Setting and measuring meaningful KPIs is a valuable skill set for any marketer.
As we know, useful marketing KPIs could be numbers, percentages or statistics that are actionable in achieving a result or justifying a marketing spend. Normally they represent a meaningful amount of time (a month, a year, the period a campaign was live) rather than a snapshot in time.
When done right, marketing KPIs ought to be:
- Meaningful (used to support decision making)
- Aligned with the company/campaign strategy
Marketing KPIs should not be :
- Interpreted or extrapolated
- Isolated customer feedback
- Audience profiles
Although this second group of ‘soft’ factors can be useful for marketing strategies, KPIs are a much ‘harder’ and more valuable tool for tracking success.
KPIs can be set at multiple levels.
Marketing KPIs are top-level figures that define success for your overall, combined marketing efforts. Campaign KPIs are based on tactics in individual campaigns which, when achieved, support overall marketing KPIs.
Setting and measuring KPIs for your marketing campaign can at first seem daunting but have no fear: there are tips and tools to help you set and measure marketing metrics and KPIs so you can report with confidence.
Why KPIs are essential
The forecast for media buying budgets is positive with a spending increase of around 8% expected in 2019 after stagnating in 2018. However, CEO confidence in the economy has fallen for 5 consecutive quarters, which could explain why marketers identified “demonstrating impact on financial outcomes” as their biggest challenge.
This is where KPIs become an essential part of every marketer’s toolkit.
Nearly 45% of companies reported using some form of data analytics as a key driver in marketing decisions, up from 36% last year to the highest point in 6 years. With paid media a significant contributor to overall marketing efforts, and so much data flowing in from paid channels, media planning is a core area to look at for campaign KPIs that demonstrate efficiency in the marketing team.
KPIs set a framework for success that shows how dollars funneled into marketing generate business growth. Return on Investment (ROI) can be distilled into a set of KPIs that give transparency into what is, and is not, working.
Achieving KPIs is not just good for sales; agencies with a track record of success can be more confident going into new business pitches, and marketers who outperformed last quarter have tangible results to support their budget proposal.
At the same time, it is important to set meaningful, relevant campaign KPIs that actually demonstrate success and are not just impressive looking numbers.
The leadership team will see through lowball targets or irrelevant statistics that hide a campaign flop.
How to set Marketing KPIs
Marketing KPIs are never decided in isolation. Instead they should be set based on specific growth targets relevant to your company, brand, or product.
There are plenty of examples online for generic marketing KPIs but, remember, there is no such thing as a universal metric. What applies to your competitor might not apply to you (unless you’re trying to wrangle market share).
When it comes to setting useful marketing KPIs, start by looking inward:
Step 1: Consider the business goals
How does the marketing effort support overall business growth? Marketing KPIs based on demonstrable metrics like sales, new leads, audience growth and engagement will be useful.
Step 2: Identify campaign objectives
It makes sense that topline campaign objectives should come between business goals and specific campaign KPIs. Marketing objectives are normally aspirational, expressed as 3-5 statements that can be quantified by KPIs; for example, “to be the preferred sneaker brand for teenagers in the United States”.
Step 3: Be specific, but not too specific
Broad KPIs show how marketing is influencing overall business growth and brand sentiment, and specific KPIs are great at the campaign level for identifying successful tactics. However, KPIs that are too broad are rarely useful much like those that are too specific often miss the bigger picture.
Step 4: Identify data that will need to be collected
Where is your data coming from and is it relevant? Can you rely on it to be frequent, consistent and transparent? Who is responsible for analyzing and cleaning the mountains of data you will receive? All these questions need to be addressed to identify measurable targets.
Step 5: Don’t overdo it
Setting too many KPIs confuses the definition of success, which will spread your marketing too thin. KPIs should paint a clear picture of success based on campaign objectives. Ideally they should allow you to answer the question “was our marketing successful?” in one word.
Setting marketing metrics and KPIs can be challenging
Setting KPIs can sometimes feel like pulling numbers out of thin air.
If this is the case, then go back to the Step 1 above and ask yourself some honest questions about your business goals. Coming up against goals like “being the best” or “enabling success for our customers” might be a sign your organization or client needs to be more specific about what they are trying to achieve.
When targets are set incorrectly businesses miss an opportunity to capture data and create valuable marketing KPI reports. Mining the right data requires clear, relevant KPIs that give business leaders the information they need to make decisions.
So, here are a few marketing KPI examples
What does a good marketing KPI example actually look like? Depending on the scale and scope of your marketing efforts the answer will change. However, with so much data waiting to be collected, there is no reason to miss the insights that define success and create value.
Here is a list of KPIs for marketing and where they might be useful:
- Broad KPIs
- Brand awareness
What percentage of your target audience know what you do? Comparing brand awareness before, immediately following, and trailing a campaign presents a useful picture of marketing effectiveness.
Of those in your target audience who know you exist, how many have the intention to purchase from you in the future?
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS still has its place in marketing, especially campaigns aimed at reinventing or improving a company’s image.
How does your target audience feel about your client on a numeric scale? Like brand awareness, establishing several reference points is important.
Market share is the percentage of the customer “pie” you had during a period compared to your competitors.
New user sign-ups
How many new users (to a website, forum, service etc.) signed up during the campaign? Do you know where they came from, or what they are hoping to get from you?
New email list registrations
Like new user sign-ups, email list registrations can indicate potential new leads. A great KPI to focus on for data acquisition campaigns.
Sales improved during the quarter – hopefully because of something you did. It can be difficult to tie global sales revenue to marketing efforts, but it is a signal of effective marketing.
Unique website visitors
Increases in web traffic are a good sign in any marketing campaign. But where are your visitors coming from, and what are they doing when they arrive on your site?
Across a multichannel digital marketing campaign, can you calculate the average cost per click (CPC) or cost per lead (CPL) and pin down CPC/CPL for specific channels?
Social media engagement
The ability to segment and analyze engagement data for multi-platform marketing campaigns will provide valuable audience insights for future marketing activity.
Brand mentions or hashtag mentions
In the age of the social media influencer, brand mentions and hashtag use is a key representative statistic of brand engagement.
Split A/B testing results
Knowing how your target audience responds to specific email tactics provides valuable insight for eDM campaigns. Accumulating data over several A/B split tests can show marketers how to maximize email engagement.
Landing page conversions
If your campaign directs your audience to a landing page, it is important to know what happens once they get there, and why interest is or isn’t converting to action.
How many of each KPI type should I have?
There is no hard and fast rule for how many KPIs a marketing campaign should have, just as there are no KPIs that apply to every campaign. Instead, the number and type of marketing KPIs will be based on goals defined during the campaign planning process.
Each type has its pros and cons, and most successful multichannel marketing campaigns will track a variety of metrics, from broad to specific. Brand awareness campaigns might focus on the broad end of the scale where shorter, more targeted campaigns (e.g. a landing page campaign run solely through banner ads on partner sites) may only consider a few specific KPIs.
Campaign KPI Pacing
Setting insightful KPIs is half the battle. Once the team is aligned on clear campaign KPIs that support overall marketing KPIs, tracking progress is the next challenge.
Campaigns will pace themselves out unevenly; you may not reach 10% of your sales target from 10% of the spend. This is because there is an awareness raising lag coupled with the unpredictability of human behaviour. However, identifying thresholds on the way to campaign KPIs will provide a marker to ‘check in’ and readjust if necessary.
Defining whether your campaign is tracking towards KPIs at a healthy pace relies on real-time access to relevant data. Not just results data like sales figures, but also traffic reports, link statistics, CPC/CPL, email bounce rates and other deep-dive insights. Achieving campaign KPIs, or adjusting campaign tactics if results are not looking promising, will ensure overall marketing KPIs are achieved as well.
The next challenge is how to make capturing data and reporting on KPIs easier for marketing managers.
KPI reporting tools
As the media landscape diversifies and increases in complexity, the marketing industry is faced with ever-evolving challenges, not the least of which is capturing quality data for reporting.
One industry report indicates nearly one-third of companies’ entire marketing budget is earmarked for technology in 2019, while CMOs are allocating around 16% to innovation to close the gap between ambition and ability. Spend on training and development for marketers is at its highest in 5 years. Businesses have recognized the need to invest in software, training and development to ensure they aren’t being left behind.
Mediatool: KPIs made easy for marketing managers and agencies
Once your campaign launches, you will no doubt be anxious to see how your hard work is paying off. Getting access to real-time data that shows how your campaign is tracking against KPIs is non-negotiable for any successful campaign. Waiting until results are in at the end of a campaign means you have missed any opportunity to change track.
Mediatool is an intuitive platform that gives marketers and agencies access to an endless stream of relevant data. The power of setting and managing KPIs is in, you, the user’s hands.
You’ll be able to confidently monitor campaign KPIs knowing that your data is always accessible.
Mediatool integrates data that is collected through integrations and selectively uploaded by the user into a single user-friendly dashboard. The data can then be filtered and customized to answer even the most difficult KPI queries without having to dig through spreadsheets and risk human interpretation errors.
For marketers and agencies alike, the myriad of KPI reporting abilities available in the dashboard and reports offer streamlined access to valuable insights that can be used to measure marketing KPIs and make informed strategic decisions. Access to data is paramount for tracking and reporting on campaign and marketing KPIs, and Mediatool provides unparalleled access to multichannel marketing campaign data.
From the outset, your dashboard is fully customized to show at a glance the important information relevant to your brand or campaign. From there it’s just a few clicks to deep dive on specific data, monitor campaign KPI pacing, uncover insights and compare marketing tactics across the entire campaign. Agencies can house all of their client campaigns under a single Mediatool agency account, for quick access when the client calls with a last-minute request.
*Powerful reporting tools then allow you to create professional, visually captivating marketing KPI reports ready for the C-suite in a matter of minutes. *
With your newly acquired knowledge of setting and measuring marketing KPIs, combined with the power and flexibility of Mediatool, KPI tracking and reporting comes simply.
Request a free Mediatool demo to see how the software can help your team keep track of KPIs for enlightened decision making.