Decades ago, marketers realized that intuition and casual observations weren’t effective ways to measure campaign success. This shift in attitude aligned quite nicely with the growth of digital marketing, which introduced granular performance metrics into the marketer’s standard diet.
Now, when marketers need to measure the success of a campaign, whether it’s in-flight or completed, they use KPIs to track their goal progress. However, many marketing teams may be oversimplifying their approach to goal tracking with KPIs – and this has the potential to lead campaigns astray. Let’s take a closer look.
What are Marketing KPIs?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a form of measurement that can help marketers design, track, and optimize their campaigns on an activity-by-activity basis. KPIs combined with a well-architected goal will help you take a more scientific approach to marketing and enjoy greater success by analyzing real campaign outcomes.
Unfortunately, many marketers only analyze the impact of one KPI at a time, which doesn’t paint a complete picture of goal progress. For instance: If your goal is to increase sales by 200 percent in a 3-month period, it’s a good idea to use sales as a KPI. However, it won’t tell the full story. A savvy marketer would add other leading KPIs to the mix, such as visits to the online store or social media impressions.
Good Examples of Marketing KPIs
A good KPI should inform better decision making by objectively measuring progress toward your intended goal. For that reason, the best KPIs differ depending on what your marketing team hopes to achieve from their campaigns. To help you start your research, here are a few good KPIs to explore:
- Net Sales
- Revenue Growth
- Conversion Rate
- Time to Conversion
- Average Order Value
- Cost Per Acquisition
- Social Media Share Rate
- Pages Per Session
- Newsletter Signups
- Branded Keyword Visits
How to Optimize Multiple Marketing KPIs
Having a mixture of KPIs is key to accurate measurement but optimizing your campaigns to meet multiple KPIs can be complex. Let’s examine a few helpful tips to get your team on the right track.
1. Set Clear Goals
Goal setting should always precede setting KPIs. Otherwise, it will be difficult to choose the best selection of KPIs for campaign optimization. Your chosen goal should relate to profit (even in a tangential way) and follow the SMART goal framework. This will ensure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based, which are five important dimensions to guide your marketing efforts.
Once you’ve set goals, set your KPIs and relevant targets. Ask yourself the following questions: Which KPIs best represent my end goal? How should I weigh these KPIs in relation to the goal? What are my desired outcomes for each KPI? How would a situation where one KPI surges ahead of expectations affect goal completion?
The decisioning and mathematical processes at play can get a bit sticky and cause even a dedicated data scientist to start scratching their head. It’s best to use a solution designed for marketers that can do this complicated math for you.
2. Use KPIs for All Funnel Stages
Marketers that are familiar with the customer journey understand that while a consumer’s path to purchase can differ between individuals, they tend to follow stages within the marketing funnel. These can differ depending on a team’s accepted philosophy, but typically include awareness, interest, desire, action, and ongoing loyalty.
To make the most of your multi-KPI campaigns, it’s important to account for activity at each stage in the funnel and weigh those actions accordingly. So, a campaign that targets top- and middle-of-the-funnel customers with the goal of creating sales could weigh a KPI for search engine activity at 40 percent, weigh time spent in the online store as another 40 percent, and only give 20 percent weight to actual sales. This helps your team stay focused on upper-funnel activities without losing sight of sales completely.
3. Communicate Expectations with Stakeholders
While marketing activities are usually shepherded by the marketing team, it’s undeniable that stakeholders outside of marketing play a key role in campaign success. For example, store managers may need to train in-store personnel to promote certain products or services using specific customer messaging. These parties need to understand why their participation is needed and receive regular feedback about their adherence to the goal.
Keep in mind they shouldn’t be responsible for the entire outcome – marketing must be responsible for that. However, they should be asked to do their part when it comes to monitoring, interpreting, and acting on these KPIs within their own sphere of influence. This will help all parties get a strong sense of ownership over the goal and make them more dedicated. Additionally, it will help you determine which stakeholders are wielding their skills and behaviors in the most beneficial way, providing guidance for future campaigns.
4. Keep Your Measurements Simple
It’s important to optimize multiple KPIs, but don’t overcomplicate things. Tracking sales, web visits, and impressions on social media is a good way to measure progress. Tracking sales, items added to cart, time spent on the webpage, total web visits, social media engagement, and clicks from organic search will muddy the waters instead of providing additional clarity.
Focus only on the KPIs that represent strategic objectives that get you closer to the end goal, and try to use no more than five KPIs at the time without good reason. Otherwise, too many measurements are likely to distract you from what matters. Further, ensure you’re using a unified marketing measurement model that is designed to track multiple metrics - otherwise, you will make the multi-KPI analysis unnecessarily complex.
There are a lot of fine details to consider when it comes to multi-KPI optimization, ranging from proper selection to using the right data analysis methods. When multiple KPIs feed into each other, the optimization process can become particularly math-intensive and leave marketers confused as to how to reach their goal. Thankfully, there are solutions that can simplify the data science and help marketers quickly access insights and optimize the outcomes that matter.