Marketing

24 Best Metrics for Measuring Marketing Productivity

What are the best metrics for measuring marketing productivity? Nearly 40 marketers weigh in with how they track and improve their marketing performance.

Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik on January 29, 2021 (last modified on August 16, 2021) • 16 minute read

Is what you are working on moving the needle for your company?

Are you spending your work time effectively?

Do you want to make the case to your boss for why you deserve a raise?

These are just a few of the reasons why everyone on your marketing team should set and track at least one productivity metric.

Productivity metrics allow you to see what’s working well for you and your team, and also where you need to optimize your time and resources more effectively.

In this post, we’re sharing the best metrics for measuring marketing productivity, including:

  1. What are Marketing Productivity Metrics?
  2. How Do You Measure Productivity in Marketing?
  3. 19 Metrics for Measuring Marketing Productivity

Let’s dig in.

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What are Marketing Productivity Metrics?

There are three core components to measuring how productive your marketing team is: 

  • Input metrics – This is tracking what your team is actually working on. For example, the time to send an email or how long it took to write a blog post. 
  • Output metrics – This the deliverable or result that was achieved. For example, the number of blog posts published in a month, new leads generated, or conversion rate.
  • Cost – This is how much it actually cost you to get the specific output. For example, you might track costs based on your individual team member’s salaries, overall marketing budget, or revenue per employee.

The key is to strike the right balance between input and output metrics.

For example, if your marketing team is too focused on input metrics – like new blog posts published- and you aren’t also tracking website traffic, news leads generated, or a proxy for that,  your team could be working extremely hard but have little to show for the sheer volume of content created. 

How Do You Measure Productivity in Marketing?

The old adage goes what gets measured gets managed.

So, it is no surprise that 80.4% of marketers we surveyed said that productivity metrics were critical for improving performance. 

 importance of output/productivity metrics for improving performance

In fact, 77% of marketers have at least one goal or target tied to a productivity metric. 

output and productivity metrics goals and targets

And, 65.2% of the marketers track their productivity metrics on a weekly basis. 

does your marketing team monitor output/productivity on a regular basis

19 Metrics for Measuring Marketing Productivity

Here are some of the top ways and metrics marketers use to measure their productivity.   

  1. Monthly Growth
  2. Conversion Rate
  3. Website Traffic
  4. Keyword Rankings
  5. Content Lifecycle Time
  6. Brand Advocacy Ratio
  7. Earned vs Owned Published Content
  8. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
  9. CAC:LTV Ratio
  10. Organic Search Traffic
  11. New Leads
  12. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  13. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
  14. Internal Team Feedback
  15. Cost Per Lead (CPL)
  16. Backlinks
  17. Ad CPAs
  18. Conversions from Organic Users
  19. Performance Review Feedback

1. Monthly Growth 

“To measure marketing productivity, I don’t recommend setting specific numbers,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Agency. “Instead, what I suggest is to track performance progress month over month. 

How much did your team achieve this month compared to last month with the same time and resources? If your marketing team has done more (And they should), your productivity and business are on the right track.” 

2. Conversion Rate

“Conversion rate is one of the important metrics for measuring marketing productivity,” says CJ Xia of Boster Biological Technology. “It is useful to measure how many prospects become paying customers. 

An increased conversion rate indicates a successful marketing strategy.–adding more new customers with the same level of marketing expenditures.

If the conversion rate goes well, it shows the excellent performance of the marketing team. We make our company’s marketing strategy according to the conversion rate and make changes according to its variation.”

Greg Gillman of MuteSix adds, “While there are a number of metrics that can paint a clear picture when it comes to marketing productivity, conversion rates will always tell the full story.

When we look at leads that are generated, and follow those leads down the pipeline to becoming qualified leads and so on, productivity can definitely be measured along the way by seeing the final outcome.

How was the lead generated? Was the lead pursued to its fullest extent? What strategies were used?

All of these factors exhibit productivity levels, and while independent questions of their own accord, they always point to the bottom line, which is always conversion.” 

Editor’s Note: Looking to quickly monitor your site’s conversion rate? Use this Google Analytics eCommerce Overview Dashboard to get insights into your store’s transactions, revenue, and of course conversion rates.

Google Analytics eCommerce Overview Dashboard

3. Website Traffic 

“Website views are what all of our marketing efforts come down to and are something we track closely on a regular basis,” says Darcy Allan of BizDig. “Why did we receive less traffic this week? What caused that spike in website views a few days ago?

These are questions we’re constantly asking ourselves and we trace it back to a single marketing effort we are running, whether that be a Facebook ad, a new mention in an article, or whatever it may be.” 

Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit says, “By looking at this metric, and the performance of individual sources, we can see how demand for our product and business is changing over time, and which marketing efforts have had the greatest impact.” 

Related: 7 Actionable Ways to Improve Website Traffic Quality

4. Keyword Rankings 

“We use a keyword position tool to check our keyword rankings,” says Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging. “When we see our keywords are falling off Page 1, we update our content, add media, and tweak our headlines. This pushes our content back up in the SERPs. This is a simple trick that improves our content marketing ROI.”

Editor’s Note: Using SEMRush? Use this Position Tracking Dashboard to monitor your keyword rankings over time.

Keyword Rankings Dashboard template

Related: The 24 Best Keyword Tracking Tools (According to 107 SEOs)

5. Content Lifecycle Time 

“Few methods actually exist for comprehensively tracing the chain of marketing productivity,” says Nathan Sebastian of GoodFirms. “While marketing productivity, as the business analysis, is mostly a black-box approach. Almost every marketing silo works with each other, making it limited to find true insight and understanding.

At GoodFirms, being a research and review platform, a majority of our staff works on creating and publishing content related to the IT industry – Firms, Software, and Consumers – one topic at a time. And thus one central metric we tack here is ‘content lifecycle time’ to track the complete production and disposal of different content formats related to a single category.

Similar to a project lifecycle, our system works on research, planning, production, monitor, and publishing for different categories of services and software. Content production and publishing are standardized to our branding guides. And so, most resources and requirements are the same across the categories and almost the same benchmark used. Research and planning are often different for different categories, for which we try to re-calibrate every now and then.” 

6. Brand Advocacy Ratio 

Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls says, “The driving force to increased productivity is improved awareness so finding ways to appeal to your target and pique their curiosity to increase their affinity guides our strategy.” 

7. Earned vs. Owned Published Content 

“It’s the most basic form of marketing production and should be tracked,” says Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios. “How much are you publishing? Where is published, on your site or others? What formats, written or video?

I’ve tracked my basic production since my early days as a content marketer. You can see it on a chart here:

At a glance, you can see my era of guest blogging and my recent doubling down on video. All together, this is my Lifetime Body of Work a.k.a. my LBOW.”  

8. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) 

“The primary metric we use is ROAS (Return on Ad Spend),” says Ray Blakney of Live Lingua. “This metric determines which ad units and audiences we spend more on and where we spend less. Anything with a negative ROAS is let go.” 

9. CAC:LTV Ratio 

“The number of ways to market can be dizzying for some business owners,” says Darren Litt of Hiya Health Products. “Many pass control to an agency, yet since it’s your business, it’s up to you to make sure you are getting value from what you spend.

The best metric to track marketing performance is the ratio of your lifetime value to your cost per conversion. This number measures what you’re generating against what you’re spending. As a rule, you’re shooting for a ratio of 3 to 1. If your ratio is closer 1, you’re paying too much for a lead and should lower your ad spend. If your ratio is closer to 5, go spend more money to generate more customers.” 

10. Organic Search Traffic 

“Supplement Warehouse’s Marketing team is constantly checking Google Analytics, as well as a tool we use called SEMRush, to monitor and quantify our Search Engine Traffic closely,” says Carley Hanna of Supplement Warehouse. “It’s interesting to see the exact outcomes of specific SEO tactics that we’re implementing to better our E-commerce sites, and to see the changes actually paying off. SEMRush and Google Analytics will also pull customized SEO reports for your team, and from there, allow your team to make the necessary changes to improve overall Search Engine Traffic.” 

11. New Leads 

“We recognize that the top of our funnel (TOFU) is one of the most important KPIs as it reflects how the business will perform in one week, one month and six months from now,” says Nate Nead of SEO.co. “It is the best metric for judging the vitality and potential of the business into the future. It is the one metric we are constantly obsessing over and trying to improve.” 

Tara Miremadi of Margaux Agency adds, “If our agency is receiving phone calls and emails to set up strategy sessions or informational meetings about our services, we know that our marketing efforts are in the right place and that they are sharing the right, most compelling information to prospective leads.” 

Related: Turn More Leads Into Customers With These Tactics from 24 Experienced Digital Marketers

12. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 

Michał Suski of Surfer SEO shares, “Marketing Qualified Leads are close to our end-game for marketing, which is sales. Because MQLs pose a real value, I believe that it is the best indicator of marketing performance. Furthermore, our marketing team is solely responsible for them, which makes it even easier for assessing our efforts. We adjust our criteria all the time to be the most effective in turning MLQs into sales. I believe that this is what represents our marketing performance the best.” 

13. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) 

Sales qualified lead refers to that one prospective customer who is deemed ready to be set up in a one on one situation with your sales team for them to close the deal,” says Cale Loken of 301consulting. “This is where your sales team answers specific questions before confirming the sale.

Your sales team should have enough sales experience to know who looks like the right potential customer. You should also go easy on your sales team as all leads generated by the marketing team are not sales-ready.

Marketing qualified lead is someone more likely to become your customer based on their clicks and visited webpages. They perform these actions since they have already visited your ads through the marketing team’s efforts. However, these leads are still not an efficient metric to measure as many of them are only potential customers and not buying anything from you.

On the other hand, Sales Qualified Leads are leads ready to be closed after confirming a sale. This metric is more valuable as it precisely tells you how many sales are being made and whether you need to change your methods or not. Poor sales could mean the marketing team is not targeting the right market, and most of the potential customers are only viewing ads, not interacting with them.”

14. Internal Team Feedback 

“In marketing, we’re often used to only looking at quantitative KPIs: traffic sessions, leads, MQLs – but qualitative feedback from our internal teams has become important for us at PlayPlay as well,” says Sandra Chung of PlayPlay. “One example is when our sales team is coming to us to let us know that the quality of the inbound leads we’re sending them has become better and better due to our marketing content.

Another is when our product team tells us that they’ve been super impressed with all the marketing content we’ve been launching and can’t wait to share them with their networks – these are as valuable as quantitative KPIs and lets us know we’re doing a good job.” 

15. Cost Per Lead (CPL) 

“The cost per lead measures how cost-effective our marketing campaigns are for generating sales leads,” says Matt Bertram of EWR Digital says. ”It allows us to calculate our return on marketing investment.”

For example, Colin Matthews of Cookwared says, “Being a founder of a company, the success of a marketing campaign depends on how well your website and content convert your website traffic into leads. Or, if they manage to acquire more customers with minimum possible costs.

Thus, the Cost per Lead (CPL) is a metric that defines the main conversion index for a particular campaign and the corresponding cost, giving information to everyone on the team about its profitability. The ideal is to try to filter it to establish the cost for each channel and identify which ones are the most profitable.

However, you should not reduce a channel simply because the CPL is higher. Often, you may find that customers on that channel spend more or more often than those coming from another channel, which is less expensive.” 

16. Backlinks 

“One of the key metrics that we use to guide our performance is the number of links earned from high authority domains,” says EJ Mitchell of LiveCareer. “Our goal is to get our high-quality content in front of our target audience – job seekers. As we want to be a trusted career partner for this group, we need to convince strong websites that we’re a reputable information source that is worth referring to. When outlets with high Domain Rating link to us, they simply tell others on the internet that they can trust our content.

At LiveCareer, we believe that a strong backlink profile is an essential part of our marketing strategy. That’s why we put a lot of effort into incorporating link building into our team and individual goals. Thanks to that KPI, we can reach our readers with top content, strengthen our authoritativeness, and get better results on Google.” 

17. Ad CPAs 

“We use CPA to understand how efficient our marketing dollar is in helping us acquire paying customers,” says Roshni Wijayasinha of Prosh Marketing. “If it’s high then we need to improve things like our lead quality and conversion rates, otherwise it will eat into our margin.” 

18. Conversions from Organic Users

“If we’re measuring our SEO efforts, we focus on conversions from organic users,” says Elizabeth Weatherby of TOD Pros. “If we’re measuring our PPC efforts, we would focus on conversions coming from paid traffic. For SEO, we can look at specific pages where traffic/conversions are decreasing, and this helps us pinpoint places on our site where we can increase our optimization efforts.” 

19. Performance Review Feedback 

“I used to be terrified of performance reviews no matter how well I did at the company I worked for,” says Abby Herman of Snap Agency. “I always felt like companies were trained on giving you less than stellar reviews no matter how outstanding your performance was, how much you sold, and how many clients you brought in. Why? I asked them those questions and the answers were always the same: “You gotta have room for improvement. You can always get better at something.” 

This often affected pay raises or any bonuses since those were granted based on your review percentage. 

So once I had a team and worked for a different company I wanted to leave that mentality and strategy behind. 

I still measure everyone’s productivity but not in the way of “You’re good, but not THAT good.” 

If someone is doing great, I tell them. 

If there’s nothing else they need to improve on, this means new responsibilities or new challenges (or both). Why would I make someone stay in their position to improve something that is already great? 

This increased morale in my department because we weren’t there to kill their confidence and avoid paying them more. As far as metrics goes, I like to use the standard sales number, communication (emails and phone calls completed), along with referrals. 

I also like to include other contributions that might add to the bottom line like a new marketing strategy idea, the energy they bring into the office/workplace.”

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In sum, measuring your productivity is essential to improving your overall marketing performance. However, the metrics you chose and the percentage of input vs. output metrics will vary based on your team’s goals.  

All ready to start tracking your productivity metrics? With our business metric tracking software, you can track all of your key productivity metrics from one just screen.

About the author
Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.

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