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Marketing KPIs: Which Metrics Really Matter To Your Business?

There are a few elements of your social media strategy that shouldn’t be underestimated, and marketing KPIs are one of them. 

KPIs can be taken as a measure of your achievements, what direction you want to take, and which statistics are cutting it for your business.

With a plethora of marketing performance metrics to analyze, it may be difficult to find the ones that are worth analysing for your particular case. It may also turn out that what you initially thought of as a KPI is no longer valid. Today, we’re going to guide you through marketing KPIs from head to toe, so you’ll be able to pick them like a pro.

What is a marketing KPI?

Key Performance Indicators in marketing are metrics that every marketer should use and follow, but not every marketer can properly identify them from day one

Marketing KPIs are marketing performance metrics used for tracking, evaluating and optimizing the execution of a social media strategy. Depending on the aim of a particular campaign, there may be various marketing performance metrics set up. Campaign KPIs steer the communication towards achieving business goals and help with making adjustments on the go or identifying potential bottlenecks in social media management.

How to select KPIs

Choosing the right set of key performance indicators in marketing is not the easiest task. Here’s what’s worth taking into account when it comes to making a wise marketing KPIs choice. 

Pick KPIs relevant to your business goals

Your business surely has some business goals: increasing conversion, boosting sales, and raising brand awareness, just to name a few examples. Marketing KPIs help you transform those goals into measurable metrics and numbers to track. Choose campaign KPIs that could support you in reaching your business goals and are not too far from what you want to achieve.

If your goal is to increase sales by 50%, your marketing KPIs should mainly cover traffic volume, CPC and CPS. If you launch a new product and want to improve brand recognition, then you may want to fight for significant reach among your target group (especially, if you don’t run a website or e-commerce store, so driving external traffic is not important to you).

Find some benchmarks

When it comes to setting up new marketing KPIs, you don’t need to start from scratch. Take a look at your current and past campaigns or communication plans and analyze their results.

Suppose that your last 10 posts generated a 4% engagement rate in your target group. Not great, not terrible. Setting up marketing KPIs of 5% engagement rate may encourage you to check which posts were your shining stars and what kind of copy generated the most cheerful reactions.

KPIs are not there to stay the same forever once set up, they will rather need to be adjusted on the go. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than vice versa, though. 

Make sure your marketing KPIs are measurable

Marketing KPIs need to be smart and measurable. If you want to grow your sales through social media then set up a percentage of traffic growth, the desired CPC or the volume of sales. Simply “growing sales” is not a KPI.

Match KPIs with the type of campaign

Your marketing KPIs need to match your business goals, and your campaigns should match your KPIs. So, if the aim of a campaign is to bring extra traffic, you should pick “traffic” from all of the goals available in, e.g., Facebook Ads Manager. While “engagement” or “reach” may still bring you some traffic, the results may not be precise or easy to analyze. 

Examples of KPIs to use

As we already mentioned, you really do have many various marketing performance metrics at your disposal. We’ve identified a few groups that may be of help when setting up some campaign KPIs for social media. 

General KPIs (including a few email and SEO ones)

This set of marketing performance metrics can be used for tracking and evaluating the overview of marketing campaigns, and they can cover various parts of them. It may be a wise idea to pick the marketing KPIs when your campaign is rather omnichannel and long-term, and involves a lot of resources working towards reaching one goal. 

Examples of general key performance indicators:

  • number of leads generated from various channels within a particular campaign
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score), which measures customer loyalty and willingness for further recommendations
  • the overall reach of a campaign
  • RoI (Return on Investment) of a particular campaign
  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
  • email clicks
  • domain authority or domain rating
  • conversion rate
  • churn

Example of what these marketing KPIs might look like:

  • to generate 100 leads in Q4 2020
  • to reach 10% more potential clients on the same budget in November 2020
  • to lower CAC by 5%
  • to increase conversion rate to 4%

E-commerce & website KPIs

This set of marketing performance metrics refers to activities that lead to increasing traffic and volume of sales on your website. You’re likely to support your measurements with Google Analytics here. If you work on your site visibility or run an e-commerce store then you’re probably already familiar with those marketing KPIs, or at least you should be.

Examples of e-commerce & website key performance indicators:

  • organic traffic, both volume and growth
  • referral traffic
  • CTR (Click-Through Rate)
  • Time on Page & Bounce Rate
  • ratio of Unique to Returning Visitors
  • traffic sources

Example of what these marketing KPIs might look like:

  • to lower Bounce Rate by 2% in Q1 2021
  • to drive 5% more organic traffic to your blog in 3 months time
  • to get 50 more traffic sources for your site (via backlinks or partnerships, for example)

Social media KPIs

This set of marketing performance metrics can be used for tracking various activities held on social media. Social media KPIs should go along with any social media strategy and point its execution in the right direction. 

Examples of social media KPIs:

  • engagement rate
  • social media traffic
  • reach in the selected target group
  • follower growth rate

You may be wondering why we missed page likes here. Scroll down to the vanity metrics section to find out why. 

Example of what these marketing KPIs might look like:

  • to increase traffic coming from social media channels by 3% in Q4 compared to Q3
  • to work on a stable and valuable follower growth rate of 1% each month
  • to boost the reach of content that is displayed to the most crucial audiences by 10% on the same budget

PPC KPIs

This set of marketing performance metrics refers to paid activities within marketing strategies. Having PPC KPIs set up supports analyzing various campaigns that run on several platforms, and therefore helps to avoid burning marketing budgets.

Examples of PPC KPIs:

  • ROAS (Return On Ad Spend),  meaning revenue compared to expenditure
  • CPA (Cost Per Action), including e.g. CPC (Cost Per Click), CPL (Cost Per Lead) or CPS (Cost Per Sale) 
  • Quality Score, which indicates how relevant your ads are
  • Total Conversion Value

Example of what these marketing KPIs might look like:

  • to increase ROAS by 1, i.e. $50 spent on a campaign currently gives you $100 return in sales so your ROAS is 2, but optimizing your performance in the next quarter could generate a return of $150 or a ROAS of 3
  • to lower CPC by 15%
  • to increase your Quality Score by 5%

There are obviously more segments and groups of KPIs that you may want to test out and compare. Many marketers start from simple campaign KPIs and, once they make them or are able to specify some more goals within those KPIs, they dig deeper. Marketers may begin from KPIs such as organic traffic volume or engagement rate, then go through more detailed and advanced marketing performance metrics to deliver even better results and set the bar even higher for themselves.

Analyzing KPIs – what to take into consideration

There are two major questions you should ask yourself when analyzing KPIs. 

Does this KPI really contribute to my business goal?

While the marketing KPIs you’ve chosen should stick with you for a little time, no one says that they have to stay with you forever. You may want or need to adjust them to your business goals. And even a slight change to your marketing strategy may contribute to modifying goals and campaign KPIs. 

Let’s say that you run an online shop. One of your products has become really popular out of nowhere, after it turned out that a few influencers praised your collection. Now your campaign KPIs should basically be about “making the most of it” (e.g. generating more sales or increasing visibility of your online shop), and other marketing KPIs should be a lower priority for now so that you can ride the momentum. 

Some marketing KPIs, such as follower base growth, may simply be worn out once you reach a satisfying level, and you therefore might want to replace them with new campaign KPIs that reflect your current strategy better.

Does it perform well?

You need to check the performance of your KPIs on a regular basis. Can a particular campaign still be adjusted? If your activities were doing well and suddenly there’s a drop in the results, do you know what caused it? It’s not the time or place to be overdramatic, but rather analytical and level headed. 

Vanity metrics vs KPIs

Page likes are often considered as vanity metrics

There’s a group of statistics that, indeed, represent some metrics, but very rarely are they actually important or relevant to a real business goal. 

Yet marketers tend to pick some of those goals, set up targets, and proudly call them their KPIs, when in fact they are nothing more than vanity metrics

Vanity metrics reflect numbers that can be tracked on social media, but in the majority of cases shouldn’t be used to evaluate overall performance. The most common vanity metrics include page likes (and the equivalent counters on other platforms) and short video views. 

Page likes, in an era of bots and fake accounts, cannot be regarded as an important KPI. They don’t mean much in 2020: if a particular page has 20k followers, but the engagement rate stands at whooping 0.02%, then the quality of content and the follower base leaves a lot to be desired. It’s better to reach a smaller audience and maintain interactions than to collect random followers like stamps, but struggle or even fail to entertain them.

Short video views, such as 3-second long ones, are usually too abrupt to carry any message about the brand, and they could also just be random watches. Yet, if you start a campaign on Facebook with such a goal, you could be gobsmacked about how “cheap” the campaign is. 

We hate to break it to you, but it means exactly the same as paying for air. And while Facebook claims that 3 seconds is “enough” to get a grasp of a video, it goes without saying that in many cases it’s simply too short, random, and not measurable towards your business goal. 

engagement as a KPI

When looking for the right campaign KPIs, brands often pick CPC, number of leads, or sales, neglecting engagement rate somewhat. Is that the right thing to do? Not necessarily – there are cases when engagement rate is actually more sought after by brands than sales or leads. 

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Kinga Odziemek

Kinga Odziemek

Owner & Creative Director at Brainy Bees. She believes that insights are everywhere!
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