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Key Performance Indicators Your Digital Strategy Should Include

DBS Interactive

As the number of businesses increasing their digital marketing budgets continues to grow, the need to accurately record and track your strategy’s performance is increasing, too. This can be a challenge, as there are a seemingly endless number of metrics that can be used to evaluate the status of your web presence.

But before you can dive into the minutiae to effectively guide your decisions, it’s important to understand the basics of tracking the success of digital marketing strategies. To get you started, we’ve outlined just a few of the key performance indicators, or “KPI”s that you should be tracking, if you’re not already:

Website Engagement

The best place to start when evaluating your web presence is naturally going to be your website. This is your centerpiece when it comes to attracting new prospects to your brand, your products, and your services. You’ve most likely invested a considerable amount of time and money crafting a good-looking site full of informative copy that provides value to your visitors. It’s only right that you take the time to check in on its performance and look for new opportunities. If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics (it’s free) to help you track some of the following:

Time Spent on Your Site

Analytics allows to to see how much time visitors are spending on your site once they enter it. You can also easily see how many pages users are viewing during their session. Low numbers could mean a lack of perceived value on the site. Consider improving your content if this is the case.

Conversions/Goal Tracking

This is all about tracking actions on your website that help grow your business. What is it that you are looking to have your visitors do while on your site? It could be filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, or completing a download. Whatever it may be, make sure that you are tracking the number of user completions and conversions.

Cart Abandonment (for e-Commerce sites)

Along with conversion tracking, this is a big one if you’re selling products on your site. This metric shows you how many people added an item to their shopping cart but left before actually completing the purchase. Determining exactly where users are leaving allows you to make necessary improvements to your buying process and increase your conversion rate.

Traffic to Your Site

In addition to reviewing the experience your site is delivering to users, discovering what channels your visitors are using to reach your website can prove remarkably insightful. This ties in closely with conversion tracking, as you should look to determine what channels are leading to the most goal conversions. Organic traffic is generally going to be your most robust channel, but direct and referral traffic also play significant roles in your web presence. A social media strategy, if executed well, can also deliver impressive results for your website traffic.

Organic Traffic

Visitors that come to your site by finding it in a search engine, such as Google or Bing, make up your organic traffic. One of the more important goals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is increasing organic traffic to your website in order to generate more leads.

Direct Traffic

This is mostly made up of users who typed in your website’s URL into a browser and came directly to your site. Additional occurrences include clicking on a link in an email, following a link from a PDF document, or clicking on links found in mobile apps.

Referral Traffic

This traffic consists of visits that were made to your site that came from sources other than a search engine. For instance, if a user clicks on a link to your site that is found on a separate site, this is considered a referral.

Social Traffic

Social media can be a huge component of your inbound marketing strategy, as it allows you to engage with users in ways that other methods simply don’t offer. You will want to be sure to measure a couple key components of social traffic: impressions and interactions (sometimes called “engagements”). Impressions are the number of times your social content is shown within a social media network. Interactions (or engagements) occur when a social media user engages with your brand on a social platform, such as liking, favoriting, upvoting, commenting, and sharing.

Paid Campaigns

Paid campaigns can often serve as an excellent complement to your existing digital strategy. These are internet advertising campaigns used to direct additional traffic to your website. One of the most popular platforms for paid digital advertising campaigns is Google Ads, used by advertisers to increase their visibility and generate clicks among potential consumers as they perform Google searches. A few KPIs when conducting a paid campaign might include:

Cost Per Click (“CPC”)

Otherwise known as pay-per-click (PPC), this is a model in which the advertiser pays for an ad only when it is clicked by a user. Keyword bidding determines the visibility of your ads, with higher bids and quality sites receiving preference by the search engines.

Click Through Rate (“CTR”)

An ad’s click through rate is the number of clicks one of your ads receives divided by the number of its impressions, or times the ad is shown. Low CTRs can be addressed by editing your ad copy and performing basic A/B testing to improve the ads you are showing.

Cost Per Acquisition (“CPA”)

This can also be referred to as Cost-Per-Action or Cost-Per-Conversion. A variation of the cost-per-click model, an advertiser pays for a specific action, like the purchase of a product or the completion of a form.

Email Campaigns

After all these years, email marketing is still among the most popular digital marketing techniques around. And for good reason: for every dollar spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI (Open in new windows). However, a good email campaign requires an effective strategy and the ability to track its performance accurately. Some of the key components you should measure include:

Conversion Rates

Just like on your website, you absolutely must track the number and frequency of conversions in your email campaigns. Whether it’s making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter, track your conversions and determine what your success rate is.

Unique Open Rate

This is a great KPI when trying to determine what kind of first impression your emails give your audience when landing in their inboxes. Your unique open rate is the number of distinct opens your email is delivering, allowing you to recognize how many unique individuals you have gained access to. A low open rate should encourage you to tweak the title or subject line.

Return on Investment (“ROI”)

A common KPI among all facets of business, your ROI will tell you just how much bang for your buck you’re getting out of your email campaign. As noted, these campaigns have a particularly good track record of delivering financially efficient results, but it’s always good to stay on top of your own campaign’s performance.


The number of KPIs relevant to the world of digital marketing strategy are almost too numerous to count. Before leveraging all of the metrics that will inform your business decisions, it is best to understand some of the basics that every digital marketer should track. Consider these as you continue to improve your web presence and hone your strategies.