
Digital marketing is definitely among the most popular and effective ways to increase sales, but only if you’re paying attention to the science of it. When looking to increase your sales, make sure you’re tracking the digital marketing KPIs above, and then using the information to make smarter marketing decisions. If you do, you’ll find you’re able to more effectively use your marketing budget to increase sales.
Find out more about KPI marketing, with Campaign Monitor.
This post was originally published in March 2017