Five Essential Digital Metrics
There's a plethora of digital marketing measures out there, all of which are useful in one way or another - but which are the ones you rely on the most? We've outlined our favourite five across all channels; considering web, email, social media and more.
Five Essential Digital Metrics
Best-practice checklists and summaries are very handy for reference – especially when you operate in an industry as intricate and details-driven as digital media. However, some topics are trickier to narrow down than others. Digital metrics are definitely in that category.
Whatever output is being measured, context and outcome must always be considered. Metrics are meaningless if isolated from the brief and its objectives, and therefore understanding the net results – not just the immediate ones – is essential to determining a campaign’s effectiveness.
With this in mind, we’d like to share what we believe are the absolutely vital survival-kit tools for measuring digital marketing success. Here’s our top five...
AKA? The number of individuals visiting your website.
WHY? A brand’s website is arguably its primary digital asset. It’s where the company introduces itself to the world and advertises its products and services – and is often also a platform to sell directly to consumers. So naturally you’ll want to know how many people are looking at your website frequently so you can analyse its growth in popularity. ‘Unique visitors’ is an important relative metric to ‘visits’, as the latter factors in returning users.
RELATED METRICS? To piece together the bigger digital picture, you’ll also need to know where your visitors are coming from, both online (traffic source) and geographically, how long they’re spending on your site and where/when they tend to exit (bounce rate). These things should tell you more about your audience demographics and which parts of your site need improvement.
Subscribers and followers
AKA? The community that has opted to hear from your brand.
WHY? Email subscribers and social-media followers represent your biggest opportunity in digital communications. You can reward and encourage their loyalty with exclusive or first-chance offers; and keep them entertained and engaged – and therefore more likely to use your products and services (hopefully again and again). They’re also likely to recommend you to family and friends. So you need to monitor how many people you’re regularly talking to and whether their numbers are on the rise. Beware, though, of focusing too much on sheer volume of your online community; engagement, as you’ll see below, is a fundamental qualitative yardstick here.
RELATED METRICS? Factor in demographical data, such as age and geography, along with your engagement metrics. As with unique website visitors, it’s useful to know more about your audience and their behaviours – so you know what’s most likely to keep them engaged. In the case of email, also keep an eye on your lapsed user and unsubscribe rates – two obvious engagement indicators
Engagement and reach
AKA? The number of people interacting with and sharing your social-media communications.
WHY? So, you’re talking... but are people listening? If they are, they’ll comment on your social posts, get involved in discussions, take up offers and share your content with their friends. Who’ll share with their friends. Who’ll share with THEIR friends. And so on. And many may also share with business contacts and distant acquaintances – so all-in-all, this can create a huge audience of actively engaged people. The ultimate peak for reach is viral content. If you measure what works, you’re more likely to achieve it again.
RELATED METRICS? The rate of follower growth is one to watch. Of everyone who shares your content, how many opt to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your page for future updates?
AKA? The number of people actually clicking through to the target when reading your emails.
WHY? The click-to-open rate is a formula measuring the effectiveness of an email. It divides the number of unique clicks by the number of unique opens, then is multiplied by 100 to produce a percentage of people who followed the user journey you created for them. It’s particularly pertinent for email offers with related vouchers, or new products or services detailed on a brand’s website, as the click-to-open audience is keen to find out more after receiving the email. It’s much more useful than the click-through rate, as that gives a percentage of the overall recipients (even those who didn’t open your email) – which creates a misleading impression of the effectiveness of your email content.
RELATED METRICS? The open rate – which helps you gauge the performance of your subject lines – and click-through rate are needed for the formula. And you can also break your email audience down further to better understand how different demographic and ‘attitude’ profiles are responding.
Conversions to sales
AKA? The contribution of your efforts to business profits, or return-on-investment (ROI).
WHY? Well, it’s the whole point of marketing, isn’t it? It’s all very nice to make lots of online friends and have people admiring your website and emails – but pretty useless unless they’re buying what’s being sold, at least at some point during the customer relationship. The aim of all your digital channels – web, email, social media, search engine visibility – is to turn audience members into enquirers; then convert those leads into sales. So you absolutely must measure the rate of enquiries and sales and track them back to your consumer’s digital journey.
RELATED METRICS? Again, audience demographics, sources and behaviours all play decisive roles.
As we said in our introduction, every business needs to measure different things, depending on its individual set of objectives. But CE is committed to a joined-up approach to digital marketing, which means our most important metrics are those which help all channels work effectively together.
If you’d like to learn more about how our integrated digital marketing strategy could help your business, why not get in touch so we can advise you?
Learn more in: A CMO’s guide to consumer spending habits for 2015
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