Digital Marketing KPIs For Small Business Owners

There’s A Whole Lotta Jargon Goin’ On

Before we get going, let’s make sure you know what a KPI is (it’s okay if you don’t!). KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. KPIs are metrics or figures that determine whether a marketing campaign is successful. They show whether or not monthly goals were met, how your campaign is performing, and (most importantly) how your money is being spent. Unfortunately, since KPI can mean so many different things, the term is often thrown around pretty loosely. This can be a problem if you’re focusing on the wrong metrics – and an even bigger problem if a company is taking advantage of you by showing you inconsequential KPIs on purpose.

So, which metrics will be most important to you? It depends. There could be any number of metrics that are important to you that might not be important to the next person. However, the KPIs below are all fairly common, and regardless of the type of business you run, you’ll be interested in knowing these metrics if you care about how you’re spending your money.

Evil Raccon - What KPI should I invent now?


Engagement can also mean a lot of things! However, for the average small business owner, engagement should cover things like:

  • Unique Site Visitors – The total number of unique visitors that came to your website.
  • New vs Return Visitors – The number of visitors that were brand new versus the number of people that visited more than once.
  • Average Session Duration – The average amount of time a visitor spent on your website.
  • Pages Per Session – The average number of pages someone viewed on your site per visit.
  • Popular Landing Pages – Which of your pages did people land on first when visiting your site? This will most often be your homepage, but it could also be various service pages, landing pages for promotions, and in some cases blog entries.
  • Popular Navigation Paths – The route people took through your website, meaning the page they landed on all the way through the last page they visited before exiting the site.
  • Bounce Rate – A bounce is simply a session (or visit to your website) in which a visitor only visits one page on your website and does not click through to any other pages on your site. Google Analytics cannot determine how long a visitor stays on a page unless it has a way to measure it – in this case, the time before landing on a page and clicking a link to another page. Therefore, single session bounces will show up as having a duration of zero seconds, even if a visitor stayed on the page longer than that. That shouldn’t necessarily be a cause for alarm! A high bounce rate on a promotional landing page is pretty normal if all you want to do is capture a visitor’s information in a form. Similarly, if you have a one-page blog, a high bounce rate would be expected. However, if people land on your homepage and do not explore any of your service, product pages, or visit your contact page, a high bounce rate may be more concerning.
    • Bounce Rate = Single Page Sessions / All Page Sessions

Traffic Sources / Mediums

Viewing the source of your traffic can be helpful if you’re interested in seeing how you’re acquiring your visitors. The source is the website your traffic originated from – it could be a search engine like Google, a social networking site like Facebook, or another website that links to you. The medium is the general category of the source. Some common traffic mediums are:

  • Direct Traffic – This is traffic from people that typed your URL into their browser or clicked on a bookmark to visit your site directly.
  • Organic Traffic – This is traffic that came from people searching on popular search engines like Google or Bing.
  • Referral Traffic – This is traffic that came in from another site that links to yours.
  • CPC / Paid Search Traffic -This is traffic that came in from your paid ads in Google Google Ads. It could be PPC ads, display ads, pre-roll video ads, or remarketing.
  • Ad Traffic – Occasionally, some paid ad traffic might show up in a separate category from CPC or Paid Search. This is generally from paid ads on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Social Media Traffic – This is traffic that came in via links from social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.
  • Email Traffic – This is any traffic that came in via links from email. You’re more likely to see this type of traffic if you have an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Backlinks / Inbound Links

Backlinks are the total number of links to your website from other places on the web. Your total number of backlinks is important, but what is more important is that they come from reputable websites.

Search Visibility / Keyword Ranking

Your search visibility is determined by a lot of different factors. For a small business owner, it should cover your SEO rankings for different search terms, phrases, and keywords. This will show your current position in local search results for various keywords and potentially the volume of people searching using that particular keyword or phrase.

Search visibility goes beyond keywords. It also includes how visible you are in services like Google Business, Google Maps, social media, review sites, and online directory listings.

Social Media Presence / Social Media Footprint

Social media presence is how visible your business is on websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. This will usually include some metrics about how many new followers you’re getting each month, and how often people are engaging with your content through comments, likes, retweets, shares, etc.

To be frank, for a lot of small businesses, your social media presence might not be that important at all. While you should always set up a listing for your business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media sites, you might not see a ton of return on investment by spending a lot of time engaging your audience via social channels like Twitter. Out of all the KPIs in the list, the type of business you own will determine the importance of your social media presence. If you own an indie record label and your audience is mostly made up of millennials, being active on social media will likely be much more important than it would be to someone with an auto repair shop or landscaping service.

Impression Share

Your impression share is the total number of impressions an ad campaign received, divided by the estimated number of impressions a campaign is eligible for. Eligibility is more complicated to determine. Google bases it on your ad’s bid settings, where and to whom the ad is targeted, and overall quality score.

Impression Share = Total Impressions / Estimated Impressions Your Campaign Is Eligible To Receive

Conversion / Conversion Rate

A conversion is any action a lead took on your site that is tracked as such. It’s typical for things like store purchases, phone calls, and form completions to be tracked as conversions. For instance, let’s say that over the course of a month 28 people clicked to call you, another 13 people filled out your web form requesting more information, and 6 people signed up to be on your mailing list. All of these could be tracked as conversions, so your total would be 47 conversions for the month.

In an ad campaign, your conversion rate shows the percentage of people that clicked on an ad and then took another step on your site that resulted in a conversion. It’s determined by dividing the total amount of conversions by the amount of clicks you received on a campaign.

Conversion Rate = Total Conversions / Total Clicks

Click Through Rate

Your click through rate is the percentage of people that saw your ad (impressions) and then clicked on it. To get this figure, you divide your total impressions by your total clicks. A good CTR rate is generally considered to be between 1-2%.

Click Through Rate = Total Impressions / Total Clicks

Cost Per Click & Cost Per Conversion

Your cost per click is just that – it’s how much was paid per click on an ad. To get this figure, you divide the cost of all the clicks you received on an ad campaign by how many clicks you received.

Cost Per Click = Total Campaign Cost / Total Clicks

Your cost per conversion, or cost per lead, takes things a step further. It shows you how much you spent on each lead that took steps to convert on your website. In other words, it gives you the average cost of someone clicking through on an ad and then calling you or filling out a form on your site. If you spend $500 on a campaign, and you get 25 leads, you’ve spent $20 to acquire each lead. Your cost per conversion is determined by your total campaign cost divided by the total amount of conversions you received.

Cost Per Conversion = Total Campaign Cost / Total Conversions

Cost Per Acquisition

This KPI is often glossed over by digital marketing agencies that are trying to bamboozle you with tech-speak, and for good reason. For most small business owners, your cost per acquisition is probably the most critical KPI in terms of understanding your return on investment. Simply put, your cost per acquisition, or cost per qualified lead, is how much you’re spending to acquire a new lead (a phone call, a form fill requesting a quote, etc) that results in a sale for your business. If you’re only getting unqualified leads, you could be spending money on the wrong audience.

Your cost per acquisition is determined by taking your total monthly advertising budget and dividing it by the amount of leads you got that resulted in purchases. Once you have your CPQL, you can compare it to the typical amount of money you receive for your product or service to better determine your overall ROI.

Cost Per Acquisition = Monthly Ad Budget / Qualified Leads

Still Confused?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for a successful digital marketing campaign. While the KPIs above will likely be important to just about any business owner with an advertising budget, the marketing strategies that work for one type of business might not work for the next. This is why we always come up with customized strategies for each and every one of our clients. Wanna chat more about KPIs? One of our digital marketing consultants would love to chop it up with you. Drop us a line and let us know if you have any questions, or request an Online Visibility Report if you’re curious about where your site currently sits with the competition.


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