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What Are Digital Marketing KPIs?

November 4, 2019

Digital Marketing KPIs

As marketers, we usually have a clear idea of what we want our business to achieve and a specific goal we have in mind for a marketing campaign; but, the path to reach that goal can be a much trickier thing to define.

Defining your path to success requires breaking down your problem into bite-sized pieces, each serving as a stepping stone towards your goals and the overall success of your work.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are activities or data recorded along that path that indicate how successful you are in reaching your goals. These KPIs can be positive or negative indicators of that success:

  • Activity on your campaign that builds towards your goals (such as social media shares or click-throughs) are positive KPIs
  • Activity on your campaign that detracts from your goals (low engagement, low click-through rates) are negative KPIs

Regardless of whether they are positive or negative, KPIs provide valuable insight that can help you amplify or rework your marketing efforts to make your efforts more successful.

What makes a quality KPI?

It’s not uncommon for marketers to be focused on too many KPIs, many of which do not provide any valuable insights. The following are some basic guidelines you can follow to ensure your KPIs will provide the most value to your work.

Quality KPIs are simple and measurable

Your KPIs are tools to help you make educated decisions about your marketing efforts and shouldn’t make things more complicated. The easier your KPIs are to understand and measure, the easier it will be for you and your team to make decisions based on their data. Trying to explain or educate your team on complex KPIs will eat into the time you could be spending improving your campaign.

Quality KPIs build towards your business and marketing goals

On their own, KPIs indicate momentum, not success. By establishing your KPIs as a step along the way towards your goals, you can focus on a wider range of indicators that may be influencing your campaign performance. This also gives you the freedom to adjust or refocus your KPIs over time as your marketing evolves over time.

Quality KPIs are actionable

For KPIs to truly have value, you need to be able to impact the performance of the indicators themselves. If you are tracking a KPI that you can’t influence in any way, it’s likely out of your control and not worth measuring.

How do I set my KPIs?

To determine what your KPIs should be, you need to start with your goal and think of which steps need to be taken to get there (not too different from building out your marketing funnel).

As an exercise, let’s assume your goal is to capture a list of people interested in your product or service. The common steps someone might take on their journey would include:


They need to see your social media posts and advertisements to know you exist and what you offer.


The click-through to your website to “learn more.”


They invest more time in reading what you have to say about your product or service on your website.

Conversion [The Goal]

They enter their email address to receive more information or a free downloadable.

Now that we have our key steps in the marketing funnel, what can we measure at each step that would provide an indicator that our target audience is moving towards our goal?


The reach of your ads and social posts

Total impressions of your ads and social posts (tracked with your ad provider and the social platform’s analytics)


The number of clicks to “learn more” on your website (tracked with Google Analytics)


Time spent on your website; total pages viewed on your website (tracked with Google Analytics)

Conversion [The Goal]

The number of visitors who provide their name and email address (tracked with goals in Google Analytics)

Everything that leads up to the Conversion step can be defined as a KPI. As each step in the process performs better, your target audience is more likely to achieve your goals.

By ensuring your KPIs align with your overall marketing funnel, you can identify which steps are under-performing. This provides a clear path to optimizing each step and boosting the overall success of your campaign.

Download our KPI Worksheet

Get started on KPIs of your own with our KPI Worksheet. Contact the digital marketing experts at The Martin Group to discuss leveraging your marketing efforts in a whole new way.


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