Proving Marketing ROI: The Metrics You Should Report

Proving Marketing ROI: The Metrics You Should Report

Ambera Cruz
1 July 2016

Everyone needs something to strive for to keep them on track. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a great way to make goals more tangible and quantify what was up until now unquantifiable. When you (or your boss) are wondering if you’re doing a good job, marketing KPIs are there to answer the question and nudge you to even greater heights.

Which Marketing KPIs Are Right for Your Role?

The marketing team as a whole will likely have a few shared goals, but how should one choose individual KPIs for each team member? The answer greatly depends on which role the person fills.

I’ve identified more than 40 marketing KPIs and grouped them into three broadly defined job functions—comms, digital, and customer marketing—to help zero in on the right marketing KPIs for each team member.

Marketing KPIs for Comms

This area includes roles like content, PR, and social. Goals for these roles likely center around eyeballs. Here are the marketing KPIs that let communications folks know whether they are reaching their audience effectively and what they should focus on to increase engagement.

Content Marketer

  • Unique visitors to blog: number of people who visited content you’ve posted in a given time period
  • Social shares of blog content: number of times content was shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Average time on page for blog posts: a metric from Google Analytics which tracks the amount of time the average person spends on a page
  • Blog traffic as a percentage of site traffic: the percentage of people who visit the website who land on a blog page
  • Return visitors to blog: people coming to the blog who have previously been tagged as having been on the site

PR Specialist

  • Active coverage: coverage secured by the PR team
  • Share of voice: percentage of coverage compared to competitors
  • Potential reach: sum of viewership for publications and websites your coverage is featured in
  • Sentiment: tone of articles published
  • Advertising value equivalency: how much it would cost to generate the same number of impressions through ads

Social Media Marketer

  • Managed audience size: number of followers, both per channel and overall
  • Total engagement: shares, comments, likes, retweets, replies, direct messages, etc.
  • Engagement rate: number of people who actively engaged with your posts (RTs, likes, etc) divided by your total number of followers per channel
  • Mentions: number of times your company was mentioned by name on a social network
  • Sentiment: tone of articles published and social media posts
  • Average engagement per post: the number of times a random post will be shared, on average

Marketing KPIs for Digital

These people, including marketing ops, search engine optimisers (SEOs), conversion rate optimisers (or sometimes acquisition managers), and others are likely more data-focused to begin with. Tracking the number of bookings attributable to marketing is their ultimate goal.

Marketing Ops Manager

  • Raw inquiries: these equate to someone raising their hand saying they’re interested in what you do—blog subscription, e-book download, webinar registration, etc.
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs): these are leads fit to be sent to the sales team
  • Sales accepted leads (SALs): leads accepted by the sales team as ready to be followed up on
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs): leads that are recognised as actual opportunities, moving them from the top of the waterfall into the sales cycle
  • Conversion rate between stages: percentage of the people in each stage above who move on to the next stage, including SALs to bookings

Web Marketer

  • Overall visits: total number of visits to the site during a certain time period; if one person visits twice, it counts as two
  • Unique visitors: total number of people who visited the site during a certain time period; if one person visits twice, it counts as one
  • Visits per channel: the number of visits from specific channels, like referral, paid search (PPC), social, email, etc.
  • Website conversions: number of raw inquiries coming from the website during a certain time period, broken out by acquisition channel
  • Cost per conversion: a PPC metric that tracks the average amount you pay to receive one conversion over a certain period of time

SEO Specialist

  • Traffic from organic search: number of visits over a certain period of time that reached the website from a search engine, like Google or Bing
  • PageRank: a Google metric that uses an algorithm to determine the importance of any given webpage, based on the quantity and quality of inbound links pointing at that page
  • Domain authority: a metric created by SEO software company Moz to predict how well a website will rank on search engines, using a logarithmic, 100-point scale
  • Rank increase to target keywords: improvement in search engine result page rank, over time, for specific search queries that were determined in advance
  • Conversions from organic search: sophisticated setups can track leads from their source all the way through the marketing funnel—this tracks those who converted via organic search

Acquisition Manager

  • Number of A/B tests run: to incentivise continuous improvement, set a benchmark for the number of tests run during the quarter
  • Test success rate: the percentage of tests that led to a positive result—an increase in whichever metric you were tracking
  • Traffic increase from testing: the amount of traffic gained in the month following a test, compared to the same period before the test was run
  • Conversion increase from testing: since tests are designed to improve conversions, track the increase in conversions from the winning variation
  • Bookings increase from testing: tracking bookings in a similar way will show that you’re not only increasing lead quantity, but lead quality as well

Marketing KPIs for Customer Marketing

This group might have the most interesting marketing KPIs of all. The customer marketing team normally has a singular focus on growth within the existing customer base. Along with the KPIs listed below, the customer marketer might also want to add case studies and customer quotes, brand advocates, or average customer lifetime value to the goals they measured on.

Customer Marketing Manager

  • Net promoter score: a metric built from survey responses, where a ten-point scale is used to determine the likelihood of a customer referring business to you:
    • 0–6 = Detractor
    • 7–8 = Neutral
    • 9–10 = Promoter

Subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters to arrive at the net promoter score.

  • Up-sell: when a customer who has a license to product A buys additional features of that productCross-sell: when a customer who has a license to product A buys a license to product B
  • Gross churn: there are a few ways to calculate this; the first is to take the percentage of customers up for renewal who do not renew, while the second is to take the money brought in from renewals and divide by the total amount of money that renewals could generate in the month (renewal base)
  • Net churn: this represents the gross churn number, except net of up-sells, which brings the number down significantly, sometimes into the negative

For more information about marketing KPIs as well as an overview of the tools available in the marketplace that will enable you to measure them, read my new e-book, Keys to the Kingdom: Making Marketing More Data-Centric.


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