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Tracking Digital Marketing Performance: The Guide

Digital Marketing Performance, marketing KPIs

In today’s digitally driven world it is possible to track nearly every aspect of your business, but knowing where to start can be a real struggle. 

When it comes to online marketing, there are hundreds of various metrics that you could be monitoring, and if you find yourself lost in a sea of Google Analytics jargon and social media buzzwords then don’t panic, you are not alone.

Making sense of the vast amount of data that is generated from your various online marketing channels is no easy task. Trying to track every metric available to you will become a full-time job that is a waste of your precious time. However, knowing which parameters are important enough to monitor can be tricky.

If you track the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each area of your online marketing strategy, then you will be on the right track, but knowing what these KPIs are for your marketing isn’t always obvious.

With 95% of the UK population now using the internet, and the average Brit spending nearly six hours online every single day, it is more important than ever to have your online marketing strategy up to scratch. This guide will take a look at some of the most vital KPIs for tracking your digital marketing performance, including website, social, search and email.

What does analytics mean?

The number of buzzwords surrounding digital marketing performance is huge, and it seems there is something new to keep up with almost every day. One of the most important words that you will come across when tracking your digital marketing performance is ‘analytics’. As long as you can understand this, you will be well on your way to becoming a master of online metric tracking.

Analytics refers to the process of collecting and analysing data and using this data to look for trends, patterns and connections that can provide some insights into your online performance. Web analytics, for example, will collect and examine the information and data from your website including system performance, user behaviour and much, much more. All web analytics are tracked using metrics, which are basically the measurements used to provide the information we need.

Metrics might display a total number, such as the number of visitors to your site, or an average such as the average time users spend on one page of your website. These metrics can change depending on what analytics you choose to gather and monitor, and they are so powerful because they give us a definitive figure that can be used to gain invaluable insights into your digital performance.

These metrics allow you to work out shortfalls on your website and other online channels, which can be utilised to help improve the customer journey and sales process. 78% of UK and US eCommerce decision makers do not understand the reasons why customers struggle with their websites, and this could all be avoided by reviewing the website analytics.

Why is tracking digital marketing performance important?

As a digital marketer, it is important to know that better information means better results. Having relevant and accurate data will allow you to make more informed, reliable decisions in your marketing strategy. A Forbes Insight report indicates that only 22% of marketers are using the metrics and analytics available to them to make data-driven initiatives.

That is a lot of marketers not making the most of the information that is readily available about their own marketing activities. Companies are investing more and more into digital marketing, but how will you even know you are investing in the right areas if you aren’t measuring and analysing your current digital marketing activities?

Understanding your brand’s website using analytics is so crucial as it is a massive part of your business’ online presence and should be functioning in the best possible way that is intuitive to your customers.

Discovering how users are interacting with your website, and understanding what makes them spend more with you, is an extremely powerful insight. We live in a world that is driven by digital technologies, millennials now make 54% of all their purchases online, and that number is only set to rise, so without an effective website, you stand to be left behind.

Tracking your digital marketing performance across all platforms allows you to fully understand your customers’ needs and behaviours, and in turn make their buying journey easier than ever. Analytics and digital tracking give your organisation the insights and information needed to improve your overall marketing strategy, drive revenue, increase retention and enhance brand reputation.

15 digital marketing metrics you should be tracking and how to track them

The chances are, your digital marketing campaign is made up of a range of various channels and platforms, and each has a vast variety of metrics that you can track. Deciding which to monitor can be confusing, and it is difficult to know what data is going to be most important to your business. If you find yourself wondering which metrics are best to choose, then read on to find out a bit more about some of the most important KPIs to digital marketers.

The various digital marketing analytics that you choose to monitor will ultimately depend on your business goals, and what you want to achieve from your online marketing strategy. You know better than anyone what you want to gain from your digital marketing and getting overwhelmed with metrics that aren’t relevant to your specific goals can end up hindering your performance. But, how can you possibly choose which metrics are important to your business until you understand what metrics are available and what they mean?

In order to choose which digital marketing metrics you should be tracking, you first need to know what’s out there and what you can monitor for each of your online channels. Here are the top 15 digital marketing KPIs for any successful online business. (We have broken this list down into the top four online channels to make it super easy for you to understand!)

From there, we have analysed some of the top tracking tools for each online channel so you know what to use and when.

Website Traffic

Your business website is the online hub for your customers to access your products or services. It is vital that your site makes your customer’s journey as easy as possible, as well as boosts your online sales and conversions. E-commerce is growing by 23% year on year, which means more and more people are looking to spend their money online than ever before.

The purpose of your website should be to convert as many visitors as possible into leads or sales, and tracking the following digital marketing metrics can help you to determine how effective your website is, as well as highlight any areas for improvement.

grow your website traffic

What To Track For Website Traffic

  • Daily Visitors

When it comes to web traffic, the most important thing to measure is how many daily visitors you are getting and whether this number is growing. One of your main goals for your brand website should be to increase the number of daily visitors as much as possible through various digital marketing activities.

  • New vs Returning Visitors

As well as tracking how many visitors your website is getting on a daily basis, you should also be tracking how many of these visitors are new and how many have visited your site before. The majority of your online traffic should be coming from new visitors; however, it is essential to have a good base of loyal, returning customers as well.

  • Referral Traffic

Another KPI that you should track is your websites referral traffic. This gives you vital information on where your visitors are coming from and how they are ending up on your site. Tracking your referral traffic is an excellent way of measuring how your digital marketing activities are doing, for example, you can see what percentage of visitors find you from search engines, social media, or paid online advertisements.

With Google being responsible for 94% of total organic traffic, you should always expect to see Google as one of your top referrers; if you don’t, it could indicate that your SEO is lacking. If you are paying for any online advertisements, then monitoring your referrals is an excellent way to determine if they are valuable or not.

  • Average Time On Page / Page Views

Monitoring which pages on your site receive the most visitors, and which pages your visitors stay on for longer can give you invaluable insight into what content is working best for you. You can quickly tell what kind of content is most popular with your audience, and what isn’t working so well for you.

With content marketing bringing in three times more leads than paid search advertising, and 55% of marketers saying that blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority, having the ability to understand your audiences favourite content is invaluable.

  • Conversion Rate

Following on from your website visitors, the next most important website metric to track is your conversion rate. You could have an excellent marketing strategy driving huge amounts of traffic to your site, but if those visitors aren’t converting then what is the point?

Conversions can be broken down into two trackable measures. The first is goal conversion, which relates to goals that you have predetermined for your visitors. This goal could be completing a contact form or downloading a brochure, and your goal conversion rate will show what percentage of your web visitors complete one of these actions.

The second measure is your e-commerce conversion rate. This shows how many of your visitors made a purchase on your website and it is vital to track if you sell products or services online. The average e-commerce conversion rate is 1% – 2%, so you should expect yours to sit around this benchmark. You can combine your conversion tracking with other metrics for a more detailed view of where your revenue is really coming from.

How To Track Website Traffic

A. Google Analytics

For most marketers, Google Analytics is the go-to tool for tracking web traffic. It is powerful and sophisticated enough for the biggest of websites. For those in the know, the dashboard is fairly intuitive and logical. However, for first-time users, it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials available to help users to navigate through the tool and have a better understanding of the customer experience of your website.

B. Clicky

Clicky offers useful heatmaps so you can understand the traffic by page, visitor of the segment. The benefit of Clicky comes from the real-time analysis which enables you to react instantly if you need to. The onsite analytics are easy to use while the reports have a high level of detail. Furthermore, Clicky is free for one website that has up to 3,000 daily page views.

C. Moz Pro

Another favourite for marketing professionals is Moz Pro as it is considered an all-in-one solution for SEO, monitoring and analysis. While Moz Pro is reasonably costly compared to other tools, it does simplify SEO considerably and comes with attractive tools such as customised reports and detailed insight to help you receive quality traffic.

D. SEMrush

With a similar pricing structure to Moz Pro, SEMrush is similar in the fact it is an all-in-one toolkit. However, it is perhaps better designed for SEO professionals rather than businesses looking to manage their own SEO. Even so, SEMrush does offer some good advantages such as in-depth analysis which you can easily use to improve your digital marketing strategy.

E. Statcounter

For pure simplicity, Statcounter is a web traffic monitoring tool that utilises visuals to provide feedback on your site. Statcounter tracks bounce rate and visitor paths as well as visits, leaves and returns. The benefit of Statcounter is that it offers a 30-day free trial, so you can see if it’s the right tracking tool for you.

Social Media

Social Media now takes up over 30% of the time that the average user spends online, making an essential digital marketing channel for any business. If you are investing time and money into advertising on social media channels, it is vital that you can effectively track your performance and use the results to further your success.

What To Track For Social Media

  • Engagement

Every social media channel is built around the concept of engaging and conversing with other users. You should be tracking the rate of engagement for every social media platform you are using. This includes the number of likes, comments and shares your posts are getting. You can then easily identify what types of posts are most popular to improve your strategy going forward. Written articles, videos and images are the three most engaging content types across social media currently, so keep an eye on your engagement levels on these types of posts.

  • Followers

Your followers are vital to your online marketing strategy as these are people that are actively interested in your brand. The number of followers each of your social accounts have is an important metric to track and can indicate whether or not your posting strategy is working or not. You should always see a steady and constant increase in followers, and any sudden drops should be an indicator that something isn’t up to scratch.

  • Brand Mentions

If people are talking about your brand on the web, you should be sure that you know about it and track it! You can monitor how many mentions your business gets on social media. It is important to not only track the numbers but also stay involved in the conversation. 80% of millennials that use Pinterest say that the platform helps them choose what to buy, so if your brand is being mentioned you want to make the most of it!

How To Track For Social Media

F. Buffer

Buffer is one of the most popular social media tracking tools. It helps you to work out when to schedule posts and monitors your social media performance so you can adapt your strategy accordingly. Buffer is three for up to three accounts with one user and can schedule 10 posts while also offers a pro version for a cost-effective monthly fee. Buffer streamlines your analytics which makes them easier to follow however may not give as much information as you’d like.

G. Hootsuite

Another popular tracking tool for social media is Hootsuite. Hootsuite has a great user-friendly dashboard, and you can manage all of your social media sites from one platform. Hootsuite makes it easy not only to schedule content but also manage your accounts and give you details reports on your social media content and how it’s performing.

H. Iconosquare

While this will put some people off, Iconosquare is solely for Instagram tracking. However, it is the leading tracking tool for the site and can help you to unleash your full Instagram potential.  The tool allows you to manage all of your conversations while also moderating all comments easily from the touch of your phone. It delivers key metrics which can help to shape your Instagram strategy. See if it works for you with a free 14-day trial.

Serve, Mitchel White, Ethical Marketing Book, personal branding

Search Engine Performance

Search engines play a significant role in digital marketing, and a massive 90% of users making online searches haven’t made a decision about a brand before starting their search. Search engine results pages (SERPs) are likely to be where most of your first-time visitors will find your brand, so it is vital to get your performance for both organic traffic and PPC as good as it can be.

What To Track For Search Engine Performance

  • Organic Traffic

Organic search visits have fallen by 3% recently, and growth has weakened across all devices, which means that tracking your organic traffic and using the data to improve your strategy is more important than ever. You should monitor how many first-time visitors are reaching your website through SERPs. If the number is particularly low (less than 40%) or dropping over time, then it is clear to see that more needs to be done to improve your ranking.

  • Branded Search Terms

Track the number of visitors that reach your website using branded keywords in search engines. This could the name of your business, your products or services, and by tracking how many people are finding you through these, you can gain insights into the reach of your company. They are likely to be people that have interacted with your brand before or seen your advertising elsewhere and then followed up by finding you online.

  • Keyword Tracking

The keywords you choose to target are important to your digital marketing performance and should be closely monitored and tracked to ensure they are working well for your company. Track the number of visitors that are reaching your website from each of your chosen keywords; if you have some that are performing poorly, it can be a clue that you need to modify your keyword strategy. 50% of search queries are four words or longer, so consider this when choosing your keywords.

How To Track For Search Engine Performance

I.  Raven Tools

Raven Tools is a comprehensive tracking platform that can manage your search engine performance. It works by providing customised marketing reports based on data accessed from Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and other keyword data sites.  The tool conducts regular audits of your site by crawling for keywords, page speed and user experience.

J.  Sisense

Sisense provides detailed insights from SEO analytics. The dashboard allows a business overview but can also drill down into the numbers for detailed insights from complex data. With Sisense, the tool will offer advice for optimal campaign performance while also drawing conclusions from a large volume of data.

K. HubSpot

HubSpot has a range of tools to track your digital marketing performance. However, with a high focus on data, it makes it the ideal solution for tracking search engine performance. It works by monitoring the whole marketing funnel so that you know what stage needs your efforts. HubSpot also offers a site performance analysis using key website metrics.

search engine optimisation, Digital Marketing Performance

Email Marketing

Over 205 billion emails are sent every single day, and this figure is expected to increase by 3% every year. Making the most of email within your digital marketing strategy is essential, and the best way to do this is to track your current performance and use the insights to improve on your email campaigns. Shockingly, 15% of marketers said they don’t regularly review their email opens, and click-through rates and only 23% have integrated their website to track what users are doing after a website click.

What To Track For Email Marketing

  • Open Rates

If a customer never even opens your email communication, how can you expect them to convert into a paying customer? If you aren’t tracking your open rates, you could be missing out on a huge number of click-throughs and conversions and not even know it.  A higher open rate is usually thanks to more effective subject lines and relevant topics. In 2017 average open rates increased from 35% to 58% according to SendGrid’s 2017 Global Email Benchmark Report, so consumers are more susceptible than ever to email marketing communications.

  • Bounce Rates

Bounce rate refers to the number of emails that were undelivered, and if you send too many emails that bounce it can negatively impact the quality of your mailing list. Most email marketing service providers will remove invalid email addresses on your behalf, but it is still important to keep track of this number to ensure your campaigns are the best they can be.

  • Unsubscribe Rates

A high unsubscribe rate can be a result of a poorly kept mailing list with too many irrelevant contacts or a clue that you are sending your database too many emails. 78% of consumers have unsubscribed because a business was sending too many emails. Always track the unsubscribe rates to ensure your email marketing strategy is still working for your customers.

  • Conversion Rates

It is one thing to have a great email that is opened and clicked on by loads of customers, but if those customers aren’t converting then has it really been a successful campaign? You should track your e-commerce conversion rate for every email you send, by monitoring how many of those people that clicked on your email then went on to become a paying customer on your website.

How To Track For Email Marketing

L. Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor makes it easy to create email marketing campaigns through a drag and drop system. Furthermore, there are plenty of templates to choose from. Once you have your professional email ready to sent, Campaign Monitor ensures that customers won’t miss your email. After you send the campaign out, Campaign Monitor tracks performance with hyper-targeted segments, so you know who your ideal audience is and how to tailor your next campaign.

M.   MailChimp

Another popular tool for tracking email marketing is MailChimp. As well as creating campaigns, MailChimp drills down into the number to check the unsubscribe rates, bounce rates and conversion rates. MailChimp can show you how best to connect with your audience and how financially effective your email campaigns are.

N. Pardot

Pardot is a smart and straightforward email marketing tracking tool which collects the data you need to know such as open and click rates, landing page data and the number of emails sent. It will analyse your performance for a variety of content needs and while offer adjustment ideas to improve engagement.

O. AWeber

As well as automating your email campaigns, AWeber helps you to craft campaigns that align with your business goals. AWeber has a vast amount of templates to choose from as well as offering essential analytic tools to track your digital marketing performance with engagement statistics, sales figures and the number of bounces and complaints.

So, there you have it, 15 of the most important aspects to track and 15 ways to track them to ensure your digital marketing performance is a success!

Serve, Mitchel White, Ethical Marketing Book, personal branding

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