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What Are Marketing Metrics & KPIs? Definition, Lists, Examples, Importance, & How To Pick Them

Published August 12, 2022
/ Updated June 12, 2024

Marketing strategy starts with clear goals, and tracking progress towards goals requires selecting smart marketing metrics as key performance indicators.

Goal setting and metric selection go hand in hand. If goals are your destination, then KPIs are like guideposts. Metrics help indicate whether you’re on the right track and progressing toward your goals. On the other hand, metrics can also illustrate where things are going awry, so you can get back on track.
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Understanding Marketing Metrics

What Are Marketing Metrics?

Marketing Metrics Definition:

A marketing metric is a quantifiable variable that can be measured to track performance.

Examples of Marketing Metrics

There are tons of different metrics a marketer could track. To make sorting through this list easier, it has been broken down into categories. There’s no need to feel like you need to report on, or necessarily understand, all of these right now. Consider this a useful, bookmark-able reference resource.

General Marketing Metrics

  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Conversion Rates
  • Leads Generated
  • Customer Share (By Category)
  • Market Share
  • Impression Share
  • Lead Score
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Website & Blog Metrics

  • Users
  • New Visitors
  • Returning Visitors
  • Active User
  • Sessions
  • Sessions Per User
  • Session Duration Rate
  • Pageviews
  • Unique Pageviews
  • Pages Per Session
  • Time On Page
  • Entrances
  • Bounce Rate
  • % Exit
  • Top Channels
  • Conversions
  • Page Load Time
  • Mobile Performance Value
  • Lighthouse Mobile Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • Lighthouse Mobile Time To Interactive
  • Total Blocking Time

SEO Marketing Metrics

  • URL Rating (UR)
  • Domain Rating (DR)
  • Backlinks
  • Referring Domains
  • Referring Pages
  • Organic Keyword Rankings
  • Organic Traffic

Social Media Marketing Metrics

  • Followers
  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Engagements
  • Clicks
  • Follower Growth Rate
  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Mentions

Email Marketing Metrics

  • Subscribers
  • Entries
  • Delivered
  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Unsubscribes
  • Bounces
  • Open Rate (OR)
  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Unsubscribe Rate (UR)
  • Bounce Rate

Pay Per Click (PPC) Metrics

  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Quality Score
  • Impression Share
  • Total Conversion Value
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
  • Call Tracking
Importance Of Marketing Metrics

Why Are Metrics Important for Marketers?

They aren’t just important for you; they’re immensely important for your entire business. Without them, it’s impossible to know exactly what impact marketing has on the organization.

For example, the marketing teams at CoSchedule make their metrics available, company-wide, for anyone curious to see their performance.

What Are The Most Important Marketing Metrics?

1. Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI = customer lifetime value (CLV) – customer acquisition cost (CAC)

The goal of marketing is to influence profitable customer action. Measuring how much you spend against how much value you create is important for justifying all marketing activities.

2. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

MQLs are often a leading metric of prospective customer activity your marketing efforts directly influence.

The actual metric of an MQL will differ from organization to organization because the marketing to sales funnels will be unique. The important thing to remember is that marketing teams define their own MQL metrics.

Examples of MQLs may include software trial starts, product whitepaper downloads, and ROI calculator usage. These engagement metrics occur toward the bottom of the marketing funnel and indicate product purchase intent.

3. Impressions

Impressions are the number of times someone in your target audience discovers your brand.

This marketing metric applies across many tactics such as:

  • Search engine optimization: The impression occurs when a target audience member sees your result in a search engine results page.
  • Social media marketing: The impression occurs when a target audience member sees a social post or paid social ad in their newsfeed.
  • Guest blogging and content syndication: The impression occurs when a target audience member sees your branded content.

Impressions are important. Without impressions, engagement and conversions cannot happen. Therefore, without impressions, zero profitable customer action can logically follow. This is why marketers focus on content promotion and distribution.

What Are The Best Metrics for Measuring Marketing Campaigns?

There are four high-level categories of marketing metrics into which many specific variables fall.

  1. People: People metrics measure the targeted audiences for your marketing activities. Common metrics that measure the people category include impression share, subscribers, followers, and visitors. These metrics answer how many people your marketing can and will influence.
  2. Observation: Observation metrics measure the impressions and reach of your marketing activities. These metrics answer how many times your targeted audiences experience your marketing.
  3. Engagement: Engagement metrics measure how the target audience interacts with your marketing. This requires more than just seeing or hearing your message, but actual audience involvement. Engagement metrics could be liking or commenting on social media posts, opening emails, and clicking through on a display ad.
  4. Conversion: Conversion metrics measure lead and lag indicators closely correlated with the goal of marketing and/or the actual goal completion. For example, signing up for a software trial could be a conversion key performance indicator toward the ultimate goal of software purchase.

Through personal experience, I’d suggest a best practice to choose a metric from each of these categories to measure for most marketing campaigns. The specific metrics you choose to measure will likely be dependent on the type of content you publish.

Understanding Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

It’s important to prioritize metrics by what’s most important. If each one is considered a priority, then none of them are a priority at all.

What Are Marketing KPIs?

Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators are metrics that directly demonstrate progress toward a particular goal.

A marketing KPI is a focused, targeted metric that, when achieved, strongly suggests advancement toward actualizing a marketing goal.

In other words, they are the most important values for understanding marketing’s influence on business success.

While you may track multiple metrics, it’s a best practice to have a small number of highly focused KPIs.

How To Pick Your Marketing KPIs

Your business is unique, so your KPIs should be, too. While it’s easy to look at what other companies consider important in your industry, it’s best to measure what makes the most sense for your situation.

Plus, your KPIs may change over time. When you’re starting out, you may have KPIs focused on building an audience first before trying to monetize a product.

That’s the CoSchedule story. The first marketing goal the company set was to build an audience. We decided to measure progress toward the goal through a KPI of website visitors (traffic). We then determined the most effective way to influence this goal would be to start a content marketing blog (based on observing the success of other similar companies).

Go back to your goals, and ask these questions:

  1. What is the most important metric we can monitor right now?
  2. What are the most important metrics we can monitor at each stage of the funnel?
  3. How might our KPIs change in the future as our business matures?

Examples of KPIs for Beginning Marketers or New Companies

  • Pageviews
  • Social media followers
  • Email list subscribers
  • Increased brand awareness

Examples of KPIs for Advanced Marketers on Mature Teams

  • Leads generated
  • Conversions
  • Revenue

Of course, these are just suggestions. Ultimately, no one knows your business or specific situation better than you and your company. Choose the KPIs that matter most to you right now.