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Marketing 101: How to Measure & Report Your Marketing Performance

08.12.2020 | Andrea Pratt

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What’s the most effective way to ensure marketing success? Maybe you’d guess a strategy like inbound, content marketing, or retargeting. Perhaps you’d say a strong knowledge of your target audience or a really creative marketing team.
While all of these elements are important, the best way to make sure your marketing succeeds for the long haul isn’t all that sexy. Proper, ongoing measurement against specific goals helps you market efficiently and effectively—and achieve long-term success.

 

MEASURING MARKETING IN THE MODERN ERA

Marketing measurement used to be a lot harder. Just think about how difficult it still is to measure the efficacy of traditional tactics, like print or outdoor. Sure, maybe you can tie those tactics to a number of impressions or a general increase in sales, but you can’t attribute those sales with one-hundred percent confidence or calculate exact return on investment (ROI).

Now, with digital marketing, marketers are empowered to measure more than ever. You can track exactly how many clicks or visits or leads or sales were driven by a specific tactic or campaign.

Despite how much easier it is to measure marketing performance digitally, some marketers maintain the mindset that time they spend measuring, analyzing, and reporting could be better spent doing other marketing tasks. (Or they just don’t want to have to develop new measurement processes.) But there’s no longer any excuse not to be basing marketing performance on real data, and any time spent measuring is well worth the reduced waste and improved performance.

 

WHAT TO MEASURE

We’ve gone over why to measure; now we’ll talk about what to measure (and how to measure after that).

First things first, you must have a marketing plan with specific objectives. Then you’ll know which outcomes and metrics to focus on.

Here are the major key performance indicators (KPIs) by channel. Although this seems like a long list, it’s not every possible metric you can track.

  • General/Cross-Channel
    –  Lead
    –  Sales
    –  Conversions
    –  Sales Close Rate
    –  Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
    –  Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
    –  Customer Satisfaction
    –  Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Website
    –  Website Traffic
    –  Organic Traffic
    –  Direct Traffic
    –  Paid Traffic
    –  Unique Visitors
    –  Bounce Rate
    –  Session Duration
    –  Form Abandonment Rate
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue
  • SEO & SEM
    –  Organic Traffic
    –  Direct Traffic
    –  Paid Traffic
    –  Page Load Speed
    –  Keyword Rankings
    –  Backlinks
    –  Click-Through Rate (CTR)
    –  Cost Per Mille (CPM)
    –  Domain Authority
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue
  • PPC
    –  Clicks
    –  Click-Through Rate (CTR)
    –  Cost Per Click (CPC)
    –  Impressions
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue
  • Email
    –  Open Rate
    –  Click Rate
    –  Click-Through Rate (CTR)
    –  Delivery Rate
    –  Bounce Rate
    –  Hard Bounces
    –  Soft Bounces
    –  Unsubscribes
    –  Unsubscribe Rate
    –  Subscribes
    –  Spam Score
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue
  • Social Media
    –  Total Engagement
    –  Engagement Rate
    –  Top Posts
    –  Likes
    –  Comments
    –  Shares
    –  Mentions
    –  Followers
    –  Follower Growth Rate
    –  Referral Traffic to Website
    –  Landing Page Views
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue
  • Content
    –  Traffic
    –  Unique Visitors
    –  Session Duration
    –  Bounce Rate
    –  Comments
    –  Social Shares
    –  Backlinks
    –  Organic Rankings
    –  Subscribers
    –  Referrals
    –  Leads
    –  Sales
    –  Revenue

In your reporting, try to stick to between six and eight key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly tie into your objectives. You can watch other PIs, but put less emphasis on them. For instance, you may want to focus more heavily on website traffic driven by social media than post likes.

I don’t want to move on from metrics without discussing the term “conversion.” It’s a common source of confusion when it comes to marketing measurement. A conversion is when a recipient of your marketing message takes an action you want them to take. Conversions can be “macro” or “micro.” Through your marketing, you’re trying to get your audience to make many micro conversions (liking your social post, clicking the link in your email, visiting your website) as you nurture them to the ultimate macro conversion: Purchasing your product.

A major KPI for your reporting can be the rate at which a tactic or campaign succeeded in “converting” your audience (triggering them to take the desired next step). This is called the “conversion rate,” and it’s calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total audience and then multiplying by 100. For example, 10 link clicks out of 50 email recipients equals a conversion rate of 20%.

 

HOW TO MEASURE

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, but how do I get the data I need to report on these metrics?” We got you!

Tools to Use

  • General/Cross-Channel Metrics: Your sales or marketing automation platform or CRM. If you don’t currently have software that tracks sales and leads—and don’t foresee getting it any time soon— keep track yourself using a spreadsheet.
  • Website Metrics: Use a free Google Analytics account.
  • PPC (SEM, Display, Social): Use the data in your ad platform (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Perfect Audience).
  • Email Metrics: If you send emails through a tool such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact, it will provide open rate and click rate, and you’ll be able to keep segmented email lists. Referrals can be tracked in Google Analytics.
  • Social Media Metrics: Paid social benchmarking tools like Rival IQ can help you with social metrics. Or, keep track of audience size and social post engagement yourself. Referrals can be tracked in Google Analytics.
  • Content Metrics: Use a free Google Analytics account to see which pieces of content on your website are visited most. Plus, check engagement with content your share on social and any backlinks you get to your content.

 

HOW TO REPORT

We’d bet your next question is, “How often do I need to be measuring and reporting?”

It really depends on the size of your business and campaigns. A quick daily check of top KPIs may be in order. You may also do a deeper review each week, and an in-depth monthly performance report that benchmarks data against your goals and past performance. You should do comprehensive reports quarterly and yearly as well.

Here’s what to include in reports:

  • Overview (What Happened)
    –  Include your main KPIs for the time frame (the month, the quarter, the year . . .)
  • Analysis (What It Means)
    –  Did you make progress toward your objectives? Or did things go poorly? Why? What worked? What didn’t work?
  • Next Steps (What You Should Do Next)
    –  Decide what you’re going to do next by tactic in order to achieve your objectives. Will you continue what you’re doing with a tactic, propose ways to optimize it, or ditch it?

Remember not to get too caught up in the short term. While you may want to see the ROI of certain tactics (like promotions) immediately, give other tactics time to pay off.

There are many ways to create your report, free and paid. We tend to like free. We use Google Data Studio and simple Word templates to create our reports.

 

CONCLUSION

There’s no reason not to be measuring your marketing. Sure, it may take a little setup and reporting time, but once everything’s in place, it’ll be well worth it. You’ll know what’s working, what needs to be dropped or optimized, and if you’re on track to reach your objectives. No more guessing—just gaining ground on your goals.

 

Download our Marketing Performance Checklist here!


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