To prove the usefulness of digital marketing, you need instant access to the digital marketing metrics that matter most — the kind of data that positions you to effectively monitor, react, and adjust your marketing campaigns on the fly to ensure success and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
In theory, monitoring digital marketing metrics sounds easy. But in reality, tracking performance across various social channels is difficult. Which makes these vital marketing questions difficult to answer:
- Which marketing channel(s) is(are) most effective for your business?
- Which channel offers the highest Return On Investment (ROI)?
- What are your marketing campaigns doing right?
- More importantly, where are they falling short?
Today we’re helping you answer these questions by arming you with the 7 digital marketing metrics that you should monitor in 2016; the kind of metrics that can determine the success or failure of any modern marketing campaign and inform successful marketing decisions now and into the future.
Digital marketing metrics to improve market performance
I often hear customers complain that digital marketing doesn’t translate into money in the cash register. That’s very naive and short-sighted. Unless you use digital marketing metrics to guide decisions, you’re basically throwing darts and hoping some stick.
While I agree digital marketing isn’t often the last touch (the last place a customer visited before making a purchase), many of the touches that drove your customer to buy are digital. Importantly, the critical first touch that sets consumers on track to buy your brand is digital.
In this conversion funnel, you see the many stages involved BEFORE a customer converts (buys your product). Unless you have a really small, highly targeted marketing, you need digital marketing to build awareness, motivate consideration, and influence intention. Otherwise, you’re wasting vast resources on much more expensive alternatives to reach the large, diverse audiences who are prospects for your product.
In theory, the more people you pour into the top of the funnel, the more flows out through the bottom. The more efficiently you move people down the funnel, the greater the percentage of folks who convert. Of course, that assumes you’re attracting potential buyers, not just tire kickers.
Effective marketing strategy, digital or otherwise, requires you to manage both these processes efficiently.
Let’s start at the top for our first digital marketing metrics.
1. Page Views
What Are Page Views?
Page Views are a fundamental metric in determining the overall success of your marketing campaign. As they keep you informed on how effectively your campaign is driving users to a given page.
Why Are Page Views Important?
Page Views aren’t a guarantee of marketing success. Instead, they provide your business with a big picture view of your overall progress.
Say, for example, that you design your marketing campaign to funnel users to a specific landing page on your site. By monitoring your Page Views, you’ll be able to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign in achieving this goal.
This will also put you in a position to monitor any sharp spikes or sudden slumps in site traffic. If you catch these, then you can determine if they’re related to a specific piece of marketing and adjust your campaign accordingly.
Checking Your Page Views
- Open Google Analytics.
- Scroll down and click on ‘Behaviour’ in the menu on the left.
- From here, click on ‘Site Content’, and then ‘All Pages’.
- You now see a breakdown of your site’s content, based on the total # of page views.
Page Views Tip: By selecting ‘Landing Pages’, you can see how well your landing pages are performing. And as landing pages are often a vital component in any marketing campaign – the page users land on when they click on advertising or promotions, for example – monitoring these pages will provide you with crucial insights on your campaign’s performance.
2. New Sessions
What Are New Sessions?
New Sessions offer insight into how effective your campaign is at driving new users to your site. More than that, they show how effective your site is at retaining their interest long after they’ve navigated away from your page.
Why Are New Sessions Important?
Take a glance at your New Session stats. If these are high, then your campaign is successfully reaching new users, markets or demographics, which is an effective way of broadening your customer base and increasing your brand awareness.
Glance again and compare this with the number of returning users your site receives, as this can say a lot about the staying power of your site and its content.
If you find that you have a large number of returning visitors, then congratulations! You’re providing users with a reason to return at a later time or date.
At the same time, a disproportionately high number of new users may also indicate that you’re struggling to retain the users that your hard-earned marketing dollars have managed to gain. And this can point to issues with your website’s content, structure or layout.
Checking Your New Sessions
- Open Google Analytics.
- Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see the ‘Audience Overview’ panel. Scroll further down this page and you’ll find your % of New Sessions.
- For further information on New and Returning users, click on ‘Audience’, then ‘Behaviour’, and finally ‘New vs Returning’ in the menu on the left.
- This page provides you with a breakdown of your site’s overall New vs Returning Users.
3. Conversion Rate
What Is Conversion Rate?
Whether it’s driving product sales, bolstering your newsletter’s audience, or increasing the downloads of a digital asset: every marketing campaign has a goal. What role does your Conversion Rate play in this? It shows you just how effective your campaign is at achieving this goal and turning users into more than just another page view.
Why Is Conversion Rate Important?
Viewed on their own, a high number of Page Views is deceiving: a large number of views must mean a successful marketing campaign, right?
But that’s where you’d be wrong. Unless you’re converting those page views into new clients, customers, or leads, you waste marketing dollars on tire kickers.
Tracking conversion rate is easier than you might expect, with services like Google Analytics where you set up goals and track conversions.
Here you track how well you funnel users through your site and reach one or more marketing goal.
And if you find you struggle to increase your conversion rate, your site’s content or structure may be an issue, or your marketing campaign may not effectively align with the audience that’s interested in what you’re promoting.
Checking Your Conversion Rate
- Open Google Analytics.
- You’ll need to create the Goals before you can track them. And, you can set multiple goals representing leads, email subscriptions, downloads, trials, etc — anything representing movement along the conversion funnel. If you need them, here are step-by-step directions for creating Goals.
- Once you established Goals, click on ‘Conversions’, ‘Goals’ and then ‘Funnel Visualization’ in the menu on the left.
- This screen provides a visual representation of how effective your site is at converting users, as well as where they’re falling off in the conversion process.
4. Bounce Rate
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce Rate is a count of the users that landed on your site, then bounced right back off again without exploring any other pages.
Why Is Bounce Rate Important?
In an ideal world, you aim for a low bounce rate across the board, especially where landing pages or conversion-focused content is concerned.
If users appear to be bouncing right back off your site this is a clear sign that there’s an issue with the page itself, the content, or the incentive you’re offering users to explore your site further.
High bounce rates don’t always indicate a problem, though. In fact, certain parts of your site always show a higher bounce rate than others. This comes down to how modern users interact with content online: they find what they want, take what they need, then leave!
Checking Your Bounce Rate
- Open Google Analytics.
- Scroll back down to the ‘All Content’ page, found under ‘Behaviour’ -> ‘Site Content’.
- This page shows you the Bounce Rate for your top pages. And, again, you can view bounce rates for specific pages such as Landing Pages by choosing this option from the menu.
5. Social Metrics
What Are Social Metrics?
Social Media plays an increasingly important role in the visibility of websites within search engine results, and SEO strategies as a whole; not to mention the brand visibility and traffic that the effective use of social media can provide any business.
To make the most of these social platforms? You need to monitor a range of digital marketing metrics, including:
And every other platform-specific variation under the digital sun!
Why Are Social Metrics Important?
You can’t deny the number of social platforms increases by the day: yesterday’s Facebook is today’s Twitter is tomorrow’s Periscope!
If you only utilize one of these, it’s no big deal as long as you’re using the ones most popular among your target market. But with modern Integrated Marketing campaigns utilizing a range of marketing communications channels, you need to manage each of these effectively.
By effectively monitoring your performance on social media, you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and their social reach. That will ensure you can quickly and easily alter your marketing message to maximize the individual strengths of each social platform.
And if you find you’re not receiving the likes, shares, and follows that you expect, you’ll be in a better position to determine the reason.
Social Metrics In Action
The theory behind social metrics as a critical part of your digital marketing metrics strategy is all well and good, but it’s only when you see its impact in real-world scenarios that you truly appreciate:
- How important, and informative, the effective monitoring of social media performance metrics is.
- The importance of – and the work involved in – delivering an effective message and marketing campaign via social media.
Take the following social metrics for a popular content marketing site as an example:
View the sharing metrics for a piece of content published on the site’s home page. Maybe these numbers are low for a piece of content on the homepage.
A search through Facebook and Twitter also shows that this piece of content has low engagement. In fact, the site itself only ever promoted this on Facebook and Twitter once.
Contrast this to another piece of content from the same site that has much better social metrics.
But why is this so?
A quick search across the site’s social media profiles – and the social conversation in general – points to:
- This piece of content was posted to Facebook and Twitter multiple times, each time using a new snippet of text to publicize it.
- Notable sites and individuals covered within the content were mentioned and the manager reached them when the post went live, meaning this was then shared out to an even greater social audience.
Through the effective monitoring and tracking of social metrics, we see more effective content promotion and marketing strategy maximizes this site’s social reach. We wouldn’t find this problem without proper monitoring of social performance metrics.
And whether it’s content marketing, social media advertising, or customer engagement, the same principle applies: information is your most powerful marketing tool of all.
6. Cost Per Click (CPC)
What Is Cost Per Click (CPC)?
Any marketer using Google AdWords or other Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing platform knows Cost Per Click, which indicates the individual cost of each click obtained via PPC marketing.
Why Is Cost Per Click (CPC) Important?
Found by dividing the total cost of a given PPC campaign by the number of clicks gained, effective monitoring of a PPC campaign ensures you’re in a position to adjust your target keywords along the way and maximize the return on every PPC dollar you spend.
Checking Your Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Open Google AdWords.
- You’ll see the ‘All Online Campaigns’ page. This shows a range of information on your current AdWords campaigns, including the Cost Per Click for each keyword.
- For information on a specific campaign, click on the ‘All Enabled Campaigns’ drop-down and select a campaign.
7. Cost Per Lead (CPL)
What Is Cost Per Lead (CPL)?
Cost Per Lead works much like CPC, providing you with vital statistics on the cost of every lead generated by your PPC campaign: that is, clicks gained by your PPC campaign that was effectively converted into customers, clients, or possible leads.
Why Is Cost Per Lead (CPL) Important?
Your Cost Per Lead (CPL) is found by dividing your total PPC campaign spend by the number of leads generated over its lifetime. Again, if these costs outweigh the profits that these leads generate, then you’ll need to review your PPC campaign and the keywords it’s targeting: something you wouldn’t be able to do without the proper monitoring of your CPC and CPL metrics!
Checking Cost Per Lead (CPL)
Google AdWords doesn’t provide an exact metric to track your Cost Per Lead. Instead, find it by setting up a Conversion Goal in Google Analytics that is connected to users arriving on your site via your AdWords Campaign.
This is a guest post written by Robert Kramers from Simple – The Marketing Performance Platform.
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