Marketing is a vital tool for attracting the high-quality leads you need to customers, thus increasing your sales and improving your bottom line. KPI stands for key performance indicators in marketing. KPIs are a way to help you track various metrics related to the performance of your content, marketing channels, and your overall campaign strategy.
These indicators can be easily tracked using various software, or they can be self-calculated and provide you with a broad picture that can allow you to make the necessary adjustments to your strategy. After reading this article, you will be able to understand what marketing KPIs are, how and when they are used, and the ones that are needed to track the specific aspects of your campaign.
- What is Marketing KPIs?
- Who Can Benefit From Marketing KPIs?
- When Should You Use Marketing KPIs?
- Where Do You Use Marketing KPIs?
- Why You Should Use Marketing KPIs?
- How to Use Marketing KPIs
- Choosing Your Marketing KPIs
- Focusing on “SMART” KPIs
- Measuring Marketing KPIs for Website Traffic
- Marketing KPIs to Monitor for Lead Generation
- How KPIs Can Help You Measure Your Search Engine Optimization
- Advertising KPIs That Can Help Your Marketing Plan
- Social Media KPIs You Want to Monitor
What is Marketing KPIs?
The KPI marketing definition is measurable values that help you track your marketing campaign’s performance. They are used by marketers to determine if your campaign is helping you make the progress you need to achieve your business and marketing goals.
The KPIs used for marketing will differ somewhat from the KPIs used to measure other business goals, as marketing KPIs are tied to the progress of the campaign. These indicators will let you know how each marketing project is working, so you can make adjustments and get the most out of your marketing campaign.
Since marketing KPIs are linked to progress, they must be consistently tracked throughout the campaign. It is also important to understand that KPIs and campaign goals are not the same. The overall goal of your marketing campaign may be to create greater brand awareness in a designated area. The KPIs you will likely be monitoring to meet these goals will be linked to traffic, engagement, and followers.
Some common KPIs used by marketing departments include:
- New customers
- Customer acquisition costs
- Customer attrition rates
- Social media awareness rates
- Return on investment
- Customer lifetime value
While these are some of the most common types of KPIs used in a marketing campaign, the ones you choose will be related to your more broad business goal. When choosing your marketing key performance indicators they should provide you with the data you need to judge growth based on the specific projects of the campaign to get a better sense of what is working and what isn’t.
Image via Flickr by 826Bricker
Who Can Benefit From Marketing KPIs?
Marketing KPIs can be beneficial to all departments associated with a marketing campaign. It can help financial staff get a clear picture of the return on investments, it can help salespeople understand the messages that resonate with their target audience, and it can help the marketing department to determine what projects in their marketing campaign are working and which ones could use some adjustments. For all departments, KPIs can also let you know if your business goals are reasonable, or whether they may too high or too low.
KPIs allow you to measure outcomes and results. A good KPI, by definition, should be measurable and trackable. Without a way to measure progress towards your goals, you can’t make improvements or adjustments.
When it comes to who will likely be in charge of designating the KPIs and receiving the reports from them, your marketing manager is the likely candidate. A marketing manager is the one responsible for the marketing campaign as well as its success and failures. They are also the ones who have the power to revisit and revamp a campaign that is not meeting the desired goals. Marketing managers’ primary goals are to attract new leads and help to retain current ones by focusing on customer satisfaction.
For example, if a marketing manager were to receive KPI information that shows low traffic to a specific social media channel, while others are performing well, they may look at altering their strategy for that platform, or pull their ad dollars out of it and put it into the social media platforms that are performing.
When Should You Use Marketing KPIs?
Marketing KPIs should be established anytime you launch a new marketing campaign or strategy. Even if you decide to choose different indicators once your campaign is in full swing, it is always good to start with the ones that you feel will provide you with the information you need to determine if the campaign can achieve your desired goals.
- Start by clearly defining your goal. Always make sure that your goal is achievable and one that is measurable. Starting with an unrealistic goal will often fail.
- Decide on which KPIs to use. Decide which indicators and metrics can help to give you a clear answer as to whether your goal was achieved or not. For example, if your goal is to build brand awareness in a specific geographic region, then you will want to include KPIs that measure traffic, what regions it comes from, and its sources. If you are looking to increase sales, then customer acquisition costs and ROI will be important KPIs.
- Determine your vision or success. After setting up your KPIs you will want to set a measurement for each indicator that you will see as an indicator of success. You can also come up with measurements that include multiple KPIs. For example, you can determine success for improved sales with a $1.00 customer acquisition cost and a conversion rate of 12%.
- Assess your goals. Set a period of time to review your data and if your goals have been achieved you can deem the campaign a success and may want to consider ways to expand it or create a similar one for another goal. If the numbers show that you have fallen short of your topic, you may need to look at the indicators that need to improve to reach the goal and investigate ways to adjust your campaign.
Where Do You Use Marketing KPIs?
Marketing KPIs should be determined at the beginning of any marketing campaign and used throughout its duration to help to track its progress. KPIs can be set up to review monthly, quarterly, and even yearly data that will help you determine the strengths and the weak points during the campaign.
While it is crucial to implement the use of KPIs at the beginning of any marketing campaign, it is important to review the information they are providing throughout and determine whether additional ones are needed, or ones can be removed, to make sure you have the information you need to provide you with a complete picture of your campaign and overall strategy.
Why You Should Use Marketing KPIs?
Marketing indicators are important for many reasons, from ensuring that your goals are on track to determine if you are getting the appropriate return on investment. Without KPIs, you may have a hard time determining the success or failure of your specific marketing campaign and efforts. Some of the reasons you should always make key performance indicators marketing part of your strategy are:
You, Will, Have Measurable Results
Having a form of measurement for your marketing efforts is one of the most important parts of KPI reporting. These metrics will allow you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing campaign so that you can make needed adjustments, or put more resources in specific areas of your marketing strategy. These measurements also help provide for better tracking of the campaign’s process from start to finish. You will see exactly what point in the campaign you started to see an increase in traffic or sales and what areas of the campaign contributed to those increases. Since the KPIs are always measurable and quantifiable, they can provide you with actionable information.
You Can Better Set Your Marketing Goals
While KPIs can help you determine if you are reaching your business goals, they can also help you to set realistic marketing goals. Start by having a marketing goal in place and the KPIs to measure it. Once you have seen whether or not you can reach the goal and what time period it took, you will be better able to set future goals.
Maybe your goals were too lofty. Or maybe they were too simple. Sometimes part of your marketing strategy may not be to just adjust your marketing campaign but your ultimate goals as well.
Using KPIs during the marketing process can also help you to move through your goals at a faster rate. If your indicators show that your initial goals were reached early in the campaign, it may be time to move on to the second goal in your plan while on the same campaign or set a higher goal. In short, KPIs can help you to break down complicated information in a way that makes it easier for those setting the goals to understand and make better decisions.
You Can Align Marketing and Sales
While it is marketing’s job to bring in the customers, it is the sales department’s job to close them. With KPIs, your sales department will be able to access crucial information about the part of the marketing campaign that most appeals to customers, what avenues they use as part of their buyer’s journey, and what pain points they are most looking to have addressed. With this information your sales department can better understand how to close new prospects, turning qualified leads into satisfied customers.
You Can Better Stay Within Budget
Staying on budget for marketing campaigns is critical and so is making sure that you get the most out of your marketing dollars. KPIs can provide you with valuable insights as to where your marketing dollars may best be spent and areas where you can afford to cut back. You can use the information to work to lower customer acquisition costs and maximize your marketing ROI.
How to Use Marketing KPIs
You can use KPIs in marketing to help you monitor your marketing campaign results to ensure they are on track with your overall goals. You can use the information gained from KPIs to also makes adjustments to your goals and strategies if the goals were not realistic or attainable, or the strategies of your plan do not seem to be working toward your goals.
For example, if your goal is to get social media traffic, and you are not getting near your desired goal through your ads and campaigns, it may be time to make strategy adjustments, such as using more targeted ads for your demographics.
Marketing KPIs can also help you determine your return on investment for specific campaigns, understand what your customer conversion rate and acquisition costs are, and determine the best sources of traffic. All this information can help you better adjust your marketing strategies to attract your desired audience and convert them to leads.
Before you can begin to utilize the data from KPIs and gain the insight you need to see if your campaign is working you will have to understand the best KPIs to track.
Choosing Your Marketing KPIs
Choosing the right KPIs to monitor requires some research and critical thought, but is worth the effort for the wealth of information they can provide. Every KPI you choose should focus on a desired business goal and outcome, so it can provide you with the information you need to determine if you are achieving those goals. Consider the following when making your KPI determination.
- What are your end goals?
- What information do you need to determine if those goals are being met?
- Which KPIs can provide you with the data you need?
- How will you determine whether a goal has been met or not?
While there are many KPIs that are commonly monitored by all businesses, taking the time to really drill down on the ones that will give you the best data can save your time in the end and also make the analysis more efficient.
There are no fast or hard rules when it comes to the number of KPIs that you need to track, but monitoring too many can lead to copious amounts of data that can be hard to wade through, On average, most companies will focus on between five to ten for each campaign that covers various points they need to consider to determine if their goals are ultimately met.
Focusing on “SMART” KPIs
For many marketers using the “SMART” criteria for selecting their marketing goals and KPIs can set them up for the greatest level of success. To achieve this, all of the indicators you choose should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means you need to focus on precision when choosing your key performance indicators and how you plan to measure and analyze the progress you get from them.
By focusing on the “SMART” criteria you will avoid one of the main pitfalls that many marketers stumble upon and that is setting attainable goals. While it is ok to be ambitious in terms of your marketing goals if they are completely unrealistic or not relevant in terms of your brand, or the market you are competing in them you are more likely to experience failure than success.
Time frame is also important when setting goals and choosing KPIs since it will help you to stay on track with your campaign and also allow you to create more realistic comparisons with your data.
Measuring Marketing KPIs for Website Traffic
When using digital marketing as part of your campaign, some of the first KPIs to focus on are ones related to the traffic of your website, especially if you are trying a new digital approach. Traffic and visitor engagement will have a direct effect on how many leads you get, the types of leads you get, and whether or not those leads are qualified. Some of the most important website traffic KPIs to consider including are:
- Traffic. Your overall traffic should be monitored and measured including which pages received the traffic. This can help you to better evaluate the content on your website. Analytic tools can easily provide you with this information.
- New vs. returning visitors. Another important metric to follow is how many new visitors are you getting versus how many return visitors. If certain pages have a lower return rate than others you may want to consider providing more engaging content on that page.
- Visits by channel. Knowing which channels have filtered the traffic to your website will help you determine your more profitable marketing channels and also assess the reach and effectiveness of campaigns recently run on certain channels.
- Average time on page. This metric is important when looking at your organic search traffic. If you have high levels of organic traffic to a page with a higher average time on that page then it is likely that you are ranking higher on search engines for that information or a specific keyword.
- Conversion rate. Website traffic is great, but if the leads don’t convert, it will do little for your marketing efforts. Make sure your site has clear calls-to-action throughout and you can use engagement with those as a conversion measurement. If this metric is low, it may be time to add more or create more compelling CTAs.
- Pages per visit. Your website should be easy to navigate and engaging, and the pages per visit KPI can let you know if it is. The more time a visitor spends on your site, and the more pages they loo through, the more likely they are to convert.
Marketing KPIs to Monitor for Lead Generation
If generating new leads is one of your primary business goals, then you will want to choose KPIs that help to monitor the cost-effectiveness of your chosen lead generation channels and ones that help you identify customer acquisition metrics.
One of the first metrics to focus on is new leads generated per month and per quarter. Leads can be measured in different ways, from signup for free trials, to account creation, to request more information. You will want to filter your lead data by dates to be able to compare it with the information in the marketing campaign at that time.
If you’re not meeting the goal you anticipated then you may want to consider increasing the budget on a CPC ad campaign, try new offers, or provide additional SEO-optimized content on your site.
Another good metric to monitor is qualified leads. This is one of the best barometers for determining the success or failure of a marketing campaign as it can separate leads that are traffic and those that are more likely to become a paying customer. Depending on your business, you may have different ways to qualify a lead and place them into the appropriate category. Typically a qualified lead will fall into one of the following categories.
- Marketing qualified leads. When designated an MQL then the marketing team has qualified the lead and will send it on to the sales team.
- Sales-accepted leads. A SAL lead is a lead that the sales team has chosen and they will follow up on.
- Sales qualified leads. SQL leads have been qualified by the sales department and have the highest potential to become customers.
Improving sales qualified leads involves better targeting your prospective customer through targeted content and offers. Qualifying a lead can involve certain engagements with your company or website, such as requesting more information, downloading an e-book, or requesting a quote.
Your CPL is also an important metric. It lets you know how much it cost you to acquire your new prospect. This is an essential figure when evaluating a marketing plan, if the cost-per-lead is too high, you may need to reevaluate your marketing strategy or find more cost-effective avenues to draw leads in. Don’t be afraid to try some of the free ad campaigns in combination with paid ones. They can lower your overall cost-per-lead and improve the efficiency of your marketing plan.
Another important lead to determining if your campaign has been cost-effective is your cost-per-conversion. This provides you with the customer acquisition cost for the specific campaign you are tracking. For example, if your campaign is bringing in a lot of leads but only 10 converts and you have paid $5,000 for that specific campaign. Then your cost-per-conversion is $500 which seems hardly lucrative unless your business deals are luxury products and services with a much higher sales dollar.
You want to compare this metric to your customer lifetime value. IF your customer lifetime value is higher than your cost-per-conversion rate your marketing strategy is wasting resources and failing to generate any profit. You can lower your cost-per-conversion rate by making sure that your campaigns better target your specific audience.
Average Time of Conversion
To understand what is causing your prospect to complete the conversion process, you will need to monitor how long it takes for them to complete the process. Conversion times should be shorter, not only so you can convert more leads quicker, but also so prospects don’t lose interest during the lengthy process.
You can calculate this metric by measuring the length of time from when a prospect first becomes a lead to the point when they decide to follow through with a purchase. If you find that your average conversion time is too high, you can try to reduce it by providing timely offers and focusing on marketing.
Customer Retention Rate
While getting new customers is half of the battle, keeping them coming back for more is just as critical. Monitoring who keeps using your product and makes repeated purchases over a length of time can help provide you with your customer retention rate. To get this metric you will need to divide the number of new clients at the start of your measurement period by the number of customers at the end of a period, less the number of new customers acquire, and multiply that by 100 to get your retention rate.
For example, if you are using six months as your retention period and you had 5,000 total customers at the end of the period. 1,500 of them were acquired during the period and there were 3,000 customers at the start, your retention rate would be 58%
((5,000-1,500)/6,000))x 100 = 58%
Churn rate, or attrition rate, is a metric that lets you know what percentage of customers are no longer purchasing your product or service, While small percentages are normal, a high percentage could be an indication that the customers are experiencing problems with the product or service, poor customer service performance, or a poor overall user experience.
You can calculate this metric by determining the number of customers that have stopped ordering in a year period and dividing it by your customer base. For example, if 10,000 customers stop purchasing or using your products and services in a year and your overall customer base is 100,000, your churn rate would be 10%.
How KPIs Can Help You Measure Your Search Engine Optimization
Organic leads are often the most profitable for marketers as it attracts customers looking for solutions to specific problems, that your product or service can solve for them. The best way to draw in organic traffic and those highly targeted leads is by improving your website’s search engine optimization.
The higher you rank on search engines for specific keywords and search queries the more likely you are to draw the searcher’s attention first. There are certain KPIs that you can focus on that will let you know how well your website is optimized and give you insights on where to improve it to achieve higher rankings.
Getting quality links to your site from high-ranking pages is a great way to determine how much your page is being shared on other sites. If other sites are linking to your webpages as an authority on certain information or as a place to find out more, it will show you as having more expertise in an area and help generate traffic to your site from users already interested in what you are marketing.
While there is no quick and fast way to increase your inbound links, you can continue to establish yourself as an authority or expert in the category with continuing quality content.
The higher levels of organic traffic you have the more likely you are to rank high on search engine results. Let’s face it, the bulk of searchers will click on the first result and likely not move past the first page, so if you are getting a lot of organic traffic that means your site is likely in one of the top 10 positions for certain keywords and queries. The best way to improve your organic traffic metrics is by improving your content so that it will rank higher.
Conversions From Organic Search
This metric can let your know if the keywords you are ranking higher for in the search engines are linked to your value proposition. If you have an organic conversion rate that is lower, you may be drawing in audience members that are searching for something else. They may be confusing the audience or sending the wrong message about the types of products and services that your company is offering. You may want to review your keywords and make sure they are drawing in the audience that can benefit from your products or services.
Keywords in the Top 10 SERP
As mentioned earlier, searchers rarely put in the effort to search through pages and pages of results. They likely will find enough of what they are looking for on the first page of the search results. In fact, one-third of the click-through rates are on the first search result on the page. You can help increase this ranking by performing proper keyword research for your target audience.
Conversion Rate Per Keyword
Keywords are one of the main driving factors towards better search engine optimization. Understanding which keywords are performing well and driving in the traffic you need can help you capitalize on them to bring in more organic traffic. Use this metric to find which keywords are most attracting your desired target audience and converting them into customers. Then use this keyword and related ones in your content to help other pages on your site rank higher as well.
Traffic From Video Content
Videos are becoming a more widely used form of content over several industries, for the simple fact that they can provide the reader with a significant amount of information in a format that makes it easier for them to understand and digest certain types of information. It is also a great tool for showing readers how a product works if explaining it is more complicated.
On top of that, it can also help to improve SEO rankings. In fact, a website with videos linked to a search is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of the search engine results, which gives it a higher advantage of being clicked.
Using this KPI will allow you to look at the traffic that is coming from your video sources to seeing if it is providing you with the leads you need for conversion. If your videos are not gaining the traffic that you would like you may want to consider directly uploading them to YouTube and embedding them into portions of your website.
Advertising KPIs That Can Help Your Marketing Plan
Paid advertising is an important part of digital marketing campaigns, though many campaigns may actually fail if this paid advertising is not monitored and evaluate for its return on investment. By adding a variety of advertising KPIs to your monthly marketing KPIs you can ensure that you are getting the proper ROI on your paid advertising dollars and find ways to improve your ads and save resources from being wasted. Below are just a couple of the advertising KPIs that are worth considering.
Leads and Conversions From Paid Ads
The whole purpose of paid advertising is to generate leads that you can eventually convert into customers. You can calculate your monthly leads and conversions by monitoring the results you get from your cost-per-click advertising. Use the number of leads and conversions from your cost-per-click compared to your overall leads and conversions to get this percentage.
For example, if you have received 100 conversions from your cost-per-click advertising and 300 conversions total, then your rate for conversions from paid advertising is 33% and your percentage from non-paid efforts is 77%.
If you are using Google Adwords, you will see your results in Analytics which can make measuring the metric easier. If you notice that your percentage is lower than you like, you may want to consider improving your company and include better target keywords.
PPC Advertising Click-Through Rate
The click-through rate of your pay-per-click advertising can also provide you insight as to whether your paid advertising campaign is working. While half the goal is getting your ad in front of your target audience, the other half is getting them to click on it. A low CTR may mean that the ad is not strong enough to compel the audience to click on it to find out more.
If you notice poor performance on your add try changing the design, call-to-action, copy or choose different advertising channels.
Social Media KPIs You Want to Monitor
While social media is a great way to engage your prospects, it is now becoming a popular way to advertise your company as well. Social media can be a great tool as it allows for word-of-mouth referral, reviews, content sharing, and can support several digital mediums, from content to videos.
Most companies that perform well have strong social media engagement with their prospects and customers, which allows them to stay in front of them regularly to promote their products and services. If you are looking to improve your social media marketing or see how your efforts are performing, consider following some of the social media KPI metrics listed below.
- Traffic from social media channels. This metric will provide you with the number of visits and followers per month which can help you find which social media channels your target audience is more likely to be active on and which ones are pushing more traffic to your site. You can improve this metric by regularly sharing content valuable to your desired audience.
- Lead conversions from social media. While social media is a great tool to build brand awareness, the ultimate goal of marketing is to generate leads. You can monitor your monthly leads and conversions from each social media channel to help you determine where social media advertising may perform the best.
- Managed audience size. As mentioned before, with social media, engagement is key. The best way to determine whether or not your audience is staying engaged with your social media and company is by following the managed audience size metric. This metric will let you know how many followers continue to engage month over month and which posts promote stronger engagement.
- Engagement rate. This metric will help you drill down on the number of visitors that are actively engaging with your posts, through shares, likes, and clicks. This can help you hone in on posts that have greater appeal to your target audience so you can create more posts that promote engagement.
- Mentions. Part of building brand awareness with social media channels is getting your name out there and how often you are mentioned can let you know what kind of word-of-mouth you are getting. Evaluate both the positive and negative mentions of your company so you can get a better picture of how your company is perceived in the social space. You can gain mentions by giving your viewer something to talk about.
- Return on investment. As with any form of marketing, determining your return on investment is critical. While social media ROI can’t always be measured in numbers you should evaluate how well it is helping you to achieve your marketing goals.
Marketing KPIs are an essential component of monitoring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign and overall strategy. Without them, your campaign may lack organization and guidance. This can lead to the expenditure of valuable resources for lesser return. Start by determining your marketing goals and selecting the best KPIs that can provide you with the information you need to determine if those goals are being met, or if it is time to rethink the strategy. In short, KPIs can make your marketing efforts both more efficient and more effective.