Which Digital Metrics are Important?

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Digital marketing has a big leg up on traditional marketing when it comes to metrics. Traditional marketing, like TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, provides us with estimated metrics like circulation numbers, footfall, viewers, listeners, and road traffic, but there is no guarantee that your ad will be seen or heard in relation to these metrics. For example, you can buy a quarter page ad in the local newspaper that has a circulation of 50,000, but there is no way of knowing how many people actually saw your ad.

With digital marketing, the metrics are limitless – impressions, clicks, dwell time, bounce rate, conversions, comments, likes, and the list goes on. Many of these metrics are triggered by human action, like a click for instance. For us marketers, this helps us determine whether a digital marketing campaign met its goals in relation to these metrics.

But digital marketing metrics can be overwhelming for someone who is not used to looking at them. What’s more important – impressions or website sessions? Comments or engagement? The most important digital metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are different for every business and are tied directly to your business goals. In this blog, I examine some top business goals and the metrics to watch if you want to measure the performance of your digital marketing campaigns.

Brand Awareness

Increasing brand awareness simply means “getting your name out there”, promoting your business name, logo, and brand to the point where people recognize it. If you’ve determined that lack of brand awareness (i.e. no one knows you exist) is hindering your business, then increasing brand awareness should be part of your digital marketing strategy. When your business is recognizable, that instills trust in your brand and brings you one step closer to closing a sale.

Increasing brand awareness via digital marketing is done with display advertising, social media marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization).

To gauge whether or not your display advertising is meeting your brand awareness goals, it’s important to look at impressions. You want the highest number of people possible to see your ads. An impression is when an ad is fetched from its source, and is countable. Whether the ad is clicked is not taken into account. Each time an ad is fetched, it is counted as one impression. While an impression isn’t a guarantee that someone looked at your ad on a website, it does mean that the page and ad were displayed.

With social media for brand awareness, you want to keep an eye on the reach of your posts and
ads. Reach is the number of unique people who have seen your content. This is more precise than impressions. If you’re posting a video, keep an eye on the view count.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is harder to measure than posts or ads as you have much less control on where your website shows up in the search engine results. I’ve included it under brand awareness because a website with good search engine results will introduce your brand to many people who have never heard of you. For example, if you ranked well for “digital marketing agency” in your local market, people would start recognizing your agency name as they visited your website at the top of the search engine results. The SEO metrics I use include the mix of website traffic coming from “organic search”, and then removing the traffic that comes from searches of your brand name. What you’re left with shows what your site is ranking for. If you think you should be ranking for other terms, then it’s time to invest in serious SEO strategy and work.


Increasing engagement with your brand is a way to keep your company front of mind and increase loyalty. Loyalty are customers who keep coming back. If your brand is not engaging with its customers or prospects, you’re
giving your competitors the chance to step in and do a better job. Ultimately, we all want to feel good when we buy a product or service from a brand, and engagement helps nurture those warm, fuzzy feelings.

Engagement is accomplished through your website, email marketing, and social media.

Having people engage with your website is accomplished through innovative design and compelling content. I measure website engagement by looking at the pages/session and average session duration. This shows me whether people are spending time on the website, if they’re exploring multiple pages on the website, or if they’re coming to the site and leaving immediately.

Email marketing is a way to engage with your customers and those who sign up to receive your emails. Email marketing keeps the conversation going, and keeps your business front of mind. Engagement metrics to look at are opens, clicks, click-through-rate (CTR), and unsubscribes. Are your emails compelling enough to have people open them? Is the content within the email good enough to have people click on it? If you have a lot of unsubscribes, is that because they didn’t know they were signed up or because the emails are poor quality or too frequent?

Social media marketing is the ultimate mode of marketing for engagement. Not only can you push out your brand message, but your followers can reach out to you. Engagement metrics on social media are comments, likes, and shares.

Leads and Sales

Leads and sales are tracked online by setting up conversions. Conversions are online actions that you want people to take on your website, ads, or posts. The most common conversions are an online sale, signing up to receive more information, scheduling a demo, or placing a phone call. The key here is to determine what these desired actions are, and then set them up as goals or conversions. Then look for conversions and goal completions in your reports.

Don’t Be Afraid of Digital Metrics

The take away is “don’t fear digital metrics”. Because we can track and measure so many things online, we need new terms for all of these different actions. A quick Google search will give you a technical definition of each metric. If you’re still not confident in what the metrics are telling you, hiring a digital marketer is the next step. It’s our job to understand this data, analyze it, and create a strategy around it.

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