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Companies have an ever-expanding amount of data at their fingertips, but when tracking and measuring performance, it’s important to remember that its quality, not quantity that counts.

By carefully selecting the right KPIs, you’ll be able to extract better information from the terabytes of data flowing through your company, enabling the key decision-makers to make data-driven decisions that can shape success.

But how do you decide what’s important and how to measure it?

Here we give some advice on choosing your KPIs, and then provide an overview of some of the most useful KPIs for measuring brand awareness, lead generation, engagement, and customer acquisition and loyalty.

When it comes to tracking performance, there are many factors to take into account, and it’s clear that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

What you choose to measure and how will depend on the type of business you operate, what stage your company is at (i.e. just starting out or already well established) and what your goals are.

For example, a B2B e-commerce company might choose to focus on customer acquisition and retention, while a chain of cafés might focus on average spend or customer satisfaction.

That said, there are a few important things you should always keep in mind when choosing KPIs for your marketing dashboard or balanced scorecard.

  • Choose KPIs that are linked to your strategic goals: your KPIs should be a measurement of your progress towards the most relevant marketing and/or company goals. Focusing on the wrong ones can be costly in that you might miss out on important opportunities or threats if you’re looking in the wrong direction.
  • Keep your company’s maturity in mind: the importance of certain KPIs will differ depending on the stage of growth your company is at. For example, brand awareness may be more important in the early stages, while a KPI like customer lifetime value may only be worth focusing on when your company has already established itself.
  • Don’t track too many KPIs: while it’s great to be able to track a huge range of metrics, less is actually more when it comes to honing in on what is really important, and keeping your teams’ focus.
  • Make sure your KPIs are actionable and have an owner: if you see poor performance, you should be able to identify the corrective action needed, and who needs to take that action.

Once you have established your KPIs, it’s important to communicate them internally, so that your teams understand how they align with individual, departmental and strategic goals.

5 useful marketing KPIs to track

Here you can find some of the most important KPIs to track for each of the following areas:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Engagement
  • Customer acquisition
  • Loyalty

1. Brand awareness

Brand awareness has, and always will be difficult to measure, and some marketers even dismiss attempts to measure what they call ‘vanity metrics’.

However, your brand’s image and reach are important elements of your lead generation, and it can be worth trying to understand how your marketing efforts are contributing to expending that reach.

Some of the related KPIs you might want to track for this topic are:

  • direct website traffic – people who arrive at your site because they know or heard about your brand
  • organic search for branded terms – gives an insight into brand recognition
  • social media follower counts – useful for comparison with competitors and to assess impact of campaigns
  • number of inbound links – helps determine your brand’s reach and reputation
  • number of online brand mentions

2. Lead generation

Lead generation is a critical element of any marketing strategy, and with customer journeys more complex than ever before, understanding more about the quality of leads and time to conversion can help determine strategy and tactics.

Some of the related KPIs you might want to track for this topic are:

  • click-through-rate (CTR) – how many people click on a CTA divided by the number times the CTA is shown (=impressions)
  • conversion rate/lead generation rate – number of visitors who became leads divided by the total number of visitors in a given time period
  • time-on-page (TOS) – this can be a good indication of the quality of leads
  • cost per lead (CPL) – the cost for each lead generation campaign divided the total of leads the campaign generated. Calculate this per channel to see where you get most value for money.
  • cost per acquisition (CPA) – the cost for each campaign divided the number of conversions the campaign generated. If your campaign generated 10 conversions (e.g. contact forms) for €100, your CPA is €10 (€100 / 10 conversions). In other words, every time you spend €10 your campaign will generate on average one contact form submission.
  • leads per channel – this can help you identify under-delivering channels that might require additional efforts

3. Engagement

Engagement metrics can tell you how engaged your potential customers and customers are with your brand, campaigns and content.

This can give you an insight into how well, or not, you are meeting their needs and interests with your product or service, as well as with your content.

Some of the related KPIs you might want to track for this topic are:

  • time-on-page – a good indication of how customers perceive the value of your content or are interested in what you have to offer
  • returning visitors – returning visitors are more engaged with your brand and more likely to go on to become customers or repeat customers
  • email open rate – leads who are not engaged are unlikely to open your emails. Create a segment ‘not opened’ and re-send your campaign to reach more subscribers.
  • bounce rate and average session time – a low bounce rate and high average session time will tell you that you’re meeting customers’ needs. These behavioral metrics should be tracked by every marketer.

4. Customer acquisition

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – can be calculated by dividing all the marketing and sales costs related to acquiring new customers, by the actual number of customers acquired in the time period the money was spent. Calculate this per channel to see where you get most value for money.

5. Loyalty

Customer loyalty metrics help measure the amount of repeat business your marketing efforts are generating, which is highly important as retaining customers costs considerably less than acquiring new ones.

Some of the related KPIs you might want to track for this topic are:

  • Customer Retention Rate (CRR) – the percentage of customers that make repeat purchases
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – the amount you expect customers to spend, throughout their lifetime as a customer
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) – to measure these KPIs you will need to gather customer feedback via surveys

Conclusion

Data analytics can be a real game changer for companies, allowing them to shift through a huge amount of data to pull out the information that is the most relevant and that can inform strategic decisions.

By choosing the right KPIs to measure, you can turn the art of marketing into a science, and provide key decision-makers with the right level of information at the right time.

And with a solid marketing performance management model in place, the role of your marketing team can take a firmer stance and show how they are contributing the company’s bottom line.

For more about marketing performance management, take a look at our marketing performance management guide.

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