Marketing Strategy

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Choosing the Right KPIs for Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing teams work hard to build engaging, persuasive campaigns in the hope leads are nurtured into customers -- well, that's the short and sweet description, right?

Table of Contents

In reality, it's a little more nuanced than that. Marketing departments use different mediums to communicate with their audiences based on numerous factors, like industry, location, persona information, and more. For example, if you're a small retail shop, you may opt to utilize SMS marketing to send promotions to your contacts. Larger B2B corporations may find more traditional digital marketing, such as email marketing and blogging, more effective. The point is: it all depends on the makeup of your business and your potential buyers.

But while your marketing campaigns will be specific to you, there is one universal component to the trade: Ensuring your efforts are sufficient enough to convince your prospects to take the appropriate steps to purchase. So, how do you do this?

Just like you wouldn't bake a cake without a recipe and leave it to burn in the oven, you shouldn’t leave your campaign running month after month without checking in on it. Instead, monitor your progress to make improvements -- and the best way to do that is to study key performance indicators, or KPIs, and make modifications as needed. To do that, you need to know:

  • What a KPI Is
  • What KPIs to Track
  • Which KPIs Matter the Most
  • Tools to Monitor Them
  • KPI Reporting
  • How to Act on KPIs

Here's a deep dive into KPIs to help you build a leading marketing strategy.

Section 01

What is a KPI?

As noted, KPI stands for key performance indicators, which are measurements of progress toward an intended result. If that is too generic of a definition for you, consider a fitness goal. If you want to run a marathon in under four hours, you'll want to track how long it takes you to complete a mile, two miles, and so on. All of this monitoring culminates into a strategy behind how you'll conquer that 26.2 miles on race day.p

Similarly, KPIs provide a calculated focus for your overall marketing efforts and can help you with operational improvement. A more concise look at how they help move your efforts forward:

KPIs provide objective evidence of progress.

Think back to that marathon. There's likely not a person on the planet who would go from never running a day in their life to attempting something that athletes spend months training for. That's because they have no reference points of their ability, unlike a seasoned runner, who has a substantiation in the form of past races. Likewise, if you've never promoted a gated piece of content before, you couldn't reasonably expect that your first attempt would get you featured on Mashable (or whatever your dream goal is). You'd need to work toward it and use a KPI, like the number of downloads of an individual piece of material, to indicate your progress. 

They help measure specific tactics to inform better decision making.

If you want to generate 1,000 new leads by the end of Q1, you need a variety of campaigns. You're also going to need to deploy several tactics to encourage user engagement. For instance, your team may be email marketing whizzes, but you've never used personalization tokens in your subject line. These could either increase your open rate, which could speed up your lead-generating efforts. Naturally, if that were the case, it'd only be wise to keep utilizing ways to make all of your campaigns more personalized, correct? KPIs can help confirm or deny this theory.  

Your KPIs can offer a comparison that shows performance over a set of time.

Say your marketing revenue has exponentially skyrocketed this year. After celebrating, you'll want to find out why. Consistently tracking different KPIs is a sure-fire method of seeing what went right one year as opposed to another. Then, you'll know what to emulate to ensure the following years are just as successful. 

These metrics track efficiency, effectiveness, timeliness, quality, performance, and resource utilization.

This is a large bucket of other examples of what a KPI does, and we've briefly touched on some of them, but they're all critical to note. Timeliness, for example, may not seem important when you're crafting a campaign, but if you're trying to news jack something, the longer you wait, the less impact you'll have.

Section 02

Different KPIs to Track

Everything your business does makes an impression on a potential customer, whether it's your website and marketing content or your sales and service teams. That's why it's essential to examine different KPIs across these verticals.
Content KPIs

Your content is everywhere, and it's a critical component linked to your marketing strategy. Analyzing and measuring it through a series of content KPIs is almost as important as creating it in the first place – because without looking back on it, how will you know if your latest blog was impactful or not? You can know for sure with KPIs like:

  • CTA Performance -- how many people saw, clicked, and converted from your CTA 
  • Time on Page – how long a person spent on an article or landing page 
  • Number of Backlinks – what material is being shared on third party websites the most
  • CTRs on Links – what internal links are being clicked on the most 
  • OPR – how many people opened an email or SMS
  • Scroll Depth – how far people are scrolling through your content (we hope you're still with us!)
  • Social Shares – the number of people sharing your content across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms 
  • Comments – how frequently (and positively or negatively) people comment on your blogs 
  • Blog Subscribers – the number of users who actively want to continue engaging with your material 
  • Content Attribution – whether or not a piece of your content was the "first touch" someone had with your company in their customer journey
  • Attrition Rate or Unsubscribes– how many people are leaving your SMS or email newsletters
Website KPIs

Think of your website as a virtual salesperson. You want to captivate your online visitors, so they're persuaded to keep interacting with your brand. With these website KPIs, you can see whether your website is doing its "sales" job: 

  • Page Views – how many views individual pages of your site receive daily 
  • Overall Traffic – how many people are visiting your website 
  • New Visitors – the number of people coming to your site for the first time
  • Unique Visitors – the number of distinct individuals visiting a page or multiple pages of your site in a given time frame 
  • Organic Traffic – how many people go to your website without an ad or PPC campaign 
  • Time on Page – like your content, this shows how long people are spending on individual pages on your site
  • Average Time on Page – how long people are spending 
  • Scroll Depth – how far people scroll on your site and its pages
  • Bounce Rate – how quickly people visit your site or one of its pages, then exit (the higher your bounce rate, the weaker your site performance)
  • SEO Rankings – what spot your site lands organically on search engines
  • Form Submissions – how many people entered information in contact forms across your site 
  • Visit to Sign-up and Visit to Lead Rates – how many of your visitors converted, and how quickly they become leads after viewing your site 
  • Website Conversion Rate – the number of potential sales from your website traffic 

Read More: Free Website Audit Checklist to Checkup on Your Website Goals 

Sales KPIs

Generally, your marketing department's end goal is to pass off qualified leads to your sales representatives, who will then work their magic and land them as closed deals. That suggests that tracking various sales KPIs is a fundamental piece of the marketing strategy puzzle – and it is! With these sales KPIs, you can see how your reps are performing: 

  • Number of New Deals in Given Time Period – how many new opportunities your sales team has created in a specific time frame 
  • Number of Leads Generated – the number of people who you can now begin to nurture 
  • Sales Conversion Rate – the metric that shows how adequate your reps are at converting leads into customers 
  • Sales Growth – how quickly and efficiently your sales team increases revenue over a given time 
  • Customer Acquisition Cost – the internal costs it takes for your sales team to convert a customer 
  • Customer Lifetime Value – the total revenue you can expect to receive from a single customer 
  • Sales Cycle Length – how long it takes for a lead to ultimately become a customer 
  • Revenue Per Rep – how much each of your sales team members is contributing to your overall revenue
Customer Service KPIs

Research shows it's easier to upsell or cross-sell to an existing customer. Most – if not all – organizations want to increase their revenue, so it only makes sense to measure your customer service teams' performance consistently. One way to do this – and you guessed it – is through a series of KPIs linked explicitly to customer success. To keep delighting your customers, measure these: 

  • Retention Rate – the percentage of customers you've kept over a given time 
  • Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – a number that can gauge the loyalty, or likelihood of a customer referring you to someone else 
  • First-time Response – how quickly it takes your customer service team to respond to a customer inquiry 
  • Average Resolution Time – how quickly, on average, it takes your team to resolve customer questions or concerns 
  • Escalation Rate – how many customer support questions or tickets were not resolved by the initial customer success representative and escalated further up the chain 

Every marketing team needs to consistently measure a variety of KPIs to fully discern what's happening within their department and how it influences the company as a whole. Without any type of KPIs and their associated objectives, you may waste time emailing your customers when SMS could have been a more dynamic option for you. With that said, the KPIs that matter most will depend on your particular situation because not all marketing strategies are created equally. However, you'll always want to know metrics like who's visiting your site, who's engaging with your content, and whether or not your customers are satisfied. 

Section 03

Tools to Help Track KPIs

If you've been tracking your KPIs in a convoluted Excel spreadsheet, you don't have to. As digital marketing has evolved over the years, new platforms have emerged to make marketers' lives a little easier. These include extensive and helpful tools to monitor your KPIs. Some favorite ones:

HubSpot offers pre-built KPI dashboards that let you quickly check in with the elements of your marketing strategy so you can see where to make changes.


Databox pulls in your KPIs from different sources into one dashboard to measure and make improvements based on data insights.

HotJar, CrazyEgg

Services like HotJar and CrazyEgg offer reports that make monitoring your website user experience KPIs uncomplicated.


One of the most powerful SEO solutions, Moz offers clear and compelling SEO reports for your marketing strategy. 


smartKPIs, or the KPI Institute, offers training, advisory, and software on all things KPI so you can become a master of the trade.


Tableau can connect to almost any database so you can take your KPI data and visualize it to help you better understand what's going on.

Google Analytics

Most people are familiar with Google Analytics, one of the most popular web analytics services on the market, because it offers high-quality, comprehensive reporting functionality.

Google Data Studio

This tool allows your team to easily collaborate and visualize your data from a wide variety of sources. Getting started is easy with their marketing templates.

Section 04

How to Build Custom KPI Reports

Creating a custom KPI report may sound like a pain – after all, we just mentioned several tools that offer out-of-the-box analytics – but because marketing is as unique as the back of your hand, it's worth considering. Numerous solutions exist that offer custom reporting capabilities for tailored KPI tracking, and Google Data Studio is a top contender. Why?

Female marketer

Google Data Studio aggregates data from multiple sources, like HubSpot, MailChimp, Google Analytics, and Ad Roll, and puts it all together.  When you can quickly see everything in a single glance, you can recognize what's going on with your business so you can confidently make adjustments over time. For example, your dashboard could reveal your current keyword strategy is not increasing your rankings, or your website's pricing page isn't getting as many hits as usual. 

To create visual reports showing the exact data you need to strengthen your marketing efforts, start by setting up a Data Studio account. All you need is a Google Account for this step. Because Data Studio automatically integrates with Google Drive, you'll be able to store and access anything you create from your Drive and the Data Studio Interface. 

Before you start making charts with your KPIs, you need to connect Data Studio to various data sources where your metrics lie. In Data Studio, you'll see "data sources" as an option on the left-hand side, under reports. Once you connect these to your account, you can use it any time you like. A bonus? These connectors save you a ton of time exporting data. After you've connected all the KPIs sources you need, you can build a report by selecting various sources, drawing visualizations, connecting data to those visualizations, changing your dimensions, adding filters, and changing the graph styles to match the look you want. 

Read More: HubSpot Custom Reports: Getting the Data You Need

Section 05

How to Act on Your KPIs

Your company's KPIs reflect factors that are critical to your marketing strategy's ultimate success. Without them, you can't measure your accomplishments. And without acting on them, you definitely can't see progress. But making improvements based on your KPIs is more than just a simple action. It involves a series of steps. Take these steps into account when it comes time to make appropriate adjustments based on your KPI data:
  • Step 1: Make sure you have your KPIs, and their associated objectives, documented somewhere your team has access to. Remember that KPIs need more than just random numbers. If you want a bounce rate under 70% or organic traffic to increase by 30%, explain the reason why. 
  • Step 2: Ensure your KPIs are actionable by reviewing the above objectives, analyzing your current performance, setting short term and long term KPIs, and bringing in cross-departmental team members. 
  • Step 3: Share your KPIs with your stakeholders (leadership, sales, marketing) to get approval and feedback.
  • Step 4: Review them weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly (the frequency will depend on the specific KPIs goal).
  • Step 5: Evolve or update them as your needs change. You may need to shift gears during a crisis or downturn in business, and your KPIs should mirror this. 
  • Step 6: Fine-tune your campaigns as needed based on your KPI data. For instance, if your email open rate is suffering, revisit your subject lines. If your bounce rate is high, your website could be loading slowly, and you may need to make updates on the backend. 
  • Step 7: Always remember that KPIs are not static. Getting rid of old KPIs in favor of ones that make more sense for your current business performance is recommended. It will only help your strategy! 

Section 06

Why KPIs Matter For Business Growth

KPIs are not goals or targets themselves but methods to help measure said goals. In fact, KPIs show you how close or far you are from reaching a particular ambition – and if you're up a creek without a paddle, you're not going to see any company growth any time soon. 

On top of that, KPIs encourage your team to grow and learn more about their own job roles and which tactics or tools help them succeed in it. They also hold your team members accountable for their work – which may seem like a negative but can actually boost company morale as positive KPI data reveals the importance of their work (just remember to give them a shout-out for hard work). 

When it boils down to it, without KPIs in place, you're effectively "spraying and praying" when it comes to your marketing strategy – and that won't get you far in today's advanced, digital landscape. With this guidance in tow, you'll be able to strategize useful KPIs to follow and act on, improving your overall marketing strategy and, in turn, your business's performance!