Measuring performance is essential to ensuring companies are meeting their business goals and objectives. B2B digital marketers—at least the good ones—do this by utilizing metrics called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
What are Digital Marketing KPIs?
KPIs are the critical indicators that digital marketers use to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. They provide an analytical and quantifiable framework that can be tailored to each marketing channel. However, KPIs are only valuable if they’re tied to specific objectives. In fact, the best objectives or goals are SMART (first coined by George T. Doran in the 1981 issue of Management Review):
- Specific: A clear definition of what you want to improve or achieve.
- Measurable: Able to quantify or easily identify if you’ve achieved your goal.
- Attainable: Setting lofty but realistic goals will help you avoid unnecessary disappointment.
- Relevant: It’s relevant to achieving the business objective and aligns with the direction you need to go.
- Timely: It’s tied to a specific timeframe or key milestone.
Other questions you may want to consider as you develop or determine your KPIs include:
- How often will you monitor the KPIs?
- How will you report the results?
- Will you need a tool to measure or analyze the KPIs?
- Is the KPI a leading or lagging indicator?
- Are you measuring too many KPIs?
Now that you have a better idea of what constitutes a KPI, let’s look at some of the best Key Performance Indicators to use for B2B digital marketing.
A website is an important cornerstone to an effective digital marketing strategy. Here are the KPIs you should use to measure its success.
- Traffic volume: The volume of traffic to different pages on your website.
- Pageviews: The number of pages on your site viewed within a given period.
- Sessions: The number of times someone came to your site and stayed (typically for 30 minutes or more).
- Return visits: How many people came back to your site within a given period?
- Time on site: How long do visitors stay on your website?
- Bounce rate: The ratio of visitors who visit and then leave your site immediately.
- Unique visitors: The number of first-time visitors to your site.
- Traffic sources: The different sources of traffic to your site. This can be a long list for certain companies, but some common ones include direct, organic, referral and campaign traffic.
- Total conversions: The number of tracked conversions that occurred on your site.
- Website conversion rate: The percentage of people who reached the end of your conversion path (purchase, lead form, etc.) on the site.
Search Engine Optimization KPIs
Many of the metrics used to measure the effectiveness of a website can also be used here if a more holistic view is desired. These SEO KPIs, however, are more focused on measuring the impact of the website’s organic search results.
- Backlinks: The number of times other websites linked back to a page on your site.
- Keyword ranking: The position your website, or its pages, appear on the Search Engine Results’ Page (SERP).
- Organic search traffic: The number of website visits that occurred by clicking on a search engine query result.
- Domain authority: A 3rd-party evaluation of the trustworthiness or relevancy of your domain.
Email Marketing KPIs
Email marketing is a great way to engage your contacts and nurture leads. The common KPIs used to measure success in email marketing are pretty different from most other KPIs, and largely revolve around how engaging your emails are based on content, time sent, frequency and more.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of subscribers that clicked on an email link, usually displayed as a percentage of total email opens.
- Conversion rate: The percentage of people who reached the end of your conversion path (purchase, lead form, etc.).
- Delivery rate: The percentage of emails that were delivered versus emails sent.
- Email open rate: The ratio of the number of emails opened to the number of emails delivered.
- List size: The number of subscribers on your email list.
- Spam rate: The rate at which subscribers and email service providers flag your emails as spam.
- Bounce rate: The rate at which emails do not reach your subscriber’s inbox.
- Unsubscribe rate: The rate at which people unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Content Marketing KPIs
Creating and leveraging content collateral such as blogs, ebooks, videos, resources, and more is an effective way to promote a B2B brand and generate interest in its products and services. Many KPIs will be specific to the type of content you produce, but here are some of the best KPIs to measure success.
- Downloads: The number of times visitors downloaded a piece of marketing collateral (which may or may not be gated behind a lead form).
- New leads: The number of visitors who subscribe to your email list after or when engaging with your content.
- Organic traffic: The number of visitors who found your site by searching a keyword on your content.
- Pages per session: The number of pages a visitor visits within a short timeframe (usually 30 minutes).
- Time on page: The time a visitor spends engaging with content on your site.
Paid Demand KPIs
Running B2B ads is challenging, and often a long learning process. Establishing and regularly monitoring your KPIs is key to an effective ad strategy. It’s highly important to know where your ad budget is going and how it is performing.
- Impressions: The number of times the network displayed your ad.
- Clicks: The total number of times people clicked on your ads.
- Cost Per Click: The average amount you paid each time someone clicked your ad.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): The number of leads that are likely to become customers.
- Cost Per Lead (CPL): The average amount you paid for each lead.
- Total ad spend: The total amount you spent on the ad network or campaign.
Even though Sales KPIs are not typically managed by the marketing team, when approaching a customer funnel in a proper manner, digital marketers have a tremendous impact on these key performance indicators. In fact, at OM we believe that digital marketing strategies don’t actually work if Sales KPIs like revenue aren’t accounted for and prioritized. (Read more about how simple lead generation strategies are dying and how B2B companies should shift to Revenue-Based Marketing).
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): A lead that has been researched, vetted and determined to be a prospective customer.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The amount of earnings from the customer during the duration of their business relationship with you.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The amount you spend to acquire a customer. (NOTE: In order for a deal to be profitable, the CLV must exceed the CAC).
- Revenue: The total amount of income generated by the sale of goods or services.