Ultimately, it all comes down to ROI on your marketing dollars. But how should you be measuring that ROI actively for money spent? This post will take you through the top metrics you should track for your website, paid advertising, search console, and email marketing.
Top 5 Website Metrics
Setting up and using Google Analytics, you can track an abundance of information about your website. It can be an overwhelming amount of data. These are the top five metrics you should reliably track and know about your website performance.
Tracking sessions and users allows you to see how many times people have come to your website. A Session is a single visit to your website. Technically, it is a group of interactions that occur on your site within a given timeframe (30 minutes for Google Analytics). A User is a person who visits your site. So you may see that you have more Sessions than Users in a day – it’s the same users returning multiple times.
Avg. Session Duration/Pages per Session
Once you know how many people are visiting your site (and how frequently) it makes sense to find out what they’re doing there. By looking at Avg. Session Duration and Pages per Session, you can begin to get a clearer picture. Average Session Duration is pretty self-explanatory – it’s how long the user has spent on your site. Pages per Session tells you how many different pages on your site the user has visited in a given session. While these metrics are interesting on their own, looking at them together gives you a better idea of how users are engaging with your site.
In Google Analytics, channels tell you how people have arrived on your site. You can add it as a dimension in a custom report. There are nine default channels:
- Direct – a user navigated directly to your site by typing your domain in their browser.
- Organic Search – a user landed on your site as a result of unpaid search results by clicking a search result from a search engine.
- Paid search – a user landed on your site as a result of paid ad search results by clicking a paid listing.
- Display – a user landed on your site as a result of paid display ad results by clicking a display ad.
- Social – a user arrives on your website from social media by clicking a social media post or link.
- Email – a user arrives on your website from an email by clicking on an email link.
- Affiliates – a user arrives on your website from an affiliated site by clicking on a link from an affiliated site.
- Referral– a user arrives on your website from another website by clicking on a link from a non-affiliated, non-search engine, non-social media site.
- Other – a user arrives on your website from an unset or pre-defined source by clicking on a user set campaign, not a primary channel.
Knowing and understand how your website is being found lets you make educated decisions about where to direct your marketing efforts.
Campaign tracking is similar to channel tracking, but instead of the channel people arrived from, you see the specific campaign. To do this, you need to add UTM tags to your links. For example, adding “&utm_campaign=NewYear” to all your NewYear-related links will let you see all the traffic that has come to your site from New Year specific marketing.
You can use the Google Analytics Campaign URL builder to easily set up your UTM variables.
Details about how people get to your website and what they do there are valuable, but being able to track when they convert is invaluable. Simply put, a conversion is when a user takes an action on your site that you care about and “converts” – for example, signs up for a mailing list, downloads an ebook, requests a demo or free consultation. To track these actions in Google Analytics, you can set them up as goals. They can be anything from spending a certain amount of time on a page to playing a video, but you only get 20 per view, so choose carefully and track consistently!
Top 3 Search Console Metrics
Google Search Console lets you see what organic searches lead visitors to your site. Like Google Analytics, the sheer amount of information can be vast. While there is a lot of useful data to be found, these three metrics are the ones you want to make sure you’re on top of for performance, but don’t ignore those warnings and errors.
A search console impression occurs anytime a URL from your site comes up in a search result viewed by a user (excluding paid Google Ads results). Tracking impressions allows you to see how frequently your site comes up in organic search results, giving you a good idea of the success of your SEO efforts.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on your URLs in Google search results (excluding those on your Google Ads) by the number of impressions. If your CTR is low, you may want to look at further optimizing your page title tag and page meta description to tailor them further to those keywords/key phrases you are displaying for with impressions, but not receiving many clicks.
Your position is the average ranking of your website URLs in search results. For example, if your site’s URL appeared as the fourth result for one search, and the third result for another, and eighth result for a third, the average position would be 5. This is another assessment of your optimization practices and you may need to re-optimize certain pages for lower average positions.
Top 5 Paid Advertising Metrics
When you’re spending money on advertising, you need to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment. Whether you’re using Google Ads or a different platform, these are the metrics you need to know.
Impressions are the most basic thing you should be tracking for your paid ads. Impressions are how often your ad is shown on a search results page or other sites. Each time it is displayed, it counts as one impression. Obviously, the more impressions your ad gets, the better.
Of course, knowing how many times your ad is shown is not very illuminating without knowing how many people are interacting with your ad. The click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of impressions it got. Interaction rate measures all user interactions with your ad, including clicks, video views, swipes, calls, and more. Depending on the content of your ad, one or the other may be more relevant to you. These two metrics generally show how effective your ad content is.
Cost Per Click
Cost per Click measures how much you paid for each click on your ad. It is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on the particular ad by the total number of clicks on it. This is a good way to compare two different ads and track the efficacy of your ads over time.
To track whether your ads lead customers to do what you want them to, you can set up conversion tracking in Google Ads. You can set up new conversions within Google Ads, or you can import them from Google Analytics or other systems.
Cost Per Conversion
Once you have conversion tracking set up, you can see your cost per conversion in Google Ads. Cost per conversion is calculated by dividing the total spend on your ad by the number of conversions.
Top 5 Email Marketing Metrics
Email marketing can sometimes feel like shouting into the wind, but by tracking these five metrics you can get a clearer picture of how your message is getting across.
When you send an email to a list of people, a certain percentage of them may not be delivered – these emails are said to have ‘bounced’. Delivery rate (the percentage of emails that are delivered to the recipient’s inbox) is a key indicator of the health of your mailing list. Track the delivery rate of individual emails, but also keep track of it over time to ensure your delivery is not consistently declining. Ideally, you want your delivery rate at 95% or higher.
The Open Rate is the percentage of those who received your email that actually opened it. It’s calculated by taking the total unique opens of the email and dividing it by the total number of recipients. Generally, it gives you an idea of the effectiveness of your subject lines, email time, and overall email volume.
Your Click-Through Rate is the percentage of people who received your email that clicked on something. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of delivered emails. In general, the higher the click-through rate of your email, the more engaging and relevant your content is, and the better your calls to action are.
Tracking your specific email campaigns lets you know which of your emails your customers are most engaged with. MailChimp and most other email platforms will have a place for you to enable Google Analytics tracking by adding a campaign name to be added to your links. This is usually in the set-up phase of building an email. You can then easily track and compare the performance of different emails in Google Analytics.
Knowing if your emails actually resulted in a conversion is key to continuous improvement of your email marketing strategy. How you track these conversions will depend, to some extent, on what a conversion is for you. Here are some ways you can make it easier:
- To ensure you can track every click, you can use a URL Builder (like this one, from Google) to easily add UTM tags to your links.
- If your conversion goal involves a form, using Hidden Input Fields is a good way to store extra information you want to be submitted with the form, but that you don’t necessarily want the user to see.
- Having separate landing pages for each email campaign can also help you track conversions more accurately. With tools like Unbounce or Instapage, it’s easy to build separate dedicated landing pages for all your email campaigns.
B2B Marketing Metrics 101: Reliable + Consistent
There are endless tools to measure your marketing performance. The key is to pick reliable platforms and track the same metrics week over week, month over month and quarter over quarter so you can track progress and success.
It should be noted that beyond these key platforms and metrics, you would also be measuring lead acquisition through other means such as your MAS (Marketing Automation System), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Social Media Advertising, Advertising/Lead Generation via 3rd party sites (e.g. Capterra, G2Crowd), etc. Upon collection of data from all resources, you should analyze those platforms, sites and mediums that are yielding the best marketing ROI for your spend.
The end goal for success is different for every organization, some are to improve brand awareness, brand loyalty, product sales, funds raised, etc. Staying consistent in performance tracking means you can make the little tweaks to strategy and tactics that make all the difference as you are measuring reliably and consistently with ROI at the forefront of your marketing efforts.
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