The internet has made marketing campaigns far more trackable and measurable. You no longer have to make an educated guess about whether or not a campaign performed.
The data you can collect is incredibly detailed and valuable, but it can be overwhelming if you’re unsure where to focus your attention.
This list is designed to keep you focused on the digital marketing metrics that matter most. We’ve picked these nine metrics because they are closely in line with the inbound marketing approach that we follow.
The goal of inbound marketing is to generate more traffic, leads and sales through your website. The best way to achieve this is through data-driven insight that allows you to optimize and adjust your campaigns as you go.
Most of these metrics can be measured with Google Analytics, but we personally use HubSpot because it’s an all-in-one marketing automation tool that helps track campaigns in much more detail.
Is there another metric you’re tracking?
If there’s one you measure that isn’t on our list, include it in the comments section below.
Site visits and traffic sources
Site visits is a basic metric, but an important one. It’s often the first indication that a campaign is doing what it’s supposed to do – drive more traffic to your site. With a low amount of traffic to your site, you likely won’t generate the number of leads needed for success. So be sure to set a ‘visits’ goal for your campaign.
You also want to take a look at your traffic sources, which can be split into three main categories:
- Direct visits – these people directly typed your URL in their browser
- Search/organic visits – these people visited your site based on a search query
- Referral visits – These people visited your site because it was mentioned on another blog or site
In order to build credibility and authority for your website, search engines like to see traffic from all three sources. This is why you want a digital marketing strategy that includes a variety of tactics like social media and blogging.
Visits to your website are obviously important, but that traffic is meaningless if you’re not converting the traffic into leads. Remember, that your site should have a strong call to action (CTA) designed to capture contact information and start to move them through the buyer’s journey.
This is what the buyer’s journey looks like:
Conversion rates vary widely by industry, so you will need to start testing and set a benchmark for your site.
Does your site’s content appeal to visitors? Are your CTA’s enticing enough?
Also keep in mind that each traffic source might have varying levels of conversion that you should track and monitor as well.
If your CTA’s are performing correctly, then your site should be generating leads for your business. You should always have a goal for a specific number of leads generated through your website.
Again, this will vary depending on your industry or niche. Some businesses need a high volume of leads, while others may not.
Remember that a lead generated through your website is not a slam-dunk deal. Internet leads typically need more nurturing, which is why the inbound marketing methodology is so important – it includes a plan for nurturing and follow-up.
As the external marketing team for our clients, we often measure our success based on website leads. We don’t have direct control over the sales process our client’s implement so we can’t measure our success based on closed business – we can certainly provide suggestions on this process but we can’t do the selling for them.
Time spent on site
On average, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website. Obviously we want visitors to hang around much longer than that! We want them to be engaged with our content and start to build a relationship with our brand.
The average time spent on a site varies drastically by industry. Retail websites will often see site visits that last many minutes, where as your website might not see numbers that high.
If you’re seeing very low numbers, you need to review your messaging and your strategy, and ask yourself: how can you better connect with the people coming to your website?
Make sure your strategy includes buyer personas with an explanation about their pain points and the type of content they like to read. Quality content will keep site visitors engaged and will keep them on your site longer.
A bounce happens when someone sees your page (often the home page) and just leaves without any further interaction. A high bounce rate indicates low interest and engagement with your site. If you’re seeing a bounce rate that’s upwards of 60% then you should be concerned. We strive for a bounce rate of less than 50%.
When you have a high bounce rate, you should consider adjusting your message, home page design and the various CTA’s. Make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for and start exploring your site.
Amount of content shared
Measuring social interactions is difficult. It’s hard to place a value on a re-tweet, for example. But there is still value in these interactions because it increases your visibility and helps create brand ambassadors who trust you enough to share your content.
One of the best ways to tell if your target market (buyer personas) are engaged with your message is to track blog comments.
Social media shares are important for visibility, but generating comments shows that people are reading the content and responding to the message.
The number of pages you rank for is essentially the number of chances for your buyer personas to discover your content and your website. You want this number to be the majority of pages you have on your site.
This is also why we recommend blogging with specific key phrases – it is this individual blog pages that will start to rank over time and generate visits and leads.
According to a HubSpot study, businesses with websites of 401-1,000 pages get six times more leads than those with 51-100 pages.
Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI is one of the most important marketing metrics to measure because it determines which tactics work, and which don’t. We look at ROI in terms of a percentage. A $10,000 investment that generated $12,000 worth of business is an ROI of 20%.
Whether or not a 20% ROI is ideal or achievable for your business depends on many factors. You have to consider the resources you have available such as time, budget and team members who can help.
If resources are limited, it might take a little longer to achieve your ROI. Keep that in mind when setting your goals.
Remember that digital marketing strategies don’t produce overnight results, which is why you want to keep a close eye on these metrics to track small wins and you implement your strategy.
Many of the same principles of traditional marketing apply to web-based campaigns – you need to build trust and authority with a digital audience over time. Keep your focus on the numbers that matter most and optimize as you go.
Have more questions about digital marketing metrics? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!