When setting and tracking marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), many marketers and business owners give all their attention to the usual suspects:
The number of sales-qualified leads generated
Cost per acquisition
While many think these common KPIs are the best indicators of success, there are a number of other marketing KPIs that will help your business lead a more successful digital marketing strategy. The right marketing KPIs help you identify which campaigns and tactics have the biggest impact on whether you reach (or fail to reach) your sales and marketing goals.
No one wants to support a marketing activity that’s losing their company money. By tracking the right marketing KPIs, your company will be able to make the right adjustments to various strategies and budgets.
Without the right ones, however, your company might be reporting and making decisions based on incomplete information.
But with so many possible marketing KPIs to track, it can be pretty overwhelming to know where to start.
We’ve narrowed down our list to the 10 most important marketing KPIs that we teach our clients to track. These are the key performance indicators that provide the best benchmarks for your progress and wins. In this article, we’ll explain:
Which marketing KPIs you should track.
Why you should track them.
Methods you can use to track these key performance indicators.
This way, you’ll know exactly which metrics you should pay attention to that will help you grow your business.
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1. Marketing revenue attribution
How much revenue have your digital marketing campaigns brought in to your company? In other words, how much of your revenue can be attributed to your content marketing efforts?
Understanding this metric is important because it allows you to see how effective those campaigns are. No company wants to spend money on something that isn’t generating a return on investment (ROI).
As They Ask, You Answer author Marcus Sheridan says, the only content that works is the content that generates sales. This is why, of all the marketing KPIs, revenue attribution is at the top of this list.
This is something you can use to track and evaluate all of your efforts, and not just as a whole. You can also track how the individual pieces of your marketing strategy, such as blogging or social media, impact sales.
There are various models you can use to track revenue attribution, for example, single-touch attribution models look at your website users’ first or last interactions. You can also analyze multi-touch attribution models that divvy up the deal credits over each touchpoint.
With marketing revenue attribution, you’re looking beyond the number of qualified leads you close to see how much of your revenue is influenced by your marketing efforts. Tracking this information is a great way for your team to show the monetary value of their efforts.
If your entire company helps create content marketing materials, revenue attribution is a great way to show how their efforts have helped close deals. This gives your stakeholders a reason to continue contributing to your content marketing program.
2. Customer acquisition cost
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) looks at the total sales and marketing spend needed to gain a new customer. This includes all program and marketing costs, salaries, commissions, technology, software, and any overhead associated with a lead becoming a customer.
Not only do you want to calculate your CAC for digital marketing, but for outbound marketing as well. This way, you can understand the full scope of your efforts and which are working best.
When calculating this metric, you need to determine the time frame in which you’re going to evaluate this cost (e.g., month, quarter, year).
Once you’ve decided on your time frame, use the examples below to help calculate your total sales and marketing costs associated with digital and outbound marketing.
Calculating CAC for digital marketing, relevant costs include:
Calculating CAC for outbound marketing, relevant costs include:
Manpower (sales and marketing)
You can calculate your CAC from digital or outbound marketing by utilizing the following calculation:
By calculating the costs associated with your digital and outbound marketing campaigns, you can directly account for new sales, as well as better allocate budgets for each campaign.
If your company is utilizing mostly digital marketing, you can break down that component further by campaign types, and then assess how successful and profitable each activity is. Then, you can then implement activities to improve effectiveness over time.
Make it easier for website visitors to convert to leads, which you can do by adding calls-to-action (CTAs) and links to relevant content throughout your website and blog. Make sure that the content is as clear as possible and conveys your ability to alleviate your prospective customers’ pain points and answer their questions.
3. Customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value is how much revenue a business can reasonably expect over the average lifespan of a single customer.
Of all the marketing KPIs, this one is especially important because it costs money to acquire new customers; if you can generate more revenue from existing customers, your cost per lead drops and your marketing budget can be spent on better-quality prospects.
You can determine the lifetime value of your customers by using the following calculation:
One way that you can increase the lifetime value of your customers is by developing lead nurturing campaigns that reach out to existing customers, providing you and your sales team the opportunity to inform existing customers about new services, products, and resources.
Automated messages can often feel impersonal. Consider getting to know your customers on a personal level, like you would a family member or friend. This type of messaging could be even more effective if it comes from the CEO of your company.
Our CEO personally reaches out to a handful of clients every quarter to touch base with them. He uses this time to assess their customer satisfaction. He asks how they’re doing and works to find any areas of improvement we might make — and get their overall thoughts on working with us.
4. Digital marketing ROI
Every company wants to see a return on its marketing investment.
You don’t want to continue increasing your budget for an ineffective marketing activity that is costing your company. So, no matter what marketing activity your company is using, your return on investment will determine how you should proceed in the future.
Use the formula below to calculate your digital marketing ROI:
5. Traffic-to-lead ratio (new contact rate)
Understanding your website traffic, especially knowing where it is coming from, is extremely important — whether it’s organic, direct, social media, or referrals.
If your traffic is steady or increasing, but your traffic-to-lead ratio is low or decreasing, that’s a surefire sign that something is missing on-page.
There could be a number of culprits, but the biggest is misalignment between what users thought they were clicking on and the information they were shown. You might also be showing them content they aren’t yet qualified for, or that simply didn’t answer their questions, leaving them to find another resource that will.
Before optimizing your content, it’s important to identify what pages have the highest bounce rate and the lowest view-to-contact rate. Arming yourself with this information will help you identify which pages you should optimize first.
Another tool you might want to consider adding to your marketing report is a heatmap, especially on your landing pages and high-performing blog posts. Heatmap tools you can utilize include Lucky Orange and Hotjar.
This information will be helpful in determining if viewers are actually scrolling all the way through your content. If not, consider adding additional CTAs throughout your content rather than only at the end. Or ask yourself, are you answering searchers’ questions?
Regularly tracking your website traffic-to-lead ratio can help determine when it might be time to change your website page copy, design, CTAs, or even the attached form.
6. Lead-to-customer ratio
After all of your marketing efforts, it’s important to know how many leads your sales team is able to actually close. You will want to calculate both your sales qualified lead (SQL) conversion rate and sales accepted lead (SAL) conversion rate.
What’s the difference between the two?
SQLs are leads considered to be sales-ready based on their lead score or specific activities and/or triggers they complete. Most companies would consider a lead who filled out a form (such as “contact a rep”) to be a potential customer, someone who is ready to buy your service or product.
For example, for a waste management company, a lead who fills out the form “rent a dumpster” would be considered an SQL.
SALs are leads that your sales team considers opportunities and have either contacted them directly or scheduled a call.
Note: It’s also possible for these two types of leads to overlap.
Looking at your lead-to-customer ratio for sales qualified and sales accepted leads, ask yourself the following questions:
Is my campaign capturing leads?
Is our CRM successfully passing qualified leads to sales at the right time?
Do we have a high close rate?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, meet with your sales team to determine what is missing and how you can work together to improve your numbers.
Another strategy for increasing your lead-to-customer ratio is utilizing assignment selling. The premise of assignment selling is to use content to educate prospects in an effort to help close deals faster. Your prospects should see your sales team as a valuable resource whether they decide to work with you or not.
Broaden your mindset and focus on being a resource for your leads and customers — and you will close more deals along the way.
7. Landing page conversion rates
So your landing page is live. It’s beautiful and it follows all the best practices, but is it actually converting?
Like any other page with a form on your site, a landing page that doesn’t generate leads is useless, no matter how much traffic it gets or how beautifully designed it is. So be sure to monitor your conversion rate.
Like your traffic-to-lead ratio, if your landing page is getting a lot of traffic but has a low conversion rate, this is a red flag that you need to change something on the page.
Try A/B testing some of the changes below to see which are delivering the highest conversion rate:
Change your CTA color.
Convey more value in your CTA text.
Make your written content more persuasive.
Shorten your form.
Add social proof (i.e., reviews, social counts, awards, etc.).
8. Organic traffic and your top 5 entry pages
The goal of any business using inbound marketing is to have the majority of its website traffic come from organic search.
High organic traffic means people are finding your website on their own by clicking on results in search engines. It’s not traffic you paid for, so it’s extremely valuable.
It should come as no surprise that organic traffic is directly correlated to your SEO strategy, so make sure to monitor this number (along with your keywords) and refine your SEO strategy accordingly.
While each page should have a targeted keyword, you also want to make sure that your content and website pages are optimized and actually answer the question your prospects are asking.
Look at the top five pages bringing visitors to your website. Those pages (likely landing pages or blog articles) are the first experience visitors are going to have of your company and website.
Not only should you know what those entry pages are, but you should be regularly making sure those pages are updated and optimized for conversions.
This is especially true if your website visitors could be landing on content that was published over a year ago.
You should be optimizing your content to not only generate leads but to also increase the number of pages your visitors are reading. The more pages they’re reading, the more educated they’ll be, and this is likely to reduce the amount of time it will take sales to close a deal.
9. Social media traffic and conversion rates
Many clients are wary about the importance of social media in their digital marketing. It’s not always seen as an avenue for generating leads, or even a way your audience would be engaging with you. However, we’ve found that social media has proven invaluable to every campaign’s success.
Social media platforms are great for educating your audience, generating buzz, and building trust and awareness. Metrics you can utilize to show the importance and impact of social media on your marketing efforts include:
The number of lead conversions generated via each social media channel
The number of customer conversions generated through each social media channel
Percentage of traffic associated with social media channels
You might not have time to effectively utilize every platform, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, but breaking them down by the number of leads, customers, and percentage of traffic coming from each will help you determine where to focus your efforts.
While there are a number of social media KPIs you can track, remember that the amount of engagement you’re seeing on social media is a reflection of how well your content and brand resonates with your audience on that platform, as well as how much trust you’ve generated with them.
10. Mobile traffic, leads, and conversion rates
Is your website effectively optimized for mobile? Most smartphone users (about 80%, according to OuterBox), have purchased something online within the past six months, using their phones.
With so many people browsing the web exclusively from their smartphones and other devices, and Google showing a preference for sites optimized for mobile, you need to know how your visitors are using their mobile devices to access your site.
Pay close attention to:
The number of lead conversions from mobile devices
Bounce rates from mobile devices
Conversion rates from mobile-optimized landing pages
Popular mobile devices
Understanding how and what your visitors are doing on your website on mobile will help you improve the experience, allowing you to optimize it to increase mobile conversions.
Want to learn more about improving your digital marketing strategy using better KPIs?
These metrics aren’t something you should check once and then never track again.
You should be tracking each key performance indicator we discussed on a weekly or monthly basis. Regularly tracking these numbers will arm you with the data you need to do your job better, ultimately allowing you to pivot when a marketing campaign isn’t working.
You should make these metrics available to everyone on your sales and marketing team to provide insight into how well your efforts are going.
The overall goal of marketing is to acquire customers and increase company revenue. Tracking, reviewing, and improving those metrics can help your team accomplish that goal.
Once you get the important metrics down, you can have deeper conversations with your sales team, which in turn will help you identify any missing pieces in your digital marketing strategy — and finally see the results you’re looking for.