The marketing metrics you should use to measure success

By Tom Wilson, below, Head of Media,  Climb Online

Marketers and businesses have more data at their fingertips than ever before. Nearly every marketing platform, plugin and tool offers unprecedented amounts of information and analytics – but not all data points are created equally.

Getting the most out of your data means understanding the metrics that translate into real business and marketing goals, and the ones that simply look good on paper.

We explore how to identify the metrics that are worth tracking, and some of the key data points you should consider across your organic, paid and SEO strategies.

Marketing metric considerations

While the metrics you might be focusing on will differ depending on your specific goals at any given time, there are still a few things to bear in mind when looking for the most valuable data to track.

First, you should ensure that the metric being measured is easy to understand for all teams using it, whether sales, marketing or another team entirely. Difficult to understand metrics can result in inconsistent interpretations, which in turn effect decision-making.

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It’s also necessary to ensure that your chosen metric provides consistent data. Marketing hinges on measuring results and iterating actions and activities to optimise them. Choosing metrics that provide regular data is key to achieving this.

Finally, a good indicator of a useful metric is one that provides actionable information and insight. Your metrics must translate into data which drives business decisions and helps you to shape your marketing and sales strategies.

ROAS

Return on ad spend [ROAS] is a central metric for paid marketing. Simply put, it refers to the amount of revenue your business is earning from every pound spent on paid ads. It’s vital to track your ROAS, as it provides deep insights into how effective each of your ad campaigns is, and how your paid strategy is contributing to your overall return on investment.

Monitoring ROAS along with the conversion rates of your campaigns is necessary for enabling you to continually tweak and optimise those campaigns, whether through copy and creative iteration, different targeting options, or various ad placement, maximising the efficacy of each ad.

Lifetime Customer Value

Establishing the potential lifetime customer value of your buyers helps to shape your targeted strategies, while avoiding over-spending on campaigns. Additionally, metrics such as your customer acquisition cost [CAC] are most useful once you know the overall lifetime value of an average customer, giving you a good guideline for how much to you should be willing to spend to gain new custom.

Knowing your lifetime customer value is a core component of keeping track of your customer retention costs. High retention costs can erode profit margins if not tracked closely, and both lifetime value and CAC are vital indicators of how marketing spend should be split between new and returning customers.

Keyword Ranking

In terms of SEO and organic marketing, your keyword rankings should be one metric at the very top of your list. The click-through rate from a result in the top position on Google is an incredible 39.8%, compared with 18.7% and 10.2% for second and third positions respectively. Ranking well for the keywords most relevant to your business, services or products is vital for appearing in the top positions on the search engine results, and informing your overall SEO strategy.

There are several third-party tools that allow you to track keywords and monitor the performance of your website in the search results, including Google Analytics and SEMrush. This is a particularly important metric to track, as it helps you to identify the challenges in your SEO strategy, such as the keywords you are struggling to rank for. It also helps to identify potential SEO opportunities, including website and content strategy.

MQL vs. SQL

A marketing qualified lead [MQL] is a prospect that has been deemed as relatively likely to become a customer. Perhaps they’ve clicked on an ad, visited a particular webpage, or interacted with your marketing communications in some other way.

A sales qualified lead [SQL] has passed into your sales funnel, having been qualified as a potential customer, and your sales team have decided that this is a lead worth pursuing. Essentially the difference between the two is the intent to buy. An MQL generally has less intent to buy than an SQL.

It’s incredibly important to track how effective your marketing activities are at generating prospects that become SQLs to ensure your budget is not being funnelled into activities that fail to drive qualified leads.

Social Media Metrics

Social media platforms offer users incredible amounts of data, but without a focused approach, it can be difficult to know which of these is important, and whether your business is getting the most out of it social media presence and activities.

There are many reasons businesses use social media, and your particular goals will determine the metrics that you should be tracking. If your goal is simply to build brand engagement and awareness, you might choose to measure and track your average engagement rate, your mentions, impressions and shares.

For revenue-focused social media marketing, you should be looking at your conversion rates, that is, the number of people that followed your call to action, such as visiting a particular link, or signing up for your newsletter.

For paid social campaigns, your cost-per-click [CPC] and click-through rate [CTR] are central to understanding if budget is being directed to the correct social platforms and campaigns, and how engaging and effective those campaigns are.

Final thoughts

While your metrics are dynamic, with your focus varying between metrics depending on your particular business and marketing objectives, tracking the right metrics is vital for ensuring your marketing activities are generating results, as well as informing your overall marketing strategy by tracking what works and what needs improvement.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024