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Amplify Your Agency’s Success Using Custom Metrics

Custom metric example showing total ad cost

Your clients–and their stakeholders–want to know whether their business is growing or not. And they don’t want to be bogged down by too many details. As your agency scales and gains more prominent, enterprise-level clients, you’ll need custom metrics to effectively communicate how you’re tracking against their KPIs.

That’s where custom metrics for data blending come in. As a quick illustration, let’s say you’re running paid ad campaigns for a client. The total Google Ads spend would be considered a standard metric, as it is a single data point from a single source.

However, combining the total spend on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Spotify Ads and dividing it by the total number of conversions across all platforms to get a blended cost per acquisition would be a custom metric.

With the increased flexibility of custom metrics, combine various data points to instantly glean actionable insights from client campaigns while providing additional depth and transparency to your client reports.

For another example, you may want to combine data from several PPC platforms to track the current spend against budgets or to see the true ROAS of your cross-platform advertising campaigns. Or, perhaps, you want to put a dollar value to all of the clicks driven by social media campaigns to show the earned media value generated by your agency.

Consistently extracting the right data points and reporting on clients’ success is a hurdle agencies need to overcome to scale. This article explores how to build custom metrics into your custom marketing dashboards to create bespoke reports that will keep your clients coming back for more insights.

In this article:

What Are Custom Metrics?

*Custom Metrics are available on the Agency and Enterprise Plans

Custom metrics are existing marketing metrics or data points that are put into a formula. This formula allows you to create personalized KPIs you will track for your client reports. 

As you probably know, a business metric is a quantifiable measurement that tracks the performance and progress of a particular campaign. From conversion metrics to PPC spend reports, data points are strewn across multiple campaigns and platforms. 

Standard business metrics themselves are created by simple formulas—for example, by adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing various data points to arrive at a single value that can quantify the performance of a campaign.

For example, one of the most common PPC metrics—return on ad spend (ROAS)—is calculated as follows:

ROAS = Revenue Attributable to Advertising / Total Ad Spend

As you begin to get into more advanced forms of marketing (such as cross-platform advertising), things can get a bit more complicated, and standard metrics may not cut it. In particular, you may want to show clients the success of the ad campaigns across all platforms.

Or, perhaps, you want to take the total ad spend from PPC reports and divide it by the revenue generated through Stripe payments to show how much of their revenue is being reinvested into growth. 

What makes a metric custom? You create the formula based on your individual clients’ marketing and business goals. As long as the individual data points are available, your agency can create a custom metric to display it in a unique and insightful way. 

In essence, custom metrics are exactly like standard metrics in that they use formulas to aggregate data, leaving you with a single, quantifiable piece of data. The only difference with custom metrics is in their use case.

We’ll get to more advanced examples of custom metrics below, but returning to our PPC example, a client that uses Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and LinkedIn Ads could use the following formula to calculate their cross-platform ROAS:

Total ROAS = (Revenue from Facebook Ads + Revenue from Google Ads + Revenue from LinkedIn Ads) / (Facebook Ad Spend + Google Ad Spend + Twitter Ad Spend)

Since each client has its own unique business goals, this brings us to why custom metrics are important to both agencies and clients.

Why Are Custom Metrics Important?

When you combine data from various marketing sources into a single metric, clients can immediately understand the results, regardless of their level of technical marketing expertise. Bonus: your team is always on track and held accountable for reaching KPI goals. 

It all boils down to the three C’s: 

Clarity 

Custom metrics make the results crystal clear by combining multiple data points into one. Adding custom metrics to your client reports helps you provide immediate feedback at-a-glance. 

Consistency 

When it comes to scaling your agency, consistency is key. Creating a custom metric gives you the ability to analyze the data accurately. This removes the additional step of data retrieval and reduces the possibility of human error. 

Client Retention 

There comes a point when your agency is working with enterprise-level clients that need more upper-level data that your classic metrics simply can’t provide. Maybe you want to show how your ad campaigns convert into actual sales and impact your client’s business. 

Data-driven marketing is essential to succeed in today’s competitive online world. Tracking your client’s progress in a clear way is essential for retaining your clients over the long run. Right away, your clients will see just how your agency is progressing towards their business goals and bringing them to success. 

How To Create Custom Metrics 

GIF showing how to add a custom metric in the AgencyAnalytics interface

Firstly, navigate to the campaign for which you want to create the custom metrics. For this example, let's use Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

Next, select Settings from the left-hand menu and then Custom Metrics from the top menu. 

Remember that Custom Metrics are only available on Agency and higher plans, so if you don’t see this option, check your subscription status. 

Now here's where the fun begins. You'll be brought to a Custom Metric setup screen like this:

Custom Metrics setup screen

The first three fields are:

  • Name

  • Data Type (integer, float, currency, or percent)

  • Description

The fourth and final field is where you can get truly creative: the Formula field.

Creating Custom Metrics Formulas

To define your custom metrics, you typically want to manipulate two or more existing metrics using a mathematical operator.

To do this, simply:

  • Choose metrics from our integrations

  • Insert operators (the basic math functions such as addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication). If you’ve ever done reporting with manual spreadsheets, you should be very familiar with these types of formulas.

Add static numbers–You can divide by 3 if you want to get the average of 3 metrics–or set an approximate value for each organic search click. For example:

Create custom metrics instructions

Adding Custom Metrics to Your Dashboards and Reports 

Luckily, it is just as easy as adding any other widget. Simply Add a widget to your dashboard or report, navigate to Misc, and select Custom Metric.

Adding Custom Metric widget

Then select from your existing Custom Metrics.

Adding Custom Metric widget - 1

And there you have it! Set up a custom metric formula once to automatically update with fresh data inside your reporting platform. It's that easy.

Now for your use cases.

Custom Metrics Formula Examples

With access to over 70 marketing platforms connected to your AgencyAnalytics account, the use cases are practically endless. 

Want to show your total engagement across all social media platforms? You can do that. Need to find out your average cost per phone lead? Not a problem when you combine AgencyAnalytic’s PPC reporting software with call tracking reports

Take any existing metric or data point across all your clients’ integrations, plug it into your formula, and you have your own custom metric.

Here are some sample formulas for custom metrics. 

Calculate Gross Profit

Review how well your ad campaigns are converting into actual sales.

Integrations: WooCommerce or Shopify, Facebook Ads

Metrics:

  • WooCommerce Total Sales

  • Shopify Total Sales

  • Facebook Ads Amount Spent

Formula: (e-commerce platform) Total Sales - Facebook Ads Amount Spent

gross profit custom metric

Calculate Total Ad Spend

Evaluate your ad spend across all your platforms and campaigns.

Integrations: Microsoft Advertising (Formerly Bing Ads), Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads.

Metrics:

  • Microsoft Advertising Cost (campaign analytics)

  • Facebook Ads Amount Spent

  • Google Ads Cost (ad analytics)

  • Twitter Ads Cost (campaign analytics)

  • LinkedIn Ads Cost

Formula: Microsoft Advertising Cost + Facebook Ads Amount Spent + Google Ads Cost + Twitter Ads Cost + LinkedIn Ads Cost

total ad spend custom metrics formula

Calculate Cost Revenue Ratio

Measure the efficiency of your expenses to your earnings.

Integrations: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Shopify, WooCommerce

Metrics:

  • WooCommerce Total Sales

  • Shopify Total Sales

  • Facebook Ads Amount Spent

  • Google Ads Cost (ad analytics)

Formula: (Google Ads Cost (ad analytics) + Facebook Ads Amount Spent) / WooCommerce or Shopify Total Sales

Cost revenue ratio formula for custom metric

Average Cost Per Lead

Estimate your campaign's cost-effectiveness across your PPC platforms.

Integrations: Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Business Profile

Metrics:

  • Facebook Ads Amount Spent

  • Google Ads Cost (ad analytics)

  • Google Business Profile Calls

  • Google Analytics Unique Events

  • Facebook Ads Messaging Conversations Started

  • Facebook Leads (ad analytics)

Formula: (Facebook Ads Amount Spent + Google Ads Cost) / (GBP Calls + GA Unique Events + Facebook Messaging Conversations Started + Facebook Leads)

formula calculating average cost per lead in a custom metric

Calculate ROAS for Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Compare your revenue to the cost of your ad campaigns.

Integrations: Facebook Ads, Google Ads

Metrics:

  • Facebook Ads Website Purchases Conversion Value

  • Google Ads Value Conv. (ad analytics)

  • Facebook Ads Amount Spent

  • Google Ads Cost (ad analytics)

Formula: (Facebook Ads Website Purchases Conversion Value + Google Ads Value Conv) / (Facebook Ads Amount Spent + Google Ad Cost)

Formula calculating ROAS from PPC in a custom metric

Facebook and Google Ad Clicks

View the total number of clicks your ads are getting.

Integrations: Facebook Ads, Google Ads

Metrics:

  • Facebook Ads Clicks

  • Google Ads Clicks (ad analytics)

Formula: Facebook Ads Clicks + Google Ads Clicks (ad analytics)

formula showing facebook and google ad clicks in a custom metric

Phone Conversion Rate

Review your PPC Ad clicks to calls conversion rate

Integrations: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, Adroll, Microsoft Advertising, Centro, Simpli.fi, Phone Wagon, Avanser, Call Source, Call Tracking Metrics, CallRail, Delacon, DialogTech, Google Business Profile, Marchex, Twilio, WildJar, Synup.

Metrics:

  • Clicks

  • Google Ads clicks (ad analytics)

  • Facebook Ads clicks (ad analytics)

  • LinkedIn Ads clicks (ad analytics)

  • Twitter Ads clicks (ad analytics)

  • Adroll clicks

  • Microsoft Advertising clicks (ad analytics)

  • Centro analytics clicks

  • Simpli.fi clicks (ad analytics)

Calls

  • Any "calls" metric from the platforms named (as only one "calls" type is listed)

Formula: (Call tracking platform Calls / PPC Platform Clicks) * 100

custom metric formula calculating phone conversion rate

Agency Tip: Leave some time for troubleshooting. You want to ensure these formulas are correct from the start rather than having to correct them later. 

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The Value of Custom Metrics for Agencies and Their Clients

When it comes to managing clients, agency owners know that each client is looking to achieve their unique business goals. For marketers, consistently delivering on these goals is often the difference between a client churning and retaining them over the long run.

That said, below are a few of the ways that custom metrics can help you not only achieve results for clients but also communicate these successes in a more accurate and transparent way.

Data Aggregation

As the ROAS example above highlights, there are many times when agencies need to define KPIs that combine similar metrics across multiple platforms. Also, given that the buyer's journey today often involves multiple platforms and touchpoints before an eventual conversion, this use case is more relevant than ever.

The ability to use simple formulas and create these target KPIs—in this example, a cross-platform ROAS—allows you to easily communicate the results of your paid advertising campaigns as a whole.

On top of helping agencies achieve their internal performance targets, aggregating this data into a single custom metric ensures that clients truly understand the return they're getting across all marketing channels.

Customizability

There’s no question that the standard business metrics serve their purpose, but many clients that hire agencies want a more personalized experience. By showing them custom metrics created specifically for their company, your agency adds a level of customization and personalization they likely won't get elsewhere. 

If your client has a particular goal that spans multiple platforms–such as increased social media followers–using custom metrics provides a clean and easy way to track that progress automatically. 

It’s easy to create a custom metric for practically any data-driven marketing goal, and you only have to do it once, and it's available for every future client report. 

Ultimately, providing this level of customization in your reporting shows that you’re going the extra step to help their business succeed.

Granularity

Finally, the reality is that the digital marketing landscape has matured significantly over the past few years. These days, companies are testing and optimizing the performance of every stage in the buyer’s journey, which adds a degree of technical complexity. 

With custom metrics, match this level of marketing sophistication with much more granular insights from your data and easily report on the results.

No Two Clients Are the Same

Each and every one of your clients has a unique business story, and their reporting should be no different. These days, data storytelling is essential for client retention. Your client reports are critical to giving actionable feedback that will not only improve your marketing campaigns but your client’s business too. 

As you scale your agency and begin to build out more advanced marketing campaigns, the standard metrics from each integration channel aren't sufficient. From an internal agency perspective, these standard metrics often don't allow you to track the true performance of each campaign across channels. From a client reporting perspective, it can also be difficult to communicate the results of each campaign in a way that anyone can understand.

By using custom metrics to build personalized dashboards and reports, your agency gives individual attention to each client. 

With the level of granularity from both an analytics and reporting perspective, custom metrics provide the customization required in the modern marketing landscape. Given that the customer journey is also highly fragmented these days, this need for custom data aggregation is more important than ever.

With a full suite of white labeled customization tools and an easy drag-and-drop report builder, quickly highlight your clients’ KPIs front and center to communicate your clients’ success easily. 

Go the extra mile and tell a story your clients will immediately understand using the annotations and goals feature. That added level of transparency will differentiate your agency from the competition.

example of a drag-and-drop custom marketing dashboard

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Written by

Melody Sinclair-Brooks

Melody is a marketing manager, writer, and startup consultant. She builds communication bridges thru multichannel storytelling, strategic partnerships, advertising, and go-to-market strategy.

Read more posts by Melody Sinclair-Brooks ›

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