How marketing metrics turn data into opportunity

Marketing metrics and KPIs

Marketing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can often feel like nebulous terms with complex definitions, but they don’t have to be. Once marketers understand the basics, these terms don’t just become familiar — they become powerful tools.

More often than not, in the name of being data-driven, many organizations become lost in a sea of measurements that don’t necessarily ladder back to business outcomes. But there’s a meaningful payoff to becoming educated on what marketing metrics make the biggest impact on your overall business and KPIs. Let’s shift the focus to what matters the most.

Examples of those metrics include identifying what exactly should be measured, what actions from customers will really drive conversion, and how your organization can better align around marketing metrics and KPIs. Asking yourself important questions like these and breaking down the basics of marketing metrics and KPIs is a great place to start. To help, we’ve narrowed the basics down to these five areas.

What are marketing metrics?

Just like most things in life, you can only really improve what you can measure — and marketing is certainly no exception. Marketing metrics and KPIs are powerful ways to really listen to what your customer is telling you on a mass scale. This includes data on what went into marketing efforts (like budget), customer and prospect interactions with marketing messages (like page views, email opens, and click-throughs), and outcomes from those interactions (like leads generated, sales, and customers retained).

Today’s marketers are tasked with thinking scientifically about this data to understand what content to get in front of prospects and customers, when to do it, and what calls to action to extend to their audience to drive the right outcomes for the business. For instance, a campaign designed to drive traffic to a website would want to monitor unique visits, bounce rate, time on site, and more. Another example would be a video of a product demo that would want to track video views and how many people finished watching.

With so many digital tools in the hands of marketers, the volume of marketing metrics monitored can get overwhelming. This article will help you take control of your marketing metrics and when and how to use them.

Three key principles for effective tracking

Three key principles for effective tracking

It’s easy to get lost when getting started or revising a strategy around marketing metrics and KPIs. But as long as you can stay focused on some key principles to keep you and your team working efficiently and effectively, you’ll see really impressive results.

  1. Track all marketing campaigns accurately
    Without proper data collection and tracking, all the metrics in the world won’t help predict success or identify problem areas in campaigns. Many marketing departments hire an attribution specialist dedicated to doing just this, while others use outside consultants or agencies. The important thing is to make sure campaigns accurately track engagement before campaigns go live.
  2. Analyze data from campaigns
    Properly analyzing data gives organizations the power to update strategies or make tweaks to marketing materials to improve overall performance. For instance, tracking an active campaign can allow an organization to pivot from poorly performing marketing materials to something more in line with what customers are looking for. Analyzing data can also help determine what channels a campaign should run on to maximize who and how many people see your messaging. This also gives businesses insights into how to structure marketing in the future.
  3. Take a big-picture view
    Analyzing accurate marketing data not only helps marketers and marketing decisions, it can also improve other departments in an organization. Insights from marketing metrics can:
    • Help sales teams forecast new business. By understanding how many leads eventually convert to customers on average, sales teams can project new business based on marketing plans.
    • Equip leaders to budget for the future. Using their goals for top-line revenue, executives can determine a marketing budget by understanding key marketing metrics. For instance, growing revenue year over year could require more leads from marketing efforts. With closely monitored marketing metrics, it’s clear what marketing spend will need to be to reach the organization’s revenue goal.
    • Give product managers insight to plan for new features. Analyzing marketing metrics will illustrate which features are resonating with potential customers in the market. Product managers can use this information to guide product decisions.

The best marketing metrics for your business and how to find them

With an understanding of why marketing metrics and KPIs are important, you’ll want to identify which metrics and KPIs to actually monitor and focus on. These three steps will help you determine the right metrics.

  1. Start with business goals in mind. It could be helpful to examine how your business is faring at every stage of the marketing funnel. For example, making sure your customers know what your business offers. Identify if and why your business struggles to get new leads or just quality leads. Check in with how successfully you’re converting leads to customers or keeping customers in the long term. These needs will define many of the marketing metrics you will want to focus on.
  2. Use business goals to set campaign goals. With an idea of what the business needs, you can develop goals and objectives for a campaign that addresses these needs.
  3. Identify metrics that will impact the campaign goals. Identify campaign KPIs that move the needle on whatever the campaign goals are. If you need more leads, it might be wise to make your KPIs focused on metrics that will ensure more leads.

As an example, a software as a service (SaaS) platform may have a problem getting its audience aware of its product. If this were the case, marketers could focus on metrics like marketing impressions, website traffic, video views, and so on. Another example would be a management consulting firm that gets a lot of traffic to a marketing white paper but has a hard time turning those leads into prospective customers. The marketing team could focus on metrics like a call to action (CTA) conversion rate.

Examples of common business metrics

The 12 most common metrics businesses are tracking right now

As businesses approach tracking and analyzing their data, we’ve found that these 12 common marketing metrics and KPIs are the most valuable when tracking customer activity. There are a few common marketing metrics and KPIs that will benefit most companies to start tracking. These range from the first point of contact with a customer to their overall lifetime value.

Make planning and tracking easy with Adobe Marketo Engage

As your basic understanding of marketing metrics grows, there are tools available to help along the way. In fact, that’s just what Adobe is here for. Adobe Marketo Engage puts powerful tools in the hands of marketers to make planning, tracking, analyzing, and optimizing marketing efforts easy and effective. With Marketo, businesses can effectively optimize marketing metrics and KPIs to drive business outcomes. As an example, here are just a few features available through the platform.

Customer journey maps
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the interactions your customers have with your business. This includes tracking individual personas across all touchpoints with the business. It’s likely you’ll want to set up multiple journey maps to fully illustrate the complexity of your customer journey, but Marketo is built to help marketers easily manage this complexity with simple visualizations.

Managing multiple marketing channels
Your audience is probably visiting various channels regularly, requiring you to market on many platforms with each campaign. This can make campaign execution burdensome. Instead of using a dozen or so individual platforms to manage a campaign, Marketo gives marketers the power to manage multiple marketing channels from one platform.

Campaign analytics and reporting
Marketo offers a suite of off-the-shelf analytics and reporting tools that help marketers in any industry get a clear picture of what marketing efforts are working, how money is being spent, and where improvements can be made. From web to email to social media reporting, you’ll want to easily access this information in real time (see more details about reporting options here).

Audience targeting
To help make sure your marketing messages have an impact, targeting a defined audience of potential customers is key. Meeting a customer where they are — and connecting their needs to your solutions — starts with knowing who they are, what they’re interested in, and what pains them. Marketo Engage has tools to identify a business’s best target audience based on performance. For example, it could discover that an audience defined by geography prospects in California is performing above average compared to audiences found across the country. Audiences can also be defined by company type, job title, and combinations of these and other identifiers.

Now that you’re feeling more familiar with the ins and outs of marketing metrics and KPIs, the sky is the limit. Equipped with invaluable insights to understand your customers better, you can now meet them where they are — naturally drawing them to your business rather than needing to push it on them. At the end of the day, marketing is about listening. And that’s what the numbers are here to make possible.

Start improving your marketing metrics and KPIs today. Download our marketing metrics and analytics cheat sheet to start measuring — and proving — the value of your content and marketing campaigns.