13 Key Performance Indicators that Measure Marketing Success

April 26, 2017


One of the core necessities in an advertising strategy is being able to measure the success of an effective marketing campaign. To do that, you need key performance indicators (KPIs) to put your campaign results into perspective.

KPIs are the metrics that help ensure that your marketing is moving you toward your goals. If you want to achieve maximum success, you need to consistently measure the right KPIs and make adjustments accordingly.

The list below covers thirteen of the most important key performance indicators that you might track in your marketing campaigns.

The 13 Key Performance Indicators


This is probably the most important KPI because it’s the most direct link to ROI.

Your marketing should correlate to sales lifts. If you begin to see dropping sales, then it may be time to make an adjustment to your marketing strategy. Clear marketing channel attribution in the beginning of a campaign will make strategic adjustments more accurate and easier during the campaign. In other words, separate your KPIs by the channels you used, such as social media, direct mail, email, and so on. Then, when one of those channels fails to perform, you’ll know that’s the channel that needs an adjustment.


Leads are what drive sales. Knowing how many leads you receive is only part of the equation. Develop a method for “scoring” leads so that you can track them during their purchasing journey. For instance, if an email contact opens the email, but doesn’t click on a link in the email, they are a cold lead and you might assign them a score of “1.” If they click on the link and sign up for updates, you might consider them a warm lead and assign them a score of “4.” This way, you establish segmented leads and you can approach them with marketing messages appropriate to their scores.

Cost per Lead

It’s not enough to know how many leads are being generated. You also need to understand how much each lead costs, or cost per lead (CPL). Knowing your CPL will help you identify your ROI. (Acronyms, acronyms.) Fortunately, online Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platforms offer the option of ad bidding according to desired CPL as opposed to cost per impression (you guessed it–CPI).

Customer Lifetime Value

As the marketing and business gurus say: It’s more cost effective to retain good customers than to acquire new ones. However, not all customers represent the same value to your business. Establish the lifetime value of your current customers (LTV) and a customer retention marketing budget based upon the average customer value. Once you’ve established your budget, develop a marketing strategy designed to nurture and retain your customers. Doing so is a lot more affordable than trying to woo them back.

To identify the cost to maintain your customers, you would determine the total gross margin you anticipate from that customer over the relationship lifetime. Decide what percentage of that margin you need to invest in retaining them. Note: LTV should be about three times the cost for acquired customer.

Cost of Customer Acquisition

It would be easy to stop at measuring CPL, but doing so won’t give you the big picture. Take your marketing strategy to the next level and establish the marketing customer acquisition cost (CAC).

This cost will directly influence your future marketing budgets. This budget can (and probably should) encompass the costs for the entire sales process in addition to marketing efforts. You can find out the CAC by dividing the costs for sales and marketing by the number of new customers acquired during the same time frame.

Lead-to-Customer Ratio

In addition to CPL and CAC, it’s important to understand how many leads are transitioning to closed sales. If the number is low, there could be a breakdown between marketing and sales, or the marketing may not be successfully drawing customers far enough through the sales funnel to successfully close the sale.

This is the moment when performance tracking can save you. When lead conversion begins to falter, you’ll realize it sooner and be able to make adjustments to your marketing campaign to increase conversions to healthy levels.

Website Traffic

If your marketing campaign only lifts your website traffic, but doesn’t impact the length of time consumers spend on your pages, convert sales, lower bounce rates, or generate leads, then the website content and calls-to-action on your site likely need to be evaluated and modified to produce better results.

Social Media Metrics

Social media marketing has been rising in importance for years, but not every channel is a good fit for every business. Invest in the right social channels by examining how much traffic is coming to your site from each platform as well as how much of that traffic turns into actual leads.

Each social media platform provides page analytics that you can review to find out how your page and shared content is performing, as well as any paid social ads.

Mobile Metrics

Today, much of the purchase decision process begins on a smartphone even if it ends up on tablet or desktop computer. More and more purchases begin and end on a smartphone. Understand how consumers are interacting with your marketing through mobile. Limited mobile traffic may mean Google isn’t finding your pages to be mobile friendly, which also hurts your SEM performance.

Ensure your marketing experience is mobile-friendly on all platforms. This will make tracking mobile leads, bounces, and conversions easier and accurate.

Sales Team Response Time

In order to maintain the quality of the leads being generated, be certain that your sales team quickly responds to leads. Slow sales response time will negatively impact closed sales, which will skew your marketing results and measurement.

Email Marketing Performance

Email is an effective marketing method to nurture your customers and acquire new ones. Send concise, creative, offer-driven emails that are relevant to each segment of your database. Be careful to ensure that your emails comply with CAN-SPAM regulations.

Email marketing performance is typically analyzed through

  • Bounce Rate

  • Open Rate

  • Click-through Rate (CTR)

  • Forward Rate

  • Unsubscribe

  • Blocked/SPAM

Increasing unsubscribe rates may mean you’re emailing too often or the content isn’t being segmented for relevance to the recipient. Decreasing open rates may mean you need better subject lines or the sender address appears spammy. Decreasing CTRs could mean you need to improve the creative or the call-to-action (CTA).

On the other hand, high open rates, CTRs, and forwarding rates mean you’re on the right track.

Call Tracking

Call tracking is a measurement method by which you create and track a different telephone number for each of your marketing campaigns. For example, you may have a SEM campaign running, but instead of clicking on the ad, the consumer calls the phone number displayed in the ad. Using a call tracking solution, you can capture the true impact of your SEM campaign, instead of having to assume that the only leads your campaign generated were the ones who clicked the ad and possibly ending the campaign based on incomplete information.

Call tracking works for digital, print, and direct mail campaigns and is a great way to gauge campaign success.

Landing Page Conversion Rates

It isn’t enough to have a landing page that follows all the rules. You need to gauge the conversion rates from the landing page to determine whether it’s actually doing its job. As with website traffic, low conversion rates mean that marketing content on the page and the call-to-action need to be reevaluated. Try A/B testing to find out which landing page versions convert the most.

This should give you a better idea and improved insight about which metrics you can use to measure your marketing campaign success and why measuring KPIs is important for strategy and setting an effective marketing budget.

Start measuring your marketing performance:

  • Identify all of your marketing channels and establish their performance metrics.

  • Set goals for your KPIs that will help you determine whether you need to adjust your marketing strategy.

  • Review your KPIs consistently to determine whether you are trending toward meeting your goals.

  • For low-performing channels, determine what changes need to take place to improve performance.