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15 Digital Marketing ROI Metrics You Need To Know

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15 Digital Marketing ROI Metrics You Need To Know

Digital marketing and its corresponding metrics of success and ROI are evolving at break-neck speed.

Over the last few years  (and especially due to COVID), the transformation to digital has accelerated years ahead of what was expected.

Any marketer who has ever dipped their toe into the Google Analytics pool can attest that the sheer volume of data available can be overwhelming.

In order to cut through the noise and accurately measure the ROI of your digital marketing efforts, it’s important that you’ve identified the key metrics you want to track.

In this article, you’ll find 15 essential metrics that will help you measure the ROI of your digital marketing, tell you if your efforts are successful, and show you where adjustments may be needed.

Which Metrics Help You Measure Digital Marketing ROI?

  1. Cost per lead (CPL).
  2. Lead close rate.
  3. Cost per acquisition (CPA).
  4. Average order value (AOV).
  5. Conversion rates by channel.
  6. Conversion rates by device.
  7. Exit rate.
  8. Blog click-through rates.
  9. Customer lifetime value (CLV).
  10. Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  11. Time invested in project/campaign vs. returns.
  12. Traffic to lead ratio.
  13. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
  14. Overall revenue.
  15. Customer retention rate.

1. Cost Per Lead

If your website is collecting leads, you need to know how much you’re paying for each lead.

If the cost of each lead is more than what you produce by closing leads, that indicates a backward return on investment.

Knowing your cost per lead lets you know how well your marketing efforts are performing and give you the insight you’ll need for making further strategic and budget decisions.

2. Lead Close Rate

How do you track your lead closes?

Too often, this is happening offline which means that data isn’t being integrated into analytics or the online data you’re gathering.

That’s fine, but you need to make sure you keep an eye on your lead close rate so you can check that against the leads being generated.

This will help ensure your digital marketing efforts are delivering leads profitably.

This information is also helpful to use as a control against new digital marketing efforts.

If you suddenly get an influx of new leads but find they close at a lower rate, you may need to adjust your targeting efforts.

Measuring close rates also gives you insight into how sales teams and representatives are closing leads into sales.

3. Cost Per Acquisition

Using the data above, you should now be able to figure out your cost per acquisition.

This can be figured out simply by dividing your marketing costs by the number of sales generated.

You now know what it costs to get a sale, which will help you get a firmer grasp on your ROI.

Many digital marketing leaders operate on Cost per Acquisition (CPA) models as they only pay for lead or sales based on a set amount or goal.

This helps push and drive goals to conversions or pre-set outcomes.

 4. Average Order Value

While you want to see the number of your orders increase, paying attention to the value of the average ticket can reap significant rewards.

AOV is an essential metric that can help marketers keep track of profits and manage revenue growth and profit reporting.

A slight increase in average order value can bring in thousands of dollars of new revenue and can often be as simple as improving user experience and providing up-sell opportunities.

5. Conversion Rates By Channel

Integrated digital marketing strategies are now essential to overall performance and revenue.

CMOs are increasingly looking and under pressure to see what channels are performing and what channels are the most cost-effective.

As marketers, we all like to know where our traffic is coming from.

Whether it’s organic, paid, social media, or other avenues, this information tells us where the bulk of our customers are and/or where the marketing efforts are producing the most buzz.

But that’s not the whole story.

Conversion rates can be a better indicator of success and let you know where the best opportunities lie.

Let’s say 75% of your traffic comes from organic marketing and 25% from PPC. But lo and behold, your PPC conversion rates are double that of organic.

What you learn from this is simple: Invest more in PPC. If you can increase PPC traffic to match organic, you’ve just doubled your ROI.

Screenshot from Google Analytics, January 2022

Attribution reporting also helps you understand how channels interact and which channels can influence others with conversion lift.

6. Conversion Rates By Device

Just like checking conversion rates by channel, you want to do the same by the device.

If one device has lackluster conversion performance, it may be time for you to reinvest in that area, especially if you see traffic for that device increasing.

Mobile is an excellent example of how device shifts happen, and depending on the device, conversion rates will vary.

This is especially true for marketers in ecommerce and retail, where more and more are purchasing via mobile and tablet devices.

7. Exit Rate

How many visitors leave your website from a specific landing page?

Your website analytics should give you the specific number of exits from each of your landing pages.

It may also give a percentage that is the number of exits/the number of page views the landing page has received.

Use the highest number of exits or highest exit rate percentage to determine which landing pages need conversion rate optimization and additional improvement for stickiness.

8. Blog Click-Through Rates

Blogs are a great way to showcase your brand and thought-leadership and get traffic to your site, but what are you doing with that traffic?

While blogs have notorious high bounce and exit rates, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to those ridiculously valueless numbers.

Instead, use them to set goals for driving traffic from your blog to your main site.

A small increase in blog click-throughs can provide valuable new business at almost no additional marketing costs.

9. Customer Lifetime Value

You can’t truly understand the ROI of your marketing efforts until you have a good idea of what the average customer will spend over their lifetime.

Let’s say, for example, that it costs you $500 to bring in a new sale or client. But they only make a $500 purchase.

Well, that seems like a net loss once you consider the cost of everything else beyond your marketing investment.

But what if you knew that that customer would go on to spend $500 every six months for the next five years.

The average lifetime value of that client is $5,000.

Now, $500 to get that customer doesn’t seem so bad, eh?

LTV = Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) x 1/Churn

That’s not to say you want to come out at a loss on every first-time customer, but if the initial investment brings a hefty long-term profit, you can more easily chalk up that first sale as a marketing expense, knowing profits are to come.

10. NPS

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric where customers indicate if they would recommend a product or service to other people and companies.

Net Promoter ScoreScreenshot from SurveyMonkey, August 2021

Based on a scale of 1-10, the scores given are a good indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

NPS = % promoters v % detractors

Tracking promoters v detractors (customers who have left or are thinking of going) helps you measure and improve customer service strategies and tactics.

11. Time Invested In Project/Campaign Vs. Returns

Do you know how much time each person in your organization invested in a particular project or campaign?

If you want to get the most out of each employee’s expertise, you need to ensure that they are working on projects that are worth their time.

For example, if you have programmers who range from entry to expert, who would you want to work on the projects that generate the highest revenue in your organization?

The expert-level programmers, of course.

Once you know the value of your projects, you can distribute the right people to the right projects.

12. Traffic To Lead Ratio

An increase in website traffic is a positive sign that your digital marketing campaigns are working. But do those results actually affect your company’s bottom line?

Another way to determine the value of your marketing campaigns is with the traffic to lead ratio. This KPI simply measures the percentage of visitors who turn into leads.

For example, let’s say that your website received 5,000 visitors this month. 500 visitors converted into a lead. For this month, you would have a 10:1 traffic to lead ratio or 10% conversion rate for visitors to leads.

 13. ROAS

Measuring Return on Ad Spend helps identify how well your advertising and paid campaigns are doing.

Digital Marketers are able to see that they spent X and got Y.

This is particularly important when reviewing performance, comparing channel spend and forecasting for the future.

The majority of marketers work to a rule that you should have a 3X return on your investment.

14. Overall Revenue

As marketers, we are constantly challenged with comparisons to sales performance.

  • When sales perform, sales are the star, and marketing gets little mention.
  • When sales don’t go well, marketing suddenly gets more mentions.

Try to avoid these conflicts by measuring and attributing everything you do.

This could be an entire campaign, a marketing touch or assist, or an asset.

Ensure that your marketing and sales team has synergy in tracking and reporting on bottom-line revenue.

Agree on rules and accountability paths on leads, opportunities, and any marketing activity that impacts or influences sales revenue.

15. Customer Retention Rate

Do you know how to measure the number of customers your business has retained?

To calculate your customer retention rate over a specific time period, use the following formula.

Customer Retention Rate = ((E – N) / S) x 100

For the time period you are analyzing, you will use the number of customers you ended the period with (E), the number of customers you gained during the period (N), and the number of customers you started the period with (S).

Let’s say that you began the quarter with 200 customers. During the quarter, you gained 35 customers and lost five.

Your formula would look like this:

97.5% = ((230 – 35) / 200) x 100

Conclusion

Regardless of your industry and type of business “what is the ROI?” is the question all CEOs and CMOs will be asking this year.

As digital marketing grows and adoption soars, so does the pressure to deliver results.

Utilize the digital metrics identified in this article and let the data tell your ROI story.

More resources:


Featured Image: Grayscale Studio/Shutterstock




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State Of Marketing Data Standards In The AI Era [Webinar]

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State Of Marketing Data Standards In The AI Era [Webinar]

Claravine and Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 140 marketers and agencies to better understand the impact of data standards on marketing data, and they’re ready to present their findings.

Want to learn how you can mitigate privacy risks and boost ROI through data standards?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn how companies are addressing new privacy laws, taking advantage of AI, and organizing their data to better capture the campaign data they need, as well as how you can implement these findings in your campaigns.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of how your marketing data management compares to enterprise advertisers.
  • Get an overview of the current state of data standards and analytics, and how marketers are managing risk while improving the ROI of their programs.
  • Walk away with tactics and best practices that you can use to improve your marketing data now.

Chris Comstock, Chief Growth Officer at Claravine, will show you the marketing data trends of top advertisers and the potential pitfalls that come with poor data standards.

Learn the key ways to level up your data strategy to pinpoint campaign success.

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

SaaS Marketing: Expert Paid Media Tips Backed By $150M In Ad Spend

Join us and learn a unique methodology for growth that has driven massive revenue at a lower cost for hundreds of SaaS brands. We’ll dive into case studies backed by real data from over $150 million in SaaS ad spend per year.

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker

TLDR

96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂



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