15 Digital Marketing Metrics for Businesses (And How To Use)

Updated June 24, 2022

Digital marketing is a strategy companies use to reach the millions of potential customers who spend time online. To determine the effectiveness of their campaigns and devise new tactics, marketing professionals analyze digital marketing metrics to gain insight into user behavior and the expense of attracting consumers to company websites or social media platforms. Understanding these measures can give you the ability to optimize your marketing efforts and improve your business.

In this article, we explain the purpose and function of digital marketing metrics and give you a list of 15 important metrics commonly used in the industry.

What are digital marketing metrics?

Digital marketing metrics are the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure the success of a business's marketing efforts online. The goal of using digital marketing metrics is to track and decipher the way consumers interact with your brand online through websites and social media platforms.

Digital marketing metrics provide the framework for businesses to analyze the strategies used to reach new and existing customers through targeted campaigns or general marketing initiatives. These metrics can also help marketers find new ways to customize their approach for increased brand awareness and customer growth. Digital marketing metrics can also guide professionals away from strategies that may be ineffective so they can maximize their efforts on successful campaign methods.

Related: Complete Guide To Digital Marketing

15 digital marketing metrics businesses can use

Digital marketing metrics show a range of data that can affect budgets, ad campaigns and sales projections. Marketing professionals determine these metrics using website analysis tools from online providers or through software programs designed to calculate specific figures.

Here are the top digital marketing metrics industry professionals use to gain insight into the effectiveness and profitability of their efforts:

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)/keywords

Search engine optimization is both a strategy and a metric marketing professionals use to drive website traffic and analyze results. SEO uses keywords to produce organic search results that can bring more users to your site. SEO metrics are used to generate potential keywords, analyze the main keywords that are relevant to your website and determine how keyword strategies have driven more traffic to your website content.

Read more: Definitive Guide To SEO Marketing

2. Total website traffic

Measuring the total traffic or visits to your website can help you look at the overall picture of where your traffic comes from, how many potential customers are visiting and trends in the number of visits at certain points in time. Businesses work to produce steady growth in the total traffic to their website.

Looking at the number of website visits can give you a basic understanding of your online presence. Checking your total website traffic can give you an idea of the success of a campaign to drive visitors to your site, who can then become conversions into customer purchases.

Read more: 29 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Website

3. Traffic from channels

By analyzing the way users arrived on your site, you can evaluate which methods are the most effective ways to gain traffic. Using the metric of channel traffic, marketing professionals ask where consumers were online before heading to their website and question how users arrived at the site. This includes the following channel possibilities:

  • Direct traffic: Direct traffic comes from users entering your website URL into the search bar at the top of a web browser. This takes consumers directly to your site without the help of a search engine or other channel. Direct traffic indicates strong brand awareness from high intent visitors.

  • Organic search results: When consumers use a search engine to find a specific term, organic results are the links that appear between paid ads. This is an element of SEO that uses keywords to amplify the possibility of top results from search engines.

  • Social media platforms: Another way for consumers to visit your website from another channel is through links on social media. This can include posts from your accounts and through clicking on social media-based ads.

  • Referrals: Users may come to your website after finding a link or mention on another site. This could be through guest blogging or through partnerships with influencers or other businesses.

4. Conversions

Conversions tell marketers how many website visitors actually turned into subscribers or paying customers. Conversion metrics also count users who download content from your website. Converting visitors to clients is the goal of increased website traffic because it leads to more followers or direct purchases. Higher conversion rates indicate successful marketing campaigns, attractive web content and effective product incentives.

5. Average bounce rate

Bounce rates show the number of users who left after viewing a single page on your website. Bounce rate metrics can show you the amount of time consumers spent on your page, down to the second, before leaving. The shorter the amount of time, the more significant the bounce rate. Low bounce rates indicate that users find the content they want and are willing to spend time on your site, which can lead to more possible conversions instead of missed opportunities.

6. Trends in searches

Search trends study the way people use organic search results to get to your website. Trends in keywords may signal a need for updating content like blog articles and landing pages. Depending on your industry, trends may shift in predictable patterns like seasonal increases in organic traffic for certain products or services. You can also use search trends from certain data periods to compare yearly fluctuations in search results, allowing you to gauge high and low periods in traffic.

7. First-time visitors

Tracking the number of first-time visitors to a site allows marketing professionals to measure the success of targeted campaigns like banner ads and strategic partnerships. It can also be used to determine the effectiveness of new content by analyzing new visitors in daily, weekly or monthly increments. Website analysis tools often provide the number of new visitors as a percent of total traffic.

8. Returning visitors

Measuring the number of returning visitors can also give insight into the value of your website content. Return visitors signal interest and relevant information that is both attractive to your audience and evergreen or timeless.

9. Demographic data

Marketing professionals use demographic data to determine the traits of their website visitors. This information helps them decide where to place ads and how to create the best content for their target audience.

Related: Target Market Analysis: What It Is and How To Make One

10. Brand awareness

Although brand awareness can be a challenging metric to measure with specific numerical data, anecdotal evidence like brand mentions through third-party reviews and social media conversations gives marketers an idea of a brand's performance in the general marketplace. You can measure brand awareness through the following ways:

  • Brand searches: Branded searches mean consumers are searching for your brand name directly on search engine websites. This is another way to measure organic traffic.

  • Social media post likes: Tracking social media post likes helps you gauge the number of interactions or engagement happening on your site.

  • Content shares: Another way to measure the amount of brand awareness generated online is by looking at the number of users sharing your social media content. This can include reposting content from your brand's page.

  • Social media comments: Comments also show that consumers are interacting with your brand, which is a clue about your brand's online popularity.

  • Number of followers: The number of people following your brand through online social media platforms is a direct indication of brand recognition. Growing followers can increase your website traffic and indicate successful marketing efforts.

  • Brand mentions: Chatter or mentions online constitute brand awareness. Marketing professionals track both negative and positive mentions to help determine ways to shape a brand's digital image.

11. Click-through rate

Click-through rates measure the percentage of people who clicked on an ad that linked to your website. Marketing professionals acknowledge that although many consumers may see your ad, a smaller number will actually click on it. Professionals strive to gain lots of views or impressions so a larger percentage will click through the advertisement. Improving click-through rates is an important goal for marketing professionals as it can generate more leads.

12. Response rate

Response rates for digital marketing communications show how many users reply or investigate company offers. This could mean the number of subscribers who fill out a survey sent through an email newsletter or if potential clients fill out an interest form for the business. Analyzing response rates helps marketing professionals calculate the number of leads generated by marketing efforts. Improving response rates also helps marketing teams know where to spend their money more effectively to increase their return on investment (ROI).

13. Cost per click/cost per impressions

In digital marketing campaigns, businesses pay for their ads to show up on certain websites. When marketing professionals analyze a cost per click or impression, they can determine the value of their advertising efforts. In digital marketing scenarios, an impression means a user viewed an ad online while a click means the consumer actually went to your website by choosing to click on the ad.

Since impressions don't necessarily lead to action, they cost less than a click and are typically calculated in large sums such as 1,000 impressions for a certain fee. Businesses pay a higher cost per click because these are more likely to convert to leads and even customers.

14. Cost per lead

The cost per lead factors the amount a business has to pay for a lead through impressions, clicks and response rates. This metric reveals the total cost for converting site visitors either through organic traffic or advertising campaigns into viable potential customers. Understanding their cost per lead helps marketing professionals determine the profitability of advertising efforts. It can contribute to budgeting and the allocation of funds to specific campaigns. Cost per lead also helps marketers know to generate the best possible lead volume for the company.

15. Pageviews

Aside from measuring the time a user spends on your website, you can look at the number of pages they viewed on your site. Pageviews can also show the most visited part of your website. For sites that offer e-commerce, online shopping pages could be the most popular, while businesses who offer services may find their informational blog is the most visited part of their site. Understanding where customers look most on your site can help you strategically place information on these pages.


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