From its inception, digital marketing has enabled its users unprecedented insight into the campaigns they run, the results they achieve, and their impact on the bottom line. But the mountain of available data can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. And its rapid evolution often leaves novice digital marketers in a constant catch-up mode. Particularly since Google decided to sunset Universal Analytics in 2023 and roll out GA4, there has been simmering panic. Universal Analytics was friendly and familiar. Now, in one fell swoop, all its historical data was gone, and a new tool was put in its place. Users had no choice but to switch to GA4 last summer.
Whether you’re still reeling from the GA4 switchover or have never really had a handle on the data you measure, there are some key performance indicators you should keep track of in 2024 as you chart the success of your paid media campaigns. And while what you measure will depend upon your industry and the individual campaigns you run, here are the KPIs you’ll probably want to pay attention to this year.
1. Measure Impressions and Reach
Search and display campaigns can help get—and keep—your brand at the top of your prospect’s mind. They can increase awareness of your company and the products and services you offer. So, it’s important to measure how many times your ad is displayed and the number of people who likely saw it. Reach tells you how many times an individual user saw your ad and impressions tell you how many times your ad was seen, even if by the same person more than one. Both are important metrics to consider for paid media. You should also look at your cost-per-1000 impressions (CPM) to keep track of your budget and campaign ROI.
2. Click-Through Rate
Most of your campaigns are designed to have users take an action that gets them closer to a purchase. Impressions are good for branding, but clicks can be higher value actions. The user that clicks on an ad is engaged and interested in what you have to offer. When they click through to your landing page, you increase the likelihood that they will fill out a form or make a purchase. That’s why the click-through-rate (clicks your ad receives/number of impressions) is one determinant of a campaign’s success.
Another important KPI is your cost-per-click (CPC). CPC helps to understand how well your ads perform in auctions, where you place against your competitors, and how your budget is being consumed. Paying attention to CPCs can also help you fine tune campaigns to produce better results. But it’s important to note that cheap clicks that don’t convert further down funnel can quickly drain your digital marketing budget without producing results.
4. Measure Events
Specific to GA4, you can customize what you measure through “events.” You choose what is worthwhile in your customer’s journey. Whether a click or a page load, a download or a purchase, you determine what matters and track it through Google. You can see how far a user scrolls in a blog post or the engagement users have with your video. Because events can measure virtually any interaction and data point a user has with your site, page, or app, you garner a fuller picture of the actions that lead to sales. You can even assign a monetary value to specific events using parameters.
All the events you chart in GA4 can lead to a conversion. You can customize conversions, but they are often a request for information where a user fills out a form. In doing so, to some degree they’re saying: sure, let’s keep in touch. That direct customer engagement is one of the true benefits of digital marketing. When the user gives you the nod, you have the privilege of providing them with customized messages and content that keeps them interested. They’ve converted from a stranger into a true prospect.
6. Cost Per Acquisition and LTV
If you’ve ever been tempted by an offer of cheap leads, buyer beware! What should matter to you far more than affordable leads that fill the top of your sales funnel are those that make it further along the customer journey all the way to a sale at a reasonable CPA. Those $50 leads that waste your team’s time and attention can be astronomically more expensive than they appear. Follow them down-funnel and determine which turn into clients, how long it took, and whether they come back time and again. For example, the savvy car dealership knows that a $500 lead may sound expensive at first blush, but if it converts to a buyer who comes back for a new car every few years and brings along family and friends, it represents a windfall in profits.
7. Digital Marketing ROI
Especially if you’re in charge of answering up the food chain on marketing results, the ROI you can prove may be critical to your budget, your department, and your standing within your organization. Calculate return on investment by dividing the profits you saw from a particular campaign against its costs. For example, if you invested $5000 in a campaign and your profit was $20,000, you divide the $20K by $5K to get a 4:1 ROI ration. For every dollar you spent, you got $4 in return!
At CloudControlMedia, we are frequently astonished by how few of these metrics new clients have been paying attention to. We get it. There are a lot of moving pieces in digital marketing and when you run multiple campaigns for several products, programs, or services, it’s a lot to keep track of. But we have a secret weapon! The CloudControlMedia Platform busts down digital marketing silos and lets campaigns, platforms, channels, and even keywords compete to see which produce the best results, by tying directly into a client’s customer relationship management system. We know when a click is a bargain price or a waste of money. We know when the dollar you spend produces one or ten! Find out more. Request a demo today.
Linda Emma is head of marketing at CloudControlMedia. With more than two decades experience in digital marketing, she helps clients tell their unique stories while driving performance metrics that translate to results.