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By Mike Rand in December, 2016 | 6 minute read

Lead Generation - Marketing Reporting

How to Use Digital Marketing Metrics to Adapt Your Marketing Strategy

If you set and forget your digital marketing projects, you won't be able to tell what's working and what needs adjusting. Use marketing metrics and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your strategy, then adapt as necessary.


As your company grows and you start marketing over more channels, tracking the results of your work can get complicated. An August 2016 report by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services indicated that chief marketing officers consider competent data analysis one of the most critical skills they’re considering for their future marketing teams. Most businesses have access to tools that present them with digital marketing metrics.

The trick is determining what those metrics mean so you can use them to adapt your marketing strategy.

KPIs: Measure Metrics that Support Your Business Goals

First, you need to identify your key performance indicators. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics that serve as a sort of organizational pulse. They can be specified for each sector of your business, like marketing and sales, or for your business as a whole.

By identifying and tracking marketing KPIs, you can determine if your marketing is actually contributing to your objectives. Here are a few common marketing KPIs to consider:

  • Number of Sales and Sales Revenue

At the end of the day, business is all about sales. The number of sales you are making and the amount of revenue you are earning from those sales is possibly the most important KPI to keep track of. Sales are made at the bottom of the marketing and sales funnel. If you aren’t getting sales, something is going wrong within the body of your marketing and sales machine. You should check your other digital marketing metrics to find opportunities for improvement.

  • Cost per Lead

This KPI takes into account your general marketing overhead and the number of leads you are generating. If you are spending too much time and money on each lead, you may need to focus on your targeting. Look at the effectiveness of your content offers, for example.

Analyze all of your marketing channels individually to determine your cost per lead for each. You can then weigh and measure which channels offer the lowest cost per lead. Afterward, adjust your budget and marketing mix to accommodate.

  • Marketing ROI

This KPI represents your net revenue after incorporating your marketing overhead. In an optimal year, your total revenue will be exponentially greater than the budget you allocate to marketing. This would indicate that every dollar you spend on marketing is giving you a significant return.

If you are spending too much on marketing without meeting your goals, you should investigate more specific metrics to see what isn’t working. Some areas to review are your overall budget, your budget by marketing channel, your sales pipeline, and your general overhead.

  • Ratio: Traffic to Lead Conversion

This ratio indicates the percentage of your website visitors that are turning into leads. You could have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people visiting your website. The bigger concern is how many of them actually end up completing an action.

An "action" could be submitting a form, watching a demo, making a phone call, or leaving a coment. If this ratio is low, it means people are finding you online, but they aren’t engaging. To improve it, you need to determine which CTAs on your website are effective and which aren’t. Also, take into account where they are housed and how they are designed. Make sure they are relevant to the content around them.

  • Ratio: Lead to Customer Conversion

This ratio indicates the percentage of your acquired leads that are turning into real customers. If your sales and marketing teams are working in alignment and you are nurturing your leads properly, you should see a high ratio. If this ratio is low, it could mean that you need to improve the way you follow up with leads or that you’re pushing the wrong types of content at the wrong stage of the buyer’s journey.

Just like cost per lead,  marketing automation can have a huge impact on this KPI. Using marketing tools to manage your leads will allow you to streamline all of your marketing and sales efforts so you don’t miss an opportunity to gain a new customer.

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Digital Marketing Metrics

One of the best things about digital marketing is that it’s electronic, so it is quantifiable. Digital marketing metrics allow you to determine which mechanisms in your digital strategy are functioning properly and which are not. If one of your marketing KPIs is ailing, you can investigate your digital marketing metrics to determine where and how you should adapt your strategy. You can measure all sorts of digital marketing metrics, but these are some of the most important:

  • Website Traffic

You can track your website traffic as a whole or you can segment this metric. There are many segmentation options, like new visitors, contacts, and leads. Tools like HubSpot and Google Analytics can help you see many visitors are returning to your website.

If the overall website traffic number is low, it could be an indication that your SEO needs improvement. Maybe you need to improve your social media posting to help drive in more traffic. You can also separate this metric into organic traffic and inorganic or promotional traffic.

Organic metrics tell you how well you rank in web searchings. Meanwhile, inorganic traffic inicates the successfulness of your ads or other dollars spent on website traffic.

  • Lead Generation

Your rate of lead generation tracks the number of leads you’ve attained through your website. People usually become leads by filling out a form or by contacting you directly. There are many factors that contribute to your overall lead generation, like conversion and traffic rates.

Additionally, you should analyze your CTAs, forms, landing pages, content offers, and the functionality of your website. You should make sure that if you are using paid advertising that you have installed tracking codes in order to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. As well as installed tracking for tools such as heat maps like Hotjar, Google Analytics tracking, or HubSpot tracking codes. These can help paint a 360 degree view of how healthy your lead generation is to date.

  • Social Media Engagement

This metric tells you how many people are following you on social media and how many are actually liking or sharing your posts. You can also tie this into your website metrics to see how many visitors you are receiving via social media. If this number is low, it could indicate that the posts you are sharing aren’t interesting to your followers or that you need to promote yourself to attain more followers.

You can also use tools such as HubSpot or Hootsuite to help run reports and metrics on the health of your social media campaigns and then take these into consideration for future modifications.

  • Email Engagement

One of the most lauded digital marketing metrics in an email campaign is the open rate, but it shouldn’t be the only metric you focus on. A high open rate indicates that the recipients of your emails trust your company and were enticed by your email’s subject line. The body of the email, however, is going to determine whether or not they fully engage.

As a metric, email engagement measures the number of people who opened your email and interacted with it by filling out a form, clicking on a link, emailing you back, etc. You can compare your engagement rate with your open rate to see if your email campaign was effective overall.

You can also use tools such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and  HubSpot to help gage the open rates, bounce rates, downloads, form submissions and much more. By reviewing these and conducting a/b testing on your messaging, you can help capture more of your captive audience and work them further down your sales pipeline.

Other Metrics

There are tons of other metrics you can measure. Your blogging performance can teach you which posts are working and which aren’t so you can choose the best subject matter and writing styles. Your CTA click rate can tell you which CTAs are most effective and can help you make design decisions. You can even track keyword performance to see which ones you rank for and which ones get the most searches.

If you want to use digital marketing metrics to adapt your marketing strategy, you should determine which metrics are the most useful to your company, check them regularly, and make changes based on what they indicate.

Think of your team as a group of marketing scientists. Happy analyzing!


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