Digital Marketing KPIs [Complete Guide]
Digital marketing KPIs are used by companies of all sizes to measure their marketing results. In this guide, you’ll find popular marketing KPIs that every business should track.
It is often said that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of your input. The same rule applies to marketing activities. But where should you focus your marketing efforts and resources? Many digital marketers rely on marketing KPIs to make decisions and assess their marketing data in a more organized and informative way.
What is marketing KPI?
Marketing KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is a measurable value that marketers use to evaluate success across all marketing channels. Popular marketing KPIs include Cost Per Lead (CPL), Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), and Website Visits Per Marketing Channel.
Main marketing KPI categories
With the help of a business dashboard and marketing tools, you can get a comprehensive overview of your marketing performance and make informed decisions to improve your results month-over-month.
To answer this question, it’s crucial to evaluate the performance of your lead generation, social media, advertising, and SEO strategy. And the best way to do this is by tracking different marketing KPIs.
Marketing KPIs can be divided into five main categories:
- Lead generation
- Website & traffic metrics
- SEO optimization
- Paid advertising
- Social media tracking
To evaluate whether your lead generation tactics pay off, monitor the cost-effectiveness of your lead generation channels and customer acquisition.
1. Monthly new leads/prospects
This widely used metric indicates the number of new leads acquired in the past month. A new lead can be someone signing up for a free trial or creating an account on your online retail site.
How to measure: Use Google Analytics Universal or Google Analytics 4 to get the latest data, and filter leads by dates to see the number of new leads during a particular period.
How to improve: Increase the budget of cost-per-click ad campaigns, create SEO-optimized content to be found through search engines, and try new temporary discount offers.
2. Qualified leads per month
Monitoring the number of qualified leads shows whether your marketing campaigns are effectively focused on targeted leads or just generating traffic that’s not your prospective audience. Prospects, who have the potential to become a paying customer, can be categorized into three groups:
- Marketing qualified leads (MQL) – leads that the marketing team decides to forward to the sales team.
- Sales-accepted leads (SAL) – prospects that the sales team has accepted and will follow up on.
- Sales qualified leads (SQL) – leads considered prospective customers, leading to focused attention and moving the leads further into the sales cycle.
How to measure: Categorize all leads in your sales funnel by using CRM software. Filter prospects by tags and dates to see the exact number of monthly qualified leads in each qualification category.
How to improve: Create highly targeted campaigns to reach the right audience.
3. Cost-per-lead generated
Cost-per-lead (CPL) shows the cost of acquiring a new prospect. Complemented with the cost-per-conversion metric, you can evaluate whether various marketing activities are profitable.
How to measure: Sum up the time, resources, and money spent on marketing activities and compare the results to the number of monthly leads.
How to improve: See what types of free and paid campaigns work best for you and increase the budget and time spent. In addition, create and share quality content on social media to get (almost) free website traffic and new leads.
4. Cost per conversion
This marketing KPI shows how much it cost to acquire leads that also converted to paying customers. While an advertising campaign can generate hundreds of leads for you, often only under 2% of them turn to a client. If the cost-per-conversion is lower than your customer lifetime value, your digital marketing strategy is wasting resources instead of generating profit.
How to measure: Depending on your lead conversion time, it might be useful to track this metric with a two-month time gap (as it takes time for leads to convert). Calculate the monthly cost of time and resources spent on a lead acquisition source, i.e., Google Ads campaign, blog content, social media management, etc.
Next, use your marketing or CRM tool to see how many of that month’s leads from a particular source have converted into paying customers since they entered your sales funnel. Divide the total monthly cost of a lead source with the number of conversions to see how much acquiring a new customer cost you.
For an accurate cost-per-conversion metric, monitor different marketing channels separately. This way, you find the most valuable lead sources and can focus your energy and resources on amplifying these channels’ reach.
How to decrease: Create highly targeted marketing campaigns. Improve the user experience of your service or product, provide help materials and set-up guides.
When managing PPC advertising campaigns, always measure the cost-per-conversion instead of cost-per-click, impressions, and other vanity metrics.
5. Average time of conversion
Monitoring the time for leads to convert into paying users shows the effectiveness of your sales process. If the conversion time is too long, your prospects might lose interest in your service or product, and you might end up losing them to a competitor.
How to measure: Use your customer database software to collect data about the dates of acquiring a new lead and turning them into a paying customer. Calculate the average time between becoming a lead and converting into paying client (or have your CRM tool do it for you).
How to decrease: Make time-sensitive discount offers and provide helpful guidance throughout the buying process. Use remarketing ads to remind your leads to your product.
6. Retention rate
This marketing KPI shows the number of clients who keep using your product over an extended time period and make repeat purchases. By monitoring the retention rate, you see how well-engaged your customers are.
Here’s a quick formula: Retention Rate = (((CE-CN)/CS)) x 100
- CE = number of customers at the end of a period
- CN = number of new customers acquired during a period
- CS = number of clients at the start of a period
How to improve: Provide excellent user experience and product/packaging design.
7. Attrition rate
Also called churn rate, this metric shows the percentage of customers no longer buying your products or services. Increased churn rate may be a sign of poor user experience or slow service performance.
How to measure: Monitor how many clients have stopped paying for your services or ordering your products during the past year. Calculate the attrition rate as a percentage of your entire customer base.
How to decrease: Similarly to the retention rate, the churn rate depends on the quality of your services.
8. Net promoter score
How likely is a client to recommend your product or service to a friend? According to Net Promoter Network, there are three levels of customer advocacy:
- Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who praise your company to others and drive your sales
- Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied, but unenthusiastic customers who leave when they see a better offer.
- Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who spread negative information about your company and can damage your brand image.
How to measure: This marketing metric can be measured on a ten-point scale by conducting customer surveys and interviews. The easiest way is to ask this question in the follow-up email of a product order or new subscription.
How to improve: Provide the best customer care you can think of. Offer benefits and information that your customers didn’t even expect to receive.
Website & traffic
9. Monthly website traffic
In addition to overall traffic, monitor the number of visits to multiple page categories such as your homepage, pricing page, blog, landing pages, etc. Use those figures to evaluate which parts of your website have the highest conversion rate and apply the best practices to other pages as well.
How to measure: Use an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.
How to improve: To increase your website traffic, you can either spend more on paid (cost-per-click) advertising or create SEO-optimized content to gain visitors through organic search.
10. Returning vs. new visitors
By measuring the percentage of returning visitors, you see how engaged your audience is. For example, a low return rate to a blog page might indicate that your content isn’t compelling enough for people to come back for more.
How to improve: Provide helpful information on your blog and landing pages; use remarketing ads to remind past visitors of your brand and offers.
11. Visits per channel
Understanding your inbound traffic sources helps to determine the most profitable marketing channels. If you’ve recently run a paid ad campaign, you can assess it’s a performance by looking at how much traffic (and leads) it has brought.
How to measure: Set up ref codes for paid campaigns to have a complete overview of the traffic they generate.
How to improve: To increase paid traffic, create ads with compelling images and a convincing value proposition. For organic traffic, improve your SEO by interlinking your website’s pages and providing helpful content.
12. Average time on page
This metric is especially important for organic search traffic as Google ranks pages based on their relevance. The higher your website’s average time on site, the more likely you rank well on search results and convert more visitors to leads.
How to improve: Provide more compelling and useful content, add more information on your pages. Complement your landing pages with colorful images for organized and easy-to-read text.
13. Website conversion rate
A page might be visited thousands of times. But the bottom line is that if it doesn’t convert, there’s no use in directing paid traffic to this site.
How to measure: Google Analytics gives you an excellent overview of every page’s conversion rate.
How to improve: Test out things that could improve your landing pages’ conversion rate – change the CTA, add images or change bits of text.
14. The conversion rate for call-to-action content
If you’ve created web pages or content with a clear call-to-action, you should measure whether these convert. This marketing metric is especially useful if you’re using pay-per-click campaigns to drive traffic to specific pages. By comparing the price per conversion and customer lifetime value, you’re able to evaluate the sustainability of your CTA content.
How to measure: You can set up website events on Google Analytics to track every single click on your CTAs and content.
How to improve: Present a compelling value proposition, add more CTA-s to your pages and content, test various call-to-action messages to see what works the best.
15. Click-through rate (CTR) on web pages
CTR shows how effectively your site’s call-to-actions attract people’s attention and make them click for more information.
How to measure: Use a heat mapping tool or Google Analytics’ Behavior Flow tool.
How to improve: Use links to connect different landing pages, blog articles and case studies. Create CTA messages that make people want to click on these.
16. Pages per visit
This marketing KPI shows whether your site navigation is set up in a logical order and includes compelling call-to-action.
How to measure: Use Google Analytics Behavior tool to see how many pages an average visitor looks per session.
How to improve: Make your website as easily navigable as possible.
SEO (Search engine optimization)
Organic traffic from search engines is one of the most profitable lead channels for digital marketers. SEO metrics focus mainly on organic traffic and acquiring highly targeted leads.
17. Inbound links to a website
Measure only the quality links from pages with high page ranking. The number of inbound links shows whether your content’s shared on other sites. It can also indicate whether you’re considered to be an industry expert in a certain field.
How to measure: Use SEO tools such as Moz, Alexa, or SEMrush to crawl the web and see all inbound links to your website.
How to improve: Inbound links come with a reputation, so establish your brand as an industry expert to be included in news, articles, and reports.
18. Traffic from organic search
This SEO metric shows the number of monthly website visits that come through search engine results from Google, Bing, etc.
How to improve: Improve your content to rank higher on search engine result pages (SERP). See a comprehensive guide by Neil Patel to improve your website’s SEO rankings.
19. New leads from organic search
Monitor the number of new leads that found your brand through a search engine query. Track this KPI as a percentage of all new leads to assess the value of organic search to your sales and profits.
How to measure: Use marketing analytics tools to monitor how many leads came from the organic source.
How to improve: Make it a priority to rank high for targeted keywords that are closely related to your service or a product offer. Create an SEO strategy and publish content that supports your keyword ranking goals.
20. Conversions from organic search
This KPI shows whether your keywords that rank high in search engine results are linked to your value proposition. A low organic conversion rate indicates that you might have high-ranking keywords that confuse the audience and deliver wrong messages about your service or product offer.
How to measure: Use your CRM tool and categorize paying customers by dates (e.g., past month) and lead sources (organic search).
How to improve: Create an SEO strategy to rank high for highly targeted keywords. Next, ensure that your lead-to-customer approach is efficient and makes people want to sign up for your service or order your product.
21. Page authority
High page authority helps your content and landing pages perform well in search engine results. You can monitor your page rank with various SEO tools such as Moz and SEMRush.
How to measure: Use Moz’s browser extension for a quick overview of every single page’s authority.
How to improve: Interlink to pages on your website. If you have a blog series on a particular topic, ensure that all the articles link to each other. Moreover, you need to get some inbound links from different domains.
22. Google PageRank
This website metric is calculated by Google using various algorithms to determine the importance of web pages. It is based on the quality and quantity of inbound links that direct to a given page.
How to measure: Use a page rank checker to see the value of this SEO metric.
How to improve: Get more inbound links to your website through guest blogging and pitching your brand to journalists. Create quality content that people want to share and link back to. Fix any broken links on your website.
23. Keywords in the top 10 SERP
When people search on Google, they rarely go through the second page of search results. In fact, if position #1 gives you the average click-through-rate of 32.5%, ranking as #11 results in a 1.0% CTR.
How to measure: Use different SEO software or tools, such as SEMrush.
How to improve: Create quality content and include the variations of the same keyword on your website. Link to other relevant pages on your web page to build an entire network of interlinked content.
24. Rank increase of target keywords
At the end of each month, monitor how your top keyword rankings have evolved. Track the number of increased and decreased keywords to see whether your SEO strategy is on its course.
How to measure: All SEO tools give weekly and monthly reports on your keyword rankings.
How to improve: Research your competitors’ best-ranking keywords to get new ideas for your SEO strategy. Find ways to get new inbound links from websites with high page authority.
25. Conversion rate per keyword
If you can find a keyword that’s attracting a remarkably high number of paying customers, it can be a real goldmine. This means that the keyword is attracting a highly targeted audience. If a keyword has a high conversion rate, find related keywords, and create content to rank high in SERPs with all of these.
How to measure: Use your CRM tool to track customers with organic lead source and use the landing page data to see how a customer-first found out about your site. To be able to do this, you need to connect your marketing and CRM tools with Google Analytics.
How to improve: You can improve the landing page experience of every single keyword by providing additional information and quality image content.
26. Number of unique keywords that drive traffic
There’s simple logic – the more high-ranking keywords you have, the more traffic you get. Monitor this SEO metric as a month-over-month trend to see whether your newest keywords start to bring more traffic.
How to measure: SEO tools give you weekly reports on keyword performance, including the estimated search traffic by keyword
How to improve: Create new SEO-optimized content with multiple variations of a keyword. Complement your old content with links to the new page using many keyword variations in the linked text.
27. The volume of traffic from video content
With video becoming an increasingly used format in digital marketing, you should include it in your SEO strategy. Studies have shown that videos are over 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search engine results as part of the blended results.
How to measure: Look for the traffic that comes from video sources (add “video” tag to all video links to filter report results quickly).
How to improve: Upload videos directly to YouTube, embed the video onto your website, and create a video sitemap.
Many businesses fail with paid advertising as they forget to evaluate their ROI (return on investment) profitability. Add some of the advertising KPIs to your monthly marketing overview to improve your ads and save resources.
28. Leads & conversions from paid advertising
Monitor the number of monthly leads and conversions from cost-per-click advertising as a percentage of overall results. This way, you get an overview of your non-paid marketing performance.
How to measure: If you’re using Google Ads, the results are outlined in your Google Analytics account. To make sure that Google Analytics tracks all your campaigns, set up ref codes for each.
How to improve: Improve your ad copy and only create highly targeted keywords that are related to your unique value proposition.
29. Cost per acquisition (CPA) & cost per conversion
As acquiring leads and customers through cost-per-click advertising can be quite expensive, it’s important to monitor the ROI. You might even go as far as to include this metric among other financial KPIs monitored by your company.
Compare the number of cost-per-conversion with your customer lifetime value to ensure your campaigns are profitable in the long term. You can also monitor the cost per acquisition, but it’s cost-per-conversion that reflects the actual profitability of paid campaigns.
How to measure: This KPI should be calculated with a two-month time gap as it takes time for leads to convert. Calculate the monthly cost of all resources, time, and money spent on paid advertising campaigns. Divide it by the number of that month’s leads that have converted to paying clients.
How to improve: Target paid keywords with little competition (find highly targeted long-tail keywords). Improve your landing page experience and provide helpful sales materials/customer support.
30. Click-through rate on PPC advertising
This advertising KPI gives you an overview of the effectiveness of your pay-per-click campaigns. If the CTR is low, it means that your ad content isn’t compelling enough for a person to click on it.
How to measure: All advertising tools show the click-through-rate of every single advertisement. Collect the data to calculate the average monthly CTR.
How to improve: Test something new every month – change your Facebook ad design, improve your ad copy, change call-to-action text, etc.
Your social media efforts should focus on two core ideas: building an engaged community and turn them into customers.
31.Traffic from social media
Monitor this social media KPI as a percentage of all visits and follow the monthly trend to understand the importance of various channels to your website traffic.
How to measure: Use Google Analytics reports for a free overview of your website’s traffic sources.
How to improve: Acquire large followership, share interesting posts, create social media campaigns to increase awareness and get likes, shares, and followers.
32. Leads and conversions from social media
While many marketers consider social media to be a brand awareness channel, it can also serve as a profitable lead generation tool. Monitor the number of monthly leads and conversions from social media to assess this channel’s efficiency in your marketing efforts.
How to measure: Use your CRM tool to track all prospects and customers with “social media” lead source.
33. Conversion rate
To measure how well-targeted is your social media lead generation, track the number of leads that become paying customers. The conversion rate shows the actual ROI of your social media marketing.
How to measure: After collecting data about your leads and conversions from social media, you can easily calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of leads with the number of conversions.
How to improve: Create highly targeted social media campaigns, target your competitor’s audience, improve your sales process. Further, A/B test your ad elements – design, copy, CTAs, etc.
34. Managed audience size
Monitor the number of followers per channel month-over-month to see whether your audience stays engaged. Increasing followership is a sign that your social media posts attract attention and engage new people over time.
How to measure: Use a marketing tool or simply check your social media channel reports to get insight into your post engagement and new followers.
How to improve: share engaging content, create social media campaigns, ask your friends to like your page for increased awareness.
35. Engagement rate
This social media metrics show the number of people who have actively engaged with your posts (shares, likes, clicks, etc.) Measure it as a percentage of your total number of followers.
How to measure: Use marketing tools (Moz, Hubspot, Buzzsumo, and the like) and social media reports on engagement and use the data about your total followers to calculate the engagement rate.
How to improve: See 21 tactics to increase your social media audience, including tips for increased engagement by CoSchedule.
How often is your brand talked about on social media? Monitor the monthly trend of both positive and negative remarks to evaluate your brand image.
How to measure: Use a mention tracking tool and make sure to adjust its parameters and tracked keywords for accurate reports.
How to improve: Give people something to talk about – an incredibly useful product or service, excellent content, or company news.
37. Social media ROI
Find your formula for measuring social media ROI. You can choose to include social media marketing budget, staff payroll, development and design costs, etc. The benefits can be new leads and customers, increased awareness, and social proof.
How to measure: As social media has many advantages that can’t be measured in numbers, you should evaluate your social media ROI according to your goals and advantages.
How to improve: Find the social media channels with the highest ROI and focus your marketing efforts there.
Now that you’re familiar with the numerous options of digital marketing KPIs (the ones mentioned in this guide are only the tip of the iceberg), you can set up a monitoring system and start to track relevant business metrics. To compile a KPI report, you can use a KPI dashboard tool, or set up a spreadsheet with all critical metrics you’d like to measure month-over-month.