18 Digital Marketing Performance Metrics You NEED to Track

18 Digital Marketing Performance Metrics You NEED to Track

Are you looking for the best digital marketing performance metrics to track in 2022?

Today we’re going over which data you should be including in your digital marketing reports in order to track the effectiveness of your campaigns and achieve your goals - all of which can be tracked for free using Google Analytics and your other favorite channels!

Regular marketing reports are essential for growing a business and measuring progress in your digital marketing efforts.

They help identify which tactics are working and which ones aren’t. Allowing you to refine your marketing strategy, optimize your budget, and maximize profit.

The problem is, as marketers, we have access to so much data that it can be hard to know what to include in our reports.

So, which metrics should you use as KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing performance?

Well… that depends on your goals. Let’s look at that in a bit more detail.

What are digital marketing performance goals?

Digital marketing performance goals can be used to measure the progress of your digital marketing strategy. Goals vary from business to business, but some examples include;

  • Increasing the follower growth rate on social media
  • Getting more monthly newsletter signups
  • Improving keyword ranking positions on Google

Without clear and measurable objectives, goal posts can be easily moved after the fact to disguise failure as success.

But this will only hold you back from achieving your goals.

We want to see exactly which parts of a strategy are succeeding so that we can stop wasting valuable time and money on those that don't produce a profit or add value to the business.

Having SMART goals is an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. You’ll be much more likely to reach your goals if you ensure that they’re:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, if increasing brand awareness on social media is the main objective, then increasing follower growth rate from 5% to 10% over 6 months would meet the criteria of a SMART goal.

Now that we’ve talked about how to create effective goals, let’s take a look at which metrics we should be tracking for each aspect of your digital marketing strategy.

We’ll look at these through the lens of:

  • General Marketing KPIs
  • SEO KPIs
  • Paid Advertising KPIs
  • Email Marketing KPIs

Let’s start by looking at the most basic KPIs you should be tracking.

General Digital Marketing KPIs

1. Website Traffic by Source

website traffic by source as a general digital marketing performance metric

This metric breaks down which percentage of your visitors are coming to your website from social media, organic search, paid search, referral links, and directly.

The primary objective of most digital marketing strategies is to get users to visit a website. Knowing precisely which sources are bringing in the most traffic gives you the necessary information to refine your digital marketing strategy.

You’ll be able to make data-driven decisions to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS) and spot new marketing opportunities.

2. Website Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate shows which percentage of traffic that comes to your website is performing valuable actions for your business, such as completing a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Tracking your conversion rate lets you see whether changes in things like website copy, design, online content, or changes to a product/service are resulting in more customers or not.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) KPIs

referral traffic as a SEO performance metric

This metric shows how many visitors are coming to your site by clicking on another website.

Having a healthy amount of high-quality backlinks links from reputable websites plays an important part when trying to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

In general, if lots of people are linking to you from their own site, it’s a good indicator that the service you’re providing or the content you’re producing is valuable.

4. Organic Search Traffic

Organic search traffic is how many people found your website specifically through a search engine (usually Google).

This is a useful metric to track in general, as a steady increase or decline in organic traffic can reflect the state of your site’s authority or seasonal relevance.

If attracting more website visitors through publishing content is part of your strategy, then this is an excellent metric to track for measuring your progress over time.

While reporting on organic traffic month by month can be useful during the first year of a strategy, its real strength is measuring the long-term growth from where you were a year ago to where you are now.

5. New vs. Returning Visitors

new vs. returning users as a SEO performance metric

A high number of returning website visitors suggests that your audience values the content you are creating or in the service being provided.

On the other hand, if your traffic mostly comprises new visitors then it may be time to revise your current strategy or review the user experience (UX) of your website.

Perhaps the website content is good, but users aren’t returning because the site is slow loading or hard to navigate. This metric can help to identify such a problem.

You should look for a healthy ratio of returning visitors to your website.

6. Average Keyword Ranking Position

Your keyword ranking is an important metric to include in your SEO reporting, as it tracks your average position on the SERP (search engine results page) for your targeted keywords.

Comparing keyword rank positions over time is a good way to see if your pages are relevant to users’ search intent.

Ideally, you want to achieve a top 3 position to maximize inbound traffic.

In order to track your keyword positions and see all the search queries people are using to find your website, you’ll want to connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

7. Cost Per Click (CPC)

cost per click as a paid search performance metric

Cost per click is how much money it costs when someone clicks on your paid search (or paid social) ad.

Tracking the CPC of all your campaigns helps you to make the most out of your marketing budget by cutting those that are costing you too much.

8. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Your click-through rate is the percentage of users who clicked on your ad after being shown it Revealing whether or not your target audience found your ad to be relevant to their search term.

Use this statistic to update ad copy (or creative for paid social ads) and increase website traffic.

9. Cost Per Conversion

cost per conversion as a paid search performance metric

Also known as cost-per-acquisition (or CPA), cost-per-conversion measures how much money has been spent in acquiring a sale or lead.

You’ll want to keep a close eye on your cost-per-conversion to maximize your return on marketing investment (ROI). This way you can drop poorly performing campaigns and invest more of the marketing budget into those that are performing well.

Tracking the cost-per-conversion is a vital part of calculating your ROI and should be included in all your PPC (pay per click) reports.

Social Media Marketing KPIs

10. Social Engagement Rate

social engagement rate as a social media performance metric

If social media is a key part of your digital marketing strategy, then you’ll want to be tracking your engagement rate.

Likes, comments, shares, clicks and saves all count towards your engagement rate.

Tracking the engagement of both organic and paid social campaigns helps understand which kind of content is resonating with your audience.

This data can reveal common themes between successful posts so that you can produce more of the kind of content that’s performing well.

11. Reach

Measuring your reach on social media shows you how many people saw your content.

Reach is different than impressions (the total number of times your content is served). For example, one person seeing your content 3 times will equate to 1 reach and 3 impressions.

Measuring reach over conversions gives a truer picture of how many people are seeing the content that you’re publishing.

Use this metric to identify when your audience is most active so that you can optimize your social media schedule to maximize the reach of your content.

12. Audience/Follower Growth Rate

audience/follower growth rate as a social media performance metric

Your follower growth rate is the percentage of new followers that your page has acquired over a predetermined period.

Consistently gaining more followers on social media means that when you post something with a call to action, more people are likely to perform said action, increasing your chance of converting them into customers.

It’s important to not just track the total size of your audience as a KPI but to use follower growth rate instead - letting you see clearly that you’re still getting your message in front of new people.

13. Social Media Traffic

Tracking the social media traffic to your website over time can provide insight into the effectiveness of your call to action on socials.

If one of your goals is to use social media to increase traffic to your website but you’re not seeing an increase in visitors, then you may want to spend some time reviewing your strategy.

Use this metric to identify which social media platforms are bringing in the most traffic so that you can focus your efforts on those that perform best.

Let’s say you have 10,000 followers on Instagram and 1000 on Twitter and receive around 200 website visits per month from each. You may be inclined to focus on Facebook because it has the largest audience, when in fact the data is telling you that your audience on Twitter is more interested in your content, product, or service.

14. Conversion Rate

conversion rate as a social media performance metric

Growing your following and having engaging content is great, but social media can take up a lot of your resources. So naturally, you want to see that all of this effort is actually having a positive effect on your bottom line.

Usually, social media posts will be driving traffic to a website with the intention of making a purchase, booking an appointment, or signing up for a newsletter.

You won’t be able to see your conversion rate in your social media channel’s insights, but you can easily track this inside Google Analytics.

The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure that you have set up your conversion goals.

Then you can use UTMs to track which percentage of social traffic is performing these valuable actions on your website. Better still, you can use UTMs to track the conversion rate of each social media campaign for more thorough reporting.

New to UTMs? Check out this guide to learn more.

Email Marketing KPIs

15. Unique Email Open Rate

unique open rates as an email marketing performance metric

Email open rate shows how many people actually opened your email after you’ve sent your newsletter.

Creating a regular newsletter can take a lot of time, so you want to make sure that your hard work is actually reaching the eyes of your audience.

If you’re experiencing low open rates, it could signify issues with your email marketing strategy. Common problems include weak subject lines, sending your newsletter at the wrong time of day for your audience, and the inclusion of too many “spammy” words (to name a few).

16. Click-Through Rate

Your email CTR is how many people, after opening your email, click on a link or call to action.

Having a high click-through rate for your newsletter is excellent news - it means that your audience finds the content relevant and valuable.

If it’s low, then you might want to work on a stronger call to action, improve the copywriting, or rework the design of your newsletter to be more attractive.

17. Newsletter Signup Rate

If an email newsletter is an important part of your marketing strategy, then you want to make sure that it’s consistently gathering new subscribers.

Signup rate lets you know when subscriber growth starts to dip so that you can rectify the issue and take action, such as promoting your newsletter on your brand’s social media channels.

18. Unsubscribe Rate

unsubscribe rate as an email marketing performance metric

Much like with the signup rate, if your email newsletter is a key component of your digital marketing strategy then you want to keep an eye on how many members are unsubscribing each month.

People unsubscribe from newsletters for various reasons. Some of the most common include emails being sent too often and that the content isn’t offering any real value to them.

If your unsubscribe rate is consistently high then it can reveal that there’s a problem with your strategy. But by tracking this metric, you can spot when there are serious issues and use it as an opportunity to give your mailing list a makeover.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the top digital marketing KPIs for each marketing channel, let’s take a look at how to actually build a report.

Building Your Digital Marketing Performance Report

There are generally 2 ways to build your digital marketing performance reports:

  • Manually
  • Or with a reporting tool

The main problem with manually building your reports is that it can be extremely tedious and time-consuming.

Another is that it is prone to human error. Mistakes are easy to make and even a seemingly small one could end up causing big problems for your client if they let it influence their marketing strategy.

Then you have to repeat the process again for each client and each type of report they have requested. Before you know it, you don’t have any time to take on more clients because you’re bogged down with report building.

The best alternative to this is to use a report-building tool.

You can easily pull data from your marketing channels straight into your custom report and schedule them to be sent automatically at regular intervals.

These tools still have their cons, the biggest of which being their friction - reports are typically delivered as PDF attachments in emails or the client is given login credentials to view their reports on a 3rd-party dashboard.

While this may not seem like a big deal initially, the truth is that it’s just an unnecessary obstacle.

It doesn’t take long for clients to get tired of having to download PDFs or log in to dashboards and stop viewing their reports altogether.

Then all of a sudden they come to you in a panic because they’ve just seen their data for the first time in months and begin to question the value of your service.

Why put yourself through that hassle?

That’s why we built Metrics Watch.

metrics watch homepage

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And that’s it for today. This has been our list of digital marketing performance metrics that we recommend using as KPIs in your next reports.

If you found this guide useful, then be sure to check out these other articles:

They’ll help you to elevate your reporting skills so that you can continue to impress your existing clients and gain more along the way.

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