4 Must-Have Metrics to Include in Your Digital Marketing Report
- By Marques Coleman
- Digital Marketing
Marketing is often seen as a“fuzzy” activity to get a brand’s presence “out there” and in front of as many faces as possible. Often, the assumption is that they spend a lot of money, “throw” lots of content and ads all over the place, and hope that the “law of averages” will bring results.
Results are the only thing that a client or CEO is looking for, and those results are in the form of sales and profit. When sales and profits are not meeting their expectations, they want to know why; likewise, when profits are good and increasing, they want to know what is being done right. As a digital marketer, you figure highly in these two scenarios, and it’s up to you to provide the information – honest and forthright – that shows the results of your marketing activities and expenses.
Results need to be in the form of data – metrics compiled in a report that will give your stakeholders a full picture of your successes (and your not-so-successful activities), in a clear, easily-understandable piece. The challenge is this: which metrics should you include?
Here is a summary of the key metrics that you must include.
Begin Your Report with an Introduction
Your marketing campaigns must have goals and objectives. The obvious end-goal is to increase profits. But each campaign should have a goal as well. Examples of goals might be to increase traffic to the website; to expand the customer base/audience; to enlarge email click-throughs, etc. Providing as much detail as possible, along with the time frame, is critical. Example: Increase website traffic by 1,000 new visits over a 3-month period.
For each of your goals, you will need to provide actual metrics that demonstrate results. So, let’s look at those key four metrics that must be tracked and reported.
Key Metrics Divided by Categories
1. Website Traffic
This is the brand’s face on the web. And the ultimate goal is to increase traffic to the website through a variety of activities. The success of these activities can be measured with the right tools. Google Analytics is probably the best one out there right now, and it will provide highly detailed reports based upon your instructions. So be certain you have this tool installed on your website. Here are the metrics you can request:
● Traffic Sources
This metric will show where visitors are coming from. You can use this information to decide which sources are working and which are not performing as well as you want. Then you can make decisions about the non-performers. Do you need to re-work what you are doing on those sources, or might you want to abandon them at least temporarily and focus more on others?
● New vs. Return Visitors
This is self-explanatory. Return visits indicate continued interest; new visits mean that you are getting that increase you want.
● Time Spent on Site and Pages
You want to know the average amount of time visitors spend navigating through your site and which pages seem to be the most engaging (or not). Linda Ferguson, CEO of the online academic assistance company, summarizes the importance of this: “We were not really tracking time spent on specific pages of our website – we were only really interested in our incoming traffic increases. Once we expanded our analytics, we realized that some of our landing pages were actually causing visitors to leave. Once we got our marketing copywriters focused on these pages and improving the content, this metric really changed for the better.”
● Bounce Rate and Sources
From where do visitors seem to be leaving your site the most frequently? This will require a look at those pages and determining how they can be improved for more engagement. It could be a problem with the site itself – pages that load too slowly or that have not been optimized for mobile devices.
● Exit Rate vs. Conversion Rate
How many visitors are navigating through your site but then exiting without making any conversion at all – not accessing a download, not providing an email address, etc. Not every conversion is a purchase, but every conversion will put a visitor into your sales funnel for further contact. You will want to track all of the conversions you are asking visitors for.
2. Social Media Metrics
Experienced marketers have already researched their target audiences and know where they hang out on social media. They have chosen those where they can achieve the largest social reach and have designed campaigns of regular postings with two goals in mind – drive readers/viewers to their websites (and usually specific landing pages) and to achieve likes, shares, and re-tweets to reach a larger audience.
Your metrics will include total number of people you reached and then the total number who actually engaged with your content in some way (which will be significantly smaller). The metric you want is the percentage of engagement, and Google Analytics will provide this. Remember – engagement means clicks to one of your pages, shares, retweets, likes, and, also important, comments and discussions that result from your post or a blog that a post has taken people to.
If you are getting a good engagement rate on certain types of content, then you have a pretty good idea of the type of content you’re going to continue to present.
3. Email Open and Click-Through Rates
Most marketers use an email service for segmenting and scheduling their email campaigns. These services are highly valuable because they provide detailed reports on the percentage of actual “opens” and the actions taken by those who have opened the message (known as click-throughs).
Opens tend to be the result of the email subject line. You can also experiment with different types of subject lines for the same email and see which are better.
Click-throughs come from those who actually read the email and then take some action – visiting a landing page link; scooping up a discount coupon, etc. Comparing rates of total sent, to opens, to click-throughs will give you a good picture of how your campaigns are doing, and if you are using a service, the cost per click-through.
4. Paid Advertising
If you are engaging in any paid advertising campaigns (pay-per-click, direct advertising on search engines, social media sites, etc.,) then you are using budget dollars. This is especially important for e-commerce brands that must track actual sales to determine ROI. Your metrics should include a breakdown of how much it is costing you per purchase and from what source those purchases are coming. Once you have this information, you are able to see which paid advertising formats and platforms are working and which are under-performing. There may be some you should just abandon and spend your marketing dollars where they are working.
Once you have prepared your report based on these metrics, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that the entire picture will not be “rosy.” But it is based upon real data, and is therefore honest and not based upon opinions.
If there are parts of your metrics that show under-performance, your report should include what steps you have to improve that performance.