We recently published a blog post discussing how to avoid chasing vanity metrics in your SEO strategies. Vanity metrics are metrics that are meaningless to your particular goals. There is something similar in digital marketing: meaningless key performance indicators (KPIs). It goes without saying that companies need to find the right KPIs to guide their digital marketing efforts.
The KPI concept is not limited to marketing. It is a concept utilized in everything from analyzing financials to making sure that companies maintain proper quality control. In the digital marketing realm, KPIs provide clarity as marketers determine whether their efforts are paying off.
Common KPIs for Digital Marketing
Digital marketers can choose any number of KPIs as measuring sticks. There is no black-and-white formula for setting up winning KPIs every time. However, there are some KPIs that are fairly common throughout digital marketing. These include things like:
- Keyword Performance – Although keywords are more of an SEO thing, keyword performance is often used as a digital marketing KPI in relation to content marketing. You measure how keywords perform in the context of the content in which they are found.
- Conversion Rates – Conversion rates are simply a measurement of the number of consumers that make a positive decision as a result of messaging. It is measured as a percentage of the total number of people exposed to the targeted message.
- Clickthrough Rates – Marketers track clickthrough rates to determine the effectiveness of their PPC and email marketing strategies. Higher rates seem to point to greater success.
- Social Engagement – Marketers with a tendency to put a lot of emphasis on social media marketing also tend to emphasize social engagement as a KPI.
Though the four KPIs described here barely scratch the surface, they clearly illustrate the breadth and depth of the possibilities. Marketers can measure the success of their efforts through any number of KPIs. The trick is finding the ones that matter most.
Not All KPIs Are Meaningful
As a digital marketing agency in Utah, we have invested a tremendous amount of marketing skill and knowledge in companies throughout Salt Lake City and the entire state. Over the years of serving our customers, we have learned this much about digital marketing KPIs: they are not all meaningful in a given situation.
Social engagement might be an extremely important KPI to a client whose main avenue for reaching customers is social media. On the other hand, it might be completely useless to another company whose overall strategy is barely influenced by social media.
One of a digital marketing agency’s jobs is to understand the client’s goals before any actual marketing begins. Along with those goals come the most meaningful KPIs. Yet it is not unusual for digital marketing agencies to work backwards on this. They develop a marketing strategy, adapt it to the client’s goals, and then come up with KPIs they hope will be an accurate measure of success.
Guide Rather Than React
The way we see it at Webtek is that KPIs should guide a company’s digital marketing strategy. They should not be a reactionary tool implemented after the marketing strategy has been plotted out. Letting KPIs guide leads to better strategies that produce better results.
Remember that it is just as easy to focus on meaningless Digital Marketing KPIs as it is to chase vanity metrics in your SEO. On the other hand, finding the right KPIs can guide a digital marketing strategy and keep things moving in the right direction. You are not spending time worrying about KPIs that offer little or no meaning. Marketing efforts are more efficient and productive as a result.