Measuring the effectiveness of digital marketing is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today.
The problem is that when most marketers hear “digital analytics,” they tend to think of the metrics that you typically associate with a simple web analytics tool like Google Analytics – traffic, bounce rate, unique visitors, etc.
However, web analytics is only part of what digital analytics encompasses.
While web analytics can give you a deep insight into how your website is performing, marketers need more data to understand the impact their marketing campaigns have on a buyer’s conversion rates and journey. Looking at top-level web analytics metrics like traffic is only the first piece of the puzzle.
Enter: Digital Marketing Analytics, which offers a much broader view of what is working (and what is not) in relation to your marketing strategy.
Regardless of how you fit into your company’s marketing mix, learning how to understand and use digital marketing analytics is incredibly important. Analytics data not only shows you whether your marketing is working, but also exactly how and where you can improve. This type of insight can benefit anyone.
That’s why we created this guide. We want you to master marketing analytics so that your company can grow better. Below, we’ll tell you what marketing metrics need to be monitored, how to read them and apply them to your marketing decisions, and how you can use them to grow your business and profits.
Bookmark this guide for future reference and use the following chapter links to navigate through its contents.
What is digital analysis?
Digital Marketing Analytics is the translation of customer behavior into actionable business data. Today’s marketers can use digital analytics tools to examine the many online channels their buyers might interact with and identify new revenue opportunities from existing campaigns.
Digital marketing analytics also provide the creative, fluid side of marketing with a data-driven foundation on which companies can build a profitable, scalable marketing strategy. Analytics draw the line between opinion and fact.
Before we dive into how to use digital analytics for your business, let’s dig into the marketing metrics that you are measuring and analyzing.
Digital Marketing Metrics to Know
Digital marketing metrics are statistical metrics that marketers use to determine the success of various marketing efforts in relation to their general campaign goals and industry standards.
You’ve heard of vanity metrics, yes? Vanity metrics are the surface-level numbers that often lead you to believe your efforts are working.
Unfortunately, to get a clear picture of the impact of your campaign, you need to look at a wider range of actionable metrics. We’ll cover both in this section.
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the marketing metrics you need to know – and what they can tell you.
Digital metrics for websites
Below are metrics for digital marketing related to websites and web activity – a.k.a. Web analysis.
A visitor (or user) is someone who visits your website. Visitors are tracked by a cookie that is stored in their browser by a tracking code installed on your website.
A page view is when a page on your website is loaded by a browser. A side view is measured every time your tracking code is loaded.
A session is a series of activities performed by a visitor to your website, including page views, CTAs, and events. Sessions expire after 30 minutes of inactivity by visitors.
Traffic (or visits) is the total number of site or page visits in a given time period
Traffic by canal
Traffic by channel is the total number of site or page visits per recommendation channel, e.g. social media, email, landing pages, etc.
Data traffic per device
Traffic by device is the total number of site or page visits per device type; Smartphone, tablet, desktop, etc.
Ratio of new traffic to returning traffic
The ratio of new traffic to returning traffic is the percentage of net visitors to new sites or pages that you receive compared to the total amount of returning traffic
Time on hand
Time on page is the average time each visitor spends on your website or page
Interactions per visit
Interactions per visit are the actions your visitors took on your website or page
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who visited your website or page but took no action or viewed other pages compared to the total number of page or website visitors
Digital metrics for lead magnets
Below are digital marketing metrics for lead magnets and content offerings.
Call-to-Action Click Rate (CTA)
The CTA click-through rate is the percentage of total clicks on a CTA compared to the total number of page or site visits
Submissions is the percentage of all people who have completed and submitted your web form
The conversion rate is the total number of actions (e.g. downloading, logging in, etc.) performed on your guide magnet compared to the total number of visits
Conversion rate for free trial
The free trial conversion rate is the percentage of free trial users who converted to customers
Pop-up conversions is the percentage of total pop-up form fills that were converted to customers
Ratio of generated leads to marketing-qualified leads (MMS)
The ratio of leads generated to MMS is the total number of “Good Fit” leads collected by your lead magnet compared to the total number of leads generated
Leads to a close relationship
The lead to completion ratio is the percentage of leads converted to customers versus the total number of leads
Digital metrics for email marketing
Below are digital marketing metrics related to email marketing.
The open rate is the percentage of emails opened in relation to the total number of emails sent
Is opened by the device
By device opened is the total number of e-mails opened per device type, e.g. Smartphone, tablet, desktop, etc.
The click rate is the percentage of total clicks on an email link (CTA) as a percentage of the total number of opened emails
The bounce rate is the percentage of undeliverable emails in relation to the total number of emails sent
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who unsubscribe from your email list over a period of time
Digital metrics for content and social media
The following are digital marketing metrics related to content and social media.
The engagement rate is the total number of engagements (e.g. comments, clicks, likes, etc.) in relation to the total number of page or post views
Follow and subscribe
Follows and Subscribees is the total number of people who have shown interest in your content and would like to receive updates when new posts or pages are posted
Approvals is the number of times a post or page has been approved on social media, on a website, or on a blog
Digital metrics for product and e-commerce
Below are metrics for digital marketing related to e-commerce.
Cart abandonment rate
The cart abandonment rate is the total number of online shoppers who add items to their cart but do not make a purchase, relative to the number of people who make a purchase
Tip: We found that you can improve your ecommerce conversion rates by changing your shipping options.
This section serves as a general overview of the most important marketing metrics per channel. You may see different metrics depending on what software you use or what marketing channels you pursue.
Why exactly is digital marketing analysis important? Let’s take a look at what makes digital analytics so important today, and how it compares (and enhances) the insights that more basic web analytics provide.
Digital Marketing Analytics vs. Web analytics
Web analytics (like many of the metrics defined above) just aren’t enough. The data that web analytics alone provides isn’t great for marketers who need to understand how their work affects the entire marketing and sales flywheel.
Let’s face it: today’s marketing goes way beyond the confines of your website. This also includes how your marketing channels interact, what insights you gain from these results, and what progress you are tracking through your reporting.
This perspective provides the basic data you need to structure your flywheel and will delight your existing customers enough to attract and attract new customers.
Web analytics measure things that are important to a webmaster or technical SEO specialist, such as page loading speed, page views per visit and the time spent on site. Digital marketing analysisOn the other hand, you measure business metrics such as traffic, leads, and sales, and can observe which online events determine whether leads become customers.
Digital marketing analytics includes data not only from your website but also from sources like email, social media, and organic search.
How digital marketing analytics connects every business activity
With digital marketing analytics, marketers can understand the effectiveness of their overall marketing strategy, not just the effectiveness of their website. With the help of digital marketing analytics, marketers can determine how their marketing initiatives (e.g. social media vs. blogging vs. email marketing, etc.) are performing against each other, determine the real ROI of their activities, and understand how good they are. achieve their business goals.
The key question is: How can you structure an appropriate business goal to visualize your marketing team’s efforts as accurately as possible?
Because of the information they can glean from full stack digital marketing analytics, marketers can also diagnose deficiencies in specific channels in their marketing mix and adjust strategies and tactics to improve their overall marketing activity.
You can spend hours slicing and dicing data in web analytics tools by comparing new and returning visitors month after month. But when it comes down to it, you don’t have a really comprehensive view of your marketing performance.
There is no doubt that marketers know that there is a lack of how to measure the effectiveness of their activities. Here’s how full-stack digital marketing analytics make up for this shortcoming.
What is digital marketing analysis?
Marketers perform digital marketing analysis to understand how their current digital channels are performing. This process also opens up new opportunities to reach and reach their target groups.
A digital marketing analysis is the first step in developing a strong digital marketing analysis strategy. This process can be used to structure a business goal into results based on three broad categories:
- The relationship between different marketing channels
- Person-centered data on the buyer’s journey
- Revenue due to specific marketing efforts
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Let’s highlight these key differentiators.
1. The relationship between marketing channels
Digital marketing analysis offers a good and solid insight into the direct relationships between your marketing channels. It’s great to see how each channel (e.g. social media, blogging, email marketing, SEO, etc.) performs, but the real power of analysis comes when you can easily see the multiple channel effect can link channels appearances together.
For example, suppose you sent an email to a segment of your database. Digital marketing analytics shows you not only how many people clicked on your website from your email, but also how many of those people actually turned into leads for your business when they got there.
In addition, you can compare the impact of this single e-mail with other marketing initiatives. Did this email generate more leads than the blog post you published yesterday? Or was the content you shared on Twitter more effective?
2. Person-centered data on the buyer’s journey
As mentioned earlier, a key differentiator between web analytics and digital marketing analytics is that the latter uses the person – not the side view – as the focus.
Using digital marketing analytics, you can track how your unique prospects and leads interact with your various marketing initiatives and channels over time. How did a single lead come to find your website for the first time? From Google? Facebook? Direct traffic? Is this an active part of your email subscriber base clicking on and converting marketing offers presented through email? Are you reading your blog and have you downloaded any content that might indicate an interest in your products / services?
All-stack digital marketing analytics can tell you all of this and more, and provide you with extremely valuable lead information to help you target your future campaigns.
When you look at all of this information in its entirety, you can understand trends among your prospects and prospects and see which marketing activities are valuable at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
You may find that many customers’ last changeover point was on a particular e-book or white paper. With this data, you can implement an effective lead management process that allows you to evaluate and prioritize your leads and determine which activities contribute to a Marketing Qualified Lead (MMS) for your company.
3. Income allocated to specific marketing efforts
One of the most useful functions of marketing analysis is the ability to match certain marketing activities to sales. Sure, your blog can be effective in generating leads, but will those leads actually become customers and make your business money? Closed loop marketing analysis can tell you.
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The only requirement for this is that your digital marketing analysis system is connected to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.
With this data, you can determine whether your individual marketing initiatives are actually contributing to the company’s bottom line. This allows you to determine which channels are most important to increasing sales.
You may find that your blog is your most effective channel for generating customers, or, conversely, that social media really only works as an engagement mechanism and not as a source of sales.
By measuring the relationship between marketing channels, tracking personal data, and analyzing what revenue is associated with what efforts, you can set goals that support your bottom line.
Now let’s talk about how you can use this marketing analysis effectively.
How to use digital marketing analytics effectively
Most marketers know that they need to look at more than just traffic and website performance to get the insights we’ve talked about so far. But why do so many of us still struggle to measure the impact and demonstrate the ROI of our online marketing activities?
- We don’t have set goals for our campaigns or
- We don’t have the means to measure our success.
Very often you will find that it is a combination of the two.
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One way to mitigate this is to have an actionable business goal that combines your marketing team’s priorities. Typically this can be done using the S.M.A.R.T. Format. In this strategy, every goal you create must be:
A good business goal naturally organizes your team’s tasks to achieve specific results or metrics and measure their progress. For marketing teams, this can be roughly summarized into three main categories:
- Web traffic and source diversity
- Conversions generated from the traffic to generate leads and (possibly) customers
- Finding net sales as a direct result of certain marketing efforts, setting a roadmap for further growth and low cost marketing investments
The fact of the matter is, most marketers balance a number of different digital analytics platforms to get the insights needed to understand their marketing performance and make informed decisions. (Do you remember how many categories of marketing metrics we checked above?)
For example, they collect data about their email marketing using the analytics provided by their email service provider, information about their social media performance using their social media monitoring tool, blog analytics from their blogging platform … and the list goes on.
However, this fragmented approach to reporting makes it very difficult to tie the dots together and make informed decisions about the future of your digital strategy.
The ideal solution is to implement a comprehensive marketing and reporting platform that provides full visibility into your marketing activities and allows you to measure everything in one place.
Instead of just looking at predefined reports for each traffic source, you can use custom reporting features to create data charts that show the progress of an entire marketing campaign, not just the performance of specific content across specific channels.
This allows you to configure your digital analytics to capture this holistic view and show you where a potential buyer has come and where they are going. We’ll use HubSpots Marketing Hub as an example. Here are some of the types of analytics you can see in a quality marketing tool:
Web traffic by original source
This is a simple report that you can configure by date range and / or original source to show which marketing channels you can use to convert more of that traffic into leads and customers. You can use HubSpot’s Traffic Analytics tool to get access to it.
First conversion to original source / persona
This report quantifies your impact based on the number of new contacts you can create based on the first content offer or form submitted, and links them to the original source of that lead.
Another way to look at this is to segment your contacts by a specific person to show which ones get the highest ROI that your team is contenting for.
Contact funnel report
This will calculate the conversion rates in the marketing and sales funnel and display new leads that will become marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads and ultimately new customers.
Marketing contribution to sales
This custom report depends on your use of the Marketing Qualified Lead Lifecycle Stages and visualizes those that have been converted into customers and their relative worth in terms of sales generated.
Customer acquisition costs
This can be seen in HubSpot by using calculated fields or custom properties to represent the amount of money your marketing team has spent to attract, retain, and delight your buyer personality.
These closed-loop reports are just a few of the features available to help you visualize your progress toward business results.
All of the insights, information, and data that you can gather with your digital marketing analysis tools are only really useful if you do something with them. The real value of analytics isn’t just about proving the value of marketing to your boss. It is also intended to help you improve and optimize your marketing performance – both on a channel-by-channel basis and on a cross-channel overall machine.
With digital marketing analytics, you should also be able to implement gated reports to make it easier to demonstrate how your marketing efforts are positively impacting your sales team, which is bringing in much higher quality leads.
Digital Advertising Analytics
Digital advertising is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Almost a quarter of marketers spend the same amount of their marketing budget on advertising (25%).
Traditionally, the effectiveness of digital advertising (e.g., paid search and social media ads) has been measured using click-throughs and the cost of each click (CPC). While this is powerful metrics, the only way to truly understand the cost of each click is to measure the value of your conversions and the ROI of your campaigns.
One way to measure this is to set up a full stack marketing solution To link your impression, click on and sample data from all active digital advertising channels in your CRM. That way, you can link the cost of each click to the value it brings to your business.
In addition, digital display advertising should be viewed as a powerful brand awareness tool – not in terms of click-throughs (or lack of them). These types of digital ads can increase organic and cross-channel performance when consumers see your ad, care about your brand, and search for your website or social media.
Apply this new perspective to digital advertising analysis and watch it transform your entire digital marketing strategy.
Grow better with digital marketing analytics
The main takeaway from this article is that if you rely solely on the highest level web analytics, you are missing a lot of powerful data to inform your marketing strategy and to better connect with your audience and customers. So, when evaluating digital analytics tools for your business, make sure you look for evidence of digital marketing analytics, not just web analytics.
While web analytics paint a rosy picture of your top-line activities, digital marketing analytics can help you turn your business goals into measurable results that support your bottom line. Prioritize the data that reflects people – not pageviews – and you’ll get better in no time.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for completeness.