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How To Measure the Effectiveness of a Digital Marketing Campaign

Lance Concannon

Mar 22, 2023

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There’s a lot that goes into launching a successful campaign: creating ad content, securing a budget, and optimizing for the most clicks and conversions. One step that ties all of the above together is deciding how to measure the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign. 

There’s more to campaign success than monitoring sales. Social media audience growth, email list sign-ups, website traffic, consumer sentiment, digital presence, and brand awareness are all worthy outcomes of a marketing campaign. But sales alone won’t paint an accurate picture of your success.

Measuring your campaigns starts in the earliest stages of planning. Let’s look at how to measure a digital marketing campaign in a way that ties directly to your campaign goals.

Here's how to measure the success of a digital marketing campaign in 6 steps:

1. Set SMART Goals for the Campaign

Setting and achieving goals is a key part of any successful digital marketing campaign, yet many people struggle to do so effectively. One reason for this is because their goals aren’t focused enough.

The remedy: Set SMART goals. Smart goals are those that meet all of the following criteria:

  • They are specific.
  • They are measurable.
  • They are achievable.
  • They are relevant.
  • They are time-bound. 
SMART campaign measurement goals

specific goal is one that is clearly defined and easy to understand. It answers the question, "What do I want to achieve?" 

measurable goal is one that allows you to choose metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress. For example, instead of saying you want to improve your marketing performance, you could say, “I want to get 100 new social media followers as a result of this campaign.”

Achievable goals take into account your ability and likelihood of bringing that goal to fruition. For example, spending $5 on Google Ads and expecting $5 million in sales is unrealistic. Take into account your resources and other factors to see what outcomes are within your reach.

Relevant goals tie back to your big picture. Ask yourself: Why are you setting this goal? What will achieving this goal do for your business or brand in the long run? 

And finally, timely goals have a deadline. Instead of saying you want to increase your social media following, you could say, “I want to add 100 new followers in three days.”

Putting it all together, you might state your goals like this:

“This campaign will achieve [specific goal] by [deadline] because [reason why it’s relevant]. We believe this goal is achievable because [reasons why you can achieve these results]. We will evaluate our success by [metrics].” 

Once you have your goals in mind, you can develop a sound strategy that directly relates to those goals.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

The audience you target can make or break whether you achieve your goals. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to in your campaign, your message will fail to resonate.


  • Who is this campaign for?
  • Why should they care?
  • On which channels are they most active? (e.g., TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, email, etc.)
  • What characteristics do they share? (e.g., age, gender, income, interests, values, etc.)
  • What is your audience’s current familiarity with your brand?
  • What makes them buy or convert?

Tip: These social media statistics will help you to determine the right channels. The right consumer insights will help you understand the characteristics of your digital audience. Check out our consumer insights tool to automate this process.

Profile your target audience

You can discover these nuances among your target audience with data-driven consumer insights. For example, Meltwater's consumer insights platform, Radarly, goes beyond basic social listening to get a more thorough understanding of your ideal customer.

3. Choose Digital Metrics That Reflect Your Goals

KPIs and metrics are a big part of SMART goals. They give you a way to track your progress and see whether your marketing campaigns met your expectations. And they do this through hard data — not hunches and guesswork.

But let’s be honest; there are tons of things you could measure. Marketers can fall down a rabbit hole of metrics and still not know whether their campaigns were successful.

Tip: Learn how to perform campaign measurement, How To Measure Email Campaign Performance, How To Measure The Success of Advertising Campaigns, How To Measure Brand Awareness, and How To Measure Social Media Campaign Success

So, how do you go about choosing the right marketing KPIs for digital campaign measurement?

Here are some helpful advertising metrics to give you a good starting point.

Website Traffic Metrics

An increase in website traffic can be a healthy sign of overall growth. But within the website traffic ecosystem, there are a number of metrics that marketers can look at for clearer signs of digital marketing success.

Website Metrics

These include:

Traffic by Source

Where are your website visitors coming from? Are they clicking through from ads? Or social media? Or a backlink from a website you’ve partnered with in your campaign? Reviewing traffic sources can give you a good indication of whether your campaign is working.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after viewing just one page and taking no further action. This metric is a strong quality signal that shows whether you’re getting qualified, interested leads.

Also worth noting, bounce rate is different from exit rate. The exit rate shows the percentage of people who leave your website after viewing a particular page but have viewed or engaged with more than one page.

Page Views

Visitors who view more than one page during their session could indicate good lead quality. It helps you see whether others find value in your entire website or just a small part of it.

New vs Returning Visitors

Having mostly new visitors to your website could be a sign that not enough people cared about your content, product, or service to return. But a high number of returning visitors indicates the opposite — people are genuinely interested in what you do and keep coming back for more.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate refers to the specific desired action a user takes on your website. The desired action could be anything from making a purchase to signing up for a newsletter. A high conversion rate is the goal of any good marketing campaign because it means that more people are taking the desired action.

You can use Google Analytics or other analysis tools to track your website conversion rates.

Tip: Learn how to boost your conversion rate with influencer marketing.

Session Duration

The session duration is the average time someone spends on your website. A high session duration indicates that people saw value in your content.

Social Media Campaign Metrics

Social Media Metrics

If you’re using social media for any part of your marketing, you may want to include specific social media metrics to track success.

Tip: We have a dedicated blog explaining how to measure social media campaign success that goes deeper into this topic.

Depending on the channels you use, there may be channel-specific metrics to monitor. Some general examples include:

  • Social Media Follower Growth
    As more people discover your brand on social media, your audience count is likely to change. Get a before-and-after snapshot of your social followers to see how many more people became interested in your brand.
  • Social Reach
    Social reach shows you how far your posts have traveled. Use this metric to see how many people saw your content.
  • Impressions
    Impressions tell you the number of times your campaign was viewed. It does not take into account the number of people who saw it, as one person might make up several impressions.
  • Engagement 
    Knowing the engagement of your social media posts give you an idea of how other people felt about it. Engagement metrics (sometimes called vanity metrics) include likes, shares, comments, Retweets, and clicks (if applicable).

Email Marketing Metrics

Email marketing brings a unique set of metrics to help you benchmark your marketing performance.

Tip: We have a dedicated blog explaining how to measure email campaign performance that also includes more email marketing kpis and another blog including general marketing metrics.

Some areas to pay attention to include:

  • Open Rates
    Email open rate is helpful when you’re building your email list and optimizing your strategy. This gives you an idea of whether people find your subject lines compelling and whether they’re interested in your brand or offer. It can also be a good sign that you’ve targeted the right audience.
  • Bounce Rates
    A little different than website bounce rates, an email bounce rate is the percentage of emails that are undeliverable. This could be due to a misspelling in the address or an address that is no longer valid. Checking your bounce rate gives you an opportunity to clean up your email addresses to improve your delivery rate.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
    Once users open the email, the click-through rate shows the percentage of people who took action on your email. A click-through shows interest in your call to action.
    The higher the click-through rate, the more your CTAs are working for you. If your CTRs are lower than normal, you might want to change your CTA.

PPC Campaign Metrics

PPC Campaign Measurement

If you’re running a Google Adwords campaign, search engine marketing, or other PPC campaign, PPC analysis plays a crucial role in understanding performance and optimizing your strategies.

In addition, the following metrics make a difference in how to measure the success of a digital marketing campaign.

  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
    In a PPC campaign, you pay only when someone clicks on your ad. This applies to Google Adwords as well as paid social media campaigns. The lower your CPC, the further your advertising budget will stretch.
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL)
    Not everyone who clicks your ad will become a lead. It's helpful to look specifically at how many clicks turn into leads and what they cost you.
  • Cost Per Conversion
    Many people might click your ad but not take any further action. That’s why your cost per conversion is always higher than your cost per click and cost per lead. Calculating these costs separately will give you an idea of how much you’re spending to earn each action.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
    Unlike cost per conversion, cost per acquisition only applies when you have return customers. It can also refer to acquiring paying customers, whereas a conversion may or may not relate to revenue-based goals.
  • Campaign ROI and ROAS
    ROI and ROAS remain two of the most essential digital marketing KPIs. Whether you want to learn how to measure the success of a Google Adwords campaign, social media marketing, or email marketing, ROI helps to complete the picture.

4. Set Up Metrics Tracking

Tracking digital campaign metrics

In addition to choosing the right KPIs, you also need to set up a way to track them. Google Analytics, other website analytics tools, and built-in social media analytics are great places to start.

Another option is to centralize your analytics in an all-in-one, third-party platform, like Meltwater. With digital marketing becoming more complex and campaigns taking an omnichannel approach, .

Gain real-time insight into your digital marketing strategy analytics, no matter the channel. See whether your campaigns are hitting the right KPIs and adjust them accordingly. Learn more about our social media analytics capabilities.

5. Analyze and Report on Your Results

Reporting on your performance can be a time-consuming process. But it's a necessary part of understanding your online advertising success.

Centralizing your analytics and digital marketing metrics gives you an additional advantage when compiling your insights into reports. With all of your insights in the same place, you can quickly and easily turn that data into thorough, informative reports.

Analyzing your campaign results gives you a better understanding of what worked and what didn’t. This helps you to make effective changes for future campaigns to earn better results.

6. Learn From Your Outcomes

Learning how to measure success of a digital marketing campaign includes one last step: making good use of your findings.

All the data you collect and things you measure aren’t helpful unless you apply them in future campaigns. Without this final step, your digital marketing metrics won’t live up to their full potential.

Real-time insights from Meltwater allow you to learn from your outcomes before your campaign ends. Instead of taking a reactive approach, you can continually optimize your campaigns to get the best possible outcomes.

Improving Your Digital Marketing Campaign Measurement with Meltwater

Want to know how to measure digital marketing campaigns with confidence? Meltwater has you covered. 

Our consumer insights platform is a powerhouse for marketing measurement. Combining AI with human expertise, Meltwater delivers real-time insights into your audience and marketing efforts. Optimize your campaigns before you launch so you’ll target the right audience with impactful content. Then, keep tabs on your performance throughout the campaign to find opportunities to improve.

Simply fill out the following form and get a free tour today.