Most businesses acknowledge that digital marketing is important, but few can explain why it is so essential.
Even those who understand the essential nature of digital marketing fail to understand how to measure it, or even what to measure.
For businesses who want digital marketing to mean more than a buzz word thrown around at the water cooler and actually want to start seeing results, here are eight metrics you can't afford not to measure.
Number of Unique Visitors
While page views can make a site owner feel great (remember all of those web counters everyone had when we were back in Web 1.0?) the most important traffic stat you have is how many unique visitors are coming to your site or blog. Aim for not just a number of unique visitors, but also their percentage of overall visits.
Your Traffic Sources
Traffic sources are basically just where your traffic is coming from. This is where you can see how you are doing across multiple media and outlets. You can differentiate between organic and paid traffic, social media referrals and more.
Your Mobile Market
Google Analytics allows you to know all about your website traffic, including where your traffic comes from (by ultimate source, not links.) See how many of your users access your content via mobile technology. If a large portion comes from mobile access, optimize your site for mobile use.
Cost Per Click
If you are relying on paid search marketing and plan to measure a return on investment, you're going to need to know your cost per click. Optimize this metric by tweaking search term popularity or your Quality Score to serve as a baseline for later calculations.
If you want to know how engaging your visitors think your content is, the click-through rate is a great place to start. This monitors the total number of impressions made by your ad and then determines how many of those impressions actually translated into clicks or traffic. Tweak ads to improve click-through rates with something as simple as a character change!
This is another powerful way to measure traffic engagement. Bounce rates measure the number of people who abandon your content upon arrival, without sticking around or browsing. They land there, look around and immediately think they've come to the wrong place and they "bounce." While there is no standard good or bad bounce rate, take some time to find out more about your specific industry to see where your bounce rates stand in comparison. If you're spending a small fortune for clicks, but almost all of them are bouncing, you could probably spend that money better in a different capacity.
Cost to Acquire a New Customer
Everyone knows that it's cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to obtain a new one, but do you actually know what it's costing you to add a new customer to your fold? Traditionally measured by dividing the total marketing spend in a time period by the total number of new paying customers obtained during that same period, the resulting number yields your cost for a new customer. Simply knowing this number can help make sure that the cost of a new customer doesn't actually outweigh their lifetime value to your business!
Cost Per Lead
Not every business actually sells a physical product on their sites or through their content. Instead, they promote services that have a long lead time and often considerable price tags once the decision to buy happens. If you are promoting content to add to a subscriber list or to funnel deeper into the sales process, knowing your cost per lead is essential. To obtain this number, simply divide your total marketing cost during a period by the total number of leads registered during that same period. The final number is your cost per lead.
For those of you who really dig data, the good news is that there are literally hundreds of additional metrics you can incorporate into your analytic measurements to give you a deeper, keener insight into your customer spending and engagement patterns. For those of you who can't stand data, the good news is that if you start with just these eight, you'll still be further ahead of the game than you are without them.