Measure the success of your marketing campaigns and determine which tactics are most effective at driving qualified leads and revenue.
Marketers are artists.
Brainstorming creative solutions for driving business, designing eye-catching graphics, and crafting the perfect CTAs.
But in today’s hyper competitive landscape, marketers must be more than just artists.
They must be both artists and scientists. Responsible not only for creating, but also for researching, hypothesizing, and validating.
Digital marketing has forever altered the discipline by making data more accessible than ever. And with data availability, comes the need for proof that our artistic endeavors are delivering business value.
To supply that proof, marketers must find a way to use data to supply clients and leaders with undeniable evidence.
Doing so requires a detailed plan for measuring marketing performance.
But, what are the best techniques, metrics, and tools to track marketing campaign success?
To determine this, we asked sales and marketing leaders across various industries for their best tips and tricks.
For this article, we’ll cover:
💡 Pro Tip
Haven’t got time to read the full blog? This guide will walk you through marketing measurement, the key marketing metrics you need to track and how to best measure them.
Download a complete guide to measuring your marketing
First, let’s define the term measuring marketing effectiveness for the sake of clarity. Measuring marketing effectiveness is used by professionals to analyse and describe the efficiency and impact of marketing.
It’s both an essential and valuable process.
The goal of almost any organisation is to earn or increase revenue.
However, many marketers are making the mistake of using high-level, vanity metrics across their campaigns to determine marketing effectiveness.
While vanity metrics offer some value, it’s impossible to define the success of your marketing by just looking at metrics such as traffic, clicks and conversions.
In reality, your company executives (or clients) don’t care about how many leads your latest campaign produced.
They want to know which lead sources generate the most revenue and how marketing is moving the needle on wider company goals.
When you effectively measure marketing effectiveness, you can observe what works and what doesn’t.
You can better evaluate performance, track where your leads and sales are coming from, and spot areas of improvement.
Chris Pentell, Founder and Director at LifeUpswing, believes that: “If you aren’t tracking your marketing, you have no chance of understanding your business.”
Despite the importance of measuring marketing effectiveness, there are still two out of ten marketers who have no reporting in place or are only just getting started.
There’s no single right way to create a marketing report or how frequently you should measure the success of your campaigns.
It all depends on a variety of factors, such as your timeframe, specific goals and objectives.
However, when surveyed, 32% of companies reported that they track campaign success once a month, while 43% measure performance at least once a week.
Nearly half of the people we surveyed measure and report on marketing effectiveness at least once a week.
Weekly reports are a great short-term waypoint to check in and allow you to stay on top of opportunities or issues that may suddenly arise.
Kristin Stump, Marketing Manager at My Enamel Pins, agrees: “For a more accurate analysis of your marketing campaign, you should measure it once a week. With this, you can make necessary improvements frequently.”
While there are some metrics that make more sense to track frequently, spending time explaining results to your company executives or clients every week can turn into a lengthy and time-consuming process.
It’s for that reason why 32% of marketers prefer to opt for monthly reporting. Not only that, but monthly reporting allows you to identify larger patterns in your data.
“Measuring the success of marketing campaigns truly only needs to be done once per month,” says Lisa Cutter, Social Media Director at Amp Up My Biz. “Reporting should include not only the monthly data but also month-over-month and year-over-year analytics comparisons. This allows you to see trends and identify what’s working so you can do more of it.”
To learn more about the best practices, metrics, and tools needed to measure and evaluate marketing effectiveness, we asked dozens of experts in the sales and marketing space to weigh in and share their input.
“Long before your campaign is launched, you need to set yourself up for success. You must determine how you’ll measure your campaign and define success,” says Lee Grant, CEO at Wrangu.
The first step in measuring marketing effectiveness is to set the right goals, either for an individual campaign or overall objective.
It’s impossible to measure and track campaign success if there aren’t any clear and specific goals to meet, right?
CEO at Translation Equipment HQ, Will Ward, agrees: “For us, the most important step in analysing marketing campaign success is setting clear, precise and aligned objectives.”
Will adds, “We’ve learned the hard way that although there might be huge potential in a given objective, success in both analysis and outcome depends on our objectives aligning perfectly with our goals, in both the short and long term. So working hard on setting clear objectives is important for us.”
With the right goals in place, you can easily track and measure how each campaign is performing and gain powerful insights to tailor your marketing strategy—but where do you start?
Summer Romasco, Marketing Director at Ad Hoc Labs, suggests starting by asking yourself the following questions: “Who are you attempting to reach, and how? What content are you using to complete your aims? What pieces need to be created, and which are ready to go? Who’s onboard, and who needs to be?”
“To track our marketing campaigns and the success of them, we’ll track specific KPIs,” says Teri Shern, Co-Founder at Conex Boxes. “Using these KPIs, and comparing them to other campaigns, allows us to determine how well our marketing is doing and what techniques seem to work best for our leads.”
Once you set your goals and objectives, you need to decide what key performance indicators you’ll need in order to monitor your marketing campaign effectiveness.
Without KPIs, you’d have little to no understanding of your success rate, and you’d risk losing focus on what matters most to your business.
Gerrid Smith, CMO at Joy Organics, believes: “Having the right metrics to measure your marketing effectiveness can help you make better sense of your data and make necessary improvements.”
With so many KPIs available, how do you choose the best ones to define the success of your marketing?
In all honesty, it depends.
There are many factors to consider when implementing KPIs. No need to worry, as we’ll walk you through some of the most common KPIs and cover everything you need to know to help make the right choice later on.
You know the phrase. All things must come to an end.
This also applies to your marketing campaigns. Once you set goals and key performance indicators, you must establish a time frame.
Time frames, or deadlines, keep you focused and create accountability. They provide a sense of urgency and propel you to take the necessary steps to reach your initial goals and objectives.
Nikolay Krastev, SEO specialist at Agile Digital Agency, agrees: “It doesn’t matter if you have five days or five months to work on your campaign. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and urgency by setting a time frame for your digital marketing campaign.”
“Campaigns need to be checked upon frequently in order to track progress towards the objective and make ongoing adjustments,” says Cristian Ungureanu, Senior Growth Manager at QuickMail. “It depends on the type of campaign, but I check my campaigns multiple times a week, and I often find improvements.”
Once you’ve established your timeframe, you can start to assign checkpoints to gauge your progress along the way.
Chief Editor at Kitchen Infinity, Dean Scaduto, agrees: “It’s essential to keep track of and evaluate your marketing efforts frequently to see if they’re yielding the expected results, such as greater sales.”
The frequency at which you schedule your progress reviews depends on your goals and what you’re trying to achieve with your marketing campaigns. However, we suggest setting more checkpoints in the initial stages of your campaign.
This will allow you to iron out any kinks and see what’s working well. When you’re confident your campaign is running at full capacity, you can start to schedule progress reviews less frequently.
To successfully measure your marketing effectiveness, you’ll need to invest in a solution that can help you compare and analyse your campaigns.
You’re probably familiar with popular tools like Google Analytics and Facebook ad manager. But, there are so many more options that can help you track your campaigns and better understand your leads and customers.
While there are many solutions that can capture and analyse your campaign data, the truth is, there’s no single tool that meets every need.
“The marketing tools you use to assess the performance of your campaigns are determined by the goal you’re aiming for,” says Herbert Rigs, CEO at UnscrambleX.
What works well for your business might not work for the next one. However, to help set you off in the right direction, we asked our experts to share a few of their favourite marketing tools.
“Ruler has allowed us to streamline our entire digital dashboard by allowing us to track goals more relevant to our business,” says Stephen Taylor, Head of Digital at Totalmobile.
Ruler is a visitor level multi-touch marketing attribution product for forms, phone calls and live chat.
💡 Pro Tip
Want more info? Download the guide on how Ruler works and see how it can improve the quality of your marketing reports.
Download the guide on Ruler Analytics
By automatically integrating with your CRM, analytics and other products, Ruler evidences every step a visitor makes in their journey and automatically matches revenue back to the original lead source.
It’s perfect for those looking to prove the impact of their campaigns and want to double down on what’s actually working to drive revenue, not just conversions.
Probably the most used marketing tool on our list. Google Analytics is an essential tool for marketers looking to understand how well their content and campaigns are working to drive traffic, clicks and conversions.
“Tracking a marketing campaign starts with selecting the right tools for your goals. We start with using Google Analytics to track all the details for any marketing campaign,” says Scott Keever, Founder at Scott Keever SEO.
”We feed data into an analytics software called Superset. This allows us to combine the data with other internal information such as sales and customer lifetime value,” Brett Bonnet, Co-Founder and President at Quality Log Products.
You’ve set your goals, metrics and found a tool to capture your marketing data, but what next?
To make sense of your data and extract meaningful and actionable insights, you might want to consider using a marketing dashboard.
With a marketing dashboard, you can easily collect important information about your campaigns and share key insights with your company executives and/or clients.
Brian Dean, Founder at Exploding Topics, agrees: “The best place to collect and evaluate campaign data is in a marketing dashboard. You can create a marketing dashboard that visualises your campaign performance using your KPIs and priority indicators.”
He added, “It’s critical to check the dashboard at regular intervals. It’s best to check in on ongoing campaigns regularly, quarterly, and annually as a rule of thumb.
“Benchmarking gives useful context, allowing you to create relevant goals, gain insight into market trends, and see how you stack up against your competitors,” Alex Uriarte, Personal Injury Attorney at 1-800 Injured.
Benchmarking your marketing performance allows you to capitalise on growth opportunities and spot areas for improvement.
More importantly, you can gain a competitive advantage and set more meaningful and achievable targets for your campaigns.
Kathy Bennett, CEO & Founder at BPKC, usually begins with past data at hand. “We compare it with previous statistics, which is conditioned to make sure the comparison is authentic. This then goes to the research team that analyses the entire cycle and helps us gain a picture of how fruitful a particular campaign has been,” added Kathy.
💡 Pro Tip
Starting a new campaign and don’t have any past performance data?
We sampled the Ruler global database, which has over 100 million data points to distinguish the average conversion, call and form rate across fourteen industries. Download the report, to see performance breakdowns by industry and gain a snapshot of which marketing channels are performing well for your competitors.
Download the conversion rate benchmark report
CEO & Founder at The Art of Business, Amanda Nelson, also starts with benchmarking past performance or marketing actions across all online channels.
“We talk with the client about their measurements of success (what would a successful campaign look like for them). Then, we prioritise and put a plan together based on the past data and the client’s ultimate goals,” Amanda added.
When surveyed, 67.7% of respondents reported using a CRM to hold their lead and marketing data.
A CRM is a vital tool for measuring marketing and sales effectiveness.
It can help you organise, connect and track all your data collected along the path of a specific lead and/or customer.
Most CRMs have functions and processes you can put in place that allow you to view important KPIs in one single place.
Daniela Sawyer, Founder & Business Development Strategist at Find People Fast, agrees: “CRM platforms are more effective for managing our prospecting and sales activities. However, when it comes to tracking marketing initiatives, they can be pretty helpful. In most situations, we can filter or sort our prospects by campaign ID, lead source, or referral program, giving us real-time insight into the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.”
There are many CRM solutions available that you can choose to measure your marketing effectiveness. However, the most familiar and recognisable are Salesforce, HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics.
Brett Larkinsent, CEO at Uplifted Yoga, uses Salesforce to measure marketing results, including metrics for specific campaigns. “I find it an unbeatable tool.
Each campaign I set has very clear objectives, including where I expect to see growth through lead generation, conversions, and so on.” Brett added.
“Another sure-shot way of measuring your success would be to check your online feedback,” says David Northup, CEO at InShapeMD. “Incorporating customer feedback on your campaign is integral as not only can it be used to measure its success, but it can be utilised for future campaigns.”
Regularly checking feedback is crucial. You can better understand the features and products that make your audience tick and optimise your campaigns to drive more profitable leads and sales.
Manager at Tiger Supplies, Felix Maberly, also suggests: “Monitoring the responses of your customers.”
Felix added: “If the sales of your competition are decreasing and you experience an increase, it’s likely your marketing campaign was a success.”
If you’re new to marketing measurement and goal setting, start small. It’ll be a lot easier to measure the progress of your campaigns and amend accordingly.
COO at Leaf Gutter Guard, Herman Hibbert, agrees: “Some companies become enthusiastic and want to launch a large-scale campaign. It’s enticing, but you risk having a fragmented campaign.”
Herman continues: “We recommend beginning small with a modest, smart campaign. You’ll be able to observe what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve without spending your entire budget.”
“Paying attention to metrics has never been easier. Building a system that includes the most important digital marketing indicators cannot be accomplished in a week or even a month. It’s a project that needs to be updated regularly,” says Tanner Arnold, President & CEO at UnscrambleX.
So, your campaign is running at full speed, and you may feel like the job is done.
It’s tempting to take your foot off the pedal.
But without constantly testing and fine-tuning your approach and KPIs, you run the risk of leaving money on the table.
There’s always room for improvement, and continually testing and adapting new ideas will ultimately get you better performance.
Omer Riaz, CEO at Urtasker, suggests testing with two or more different ads with the same objective.
“When the ads are live, we start monitoring each campaign, ad copy, and element such as average CTR, CPC, Ad Rank, Bid rates, etc. We make changes to campaigns while testing and as time passes to ensure enough data exists to base results,” says Omer.
There are tons of metrics that marketers can track to measure campaign success. Traffic, conversions, leads—the list goes on.
It’s important to track metrics that prove your efforts are working, but what are the best metrics for indicating marketing effectiveness?
Over 200 marketers pitched in for our attribution and reporting analysis survey and submitted top key performance indicators for tracking campaign and marketing performance.
Let’s take a look at each one.
A conversion occurs when an individual completes a desired goal, such as filling out a form, making a phone call or downloading a whitepaper.
“Conversions are the most important metric to track because they bring tangible value to the client. If your website isn’t converting to your goals, your client isn’t going to feel the effects of your efforts or get a good ROI,” says Matt Benevento, Senior SEO Strategist at HMG Creative.
Put simply, a lead is any person who shows interest in a company’s product or service.
“Leads, or lead generation, is the most important indicator of marketing campaign success since a customer’s purchase generates revenue. This is tracked through contact form submissions, phone calls, and appointment requests,” says Brandon Schroth, Co-Founder at Nomad SEO.
Revenue is the amount of money you generate by selling your product and services. Tracking revenue is crucial as it essentially demonstrates the velocity of your business growth.
💡 Pro Tip
Struggling to track revenue from your marketing, so you have to guess? The closed-loop framework allows you to understand which specific marketing campaigns are most effective in driving revenue for your business.
Download your copy of the closed loop marketing framework
“We are primarily tracking our return on investment and monthly recurring revenue metrics, as these are most important for our current business goals. Larger businesses may not care about the initial ROI of their marketing campaigns, but fresh brands like ours do. The monthly recurring revenue metric is a good way to see whether or not your marketing efforts are working,” says Eric Mills, Owner & CEO at Pro Support Accessories.
Clicks are used to count the number of times that users click on an ad or piece of content that directs them to a specific destination i.e. a landing page on your website.
Acquisition Manager at Tidio, Karol Nowacki, believes: “Click-through rate is one of the fundamental marketing metrics.”
Karol added, “It shows us straightforwardly whether we reach our targeted audience and stand out through the competitors. For example, low CTR may suggest that our target group ignored our campaign or didn’t find it interesting enough to click.
Demonstrating ROI across your channels, campaigns, and ads is essential. Without it, you’re marketing blind.
“ROI is used to determine which investments are more profitable and efficient than others. It’s especially helpful when comparing different business units within an organisation,” says Business Growth Strategist Danny Veiga.
Related: How to measure digital marketing ROI
Danny continues: “ROI may also give you insight into how much profit each potential project at work would offer based on its expected rate of return while accounting only for current cost.”
Cost per acquisition is a metric that measures your advertising cost by a conversion, as opposed to a click. This can include downloading content, filling a form, or making a purchase.
Related: What is cost per acquisition
“Cost per acquisition is useful for businesses as it allows you to compare the ROI from different campaigns as well as figure out how much it costs you to acquire a customer,” says Alex Moss, Founder & CEO at Tactical Arbitrage.
Cost per lead is a marketing metric used to determine how well your campaigns are working to drive new leads. To calculate CPL, you just take your total marketing spend and divide it by the total number of new leads.
While this metric offers some value, CPL only takes you so far. A lead doesn’t guarantee revenue. So, always be aware that your investment for each lead might not ever result in revenue.
“CPL is solely concerned with the campaign’s lead generation. It does not assess the quality of leads because it excludes the sales process. Let’s imagine the five sales came from ten leads in the previous example. With the same $1,000 budget, that equates to a lead cost of $100,” Amit Raj, Founder at The Links Guy.
Impressions show you how many times your ad or content has been viewed by your target audience.
If you’re growing brand awareness, it’s vital to understand how many people you’re reaching. Engagements and impressions on an individual post-by-post basis is a great way to learn what content is working.
“Traffic is one of the most essential metrics to track, and that includes differentiating between organic and paid traffic,” says Kristaps Brencans, CMO at On The Map.
Kristaps added: “One of the main goals of any marketing campaign is to bring more visitors to your website, which is the hub of your business, and traffic is the best measure of that success rate.”
“ROI can be substituted by ROAS if the primary source that generates the most leads for your business is PPC,” says Evgenia Evseeva, SEO Manager at Brand North.
An acronym for return on ad spend, ROAS is primarily used by PPC marketers to understand how adverts are driving conversions and sales for their businesses.
ROAS is crucial as it allows you to determine which ad campaigns are most and least successful so you can continuously refine your spending to generate the most revenue for the least costs.
Customer acquisition cost is the average amount of money that a business spends to acquire new customers.
When tracked correctly, marketers can gain insight into the acquisition channels that generate the most value and allocate budgets accordingly to drive more profitable results.
Martin Luenendonk, CEO at FounderJar, agrees: “This metric lets you know the total cost of gaining a new customer. Knowing how much it costs to acquire customers can help you make better marketing decisions and allocate marketing resources well.”
Customer lifetime value indicates the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer. It’s a must have metric for SaaS companies and service-based businesses that provide a monthly retainer.
With customer lifetime value, you can effectively decide how much you need to spend to acquire new customers.
If your customer acquisition cost is higher than your customer value, there’s a strong possibility that you’re losing money.
“By calculating the CLV, you can identify which marketing initiatives bring in the most clients,” added Saskia Ketzm CEO at MojomoX.
As we’ve just discussed, there’s a plethora of KPIs that you can choose from to track the effectiveness of your campaigns.
But, by tracking the marketing KPIs that matter, you can make important decisions that will help drive your business forward.
Bradley Bonnen, Founder & CEO at iFlooded Restoration, agrees: “Having the right metrics to measure your strategy can help you make sense of the data and make necessary improvements.”
Seeing as every business is unique, you can’t rely on a guide to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be measuring.
However, there are things you can take into consideration when attempting to choose and manage the right KPIs for your business.
💡 Pro Tip
Remember, Ruler can help you track anything from conversions and phone calls to individual customers. Download the guide below and find out how your business can track KPIs with the help of Ruler Analytics.
Complete guide to measuring your marketing
When used properly, KPIs are an extremely effective way to gauge the impact of your marketing campaigns.
The most effective KPIs are closely tied to wider business objectives and answer critical questions asked by your company executives and clients.
More importantly, they provide you with a better understanding of your outputs, allowing you to drive more meaningful actions across your marketing campaigns.
Before you choose your KPIs, it helps to know what objectives you’re performing against.
Start with the basics:
Darshan Somashekar, Founder at Freecell Challenge, agrees: “The objective is to match your KPIs to your company goals, focusing on those that have a direct impact on business outcomes.”
You can measure an abundance of different, yet equally detailed metrics such as visits, clicks, and conversions. But in spite of this profusion of choice, think about how many you definitely need.
Less is more when it comes to KPIs.
If you try to track too many KPIs all at once, you can end up counteracting your performance efforts. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, you should avoid tracking more than 10 KPIs at a time.
Viewing metrics in isolation can lead to false conclusions and poor decision-making.
For example, your campaign may do well in driving leads, but when you dig in, you might find that these leads are not ready to buy or unqualified.
Your sales team suffers because marketing isn’t doing its job to drive the right type of leads and negatively impacts their own specific metrics and goals.
If you were to look at your KPI’s holistically, however, you could ensure that your marketing team is successful in driving qualified leads whilst maximising the bottom line.
Content Marketer at GoodFirms, Nathan Sebastian, agrees: “Looking at any of the campaign insights in isolation can be misleading. For example, tracking the number of likes or favourites on a piece of content will simply make one aspect of the campaign’s engagement more visible.”
Nathan continues: “As such, this won’t reveal whether the target audience also acted or reacted in other ways which are potentially more valuable. This could include commenting, sharing or signing up for further information with a valid email address. You need to look at metrics together to get a holistic view of effectiveness and performance.
Different companies use different reporting methods. For most businesses, however, there’s only one person in charge of producing marketing reports.
Everyone thinks differently when reporting on marketing effectiveness. Having one person in charge keeps your marketing consistent and accurate to ensure everything runs without a hitch.
Founder & CEO at Wall Street Zen, Nate Tsang, suggests: “Designating one person to gather data for a detailed report that you can review together.”
Nate continues: “You can review what went wrong and right, then start over again.”
Michelle Devani, Founder at lovedevani, concludes this for us: “Measuring and analysing marketing campaigns is delicate. But it’s exciting to see the growth of the company with the help of marketing campaigns.”
We hope you’ve learned a little more about measuring campaign success and the metrics you need to get started.
As a marketer, it’s in your best interests to figure out which types of marketing drive campaign success. With the right tools, metrics and strategy, you can highlight your marketing success and justify your value to the company.
For more great ways to measure your marketing effectiveness, download our complete guide on marketing measurement.