The Most Important Digital Marketing Metric

Don't get fooled by vanity metrics when measuring your results.

March 29, 2017 Resources

The Most Important Digital Marketing Metric

This week is Digital CMO Summit ’17 in New Orleans. There are a lot of great speakers here, from the big agencies like J. Walter Thompson and Kantar Millward Brown and digital brands like Snap, Twitter and PepsiCo.

Much of the content of this year’s Digital CMO Summit will focus on finding breakthrough moments – advancing innovation in marketing to improve the relationship among consumers, advertisers and publishers.

As every marketer knows, there are a lot of moving parts in most digital campaigns. For both marketers and marketing executives, it’s important to understand the entire funnel of a campaign, from impression to conversion.

And in today’s age, I’m surprised at how many SME’s struggle with understanding that last part – the most important digital marketing metric – which is conversion.

Last week I was asked to evaluate a mid-market company’s digital marketing efforts. They had a mid-level budget and some of their executives thought they were doing well. At least that’s what their team was telling them.

But a simple conversion analysis showed the opposite:

  • An 89% bounce rate for their entire website.
  • A 98% bounce rate for the majority of their paid advertising, with no actions taken.
  • The majority of organic traffic was arriving from non-related search terms, which were outside of their service geography.

Ouch. Their executives were getting fooled by vanity metrics of SERP-ranking reports from black hat techniques and gross traffic numbers. And their digital marketing content was actually hurting their business instead of helping it – it was unstructured, poorly written and unappealing to most people.

While this was an extreme case, it’s a good reminder of the importance of properly tracking your digital metrics.

If you’re running an awareness campaign, keep your focus on awareness metrics and the top of the funnel.

But if you’re focusing on conversions to leads and sales, track your metrics all the way to the bottom of the funnel. Focus on conversion. If you understand what content, distribution method and audience creates your customers, and how much you have to pay to acquire them, you have a very powerful ROI analysis that your executives will appreciate.

Here are some step-by-step plans that can help:

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