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Digital KPI measurement – what digital metrics should I be measuring?

1 year ago by Arek Estall

When running digital marketing campaigns, like with any marketing campaign, it’s important to set valuable goals. In this post we’ll discuss some of the key metrics you should be measuring and focusing on, for better digital marketing outcomes.

Our approach to digital marketing measurement has been refined over many years, and our approach is driven by measuring the right things. Obviously this is all driven on a per-client basis and dependant on their strategy – but there are some overall themes which sit with every client.
 

Primary objectives

The obvious top line things to measure are the things that make you money. Enquiries, sales, sign-ups or applications, depending on the nature of the business.  In most cases, these are the things that businesses really care about.

We’re big on measuring these things, and we are quite strong about how much impact we can have on revenue. We set clear financial goals and we hit them, that our business model is based on achieving you ROI.

But in reality, these are very top-line metrics, and focusing on these alone is wrong. With the exception of paid advertising, digital takes time to work and be effective. Focusing on revenue or enquiries as a single success metric leads to short-term thinking and over-analysing on a month by month basis.

There is definitely a happy balance to be had, and hopefully this article will help drive your other digital metric measurements too.
 

Secondary metrics

Overall, secondary metrics are those actions that users make which lead to primary metrics. Things like traffic, visitors and website actions.

One good measure of success is traffic generation. More visitors is like the digital version of more people coming to your store. More visitors should mean more interested parties – a good start for lead generation.

But traffic needs to be relevant. That means that the visitors are the right people, which can be measured by how many people perform the actions you want them to on your site. That could be calling you, filling in a form, watching a video or even visiting a particular page. Usually, in a usual B2B context, purchases, contact forms, sign up forms, calls and email link clicks are the best sorts of actions to measure as “goals” in Analytics.

Once you are measuring traffic, and have the right goals in place, you can start to measure conversion rate of traffic – ideally by broad channel. We tend to group our traffic channels in the following categories, which we’ve built our offering around. 

Digital KPI

Tertiary priority measures of success

By this stage you have a good handle on revenue and enquiry generation. You also have a good understanding of the key digital experiences that users have on your site, essentially how many visitors are taking actions that directly feed revenue.

With these things measured, you can now move on to the tertiary measures of success. These are the sorts of things that help you predict future performance, identify areas of improvement and also troubleshoot your digital performance. They don’t drive revenue directly, but they are important barometers of progress.

This is the stage where things get quite specific, so we’ve listed out some examples that may or may not be relevant to your business. Though not exhaustive, they should provide some food for thought:

  • Search goals
  • An aggregate ranking score using tools such as SEMRush to track visibility against a set of pre-defined keywords
  • Paid goals
  • Cost per acquisition (goals) for paid advertising
  • Social goals
  • Overall social audience and engagement
  • Content goals
  • Number of downloads of gated content pieces
  • Overall goals
  • Traffic by channel – search, paid, social, content
  • Overall bounce rate and pages per visit for the site
  • Conversions by channel
  • Conversion rate by channel – to help identify weaknesses/strengths

The important thing is to not go too deep in your KPI measurement, as the right time to do this in an audit. For example, number of followers per social channel for instance might be relevant and interesting, but in general this doesn’t feel like something that should be reviewed on a monthly basis. Ditto the bounce rate per channel to a particular content group. The key to success is keeping your metrics really top line – and therefore digestible and focused.

One final point, but an important one, is that all these stats are easily found using Analytics. This isn’t rocket science. Where this becomes genius is in the analysis of the figures and trends, and setting intelligent goals based on the data. Analytics alone doesn’t help you prioritise the right things in a structured way – whereas the KPI management approach does.
 

The potential pitfalls of metric measurement

The biggest issue of all with digital metrics, is that they can be quite easily manipulated. This is especially true of tertiary metrics, and unfortunately there are a lot of companies in our industry ready to do that.

For example, traffic can be manipulated by driving irrelevant traffic from low-cost display ads. Followers can be bought, Facebook likes can be bought. And cost per click can be brought down by targeting lower quality keywords, irrespective of whether that leads to enquiries. Read our previous article for more examples of naughty agency tactics.

Basically, when hiring a digital marketing agency you need to be really careful that they are ethical and are able to deliver on what they promise. It’s really important to get to understand their philosophy and values, the backgrounds of people working on client projects and their credentials.

For instance, All Trousers is a Google Partnered, Google Analytics certified, CIM trained agency that has worked with brands such as the CBI and Ericsson. Our team have come from varied backgrounds, having worked for and with global brands like Skype, DFS and Barclays, and we don’t outsource any of our work to low-cost economies.

Then there’s also the importance of having the right primary and secondary metrics.

When you do find an agency who are true to their word, deliver what they say they will, and it translates into financial results – you’re on to a winner.
 

Get an audit of your digital performance

Whatever your setup, it can always be useful to have an expert eye over your digital marketing. We’re experts in getting to the bottom of issues, opportunities and highlighting areas of strength.

Consider hiring us in to consult on your digital marketing. We’d love to start a discussion about your digital and help you start planning for better digital marketing results.

 

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