Digital Marketing KPIs: Why They Matter

KPIs can be related to any aspect of your company, ranging from outreach and sales to employee performance. Digital marketing KPIs are specifically related to your online marketing efforts, so you might track things like website traffic, conversion rates, online sales revenue, or total revenue. You can track these metrics, depending on which value you are measuring, on your social media channels, using web analytics tools, lead conversion tools, or the sales team.

Tracking your KPIs is important because they allow you to understand what is working and what isn’t working. Consider a company that invests 75% of its marketing efforts into social media and 25% into SEO. The company sees results from their marketing efforts, but they don’t track their KPIs, so they have no idea that their SEO efforts are driving nearly all of their qualified leads, while they are wasting money targeting the wrong groups on social media. Instead, their money would be better spent growing their SEO strategy, so the company can further increase their ROI.

Businesses who track their KPIs can see exactly where their leads come from, how much each lead costs, and which marketing channels are effective in acquiring those leads. This allows for more cost-effective marketing and more company growth. When you have an informed understanding of your business’s top digital marketing KPIs, you can let go of the parts of your strategy that don’t work and focus on improving the parts that do.

How to Pick Which KPIs and Metrics to Track

Picking which KPIs to track isn’t always easy because every business is unique. The KPIs that one company tracks won’t always look the same as yours. The bottom line is that it all depends on what works best for your business. So, to choose the right KPIs to track, you have to start by considering your business goals.

One way to use your goals to identify which KPIs to track is by using the SMART criteria. All goals should meet the following guidelines:

Specific – what are you trying to accomplish and what actions are taken to accomplish that?

Measurable – what data is needed to measure your goal? (Fortunately, almost everything related to digital marketing can be measured and tracked using online web tools.)

Achievable – do you have the necessary skills and resources to achieve the goal?

Relevant – why is this goal important and how does it align with your broader goals as a business?

Timely – what is the time frame for accomplishing your goal and is it realistic?

After identifying your goals, you can determine which key performance indicators will help you measure your success towards reaching that goal. For example, if your goal is to grow your website traffic by 15% in the next six months, your KPIs will include traffic sources, site traffic, click-through-rates, and bounce rates.

In short, your KPIs for digital marketing provide the information needed to reach a specific result that is measurable, relevant, and realistic for a given timeframe. Whether your goals are related to sales, inbound marketing, or engagement, choosing the right KPIs is the first step towards measuring your improvement and achieving your goals.

The Top KPIs in Digital Marketing

The specific KPIs that you track depends on your business, your goals, and which online channels you are targeting. In terms of digital marketing, these may include:

  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising

However, there are also several general KPIs that any business can benefit from having.

Key Marketing KPIs for Any Business

There are some metrics and KPIs that are invaluable for any business, whether you’re a healthcare provider or an online retailer. These can be applied to the business as a whole as well as to each marketing platform (SEO, social media, email, etc.). These KPIs include:

  • Customer acquisition cost – This refers to how much companies have to spend to gain a new customer. For example, things that may contribute to acquisition costs include sales, advertising, and consultations.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) – ROI is a term used to describe “opportunity cost.” It is a percentage that refers to the value and profits of a company relative to the investment’s cost. ROI tells marketers and business owners how much profit they generate compared to their customer acquisition cost.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) – The customer lifetime value, or CLV, refers to how much revenue an average customer generates for a business over a period of days, weeks, months, or years depending on the services or products offered.
  • Lead conversion rate – conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that turn into potential leads and the percentage of leads that turn into paying customers. This can also be used to measure the total number of leads and conversions.

Email Marketing KPIs

Every email marketing campaign is different depending on your overall goals. In addition to determining your email conversion rate and subscriber acquisition cost, here are several other important email marketing KPIs you should be tracking.

Email Signup Rate

If email is part of your digital marketing strategy, the signup rate is an important KPI you should track. Signup rate refers to the percentage of website visitors who sign up for your email list. If your signup rate is low, you may consider improving your CTA on your website or figuring out other ways to get more people to subscribe to your newsletter.

Email Open Rate

Open rate is one of the simplest and most important email marketing KPIs to track because it helps you understand whether or not subscribers are actually receiving your messages. Open rate tracks the number of people who open your email. 

Tracking this KPI will give you insight into how effective your subject line is – because the quality of your subject line often determines whether or not people open your email. According to MailChimp, the average open rate for all industries’ email marketing campaigns is 21.33%. Compare this number against your open rate to see how well your email campaign is performing.

Email Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR is another metric that will help you understand how effective your email campaign is. CTR measures the number of people who clicked on the links within your email, such as a link to a subscription offer or contact form. 

Measuring this KPI allows you to see how well your emails are performing in terms of engagement. In addition to tracking the number of times people click on your links, you can also track which links users are clicking on. This allows you to test different email formats and CTAs so you can optimize them according to what your users like to see.

Number of Unsubscribers

Each email you send should provide users with the option to unsubscribe. Measuring the number of unsubscribers is simple, yet vital to the success of your marketing strategy. All email marketing tools will show you how many people unsubscribe from your emails, and this information can usually be found on your main dashboard.

This KPI allows you to see what types of messages are most effective as well as which types of messages lead to unsubscribe requests. Rather than getting discouraged when you see someone unsubscribe, view it as an opportunity to fine-tune your email subscriber list.

Email Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a digital marketing KPI that measures how many subscribers did not receive your email. This may be due to temporary or permanent problems with a subscriber’s email address, which are considered “soft” bounces and “hard” bounces, respectively.

You can measure this KPI by comparing your bounce rate against your open rate to determine the quality of your subscriber list. If you have a low percentage of hard bounces, your email list is likely full of accurate and highly motivated subscribers’ email addresses. On the other hand, if your percentage of hard bounces is high, it’s likely that your subscriber list consists of several fake, old, or incorrect addresses. Mailchimp reports that the average hard bounce rate is 0.40%.

SEO Key Performance Indicators

Search engine optimization (SEO) is at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. People don’t turn to phone books to find a business or a service anymore. It’s 2020, and people want to run a quick search on their smartphone to find what they need. If you want your business to be found, you need an SEO strategy. Here are the top SEO KPIs you should be tracking.

Website Search Traffic

Search traffic is one of the top digital marketing KPIs that marketers will track. There are numerous KPIs related to search traffic, such as organic traffic, top pages, number of page views per session, and total visits. You may also want to look at the sources your website traffic comes from, the number of unique visitors, and the number of returning visitors. 

By understanding who is viewing your website, how often your website is being viewed, and other important information pertaining to your search traffic, you can learn a lot of information. Search traffic KPIs allow you to better understand how your target audience finds your website, how they behave on your website, and whether or not your SEO efforts are earning your website more visibility.

Target Keyword Rankings

At the core of any SEO strategy is keywords. It’s important to understand your target keywords and the search terms people are using to find businesses like yours. Otherwise, people won’t find your website in the first place. That being said, there’s no point in trying to optimize a website for certain keywords if you don’t track where your website falls in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for those keywords.

This KPI allows you to track your progress as you enact your SEO strategy. At the end of each month, you should be monitoring how your keyword rankings have changed by looking at the number of increased and decreased keywords on your website. In addition to tracking your current keywords, you can also research your competitor’s keywords to see where your SEO strategy can improve.

Number and Quality of Backlinks

Backlinks are linked placed on other, preferably relevant and high authority, websites that point back to pages on your website. The number of quality backlinks your website has is an important factor in any SEO strategy, so you should be tracking the KPIs associated with it, as well.

Using online marketing tools like Ahrefs, you can track your backlinks and everything you need to know about them, including the domain and page authority of the website’s containing your backlinks, the total number of backlinks, the estimated traffic that comes to your website from those backlinks, and how your backlinks affect your overall rankings and organic traffic.

Look at Your Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is exactly what it sounds like – when someone lands on your page but leaves it immediately. There are many reasons why users may click away from your site, such as slow site-speed, irrelevant or spammy content, or unresponsive design. 

When you track your bounce rate KPI, you can see which landing pages you need to improve in order to make visitors remain on your website longer. Doing so will help work towards your overall goal of improving your SEO and earning more motivated search traffic. 

Page Authority and Domain Authority

Domain authority refers to how much authority search engines allocate to your website as a whole, whereas page authority refers to the same measure but on an individual page-by-page basis. “Authority” is simply a measurement of how important, relevant, and trustworthy the content on your website is. Tools like Ahrefs and Moz measure authority on a scale from 1-100, which scores closer to 100 being associated with a higher ability to rank.

You can improve your domain and page authority first by tracking this KPI and seeing how your existing SEO strategy is performing. Then, you can target which pages have opportunity to move up in the search rankings, and create a content marketing and backlink building strategy around those pages to move up in the rankings and ultimately increase your domain authority.

Top KPIs for Social Media Marketing

Over 40% of the world’s population is on social media, making these platforms an opportunistic place for businesses to build brand awareness and connect with local customers. Whether you’re a healthcare provider sharing blog posts and videos on Facebook or a clothing store posting images and working with influencers on Instagram, tracking the top social media marketing KPIs will help you make sure you’re making the most out of your social media efforts.

Track Exposure with Likes, Comments, and Shares

What would social media be without likes, comments, and shares? Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, the number of times and the ways in which people interact with your content is important. 

Tracking this KPI will tell you how many people are engaging with your content and how much exposure you’re getting from your social media marketing efforts. This KPI is often measured as a percentage of a business’s total number of followers. Additionally, you can even look at who interacts with your content to better understand your audience and see if you’re reaching the right types of people.

Measure Social Media Traffic

Similar to website traffic, social media traffic is another top digital marketing KPI that you’ll want to measure. KPIs related to social media traffic include the number of visits, unique visitors, returning visitors, traffic sourcers, and referrals. 

When tracking your social media traffic, you may want to look at the overall KPIs for all of your social media channels as well as the specific KPI measurements for each individual channel. This helps give you a better look at your overall social media marketing efforts.

Social Media Conversion Rate

Although most marketers use social media more for brand awareness, it can also be a profitable channel through which you can generate leads. If you have a large social media presence and high traffic, but you don’t earn any conversions, you may want to make some adjustments to your strategy that will bring in more qualified leads. However, you won’t know whether or not your social media strategy is actually bringing in customers if you aren’t tracking your conversion rates.

Tracking this KPI allows you to see the final ROI of your social media marketing efforts. It will also help you decide whether or not you’re reaching the right audience across your social media channels.

Follower Growth Rate

Although the number of followers isn’t as important as the quality and intent of your followers, it’s still important that your follower growth rate continues to increase. After all, it’s necessary to have a constant flow of new leads and customers.

Tracking this KPI will help you see how your follower base has grown over time and whether or not your social media outreach and advertising efforts are paying off.

Paid Advertising KPIs

Paid advertising can burn a serious hole in your pocket, so understanding your paid search marketing KPIs is essential for keeping costs low and conversions high. Here are some important PPC KPIs to use.

Track Your Cost-per-Click (CPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns can be costly over time, which is why it’s important to track this KPI and monitor your cost-per-click (CPC). This measurement should then be compared against your customer lifetime value (CLV) and ROI to ensure that your paid advertising campaigns are profitable in the long run.

To help reduce your CPC and get more bang for your buck out of your ads, you can target paid keywords that have little competition. At the same time, it is equally important to improve your landing page experience so that customers who click on your ads are more likely to convert into paying customers.

Track Your Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is an advertising KPI that will help you understand how effective your PPC campaigns are. It is another top digital marketing KPI you should track, especially while you’re paying for traffic. If your CTR is low, that means people are seeing your ad, but the content isn’t earning their click. If your CTR is high, your ad is performing well.

You can measure and track this KPI using whichever online advertising tool you’re using to monitor your PPC campaigns. By understanding your CTR, you can determine which ads are performing well and how you can improve your ad to improve your monthly CTR. For reference,  Wordstream reports that the average CTR for Google PPC adwords is around 2%.

Measure Your Ad Quality Score

Relevant ads that have a high CTR will generally have a high quality score. Quality score is one of the factors that ad networks use to determine your CPC. This score is reported on a 1-10 scale and serves as an estimate of the quality of your ads, landing pages, and keywords. Additionally, higher quality scores are correlated with lower prices and better ad positions, so tracking this KPI will help you make the most out of your paid advertising campaign.

Let Stodzy Track Your Digital Marketing KPIs For You

Tracking these top digital marketing KPIs will provide your business with the information needed to improve your online marketing efforts and drive more customers to your business. However, keeping up with SEO, email campaigns, social media, and PPC ads is a lot to handle. That’s where our team at Stodzy Internet Marketing comes into play.

Our team will work with you to identify your short and long-term business goals, come up with a realistic time-frame for accomplishing these goals, and provide you with monthly reports detailing the KPIs and metrics that are most important to you in order to reach your goals. Between our detailed monthly reporting and dedication to the success of our clients, you’ll have access to all of the information your business needs to grow.

Contact Stodzy Internet Marketing to get started today.

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    Tim Stoddart

    Tim Stoddart is the CEO of Stodzy Internet Marketing. He lives in Nashville with his wife and hit adorable pitbull, Alice. Tim loves to write about digital marketing and personal growth. You can learn more at

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