The creation of an effective digital marketing strategy requires time and resources, and in order to evaluate its progress, we recommend choosing metrics and KPIs that help you understand which activities to improve and how.
Data analytics and KPIs refer to a process that must take place when the strategy is being built, and one that goes hand in hand with identifying the objectives you want to achieve. Therefore, in this post, we will show you how to build an effective digital marketing strategy, we’ll look at the KPIs you need to know, and we’ll show you how to choose them based on the goals of your strategy.
So, let’s start with the definition of digital marketing to try to understand the opportunities to seize and the activities that can be implemented in a marketing strategy.
What is digital marketing?
According to Hubspot’s definition, digital marketing encompasses all marketing actions that take place via the internet and electronic devices and, compared to traditional marketing, offers many more possibilities to attract new consumers thanks to websites, emails, social media, and search engines.
Based on this definition, we must add that digital marketing is evolving hand in hand with the evolution of the internet and digital media and has become increasingly important for companies that want to grow and improve their brand awareness. Why?
To understand it, just answer these simple questions: How do consumers get in touch with a brand? Where do they look for relevant information to convince themselves to buy a certain product or service? The answer: the Internet.
Developing a digital marketing strategy for a brand, therefore, is a necessary and indispensable way to reach a much wider audience. But how?
How to build a digital marketing strategy
As we have already mentioned, data analytics KPIs allow us to measure the performance of a digital marketing strategy. First of all, let’s define the steps for building it:
- Identify the objectives: This is the first step to take to understand which marketing actions to put in place. The objectives that you want to achieve must be clear and valid; to be such they must be S.M.A.R.T. In other words, they must be specific, measurable, accessible, realistic, and timed. Therefore, it is not enough to give a generic answer to the question “where do I want to go?”, but it is necessary to be specific from the beginning.
- Analyze the data. Analyzing the marketing channels already in use (e.g. social media, website, email marketing) allows us to understand if the strategy is working and which channels are the most effective and generate the most traffic. This phase also includes identifying buyer personas: What are their needs and interests? At what stage of the funnel do they fit? This is a key step in establishing an effective communication strategy to reach your target audience.
- Define the strategy. After identifying the objectives, and analyzing the channels and the target audience, you can begin to outline the digital marketing strategy: How to reach potential consumers? Which channels to use? Based on your objectives, there will be several marketing actions to put in place such as social media communication, email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization of the website, and creating a budget dedicated to all these activities.
- Define KPIs. Once the strategy is defined, we can start talking about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify which marketing actions are working and which ones to improve. It’s important to choose KPIs that are in line with the industry, company size, and goals. In addition, to optimize marketing activities and their measurement, you need to select specific KPIs. An example: to analyze website performance, the main KPIs you’ll want to monitor will be bounce rate, pages per session, time on page, and page views. Having many KPIs to track requires tools, resources, and time, and the large amount of information collected could prove counterproductive to the goals you want to achieve.
- Reporting. KPIs allow us to measure the effectiveness of the marketing activities implemented and keep track of them through the creation of periodic reports. What are reports used for and why are they so important? Reports are useful to understand the progress of the digital marketing strategy over time and to compare the performance of different periods (e.g. month on month, year on year, etc.). In addition, they give us a real-time view of marketing activities, which is useful for optimizing the digital strategy.
Next, we will focus on data analytics KPIs, and we’ll define and take a look at the most popular KPIs according to different types of marketing objectives.
Data analytics KPIs: what are they and how to choose?
If we want to provide a general definition of Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, we can say that they are indicators that allow us to measure the results obtained thanks to the activities and strategies implemented. Moreover, KPIs allow you to plan new actions and make changes to a marketing strategy in order to improve it or redefine its objectives.
From a digital marketing perspective, KPIs are metrics that are closely tied to the strategy and can be broken down into activities such as: website and blog, SEO, SEM, social media, and email marketing. (source DashThis)
KPIs for website and blog
One of the most important elements in measuring website performance is overall traffic. How many users land on the company website each month? What are the most visited pages? Where are they coming from?
Knowing the source of visitors (e.g. organic search, social networks, advertising campaigns) allows you to improve the communication channels you use, for example by optimizing advertising campaigns, offering more engaging content and working on keyword research for company blog content.
It’s not enough just to identify the overall number of visitors and the channel of origin, but also to understand how much users are engaged by the brand. For this reason, it is necessary to monitor the so-called returning visitors, new visitors, and unique visitors. On this front, content marketing activities can really make a difference in increasing user engagement and attracting new visitors.
Another element to consider is the average time spent on a single page (average time on page): the time a visitor spends on a page allows you to understand the effectiveness of that page, with positive consequences for the positioning on search results.
It is also necessary to examine the pages per visit, i.e. the number of pages that a user visits on the company website. This KPI allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the website and of the calls to action used.
As far as calls to action are concerned, two KPIs that you can monitor are the conversion rate, i.e. the number of users who took the action of a given CTA, and the click-through rate (CTR), i.e. the number of clicks generated by a CTA in relation to the total number of views of a piece of content.
KPIs for Search Engine Optimization
As we have already seen in a previous post, optimizing a website for SEO allows you to improve its ranking in SERPs and increase visibility. For this reason, it is important to measure the performance of SEO activities through specific KPIs. Here are some of them:
- Organic search: the number of visitors who landed on the site through a search on Google (or other search engines);
- The bounce rate: the percentage of users who visit a single page of the website and abandon it without continuing navigation;
- The ranking: the positioning of a page in search results. A good ranking depends on the optimization of the site and keywords, the relevance of the content, the page load time, and much more;
- Domain authority: determined by the relevance of the content and its adequacy to the search query.
KPIs for Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing utilizes web marketing activities to increase a website’s visibility and traceability. Within these activities, we can highlight the search engine advertising (SEA), which consists of the creation of paid advertising space on search engines for promoting the website. Even for this type of activity there are KPIs to monitor such as:
- The cost-per-click (CPC), which is the cost per click generated by a paid advertisement;
- The click-through rate (CTR);
- The quality score, which corresponds to an evaluation of the quality of the ads, the landing page, and the keywords used by the search engine. (source Google Ads)
KPIs for social media
We have already talked about the role of the company’s social media strategy and the importance of KPIs to evaluate its performance. So which are the most relevant for social media analysis?
First of all, the number of followers of the company pages. A steady increase in followers allows you to gain more visibility and attract more users and potential consumers.
However, followers need to be engaged through interesting, innovative, and quality content. To understand if the social media strategy is working and if users are really interested in the proposed contents, it is necessary to analyze likes, comments, shares.
Social pages are real showcases that offer the opportunity to promote a brand and publish content that encourages users to learn more and visit the company website. For this reason, one KPI that you cannot underestimate is the website traffic coming from social media channels.
KPIs for email marketing
Email marketing allows you to communicate in a direct and personalized way with each user. For this reason, it is an activity that can be effective. Here are some KPIs that you can use to evaluate their performance:
- The open rate; the percentage of users who opened the email compared to the total number of recipients. Knowing the open rate can help you improve the content you send and make it more appealing.
- The click-through rate: the percentage of users who clicked on a CTA present within the message;
- The unsubscribe rate: the number of users who are no longer interested in receiving emails and unsubscribe. This KPI is also useful for optimizing content, CTAs and targeting;
- The device used by users offers key insights into the layout of the email and the different ways the message is displayed.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the many digital marketing data analytics KPIs that can be monitored. Therefore, choosing the right KPIs can be a great opportunity to improve the performance of your marketing strategy and achieve your business goals.