Which Marketing KPIs Are Most Important?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) give an indication of your strategy’s performance as concisely as possible. With a single number, or a collection of different numbers, you can get a snapshot of what’s going right—or wrong—with your marketing campaign.

That said, modern marketing analytics tools allow you to see and compare thousands of different metrics and variables, making it difficult to tell what’s most important. But with a solid KPI dashboard, you can drill down and focus on the KPIs that matter most to your organization, reviewing them consistently to gauge your overall performance.

So which marketing KPIs are most important?

The Most Important Marketing KPIs

These are some of the most important marketing KPIs to measure, especially if most of your marketing is done online:

  1. Sales revenue. Your total sales revenue is a good indication of the combined results of all your marketing, advertising, and sales strategies. As your brand becomes more familiar, and your lead follow-up strategies become more consistent, your revenue will begin to grow. That said, sales revenue can’t tell you much by itself—just a general direction for your trend. You’ll need much more specific KPIs to tell you about the inner workings of your marketing strategy.
  2. Number and quality of leads. Next, you can look at the number of leads generated from each segment of your marketing strategy. For example, how many leads are you getting from your referral program? What about from your designated landing pages? From your social media profiles? Leads aren’t universally valuable, so it’s also a good idea to instate some kind of barometer for lead quality as well; how likely are these leads to convert? A few solid leads from one source may be worth the equivalent of hundreds from another.
  3. Engagement is usually described in the context of social media, but it has utility in other marketing strategies as well. A customer “engages” with your brand when they like, share, or comment on your work. In other words, they’re motivated to take action. It’s a good sign that your content is relevant to your audience, and that you’re capable of influencing behaviors.
  4. “Visibility” is a vague term that can be measured in terms of multiple separate KPIs. The idea is to determine how easy it is to find your brand, or see your brand, regularly. You can measure this in terms of things like search engine rankings, social media follower counts, and number of impressions.
  5. Web traffic. Web traffic is one of the most important metrics for all-around online marketers, since your website is your ultimate goal destination. You can measure direct traffic, referral traffic (from external links), social media traffic (from social media), and organic traffic (from search engines) to get more specifics.
  6. Conversion rate. You should also know your conversion rate for each conversion opportunity; in other words, what percentage of people make a purchase, complete a form, or take some other meaningful action? Traffic doesn’t mean much unless you have a good conversion rate to back it up.
  7. Various ratios. How many leads do you get for every 1,000 visitors? How many leads result in new customers? Know ratios like these, and seek to improve them over time.
  8. Cost of customer acquisition (COCA). If you total the expenses of your sales, marketing, and advertising strategies, you can find the average cost of customer acquisition (COCA). You’ll use this to ultimately determine the cost-effectiveness of your campaign.
  9. Lifetime customer value. How valuable is a customer over the course of their relationship with your brand? This calculation is going to be different for every business, and isn’t necessarily directly related to your marketing success. However, you’ll need this metric to determine the most important KPI for any marketing strategy.
  10. Return on investment (ROI). Your overall return on investment (ROI) is arguably the most important metric for a marketing campaign. It tells you how much revenue you’ve generated compared to the amount of money you’ve spent. Efficient campaigns have a high ROI no matter how much or little you’ve invested, so keep tweaking the variables until yours is ideal.

Note that these KPIs are intended to be universal; they apply to almost any business, with almost any strategy. However, there are many possible KPIs that apply to specific strategies or platforms, and in many cases, those niche variables can outweigh high-level variables in relative importance. Make sure you understand your business’s unique objectives clearly before deciding which KPIs are most important to follow.

Determining Your Own KPIs

Depending on your goals, you may adhere to these KPIs, deviate from them, or come up with a list all your own. Begin with a high-level assessment of your primary goals; for example, is it more important for you to generate brand awareness among new prospects, or close more deals with customers who already know of your existence? Once you understand your goals, inside and out, you can start establishing the most important KPIs for your organization, and following them consistently.