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We’ve seen a lot of changes over the last few months. We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic have been felt far and wide. In rural America, we’re beginning to see businesses open back up and life carrying on in what will be our new normal for the immediate future. 

One of the notable changes we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic has been a shift in media usage and consumption. Throughout our journey through COVID-19, in a world of physical distancing and limited face-to-face interaction, digital platforms and digital media have been a lifeline for brands helping them stay connected and engage with their audiences in meaningful ways. 

Digital advertising provides a unique benefit. Analytics are readily available to provide detailed insight you can use to optimize your digital campaigns and guide the strategy for future campaigns. Now is a great time to take a deeper look into how your digital efforts have been performing through analytics and the evaluation of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to gain valuable insight you can apply to your campaigns. It’s also a great time to evaluate the KPIs you’re utilizing to measure your success to ensure you’re creating the most impact with the dollars you invest.  

What are KPIs in Digital Marketing?

A digital marketing key performance indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable goal or metric that allows you to measure the success of your efforts. Identifying the correct digital marketing KPIs is more important than ever. The correct KPIs can help you to determine what is really working and should be further invested in. They can also help you identify areas where spending can be shifted or where campaign improvements can be made.

It is important to identify the specific KPIs that are most beneficial for your business goals. For the best results, identify primary and secondary KPIs to measure the success of your campaigns, but be prepared to dig deep to find the most useful information. Vanity metrics, such as likes and follows, are easy to find but do not tell the entire story. 

Why are KPIs so important?

By identifying the correct KPIs, you are able to measure specific efforts and their direct results. This allows you to accurately show your ROI (return on investment) and continue to invest in the methods that are most effective, leading to continued business growth. To determine the best digital marketing KPIs for your campaign, consider your objectives and the channels being utilized.

Example Display and Brand Awareness KPIs include: 

  • Viewable cost per 1,000 impressions (vCPM) – Allows you to see how much you are spending per viewable impression for your campaign. 
  • Brand recall or Brand lift – Allows you to measure the times your ad is seen, engaged with and remembered to give you a good idea of the impact the ad achieves. 
  • Engagement rate – Allows you to measure the times your ad or content is seen and interacted with by likes, comments, shares and other metrics. 

Example Search Engine Marketing KPIs include:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) or Cost per conversion (CPV) – Allows you to measure the aggregate cost of acquiring one paying customer or achieving a predetermined conversion metric to gauge the total return on investment of your campaign. To accurately measure CPV, you must define what will count as a conversion, such as signing up for email offers or purchasing a product. The lower your CPA or CPV, the better and the more efficient you are being with the dollars you have available to spend. 
  • Cost per click (CPC) Allows you to see how much you are spending each time an ad is clicked and measures the total cost of showing users ads. 
  • Click through rate (CTR) – Allows you to see the ratio of users who click on a specific link out of all users who visit a page. CTR can be a good indicator of the quality of content and how engaging it is with users.

Example SEO (Search Engine Optimization) KPIs include:

  • Organic traffic breakdowns – Allows you to view the number of users who visit your site as a result of organic (unpaid) search, as opposed to being referred to your site from an outside source, advertisement or content. The higher your content appears in results in search engines and the more people click to visit your site, the more organic traffic you are cultivating.
  • Number of unique pages that drive organic traffic – The more unique landing pages that appear in search results, the more opportunity you have for web users to see your content, leading to more revenue and increased traffic and growth.
  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings – The position in which your website is ranked on Google search results. The higher you rank in results, the more your content will be viewed and engaged with. Strategic content development can increase the quality of traffic you receive through to your site, further improving the metrics of the site overall, as well as individual content pages.
  • Conversion rate – Calculated by dividing the number of conversions by total visitors. Once again, conversions will need to be predetermined. It is important to develop engaging content that prompts customers to convert, leading to more revenue and increased growth.

Example Website and Content Marketing KPIs include:

  • Conversion rate – The number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. Web page content that is engaging will drive traffic and increase conversions. 
  • Bounce rate – Allows you to see the number of web users who visit a page on your website then immediately leave rather than viewing other pages on the site. A high bounce rate can indicate that content could be improved. 
  • Average session duration – Calculated by dividing the total duration of all sessions on a page by the total number of sessions on a page within a specific time period, allowing you to see the amount of time users are spending on a page at one time.

Example Email Marketing KPIs include:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) or Cost per conversion (CPV) – Allows you to measure the total cost of acquiring a paying customer or completing a predetermined conversion metric. 
  • Unique Opens – Allows you to see the number of unique times that an email was opened to differentiate between those who opened the email multiple times and those who opened it once. 
  • Click rate – Allows you to see the number of people that have clicked on at least one link in an email. Creating engaging content will drive click rate, leading to increased conversions.

Social Media KPIs:

Social media can be used for awareness, consideration, conversions and loyalty. Because it can be used for all those things the specific metrics you measure, monitor and evaluate depend on the goals and objectives of the campaign. For example, awareness KPIs measure how many people your message is reaching through metrics including volume, reach and exposure. 

No matter the channel, evaluating and monitoring the correct digital marketing KPIs can be an important component of your success. KPIs allow you to see the impact you’re creating from a higher level and give you a firm understanding of your ROI. This allows you to continue to optimize your campaigns and make the most of your marketing budget by investing in effective and strategic marketing methods going forward.