In the digital landscape, knowing how to market your brand can be a real challenge. You may not even know where to find confirmation that your efforts have been successful. Without this information, you won’t be able to discern the difference between a worthwhile endeavor and one that’s a waste of time and money. You can’t simply rely on your gut feeling or on anecdotal evidence; you need to definitively know whether you’re spending your marketing budget and resources wisely. To that end, you should pay attention to these 10 commonly overlooked — but highly important — marketing metrics to assess your business’s success.
- Click-Through Rates: Your click-through rate refers to the number of clicks you receive through your ads, emails, or links compared to the number of impressions received. In other words, it’s the number of times a digital marketing effort proves successful versus the number of times it’s seen. This number can tell you how effective this part of your marketing campaign actually is; the higher the CTR, the better the campaign is at producing your desired result. You might be surprised to learn that, across all industries, simple, text-only CTAs (call-to-actions) have better click-through rates than both CTA buttons and images, offering a 6.26% average CTR. That means a simple call-to-action with a link at the end of a simple blog post could be more impactful than you realized.
- Social Media Shares: Social media isn’t just for tech-addicted teens. These platforms are vital marketing tools for all kinds of businesses. It’s not enough to establish an account and rack up followers. You’ll need to post engaging, shareable content on a regular basis in hopes of inspiring others to share it, too. This can extend your audience reach in ways you might never have imagined. While 27 million pieces of content are shared on a daily basis, infographics are definitely the clear favorite. In fact, they’re liked and shared on social media three times more than any other kind of content. If you’re wondering why your posts don’t have a high level of engagement, you may want to consider creating this kind of content more often.
- Unique Visitors: Analyzing your web traffic as a whole may not give you a totally clear picture of how well your business is doing. Finding out more about your site’s unique visitors, however, can help you understand your target demographics and audience behaviors much better. This refers to the number of new visitors who come to your site during any given period. Bringing back the same people to your site doesn’t offer growth for your business; bringing in new people shows how well your marketing efforts are working. Keep in mind that content marketing leaders, compared to followers, are typically much more successful in their unique visitor growth. In fact, their year-over-year growth in this area is 7.8 times higher than those who follow rather than lead. Want to be considered a leader in this area? Focus on making constant improvements to blog posts and other digital marketing efforts instead of trying to mimic what other businesses have done.
- Referral Links: Companies rely on honest customer reviews and word-of-mouth to sell their products. Actually, these can have much more impact in the digital age. Professionally written promotional content can be impactful, but today’s consumer wants recommendations from real, trustworthy customers (or even brand advocates) who will genuinely promote a brand based on their own experiences. Whether these individuals are paid in product, sponsored for link placement, or simply include a referral link to a company out of good will, these efforts are extremely valuable for brands. That’s because brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase and are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them. It’s no surprise that many brands now rely on influencers to review or feature their products and services.
- MQL and SQL: Identifying marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads will prove critical for your business’s success. According to HubSpot, only 25% of leads are actually legitimate and should be advanced to sales, and around 50% of leads are qualified but are not yet ready to buy. That’s a gigantic chunk of your potential leads that most likely won’t pan out. MarketingSherpa estimates that 79% of marketing leads never turn into sales at all. But 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, despite the fact that only 27% of those leads will be qualified! A little more than half (56%) of marketers verify their business leads before they’re passed to sales. You’ll want to make sure your business is in that 56% to ensure your time and money are spent wisely. This will also allow you to gather information about whether your sales and marketing efforts are actually effective.
- Domain and Page Authority: Boosting your domain authority (i.e., your site’s perceived strength and usefulness) and page authority (i.e., individual website page strength and relevance) can be accomplished a number of ways. Focusing on SEO and quality content help, of course, but so will obtaining some high-quality backlinks from other sites. That’s because this allows “link juice” (or web authority) to be passed from another great site to yours. It’s no surprise, then, that link building efforts have increased in the last few years. These efforts have grown by 43% since 2005 and reached an all-time high during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Being able to score some great links from reputable sites can do wonders for your domain authority (and it can help you to assess how your marketing efforts are going). Provided that your individual pages are optimized as well, this can allow your brand to be perceived as a leader in your industry and gain more visibility for your site.
- Customer Acquisition Cost: Many businesses may not be bothered by the idea of losing clients or customers — but they should be. The costs of new customer attraction are actually five times greater than keeping an existing customer. Yet, only 18% of companies focus on customer retention while 44% focus on customer acquisition. The probability of selling a product or service to a new customer is only 5-20%, but selling to an existing customer comes with a 60-70% probability. Existing customers are also likely to spend a lot more than a new customer. If your business tends to be more focused on finding new leads and making new sales than on keeping existing customers on, you may need to crunch the numbers and change your perspective. You’ll end up making more — and ensuring your digital marketing tactics are more successful — if you focus on retention instead.
- Engaged Time on Site/Page: When analyzing user behavior, you need to pay attention to the time visitors spend on your site and the pages within it. The session duration and the pages they visit per session can tell you a lot about how easy your site is to navigate and how likely it is that you’ll convert visitors into customers. The unofficial standard of web pages per session is two, while the unofficial standard for time spent on a site per single visitation period is two to three minutes. If visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they may visit an increased number of pages in a relatively short amount of time. Ideally, you want to keep customers engaged on a page or two for a comfortable amount of time to gather information before they make the step to contact you or make a purchase.
- Bounce Rate: Your bounce rate is essentially the percentage of single-page visits to your website. Having an unusually high bounce rate can impact how Google ranks your website, which means you need to pay attention to it. But be aware that the average website has a bounce rate of about 40.5% — so if your bounce rate is less than that, you might not need to worry so much. You should, however, try to reduce a high bounce rate by providing relevant content (i.e., eliminating posts or pages that utilize keyword stuffing or unhelpful information) and easy site navigation, speeding up page load times, and getting rid of pop-up ads. These will all improve your overall user experience and will likely decrease the likelihood that web visitors will abandon your site after only a short time.
- Negative Feedback and Reviews: Your business probably knows how important positive reviews are. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore or delete any negative feedback you receive. Although 59% of people ages 25 to 34 share poor customer experiences and 88% of people say they trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust personal recommendations from people they know, don’t rush to hide their criticisms. Instead, take stock of when they occur and take steps to address them in a transparent, courteous way. Just as other consumers are paying attention to those negative reviews, they’ll also pay attention to how you respond to them. Make sure to reply to this feedback and reach out to the customer directly whenever possible to make it right. The negative feedback shows that something may be amiss in the company, but responding to it shows how seriously you take their experiences and the lengths you’ll go to to correct the problem. Now, more than ever, customer service needs to be one of your main priorities.
While there are certainly other metrics you’ll want to keep in mind when developing and analyzing your digital marketing methods, these oft-overlooked metrics should always be considered. They can provide real insight into how your organization functions and whether you’re actually focused on the right figures.