Marketing effectiveness is always related to numbers. While seeing your brand in a famous media might be nice for your business, it is not a measurable, tangible metric. Marketing effectiveness is about measuring those numbers consistently, and work to improve upon that data.
So, a huge part of measuring marketing effectiveness is about measuring the right metrics. There are virtually unlimited number of different metrics related to marketing, and if you are tracking the wrong ones, it can bring a negative impact to your business.
Here, we will share 21 of the most important metrics you should measure when aiming to improve your marketing performance. This will be a huge list, but we will attempt to explain each of them as clear as possible.
Without further ado, let us begin with the first one.
1. Inbound Links
Also known as backlinks, this is the number of high-quality links coming to your website. The main value of backlinks is that they are a very important ranking signal to search engines like Google and Bing.
Notice we mentioned “high-quality” here, because links coming from low-quality websites won’t bring much value to your business, as the search engines won’t take them into account.
Inbound links are also an important indicator of your credibility: the more (authority) sites link you, the more trustworthy your business is perceived.
2. Content Download Number
It’s now a common practice to use content marketing as a lead generation device, to gather lead insights and contact information. If you haven’t used this technique, you definitely should.
Consider various forms of downloadable contents from videos, webinars, ebooks, white papers,dynamic apps, and any other resources. This practice is also known as gated content, and you might want to check out this guide by Instapage to help you further.
Remember that the value of doing this practice is contact information, so you should only consider those with valid email addresses or other valid contact info.
3. Lead Volume
The number of generated leads is a very important metric to measure the performance of your top marketing funnel. Yet, we should also compare the number of generated leads in comparison with the resources you have available. Too many generated leads doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your business, as each of them will require maintenance (and hence, resources) So, here we are speaking about lead volume. Yet, how many is too many?
There are many approaches you can take to assess your business’s lead volume. The simplest (and effective) way is to first assess your overall marketing goals, and figure out how many qualified leads (discussed below) you will need to achieve those goals.
4. Lead Score
Qualifying leads is just as important as generating leads. You can be successful with a low number of generated leads if the most of them are qualified leads. On the other hand, your business won’t grow as much if most of your leads aren’t qualified, even if you get a lot of incoming prospects.
To ensure the seamless process of qualifying your leads, you should first determine an ideal customer profile/buyer persona, and compare incoming leads with it. Next, you should have an automated scoring system to qualify leads.
5. Number of Comments (And Other Tangible Engagements)
When thinking about social media (or other) engagement, the first thing that often comes to mind is metrics like social shares or new follower increases. Yet, people more often than not share a content without even reading it, and new followers might not engage with your brand at all.
Comments and other forms or tangible engagements are instead, reliable indicator. Someone who took the time to write the comment, most likely have read the whole comment and also have got some values (or at least, felt strongly about the content).
Overall, monitor whether your channels have driven awareness, relationships, retention, and customer service. Also monitor how effective your business is in driving two-way conversations.
Check out this guide by MOZ that might help you in this aspect.
6. Social Media Reach
The term “reach” refers to the measurement of spread of your social media conversation. So, social media reach will translate to your potential audience size. While social media reach won’t tell you everything about your audience, it is a very powerful metric when compared to other engagement metrics as we have discussed above.
Although in general, the larger your reach is, the better, that is not always the case. You will also need to evaluate whether your reach is growing with the right audience, and whether your social media activities promote your brand as an influencer and expert in the industry.
Website traffic is a very important aspect of the Top of The Funnel (TOFU) marketing. The number of your website traffic equals the awareness of your brand, and so increasing traffic is an essential factor in brand building. Traffic will also converts to leads/prospects, and in turn, to purchasing customers.
Make sure your business is actively measuring the overall website traffic, and ensure your marketing activities from content marketing, events, social media marketing, and PR among others are directed to bring more visitors to your website.
8. Number of Subscribers/Followers
Your blog, newsletter, and email marketing subscribers as well as social media followers are very expensive assets in this digital times. When you have a steady influx of growing subscribers/followers, you are effectively growing your business.
Remember that only your “owned” contact database -the opt-ins- wil count. Rented or bought database is not a valid asset. Also, measure whether your business have actively engaged your most interested audiences.
9. Number of Shared Content
While above we have mentioned that the number of shares doesn’t always translate into valuable engagements, it is still one of the most visible metrics to measure social interactions. When someone shared or retweeted your contents, it is fairly visible.
At the very least, the number of shares show trusts for your brand, or at least your contents. Those who shared your contents can be treated as organic brand ambassador to amplify reach. As we have also mentioned, social media reach is only a useful metric when paired with others, and this is one of them.
10. Dwell Time
If your visitors spent a lot of time on your site and looked at a variety of pages and contents, there is also an increased chance of conversion.
Integrated Marketing-Sales Metrics
In this post-modern business age, the lines between marketing and sales processes are getting more blurred than ever. The following metrics are focused on the bottom end of the marketing funnel, and will require close integration between marketing and sales team. These metrics can measure specific marketing performances that drive business results.
11. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Customer Lifetime Value, or LTV, is the projected revenue of a single customer over their relationship with your brand. So, LTV examines the potential value that customers bring into your business.
The more accurate you are in projecting LTV, the more optimized you can plan your marketing budget, since you will consider the long-term value of the customer instead of a single purchase.
There are many different approaches and models in measuring LTV, and you can check out our previous guide on LTV here. (link)
12. Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
Many marketers dismiss the importance of measuring retention. There can be two main reasons for this: one, is that many marketers value new customer acquisitions more than increasing retention. The next, is that many marketers lack the required insights to properly calculate retention.
Optimizing retention is cheaper than acquiring a new customer, and can bring more profit to the table. Yet, managing retention is not only the responsibility of the marketing team, but also sales, customer service, and customer loyalty teams.
A simple formula to calculate CRR is:
CRR= (number of original customers-number of lost customers)/number of customers for the given period.
For example, if you start the year with 1,000 customers, and lose 100 of them throughout the year, the calculation would be: (1,000-100)/1,000= 90%. Keep in mind not to include any new sales from this given period.
13. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
In its essence, CAC is the entire cost utilized to acquire customers over a given period of time, divided by the number of acquired customers during that period. Yet, obviously the calculation can be more complex depending on your business model with all the different variables involved.
In general, your CAC should be lower than your LTV (see above), with the CAC of one-third of your LTV being ideal. Most businesses also aim to recover CAC over a given time period, for example, a 12-month period. Check out this guide by KissMetrics to help you further in this subject.
14. Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
This is arguably the most important metric to measure at the bottom the funnel. Generated leads will only bring value once they convert into actual customers, and we can measure it with this formula:
Conversion Rate= total conversions/total leads x 100
If your conversion rate is low, check whether your leads are well qualified (see above). There are many different approaches to improve conversion rates, and this guide by HubSpot might help you.
15. Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is probably the most useful, well-rounded metric for all marketers. NPS, as the name suggests, is an indicator that lets you know whether your customers would recommend your brand/product to friends, colleagues, or family.
So, NPS is a strong indicator of customers’ perception, trust, and your brand building performance. If your NPS number is high or trending upwards, your brand is doing well and/or improving.
How to measure your Net Promoter Score? In its essence, NPS is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Check out this guide to help you further.
16. Employee Retention
While this is not a direct performance indicator for marketing, a good employee retention rate can help your overall company perception. Good employee retention rates can vary by industry, and you can measure it by:
Employee retention= total number of employees this month/total number of employees last year at this month
In general, you should aim of retention above 90%, and retention below 70% is considered bad.
17. Inbound Job Applicants
Again, not a direct marketing metric, but it can be an indirect indicator of your brand awareness. Businesses with strong marketing foundations and business cores can gain interests from higher-quality talents, and so can strengthen your marketing performance,
This metric can also be an indicator of your overall marketing performance: if your marketing program is performing well, the inbound job applicants will also rise.
18. Number of Referrals
Referrals can be one of the strongest marketing assets for any businesses, and should be paired with your Net Promoter Score for a more accurate measurement. Referral can be extremely crucial in determining business growth: if many people refer your business/product, you will grow exponentially.
Your marketing efforts should always aim to engage existing customers to turn them into advocates. Make the most of reviews and testimonials, and always actively track customer referral numbers and results.
19. Revenue Growth
In the end, the purpose of marketing is to sell more of your product to more people, even better if you can sell at higher prices. In short, maximizing revenue should be the end goal of your marketing. If your revenue growth is not optimal when compared to your overall marketing spendings and efforts, you are not doing it right.
Your marketing program should be designed to sell, and so the marketing team should work closely with the sales team. Constantly evaluate your marketing performance according to revenue growth, and adjust it accordingly.
20. Return of Investment
Probably the most famous metric of all, and also the most important. Return on Investment (ROI), ultimately determines which marketing tactics and initiatives work, and which don’t. ROI should be the main consideration in allocating marketing budget, as we should spend more on tactics that work, and spend less (or completely neglect) on those that don’t work.
Measuring marketing ROI for all tactics and channels can be very difficult with all the different variables, and there can be many different approaches. Check out this guide from MarketingProfs on more about measuring marketing ROI.
If revenue growth speaks about volume, profitability speaks about efficiency. The more efficient your marketing practices and initiatives are, the more profitable your business will be.
Every marketing tactics, activities, and channels should be evaluated to be more efficient whenever possible. In short, marketing should always aim to drive your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) down and increasing Lifetime Value (LTV) by offering more profitable upsell/cross-sell and maximizing referral.
Measuring marketing effectiveness should be done with a single goal in mind: improving your overall marketing performance. As you rate your marketing effectiveness, consider your current strengths, weakness, and opportunities using the various metrics we have shared above. If you find any gaps and/or any areas that are lacking, you should make the necessary adjustments as soon as possible.
Remember that some of the marketing metrics mentioned above are not solely the responsibility of the marketing team. You should always communicate the measured results with your sales team, customer service team, or anyone else that matter.