The Real Metrics to Measure in Online Marketing

Your online marketing needs focus. Without it, you’re just “throwing it all out there” and hoping for the best.

Spray and pray is not the best “strategy.”

You’re ready to lean more heavily into the digital marketing and sales space. Great! But the question remains: What exactly are the metrics to measure with online marketing?

From website views (or sessions) to social media reach to email opens, where do you start? And more importantly, where do you spend your analytics time?

As digital marketing continues to change, it’s your job as a marketing professional to keep up with the evolution of analytics. What are you measuring right now with your marketing efforts?

In this post we’re tackling some tried-and-true marketing metrics along with what we suggest our clients monitor as they navigate their growth journey.

 

Measure What Matters

Conversion Rates

If you’re not measuring conversion rates, are you really marketing?

From visitor to lead conversions to meetings booked from chat, your conversion rates may vary depending on your business model and the service level agreement (SLA) your teams agree on.

However, basic conversion rates like these below will put you on the best path to measuring and scaling your online marketing efforts.

Landing Pages

This metric is critical in lead gen efforts.

Your landing page conversion metric is defined as lead conversion, or the number of visitors that come to your site who convert into contacts by filling out a form on a landing page. These conversion rates determine how many leads you are able to generate through your marketing efforts.

If you use HubSpot like we do, you can easily view the traffic that is coming to your landing pages and the conversion rate of those pages, as well as if the leads from those pages turn into customers.

This metric will help you decide which offers to use when marketing through other channels.

Calls to Action

In online marketing, specifically inbound, we want our visitors to take the next step. Normally that next step is clicking a call to action (CTA).

Your marketing software should help you analyze your CTA performance.

To accurately measure how your CTA is performing, you should check your CTA click-through rates, or the percentage of people who clicked on the CTA. Track the performance of your CTAs and see which ones are gaining the best traction.

If you notice one isn’t doing well, you can perform an A/B test and change the language or the placement and see if that helps.

Chat

From response time to number of chats to customer happiness, there’s a lot for you to measure in chat. Add in live chat and bot differences, and it could shut your team down.

Don’t let it.

Conversational marketing could be the key to doubling your business.

What do you measure to ensure success?

One of the first things you should measure is your first question conversion. First question conversion is critical when implementing a conversational marketing strategy. IF your first question is weak, you will not see the success you could see. A winning first question will show you how well your message resonates with your audience.

Imagine your company offers IT services and you want to implement chat. Do you know why someone is on your site and engaging your chat?

Understanding if they’re a customer looking for help versus a new prospect looking for solutions will lead to a higher conversion rate with the first question.

According to industry leader Drift, chat metrics should look something like this: Sent > Conversation should be above 2-3%, your messaging should be engaging enough where your proactive bots engage at least that much traffic.

They predict that you should see that around 15% of the people who have conversations with you will also give their email. So for Conversation > Email Captured, this will transfer to a 1% overall email capture conversion rate from Sent > Email captured.

Finally, when it comes to measuring attribution for your chat strategy, Drift suggests going beyond just net new contacts and measuring touches along the way.

Visitor > Lead > MQL > SQL > Closed Won

One of the best ways to keep your marketing accountable is to run a conversion report. The best conversion report will uncover a truckload of data. But at the root of it will be this path.

How many visitors to your digital assets hit the waypoints of lead, marketing qualified lead (MQL), sales qualified lead (SQL) and closed won? How does your overall conversion rate stack up?

Here’s how we’d suggest you measure the journey through conversion rates:

  • Visitor to Lead
  • Lead to MQL
  • MQL to SQL
  • SQL to Opportunity
  • Opportunity to Customer (Closed Won)

For each step you simply divide the number of the contacts in the first number by the number of people who completed the step.

Email Click-Through Rates

You already know that email open rate conversion by itself is just a vanity metric.

While you can’t measure clicks if no one opens the messages, you can’t only measure open rates.

While you have many metrics to choose from with email marketing, the one you should pay closest attention to weekly is the amount of people who clicked through your email and took the next step; this could be to click on a link or a CTA.

In HubSpot, this metric is identified as your email click-through rate. This is a valuable metric because you’ll begin to understand which email lists are engaged and with which types of content.

From there, you can examine your email marketing language, the use of CTAs, and break down preferences for each of your email lists.

Cost Per Lead Per Channel

Want to know how much money you spend on a specific online marketing channel to drive leads? That’s where cost per lead per channel comes into play.

Who cares about this? Marketers ready for a laser-focused strategy.

Sure, the number of leads you have generated counts but do you know what matters more? How much it costs to generate those leads.

By calculating cost per lead per channel you can identify which channels are the most powerful lead generators for future campaigns and invest in them accordingly.

For example, say you’re generating thousands of leads on Instagram. The problem? The return you’re getting isn’t worth the money invested. Maybe it’s costing less to generate the same amount of leads on LinkedIn. You may decide to drop that particular channel and invest your money into the one that has proven to work best.

Calculating cost per leads is one of the most important metrics you can show to your CEO or CMO so she can directly see your return on investment.

Calculating cost per lead per channel is pretty simple: Ad Spend /Lead = Cost Per Lead

ProTip: Not all leads are created equally. Some are stronger (or warmer) than others. When selecting the perfect digital marketing channels to invest your money in you will need to keep track of the quality of the leads your campaign is generating. Talk to your sales team about the leads they find most useful. You can document the quality of leads you’ve generated in your dashboard too.

Cost Per Acquisition

Cost per acquisition (CPA) is what your company and its marketing efforts revolve around. CPA tells you how your business is performing in terms of revenue.

Every time you have a real paying customer/client, this metric changes and shows you how much you should be realistically investing in order to convert a prospect into a paying customer.

No matter what type of paid campaign you run, you need to keep an eye on your CPA; even if you’re buying traffic at a cheaper cost (by paying less per click), you won’t grow your business until and unless you have actual paying customers.

Every paid marketing channel you use is only worth it when it helps you bring down your CPA. In short, when you focus on cost per acquisition, you’ll be getting a more complete picture of your campaign’s success or failure.

Average Time Per Visit

A great metric for website pages is how long people stick around. If people like your site and the kind of content you’re publishing, they’ll show the love by simply investing more of their valuable time on your site.

The average time spent on your website tells you how and if visitors find your website useful, and if they liked their experience on it.

Time on site is relative to your brand. You can’t compete against Buzzfeed or Netflix. But when more people spend less time on your site, you should pay attention. It’d be a treat for your business if you can have them spend a few valuable minutes browsing your site and connecting with your content.

Remember, a website with poor content or one of that is low on value will have a hard time keeping visitors from exiting it within a few seconds.

ProTip: Increase on-page time by adding multimedia content like video, podcasts or interactive infographics.

Bounce Rate

Related to time on site’s reason for importance is bounce rate. If they spend no time on your site and literally bounce from a page, something’s wrong.

Imagine searching for a phrase like “how to change the oil on my 2005 Nissan” and finding an article that just tries to sell you a synthetic oil without showing you a tutorial. You’d hit back or close as fast as possible.

The search engines pay attention to those behaviors. If enough people leave, your bounce rate goes up.

So basically you have two types of website visitors: one that visits your site and explores it further by navigating from one page to another. The second is a visitor who leaves your website only after visiting one page.

Your website’s bounce rate is determined by the percentage of visitors that do not go beyond their entrance page. In other words these are visitors who simply enter your site, don’t like it for some reason and “bounce back” to the site they came from or another site that is not your domain.

Since every page on your site is different, the bounce rate is bound to differ from page to page. Your homepage may have a lower bounce rate than, say, your about page or a product/service page.

Although the “bounce rate” metric is relative, it does give you a fair idea of how well your site is performing in terms of providing relevant content, or if it’s giving an experience your visitors want.

Now for a caveat. When a page has a higher bounce rate, it isn’t always bad because sometimes the visitor gets what she wants right away—maybe she filled out a contact form—and isn’t required to browse any further.

However, most other times, people simply hit the back button or close the window because they had some issue with the site’s design or usability. An issue that could have been fixed.

Bounce rate is one of those critical digital marketing metrics that you should not ignore because it helps you identify the core issues with pages on your site that are pushing your visitors away.

Avoiding Paralysis by Analysis

The Real Metrics to Measure in Online Marketing

Avoid Too Much Data

The truth is, you can measure almost anything with the right software. The danger in marketing and sales isn’t a lack of data. It’s paralysis by analysis.

Too much data is hindering great marketers from performing.

Decide what’s important to you and your team—like revenue. Then measure the metrics that matter.

Want to learn how to lean into digital on a deeper level? We have put together a huge resource to help you get into digital marketing or take your strategy to the next level if you’re already using online marketing.

Now, let’s measure what matters and take our marketing strategy to new levels!

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Author: Dan Moyle

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