Varos Glossary

Digital Marketing KPIs

Digital Marketing KPIs: Measuring What Matters

The internet has been an absolute game-changer for marketing. Digital channels now provide tons of data and options for personalized, targeted campaigns - things impossible in the traditional analog world.

But data without context is meaningless. Pure metrics without interpretation don't actually tell you much or guide decisions.

That's where digital marketing KPIs come in. These key performance indicators cut through the noise to spotlight what impacts core objectives. They provide actionable intel to understand customers, optimize spending, and boost results.

What Are Digital Marketing KPIs?

Digital marketing KPIs are specialized key performance indicators. They track the effectiveness of online marketing initiatives and campaigns. These KPIs focus on quantifying progress toward business goals and objectives. This is in contrast to vanity metrics like social media followers or total clicks.

For example, an ecommerce company may use:

  • Bounce rate to understand which pages confuse visitors
  • CTR to optimize ad targeting
  • Conversion rate to maximize promo campaign ROI

Some common reasons businesses leverage these digital KPIs include:

  • Spot Trends in Important Metrics - Use KPIs to Track metrics over time. Identify changes in customer sentiment, pain points, and behaviors. This allows you to address issues and capitalize on new opportunities.
  • Optimize Marketing Spend - Tie campaign costs to performance metrics revealing high and low ROI initiatives. Reallocate budgets to what works based on hard data.
  • Benchmark Performance - Benchmarking platforms allow you to compare your KPIs against industry peers. Surface areas for improvement you may have otherwise missed.

In short, digital marketing KPIs provide tangible, quantitative inputs. They help you understand audiences and guide decisions in an increasingly digital world. Rather than guesses, they empower data-driven decision-making, prioritization, and strategy.

Digital vs Traditional Marketing KPIs

Digital marketing KPIs differ from traditional, analog marketing measures in a few key ways:

Relevance: They focus on online and mobile channels where consumers now spend most of their time. No more wasting resources tracking outdated metrics like newspaper ad clipping rates.

Precision: Digital allows for detailed segmentation and personalization. Precision that is impossible through broad traditional campaigns focused on general demographic groups. You can get incredibly targeted.

Attribution: Online channels provide more data around performance, marketing analytics, and attribution. This type of attribution helps you quantify the impact. What combination of search, social, referrals, etc, influenced conversions? Traditional media offered little performance transparency in comparison.

Why are Digital KPIs Important For Modern Businesses?

There are several reasons why monitoring these online marketing KPIs represents a competitive advantage:

Understand Your Customers

Granular data on how audiences interact with your brand content provides invaluable insights. It's a clear window into customer behavior. According to BARC Research, over half of the companies surveyed have a better understanding of their customers thanks to data. 

The inputs allow you to spot frustrations. You can highlight content that resonates well and keep targeting aligned with current needs.

Optimize Spending

Tying campaign costs to performance metrics showcases high and low ROI initiatives. This allows for optimizing budget allocations. Spend more on tactics demonstrating the highest return on dollars spent.

Benchmark Performance

Varos aggregates performance data from thousands of ecommerce companies. Comparing your KPIs against peers spots areas for improvement that you may have otherwise missed. If their conversion rate is 2X yours, that warrants closer investigation.

Identify Trends and Opportunities

Tracking KPIs over time reveals subtle shifts in customer sentiment long before they become obvious. These changes may signal emerging pain points to address or new offerings to explore. Getting ahead of these changes can influence customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Key Digital Marketing KPIs and Metrics

There are thousands of potential metrics to track. But not all provide value-driving decisions. The highest-performing marketing teams focus on a few KPIs. These should align tightly with long-term objectives. Two core categories are website/traffic KPIs and engagement KPIs.

Website/Traffic KPIs

These quantify visitor interactions once they hit your site. Key measures include:

  • Bounce rate - Percentage leaving without further site interaction. Gives insights into confusing pages.
  • Pages per session - Higher averages indicate engaging experiences worth returning to.
  • Traffic sources - Where visitors come from (search, social, referrals, etc.). This KPI should guide future initiatives.
  • Returning Visitors - Percentage of site visitors that come back multiple times. Indicates content quality and experience satisfaction.

Engagement KPIs

These highlight how audiences interact with your brand messaging and content across channels:

  • Click-through rate (CTR) - Percentage clicking from emails or ads. Shows messaging resonance.
  • Email open rate - Percentage of people opening sent emails. Indicates interest.
  • Customer Acquisition cost - The average spent to acquire a new customer. Lower is better to enable profitability.
  • Conversion Rates - Percentage of visitors that take a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Helps determine campaign ROI.

Generally, higher engagement demonstrates that marketing content effectively captures the audience's attention. Tracking engagement KPI trends over time is telling.

Implementing Digital Marketing KPIs

So, how can you implement a digital marketing KPI strategy of your own? The key to leveraging online marketing KPIs for optimization is:

Connecting Data from Platforms

Use a centralized tool like Varos to automatically aggregate analytics, ad platforms, e-commerce stores, and CRM data. Doing so provides a single source of truth-saving manual reporting.

Establishing Realistic Goals

Start by determining 2-3 overarching marketing objectives. Then, define quantifiable KPIs indicating progress to guide what to track. Ex - Increase website conversion rate from 1.5% to 2.5% in next quarter.

Comparing to Industry Standards

Leverage Varos' performance data from thousands of other companies. Benchmark your KPIs against industry averages and best-in-class performers. Quickly spot high and low-performance areas versus peers.

Tips to Improve Performance

Once you've begun tracking KPIs, the next step is influencing them through testing and optimization. Some ideas that provide a higher ROI:

  • Targeted Campaigns - Up to 74% of marketers believe more focused messaging on high-intent segments typically outperforms scattered efforts. Build detailed buyer personas.
  • Content Experimentation - Test ad formats, landing pages, email content, and more. It will help determine what creative messaging most resonates with audiences. Expand upon successes.
  • High-Quality Content - More engaging, educational blog posts, videos, and tools keep visitors sticking around. The result is increased conversion. Invest in creators who understand your buyers' struggles.

Boost Your Digital Marketing KPIs With Varos

We live in an increasingly competitive landscape. The brands realizing this and putting appropriate KPI tracking in place will gain a significant advantage.

Digital channels have unlocked unprecedented targeting precision if you know how to leverage the inputs. Approaching marketing efforts without data is essentially flying blind. You are making decisions based on hunches versus hard facts on performance.

Lean into data-driven decision-making.

Varos makes accessing and learning from this data simple. And the input can influence strategy across all online business functions far beyond marketing alone. Book a demo now to get started.

About the Author

Sarah Clowes-Walker 

Head of Marketing at Varos