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Masooma Memon on August 26, 2020 (last modified on August 25, 2020) • 26 minute read
A marketing report is clear and most effective when it presents a handful of important marketing metrics. So you’ve heard. But the question is: what are the most important, must-track marketing metrics?
If you look at your pool of marketing metrics, it’d appear that each number is essential – like your marketing report would be incomplete without all the numbers. But by looking closer, you’ll be able to pick out the most important, results-proving metrics.
The good news is: you don’t need to look closer. Because we’ve done that for you by asking expert marketers about important marketing metrics. Together, they shared 34 marketing metrics that are essential for you to add in your marketing report.
Let’s look at them along with:
Depending on the area of marketing that you’re focusing on, you’ll need the following marketing metrics:
These marketing metrics give an idea of how well your SEO efforts are reaping. Some essential figures to monitor include:
While there are a ton of social marketing metrics to track, several are vanity metrics such as likes. Some of the most important social metrics to keep an eye on, however, include:
When reporting on your email campaigns, always include these email marketing metrics:
For more of email marketing metrics, dig into this piece on The 22 Email Marketing Metrics Every Campaign Should Be Measured On.
Paid marketing metrics largely depend on your goals from ad campaigns. Here’s a rough idea of some essential metrics to keep an eye on:
The marketing metrics we shared above are just some of the metrics to track. However, they make one thing crystal clear: there are a lot of numbers to track and report. But which ones are the most important?
We asked about 50 people and here are their must-track marketing metrics:
“If possible you should always track brand awareness in your marketing reports,” notes Venngage’s Alice Corner.
“This could be as simple as tracking branded searches (where people are searching your company name), or you could use a tool to understand how often people are talking about your brand online. Visibility is another form of marketing impact, and it’s important to understand how your brand is being perceived.”
“Traffic metric is a marketing report must-haves,” insists Dennis Bell of Byblos Coffee.
“It gives you an idea of how many people have reached your website and through which channels. With the data you have, you can see which channel is more effective in driving traffic to your web.
It prevents you from wasting time on unsuccessful strategies and helps you improve the most effective one. Traffic changes over time, so you should take a look at whether your traffic has gone up or down or stayed the same compared to previous data. Pay attentively to the most effective source of the traffic to improve more on it.
Marketing is always changing. It’s important to understand these changes through marketing reports. It helps us put our best effort into the most effective strategy we have to make our business a success.”
Bitcoin ATM Austin’s Isaac Lauritsen agrees, “the most important marketing metric that we measure is tracking the ways users come to our site.
At Pelicoin, we make it a priority to attract users through organic search and paid advertising. Being able to see how users arrived at our website tells us which areas we’re doing well in and which we can direct our attention.
For example, most of our organic traffic comes through Google, which is how most users arrive at our website. On the other hand, Google ads lead to most of the direct requests to our ATMs, which is the best signifier that someone will use our product.”
Note that it’s important to breakdown your traffic sources. Lone Fir Creative’s Jessica D’Amato Crosby outlines, “this is crucial to understanding how your website users are navigating to your website so you can best determine where to apply your marketing efforts and what channels best serve your brand.
For example, knowing you have a strong organic volume allows you to explore the potential of paid ads, or email marketing, and vice versa with any of the other channels.”
In short, “traffic source performance breakdown is a great way to get a high-level understanding of many marketing initiatives across various channels/platforms,” in Crosby’s words.
“Businesses rely so heavily on organic traffic in 2020 (all of my clients receive between 60-80% of their total website traffic from organic) so it’s just a no-brainer to include organic as one of the benchmark marketing metrics,” observes Amplified Marketing’s Joe Edgley.
“We know that organic traffic converts higher than almost all other channels, mainly because the traffic is more qualified when arriving on site. Organic traffic is also tied to bottom-line revenue in most cases – if organic traffic drops, so does revenue almost every time, which is why it’s such an important metric to consider with marketing reports.”
Jakub Rudnik of Shortlister echoes the same sentiment: “So many other channels, particularly paid, aren’t repeatable without a cost. Organic, despite algorithm changes and other factors, is relatively project-able.
Nearly every company will do some portion of its business from organic search, so you should know how much your website has, and whether it’s trending in the right direction. From there you can drill into the revenue it’s actually generating.”
Powerphrase’s Newaz Chowdhury also shares web traffic is a metric that they share will all of their clients. Why? Because clients “want to know how their digital marketing efforts are going. We show them how many visits they are getting per month. Is it steady traffic or is it dipping? Showing traffic visitors is important so we know that people are visiting the site.”
“One metric that is very important in any marketing report is site sessions from organic traffic,” recommends Irene Lopez from Fort Worth SEO.
“This metric is extremely useful as you’re able to tell how much of your site traffic is coming from paid marketing strategies and non-paid strategies. It’s a great metric to measure how well your SEO efforts are paying off — if your SEO strategy is working, you’ll likely see an increase in organic traffic.”
Colin Mosier of JSL Marketing & Web Design considers Referral Traffic an important marketing metric to include in a marketing metric.
Mosier elaborates, “each of our clients receives a custom report for their marketing campaigns. One important metric that we include in all of our campaigns though is their referral traffic.
This tells our clients where their leads are coming from and how they came upon their website. This can show things like social media, organic search, direct URL typing, and more. This metric is really able to show our clients what part of their marketing strategy is working the best.
If we are running their SEO campaign and see that they are receiving many new leads through organic search, this is a great sign. Likewise, if we are managing and posting on social media for them and see many new leads coming in from different social platforms, our strategy is working!”
“One of the metrics we’ve actually been tracking that has helped inform many of our decisions is the bounce rate and time of session on our site,” comments Dan Bailey of WikiLawn.
“You wouldn’t think those would be metrics to include on a marketing report, and I certainly didn’t before our new marketing manager explained the importance of session length on our site.
Visitors who have lengthier sessions are much more likely to subscribe. If people are bouncing instantly, we can surmise they haven’t found what they’re looking for. But if they’re lingering for less than a minute and then exiting the site, we’re doing something wrong and losing potential conversions because of it.”
Editor’s Note: Track all your website marketing metrics including bounce rate, blog views, email opens, and more using this free Monthly Marketing Performance dashboard.
Chisa Pennix-Brown of Lady Bizness shares, “I include keywords that people have typed when looking at my client’s company up via Google My Business. I feel like this is an important factor because it tells you exactly what people used to search, plus how many searches were done with each query, and it shows you when they misspelled it.
I can then take this information and use it for keywords when marketing, but also tweak a website to include some of the words in the actual website content which helps organically improve the website ranking.”
“For growth-stage companies, an increase in new site visitors month-over-month is a sign that your brand awareness is increasing,” suggests Curricula’s Lauren Patrick. This is why Patrick ranks Total Number Of Unique Visitors as an important metric to add to a marketing report.
Next, “go a level deeper to show where that traffic is coming from (paid ads, social media, organic search, etc.,” advises Patrick.
“It is important to know if your website traffic is coming from new or returning visitors,” comments ExaWeb’s Patrick Garde. The goal is to “make sure that the percentage of new sessions is growing on a steady rate.”
Maia Wells of ClearPivot shares, “every single marketing report we share includes ‘sessions per month,’ and we pay specific attention to organic traffic, because we love seeing the results of effective, SEO-focused content planning!”
This is another important marketing metric to track notes Digital Market Strategist, Robert Baillieul.
“I use the ‘Average Session Duration’ as a kind of ‘early warning indicator’ in every marketing report,” shares Baillieul.
“A low or falling number can hint at a host of website problems: slow page loading times, weak sources of traffic, poor site design, unreadable or unengaging content, etc. The ‘Average Session Duration’ won’t tell you your problem. But it will hint at a problem with the user experience.”
“A metric that has become increasingly important for our team is screen flow,” shares John Ross of Zivadream Test Prep.
“Measuring screen flow allows us to see exactly when and where a user entered and exited a certain page. This gives great detail about what is working and what isn’t. If users exit frequently after hitting a certain section of the page, we can evaluate whether to remove that section or tweak it.
Screen flow has become almost more important than session length and session frequency for us and we include it in every report.”
Roshni Parayil from Daleyza Collections shares, “I have an online clothing store for Indian ethnic wears. One important marketing metric that I include is the ‘most viewed products’ (most popular products). That gives an idea like, customer’s interest and demand and that helps me to decide future marketing decisions, strategies, and goals.”
“In every marketing report, we provide our clients, as an SEO-focused digital agency, we focus on the queries presented by site visitors,” shares Ashley Sterling from The Loop Marketing.
“Because this gives us a direct look into how customers or potential customers are using your site and what they are looking for. This information gives you the power to adjust your SEO strategy and have more ‘wins.’”
“Assign high-value activities as EVENTS in Google Analytics,” advises Phil Wiseman from Analytics That Profit.
“Phone Calls are a common event to measure for B2B and B2B companies. If you are SaaS business it might be demo or downloads. The key is to stay away from vanity metrics. Focus on those events that are supported by data as leading to revenue generation.”
Editor’s Note: Keep tabs on all your events-related metrics including tickets sold and total sales using this Events dashboard.
Sydney Johnson of Golden Spiral Marketing shares, “the metric we include in every marketing report is number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
As a B2B tech digital marketing agency, this metric helps us determine which of our marketing channels and tactics are actually leading to revenue.
We call it our North Star Metric (NSM), meaning it best encapsulates the core measure of our company’s growth. However, your NSM could also represent the core value your product or service delivers to your customers. Determining our NSM has helped us place laser focus on the main aspect of our company that drives sustainable long-term growth.”
“The metrics you report on should measure your marketing campaign tactics which should support marketing initiatives which should level up to your business goals,” notes Leighton Interactive’s Emily Pederson.
“Most often the metric our clients care about is related to SQL conversion; bottom of funnel offers. However, they know this metric is supported by other metrics; SEO rank (also a top metric for clients), traffic by source, number of new contacts, CTA performance… the list goes on.”
“One important marketing metric we include in every marketing report is our conversion rate,” shares Andrew Ruditser of Maxburst.
Ruditser explains, “a conversion rate is when a user completes a desired action a company wants them to make. This can mean making a purchase or simply filling out a form.”
“In Google Analytics, you can examine goals and conversions that you set at the start of a campaign and then filter those conversions to only view traffic from Organic Search. During an SEO campaign, filtering for Organic Traffic is critical so you don’t conflate date from digital ads or social media,” shares Acadian Windows’ Sam Olmsted.
Olmsted’s not alone in this suggestion. Several other experts we surveyed agree. For instance, Direction’s Cali Saturn writes: “you absolutely always need to answer the question: out of everybody who has interacted with your business, how many have actually become customers or clients?”
Answering this is what makes “this metric the cornerstone of your marketing strategy because if your conversion rate is low, you need to figure out why observers aren’t converting to customers and how to fix that issue. The amount of people who click through your website mean nothing if you aren’t generating any revenue from them.”
Jordania Nelson from Divining Point adds, “tracking and reporting on the conversion rates of your landing pages, digital ads, content, and email campaigns is a fool-proof way of analyzing which tactics are the money-makers and which ones should be re-visited.
As the percentage of users who take a desired action, conversion rates can act as a numerical representation of your business goals.”
“This is also helpful too because you can track the content that you’re putting out, analyzing and seeing what’s generating the most traffic,” highlights Nilaja Croft from Leda Health Corporation.
“Your content should always reflect your brand and your goals. Essentially it should encourage your visitors to buy from your brand and support it. Thus, keeping track of your conversion rate allows you to show your boss if your efforts are profiting the business or not.”
However, mentioning conversion rate alone is not sufficient. Nelson notes, “every marketing report should include a short explanation as to what changes contributed to the period’s conversion rate increase or decrease. This will help better understand what factors engage your audience and which turned them away. Your report should also always include follow-up items to ensure consistent optimization.”
Another way to make this metric useful is by “break[ing] down the conversion rate by channel as well to determine where marketing dollars are achieving the best ROI,” shares SyncShow’s Jasz Joseph.
Summarizing Jon Zacharias of The Search Guy says, “conversion rates are the number one component of any marketing report. Conversion rates are the only way to evaluate if the strategy you have in place is generating successful results. They provide very valuable information that can be easily tested and tweaked over and over until you come up with a successful strategy. The simplest and quickest way to see results.”
Meg Casebolt of Love At First Search shares, “if I had to choose only one metric, it would be sales by acquisition source. It’s important to know exactly where the sales are coming from so that we can invest time in what’s working (and what we can stop doing in our marketing plans).”
Expense Reduction Group’s Michael Hammelburge shares, “we’re a service-oriented company and there’s nothing more important than monitoring the number of inquiries we receive through phone and online. But it doesn’t end there when it comes to preparing our marketing report.
After including these inquiries, we also list after-sales customer service statistics to check how satisfied our clients are with our consultancy services. Our firm deals with achieving tax liability reductions and increase near-term cash flows by implementing programs and strategies at the state, local and federal levels, which can be complex but highly crucial. It’s highly important that in our marketing report, these statistics are covered.”
This one’s a crucial marketing metric for software services. Userback’s Matthew Johnson highlights, “as a software company, our most important marketing metric is new trial accounts. We think of them as the lifeblood of our business as we know that the more trial accounts we attract, the more paying customers we will have in the long run.
By focusing on this single metric, our marketing team is able to easily align activities and measure performance against their ability to attract more trial accounts to our product.”
“As reach becomes harder and harder to attain, focusing on an overall engagement rate might not be telling you the full story,” notes Coffee & Tea’s Meg Coffey. “By examining the engagement on reach, you know how your audience is reacting to the content and what you should be providing more of.”
Editor’s Note: If you’re finding it challenging to pull your engagement metrics from various sources, use this Blog Performance Tracking dashboard. It gives you blog engagement by page views as well as click-through rates.
“One important marketing metric that a brand should include in every marketing report is customer engagement,” says Jacknife Design’s Michael Kelar
“This can be measured in multiple ways such as activity and usage of a product or service, social media interactions, website traffic, time spent on site, newsletter open rates or brand recall.
Customer engagement is ultimately a way to gauge brand awareness and how effective a brand is at not only reaching its audience but resonating with them. Collecting this data allows a brand to optimize its high performing tactics/channels and invest in improving its less engaging ones—enhancing the overall customer experience at every touchpoint.”
Amanda Meade of The Center for Sales Strategy suggests authority is an important marketing metric to include in every marketing report.
Meade explains, “as a content marketer, one important marketing metric to include is Authority. Those who are not in marketing or content roles sometimes forget the importance of increasing Authority over time.
High authority improves SEO, builds your brand, increases trust, and improves conversion rate – all metrics that should be included in every marketing report as well!”
Jack Paxton of VYPER shares, “I always ensure I include ‘Signup Goals’ in my marketing report.
You can assign a signup goal to specific actions like ‘created a new account,’ ‘started a free campaign,’ or ‘completed checkout.’ By having these goals setup, you will be able to easily collect data on every step of your funnel. Therefore, the data will tell you where you are going wrong in your sales funnel.”
Banish’s Daisy Jing says, “check how many people went to your site because of the ad/post. At the same time, how many purchased through that post/site visit. Consider that so you know what works best and what people really want.”
“A metric I LOVE is quality ratings,” shares Michael Alexis. “For example, in a monthly report, you could indicate the quality of blog articles released that month.
For the measure itself, this could be calculated based on Google Analytics data, but I believe it’s better to have a more creative or discerning eye for it; what does a human think of the content? So much of what we do as marketers is wrapped up in numbers and data, but sometimes all that shows is that you are doing better than other people, instead of focusing on quality as its own factor.”
Devin Stagg from Pupford advises, “an extremely important marketing metric to include in your reports is your Cost of Sale Percentage. Keeping a good gauge on your Cost of Sale will help you truly understand how much you are able to spend to keep your bottom line where it should be while still growing revenue.”
Cost Per Acquisition “is a metric you should include in every marketing report,” opines Jonathan Aufray of Digital Growth Hackers.
Aufray explains, “knowing the number of likes, the number of website visitors or app downloads are vanity metric but don’t necessarily help you move the needle.
What you want to know if the CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) and this cost should decrease over time. If your CPA gets lower, it means your strategies and optimizations are working and you will automatically acquire more users with the same budget.”
OnQ Marketing’s Quentin Aisbett is of the same opinion. Aisbett notes cost per acquisition as well as “its various iterations” are important metrics. “For instance, for transactional sites such as ecommerce, we report on Cost Per Revenue and Cost Per Order. While for the traditional website that is wanting to generate calls and online inquiries, we can report on Cost Per Lead.”
Nikola Kožuljević of ThreatMark also applauds the same marketing metric. Kožuljević explains that Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Opportunity “provide me a way to understand how effective my marketing efforts are. And of course, it’s one of the metrics I try to reduce as much as possible, Especially CPO.
This ‘cost-per-result’ metrics are useful in 2 dimensions. First, a retrospective look into the past, answering questions what worked or not. Second, a look into the future, a forecast, which can help me to understand what activities to plan and how to budget I can allocate.”
Breadnbeyond’s Andre Oentoro also relies on CPA. “This metric always helps me to control my advertising costs for specific marketing objectives,” shares Oentoro.
“In my case, I focus on driving people to my landing page and complete the lead forms. Here, CPA doesn’t only inform me of how much my new customers are costing me but also help me determine whether my strategy needs to be revised. It’s such a handy metric for me because I can always look at my overall investments’ efficiency and constantly plan a better strategy to maximize my ROI.”
“It’s important to look at the long-term as a marketing professional, especially the value of your customers in the long run,” insists Jack Wang of Amazing Beauty Hair. This is why Wang thinks it’s essential to mention Customer Lifetime Value in every marketing report.
“It will help you establish your VIPs, who will be there for you no matter what. That’s an advantage to have, especially during uncertain times like the ongoing pandemic.”
KNB Communications’ Crissibeth Cooper agrees: “In an ideal world, LTV: CAC (lifetime value of a customer vs the cost per acquisition of customer) would be included in every marketing report. Oftentimes these numbers are difficult to obtain because they require calculations to be done. They’re high-level numbers so they probably won’t be calculated often.
However, every report being sent to the CEO or other executives who care about the bottom line, dollars, and cents, appreciate receiving this ratio because it can tell them a lot about the process of customer acquisition and where funds should be spent or diverted from.
If the ratio is very low, you are spending too much on marketing and/or not using your marketing dollars effectively If the ratio is way too high, you are not spending enough on marketing and you could be growing faster if you invested more money into marketing.”
“Hands down, a crucial metric in marketing reports is the response time to customers,” notes Lilius’s Osiris Parikh
“This is a crucial metric that examines how quickly a sales or marketing team is answering questions and engaging with customers. Unlike being on hold in a call center, there should be no reason a customer is not able to get a question answered quickly.
This can be broken down by company average and individual staff to gauge effectiveness and seek improvement.”
“ROI or time spent are important metrics for most marketing reports,” suggests 45/RPM’s Noriko Harada.
“ROI is important because it reveals the impact of all marketing efforts on the business and if those efforts are effective. Time spent is important because no matter how many clicks you have on one website if they don’t spend time on the site it is worthless. So knowing the time a consumer spends on a website gives insight on the success of the website.”
On top of that, “some campaigns may drive in a lot of business, other campaigns may not, but the true sign of success is how much you earned in relation to what you spent,” adds Melanie Musson of CarInsuranceComparison.com.
Visitor Queue’s Nick Hollinger agrees, “I think a universally important one that needs to be included in every marketing report is ROI. The job of a marketer is to use channels and tools to have a positive impact on the company. If you aren’t measuring that positive impact, how can you justify you’re doing a good job?”
“The most important marketing metric across all of our campaigns is total profit added,” recommends Helen White from Houseof.
“We’re not simply looking at return on investment (ROI) but more importantly how much value does a campaign drive for the business by accounting for factors such as cost and time invested to determine how profitable a campaign was.
It’s a more holistic measurement of success rather than simply looking at the ROI from a purely spend/return perspective which doesn’t quantify the true realities of the total cost incurred to the business,” explains White.
Another important marketing metric to include in your marketing report is referrals. Mavens & Moguls’ Paige Arnof-Fenn writes, “for my business the most important metric is how much repeat business and referrals I get from my clients. Most of my business comes from referral and word of mouth so keeping current clients happy is my top priority.”
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