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How to Choose Digital Marketing KPIs?

How to Choose Digital Marketing KPIs
February 12, 2021

How to Choose Digital Marketing KPIs?

Feb 12, 2021
Devyani Paliwal
Devyani is an ACJ graduate with a bachelors in English Literature. A voracious reader since her school days, cinema aficionado and music enthusiast, she has been doing content writing for some time now.

Marketing is all about presentation. What looks good, sells. It is as simple and as difficult as that. However, there are many steps involved before the final product reaches the audience. There are ways in which you can track the progress of this final product, and this is where KPIs in digital marketing come in.

What is a Digital Marketing KPI?

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. These are essentially measurable units which will help you in determining how exactly your marketing campaigns are faring.

In digital marketing, using certain KPIs can help you out in keeping track of your goals and making sure that you’re staying on track. Marketing campaigns are more effective if you know which parts exactly need more work and therefore, you can work harder on those specific areas.

Importance of a KPI

When building strategies, you already have certain set expectations of how you want them to turn out. The importance of KPI is that they help you in keeping these goals in sight and ensure that you’re actively contributing towards their fulfilment.

They are units which help in tracking the development of marketing campaigns or strategies, which are vital to the effectiveness of digital marketing.

Things to Remember When Choosing Metrics

These points will help you on how to choose KPIs and metrics

Align KPIs With Your Goals

These goals can be broadly divided into two - channel-based decisions and overall goals of the company .This will help you in narrowing down your choices and assist you in making better ones.

Let’s say your aim is to boost x percent sales in a certain period of time, you can choose KPIs based on conversion rates, getting more traffic and driving sales. Keeping your goals measurable will only make it easier.

Indicators give valuable insights about ‘conversions’ which become even more important during recession since you’ll need to determine what exactly is working out or not. A leading indicator, taking the help of which economists  decide where the economy is headed, is especially helpful during such a time.

Be Clear About the Metrics for Different Channels

The different channels, such as advertising, SEO and social media, are all there to fulfil different purposes. They won’t all be directly generating revenue or having the same main goal, therefore their primary KPIs are different.
Further, this is where your decision making skills are tested since you’ll need to allocate specific KPIs to specific channels and make sure to choose correctly so as to make the most out of them.

For example, the leading indicator of social media is the number likes and primary KPI is conversions whereas for SEO, leading indicator is impressions and the primary KPI is revenue.

Make your KPIs S.M.A.R.T

Before moving forth, you need to know the full-form of SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Pretty easy to understand, the five initials together are just to stress the importance of choosing your goals when it comes to KPIs correctly because it can make all the difference. Since there can be several interpretations of the same goal, this could lead to different decisions with regards to KPIs.

This is where SMART comes in. Using this technique of marketing, you focus on your long term goals better and in a more structured manner. Taking the SMART approach will ensure that if there are two conflicting options, you make the right choice.

Always Mind the Limits

When you set your SMART KPI goals, you have only two outcomes in mind - either it'll be a success or a failure. There is no grey area. The expected outcomes are estimated to be very detailed and exact. However, if there is even a slight deviation of say 2 percent in the expected outcomes, the interpretation rests upon you.

Either it's almost a success or a complete failure. However, a good KPI prevents such a scenario from becoming a problem. It accomplishes this by coming up with an agreed upon setting beforehand.

You can set boundaries and use the traffic signal system of Excel to record them.


According to the RACE model, a customer’s journey is made of four steps:

(i) Reach: Promotion of the content. (Measures: Unique visitors, followers, etc.)
(ii) Act: Be found and encourage your audience to buy. (Measures: Leads, retention rate, etc.)
(iii) Convert: Making sure that they buy. (Measures: Revenue, average order value, etc.)
(iv) Engage: Satisfied customers can then help in spreading the word. (Measures: Customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, etc.)

The primary KPI for Reach is number of impressions, for Act its white paper download, for Convert its conversion rate and for Engage, returning site visitors. There others as well but those follow these ones.

This helps you in keeping track of the full journey of your customers and ensuring that you’re making it as smooth for them as possible.

Top 5 Segments of Digital Marketing KPIs

KPIs in digital marketing have been segregated into five categories. Their functions as well as a few examples of each have been listed below:

Lead Generation

All things lead are tracked, from their cost-effectiveness to customer acquisition. This digital marketing KPI helps in making sure that all the leads-based strategies pay off. Examples:

  • Cost-per-lead: Amount spent on acquiring every new lead.
  • Cost-per-conversion: Amount spent on the conversion of leads into paying customers.
  • Retention Rate: How long your customers use your products and whether they make repeat purchases.


This is one of the most effective channels of KPIs in digital marketing and the main focus of metrics here is on driving organic traffic and getting your target audience.

  • Traffic from organic search: How much traffic are you able to get through search engine results such as Google and Bing.
  • Inbound links to a website: Taking the help of SEO tools such as SEMrush, you can determine whether your website has been shared on other websites or not.
  • Conversions from organic search: It is important to understand that for conversion, it’s not just important to infuse keywords in your content, but also ensure that you’re not confusing your audience.  

Social Media

Social Media is one of the best kpis for digital marketing as you can determine how effectively the various social media platforms are creating awareness, and getting customer engagement.

  • Traffic from social media: Keep a track of how much traffic you’re generating owing to social media.
  • Engagement rate: How many people are actively involved with your profiles (liking, sharing, commenting, etc.)
  • Mentions, tags, followers: All of this will naturally help you in understanding your reach.


Paid advertising is tricky business because you have money at stake here and this is where companies go wrong since they fail to take ROI (Return on Investment) into consideration. KPIs help in better planning and utilization of these resources.

  • Lead and conversions: The number of leads and conversions you are able to procure from paid advertising.
  • Click through rate on PPC Advertising: Measure how effectively your pay-per-click campaigns are panning out.


Website is also one of the best kpis for digital marketing as it helps in keeping track of how effectively the content is being able to get traction and drive more traffic to the website.

  • Monthly traffic: How much traffic are you getting in a month. This can be determined using Google Analytics.
  • Average time on page: How much time is your audience spending on your website.
  • Website conversion rate: people can visit your site endless times but it doesn;t mean much if they aren’t converting. You can test out different content to see what clocks to better this metric.


Whenever you start a business or company, no matter the size, you have a goal that you wish to achieve. The light at the end of the tunnel. KPIs are like those tiny guiding lights which will help you attain that goal.

‘Business objectives’ are just the checkpoints that you have which are broken down and thus become easier to obtain using KPIs. These don’t just provide vague numbers but research based figures that guide you correctly in this data-driven world.

Lastly, they are not just important to track your progress, but also help in boosting employee morale and facilitating personal growth. Therefore, don’t just choose but choose wisely as a lot depends on your choices.

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