Tracking marketing metrics is an essential part of any digital marketing agency’s activities. Although it can be time-consuming, it's vital to understand the performance of your clients’ marketing campaigns to grow their business.
But cutting through the noise can be tough: while you use the metrics for growth, clients may not see the meaning behind them. Does your agency throw a lot of random data at clients, or does it focus on filtering down to the key marketing metrics?
This article will look at three frameworks agencies use to prioritize the metrics that matter in a scalable way and ways to streamline your marketing metrics reporting, giving you a faster approach to providing actual value and insights to retain your clients.
In this article:
Using the Marketing Metrics Power Triangle for Compound Growth
Why Do Marketing Metrics Matter for Agencies?
“The reason why clients hire a digital marketing agency is to get improved results from their website or marketing initiatives. You can't improve what you don't track,” says Nathan Hawkes, President of Arcane Marketing.
And few clients will be happy with the idea of blindly spending money without understanding the return on that investment.
As Jessica Weiss, the Director of Marketing & Strategic Program at One Firefly, puts it, “this clarity sets our team members up for success as they walk clients through our performance and ROI for their investment.”
Marketing metrics are the fundamental elements to understanding campaign performance and results. They help inform budget allocation decisions so that resources are used efficiently and effectively to reach desired outcomes.
Are the client’s PPC campaigns delivering a higher-than-expected ROI? Perhaps it’s time to increase the investment and drive more growth.
Are the paid social media campaigns driving lots of engagement but few clicks or sales? That might indicate a need to rethink the overall messaging strategy.
Marketing metrics are like the signs and traffic signals that help you get from one part of the country to another without driving off a cliff somewhere near Colorado.
We believe in the power of data-driven decision-making and use it to inform all of our strategies. We regularly track and analyze key performance metrics, using the insights we gain to refine our approach and drive better results for our clients.
- Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
The Marketing Metrics Power Triangle
The marketing metrics Power Triangle is a helpful concept for understanding the relationship between the key levers in marketing performance. It’s made up of three components: traffic, conversion, and value–all equally essential to marketing success.
Traffic: How many people are driven to a website or physical location from marketing initiatives?
Conversion: How often do those visitors convert to paying customers?
Customer Value: How much does each customer spend?
A balanced approach across all three elements of the marketing metrics power triangle will maximize marketing results for agencies.
For example, let’s say your client has the following:
10,000 visitors per month
2% conversion rate
$400 average spend per customer
= $80,000 per month in revenue
You can see how these three metrics work together to drive the revenue. Any one of them falls dramatically, and the entire revenue picture collapses.
From a growth perspective, it’s about aligning all three to maximize the client’s potential.
Driving traffic that converts at an appropriate rate and spends the right amount of money with the client’s business. You can almost think about it like a troubleshooting flowchart.
How To Use the Power Triangle To Drive Compound Growth
One of the most important aspects of this triangle is understanding how improving any of the three will typically increase revenue, but increasing all three can drive a compounded impact on the bottom line.
Let's take the example above.
If your team can increase visitors by 10%, but the other marketing metrics remain the same, the result is a 10% increase in total revenue. That, in itself, is not too shabby.
11,000 visitors per month
2% conversion rate
$400 average spend per customer
= $88,000 per month in revenue
But let's say your team achieves a 10% increase across all three aspects of the power triangle:
11,000 visitors per month
2.2% conversion rate
$440 average spend per customer
= $106,460 per month in revenue
You'd be forgiven if you thought that a 10% increase in visitors + a 10% increase in conversion rate + a 10% increase in revenue per customer would equate to a 30% increase in total revenue. But that's not actually the case. Because they compound upon each other, the total increase comes in at just over 33%
The marketing metrics power triangle can be applied to marketing strategies in various ways.
Identifying the leaks in the customer acquisition pipeline
Create compounding improvements that drive the entire business
Offer low-hanging fruit opportunities for improvement
First and foremost, marketing teams should focus on improving each individual element of the triangle–traffic, conversion rate, and value per customer. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for this; it will depend on the needs and goals of each particular marketing campaign.
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Focusing On The Metrics That Move The Needle
As Cheryl Ingram, the Managing Director of The Digital Media Collective, advises, “report on what’s necessary rather than everything and anything.” She says that your client report templates need to be meaningful, understandable, and include the most important pieces: We did this–and the result was that,’ or ‘We noted this and will be taking the following action.’”
I always look at data and ask myself SO WHAT? If the report doesn’t answer The SO WHAT question, then don’t send it.”
- Cheryl Ingram, The Digital Media Collective
When marketing agencies focus on key marketing metrics, they provide more valuable insights for their clients. For example, tracking website visitors over time reveals trends that allow marketing teams to understand how campaigns are performing not just today but over time.
Our team relies heavily on the data we collect to make decisions that produce real results for our clients. It's our job to tell a simple story through reporting to our clients. Clients love seeing progress over time, and we try to show that with a number of our metrics.
- Brian Ferritto, 42connect
1. Show the Big Picture
This includes tracking conversions from various marketing channels, such as email campaigns, Google Ads, SEO, and social media posts. By looking at these metrics together, marketing teams focus on what is really moving the needle, which is a win-win for the client and the agency.
Moreover, focusing on key marketing metrics allows agencies to identify areas for improvement quicker than if they had simply provided raw data to their clients.
Use the Digital Marketing Dashboard to quickly convey all of your agency’s digital marketing success, or check out all of the other dashboard templates available on the platform.
2. Keep It Simple
One of the key advantages of creating thoughtful client reports is taking a moment to actually sift through the data to identify outliers. For instance, low email open rates but high click-through rates (CTRs) could indicate an issue with their subject lines or preview text.
Clients want to see real-time data and analytics, but they don't understand metrics or look at metrics the same way we do. To us, a conversion from PPC is a call. To a client, a conversion is money in the bank. So, having the ability to show SEO & PPC results with traffic next to a revenue number–speaks volumes.
- Ruben Roel, Investigator Marketing
The bottom line is that instead of overwhelming everyone with useless statistics, marketing experts should take the time to identify which KPIs are most important and provide meaningful insights based on those findings.
3. Customize for Maximum Impact
Make sure you select marketing KPIs that can be used for both short-term optimizations as well as long-term strategic planning.
When we look at the effectiveness of our team members, time management and focus are key components in measuring that success. AgencyAnalytics not only enables the team to have useful data at their fingertips but also presents it in a palatable way for our clients to digest. Beyond time savings, the platform helps us keep the client conversation centered on strategy vs. chasing down metrics and helping the client understand them.
- Jessica Weiss, One Firefly
Work with clients to help identify what matters most to them. Be sure to include marketing metrics that provide the insights your clients need. Not enough data, and your client will be left wondering what is happening with their campaigns. Too much data can end in information overload or analysis paralysis, which is just as damaging to your agency-client relationship.
Many of our client relationships require customized reports because they don't want to see seven reports, one per platform. They want everything condensed into one easy-to-read report, where they can view all of their most significant marketing data in one place.
- Graham Lumley, Blackhawk
Consider including this fact-finding mission in your discovery meeting or client onboarding process. That way, your team will know which marketing metrics matter to the client and can subsidize them with the ones you know will help showcase your team's performance. And avoid vanity metrics whenever possible!
Vanity metrics, by and large, are a waste of time for both you and the client. Trying to show improved metrics to make you look good will take away from your efforts of reaching the actionable metrics that will prove your marketing worth to the client.
- Nathan Hawkes, Arcane Marketing
3 Different Ways to Segment Marketing Metrics
Marketing metrics are used to track marketing activities and campaigns across the entire spectrum of marketing. Essentially, if you can measure it, it’s can become a metric. So it helps to look at it through a certain lens. Let's take a closer look at the following three ways:
Method 1: Selecting Metrics Based on Key Objectives
Simply put, they measure marketing performance based on what you are trying to achieve–and therefore reflect your agency's performance–such as website visits, conversion rates, email open rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and more.
Although there are hundreds (if not thousands) of marketing metrics to choose from, they can usually be bucketed into ten unique categories.
What It Means
Sales or Revenue Metrics
Provide insights into how marketing campaigns drive revenue for a client.
Measure not just the number of leads but their quality. Includes total lead count, qualification rates, cost per lead, and lead-to-sale conversion rates.
Measure marketing spend and efficiency by tracking key financial indicators such as the total spend but also breaking that down into key sectors such as Cost per Click (CPC), Cost Per Lead (CPL), and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). For example, a keyword driving a low Cost Per Click is great, but cheap traffic that doesn't generate value does not benefit the client or the agency.
Brand Awareness Metrics
These focus on tracking marketing initiatives implemented to build brand awareness or loyalty. This includes marketing metrics such as reach, impressions, shares, brand recall, and engagement across different channels.
Website or Foot Traffic
How many people visit the client's website (i.e., page views, new visitors, returning visitors, and time spent on site/page), or retail location (foot traffic).
Allow marketing professionals to track how many visitors or leads converted into paying customers after marketing campaigns were executed. Conversion metrics are an essential piece of the marketing metrics puzzle because they help guide if marketing strategies are producing a reasonable ROI for clients.
Average Customer Value
AOV is typically used in E-commerce marketing, as it measures the average revenue for each unique transaction. On the other hand, ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) tracks the recurring revenue that each user will generate as long as they maintain their current subscription.
Reputation Management Metrics
Tracks reviews, ratings, and customer feedback across different marketing channels, such as social media platforms and review sites. These metrics are important in assessing brand reputation, so your team can make adjustments if needed. Such as a sudden influx of negative reviews that bring down a client’s average rating.
Customer Lifecycle / Lifetime Value
Gives marketing teams an overview of how long customers remain active with a business or product over time and how much they are likely to spend during the entirety of their business relationship.
Assess marketing campaigns and their effectiveness in driving growth for a business or marketing channel. It's also essential for understanding the trajectory of the business.
Actionable Metrics are valuable numbers that fuel marketing and can be associated with clearly defined and measurable outcomes.
- Cheryl Ingram, The Digital Media Collective
Tracking these key marketing metrics provides valuable insights into their marketing efforts and ensure they deliver the best possible results for their clients.
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Method 2: Using Funnel Metrics (ToF, MoF, and BoF)
Another way to segment metrics is by looking at where the user is in their purchase journey, which typically breaks down into three key steps. These also align with the well-known AIDA framework of Awareness, Interest, Decision (although, sometimes, Desire is used in its place), and Action.
ToF (Top of Funnel) Metrics
MoF (Middle of Funnel) Metrics
BoF (Bottom of Funnel) Metrics
Capture the attention of potential customers at first touch. Examples: website visits, blog views, PPC clicks, and social interactions.
Track the customer journey as they move through the consideration phase and are closer to making a purchase decision. Examples: add-to-cart rates, email signups, and lead generation.
Measure marketing campaign performance at the opportunity and customer level (when customers are close to making a purchase decision). Examples: shopping cart abandonment, lead qualification rates, sales, revenue, reorder rate, and ROI.
Method 3: Breaking Them Down By Channel
Another way to identify your clients' most important marketing metrics is by breaking them down by channel or campaign. Each marketing tactic will have a different set of metrics or key performance indicators that will help differentiate between success and failure.
For example, email marketing requires tracking different metrics than organic search marketing or pay-per-click marketing. Here are some of the key digital marketing metrics for each channel, including:
1. Website Metrics
Tracking website metrics gives marketing teams valuable insights into:
demographics, and more.
For example, by tracking key website performance indicators such as page views, time on page, and bounce rate, agencies identify areas where visitors are dropping off or are having difficulty navigating the site. This information can be used to update the user experience on a website and improve engagement levels.
We have had new leads contact us who said their old agency would rarely offer an update or would send them a report full of buzzwords & confusing data. This would be the main reason they swapped over to use our service. I often show new leads an example report, and they are impressed with how straightforward & easy to understand it is.
- Guy Hudson, Bespoke Marketing Plans
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2. Paid Marketing Metrics
Paid marketing metrics are incredibly important for marketing teams as they provide key insights into the success of marketing campaigns and whether or not the client’s money is being invested properly.
They include a range of tactics, such as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and digital media advertising, effectively reaching target audiences more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional marketing methods.
PPC ads are a key part of our clients' digital marketing strategies as they drive measurable impact toward our clients' goals. Whether it's driving brand awareness, increasing sales, or generating more leads, PPC ads allow for real-time control over ad spend, targeting, and creative to most effectively get in front of our clients' desired audiences.
- Reed Emerson, Avenue Agency
Paid advertising data, such as Google Ads metrics, identify areas for improvement in terms of targeting, budgeting, and messaging. Additionally, paid marketing metrics help marketers optimize campaigns to get the most out of their budget by pinpointing which ads or keywords yield the best results in terms of conversions or engagement.
PPC goals are created by determining what the client needs to grow and defining metrics within the PPC dashboard to match it. For example, we utilize close rate, website traffic, and tracked conversion actions to find the whole picture and link it to overall lead and revenue growth.
- Rebecca Pena, Investigator Marketing
Another benefit of tracking paid marketing metrics in a single platform is that it makes it easier to compare different campaigns side by side, enabling marketing teams to understand which strategies work best for their particular goals. That way, ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) can quickly and easily be compared between Google, Meta, LinkedIn, and more.
Use a PPC Dashboard to highlight your agency's success with paid ads. Google Ads is just one of the over 75 platform integrations that are included at no extra cost. Try AgencyAnalytics free for 14 days!
3. SEO Marketing Metrics
Although the end goal of SEO marketing is to drive visitors, leads, and sales from organic search listings, several key leading indicators make up any successful SEO strategy, and these elements need to be tracked to ensure overall success.
One of the most important SEO marketing metrics is keyword rankings. After all, if your client can’t be found, the rest of the potential customer journey will sit in silence, waiting patiently for customers.
Tracking keyword rankings allows marketing teams to understand how well they rank in SERPs for specific keywords or phrases that their target audience will likely use when searching online.
But rankings alone don’t hold much meaning if you aren’t targeting the right keywords for each client.
We conduct extensive market research, including competitor analysis at the start of a new campaign, to 'find out the why' of our clients and decide where they are likely to succeed online. For example, if the client is reasonably well known, we wouldn't include website traffic generated by branded searches as a key metric, but–instead–we would work on doubling, tripling, or 10x-ing the unbranded searches that don't mention the client's name.
- Daniel Noakes, UClimb
Another key metric for SEO marketing is backlinks.
Google can't yet make a qualitative decision about a website. It can tell what it's about, but it can't tell if it's important or useful just by reading the site. One of the main factors it uses to determine importance is backlinks because these act as "votes of confidence." If it trusts the sites that are linking to you, you get a portion of those referring sites' trust. It's just that simple.
- Jens Rhoades, Floodlight SEO
Finally, it’s also important to monitor website speed and technical performance as part of an effective SEO marketing strategy. Slow loading times can hurt user experience as well as dampen organic search visibility, so it’s essential that marketing teams ensure their websites are optimized.
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4. Content Marketing Metrics
Content marketing is an effective way for marketing agencies to build brand awareness and establish thought leadership within their respective industry. By tracking content metrics such as page views per visitor, time spent on page, and click-through rates (CTR), marketing teams can determine which content resonates most with audiences and identify topics that should be explored further in future campaigns.
Content is often considered a primary driver of SEO success, but it can be much more than that, depending on how the content is created and syndicated.
Engagement is a key metric to monitor when assessing the performance of content marketing campaigns. This metric measures how readers interact with your content regarding likes, comments, shares, and other forms of engagement.
Reach is another important metric for evaluating the effectiveness of content marketing campaigns. Reach refers to how many people have seen your content, so tracking this metric is essential for understanding how effective marketing campaigns are in spreading awareness and driving traffic to the website.
Finally, it’s also important to track leads generated from content marketing campaigns to measure success.
We are phone call/lead form oriented. These are the actionable metrics we use. We do use what would be considered vanity metrics as a barometer in some instances. For example, when in the first couple months of an SEO campaign, impressions are helpful to show an increase in visibility and that the campaign is moving in the right direction.
- Michael Stearns, Ascend Digital Agency
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5. Social Media Marketing Metrics
Social media marketing is one of the most effective channels for marketing teams to reach and engage with their target audience. To understand how well campaigns are performing, marketing teams should track key social media metrics such as engagement, followers, impressions, and conversions across all social media platforms.
Whether your agency’s focus is on Instagram metrics, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or more–engagement, reach, followers, clicks, and conversions are all part of what makes up a successful social media campaign. But which is the most important to your client? That might depend on where they are in their business lifecycle.
For example, a new business trying to create buzz around town may care more about Facebook Ad metrics such as reach and new followers gained than clicks and conversion. A client trying to launch a new product may lean heavily on YouTube metrics to understand how well their launch videos perform. While an established eCommerce business may concern itself with engagement and conversions because they understand that followers don’t always become customers.
As you're the expert in the client's eyes, be careful about what data you send to them, as they give everything the same weight. I think making sure you take the time to explain reports and the metrics contained to clients helps them to focus on the right things.
- Paul Morris, Superb Digital
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6. Email Marketing Metrics
Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective channels for marketing teams to reach and engage with their target audience. To understand how well campaigns are performing, marketing teams should track key metrics such as open rate, click-through rate (CTR), unsubscribe rate, and conversions over time.
Email often is about driving traffic to other brand destinations. You may promote content or products on your website or social profiles, for example. As such, having email metrics integrated into other metrics, such as your website, are hugely helpful.
- Seth Giammanco, Minds On Design Lab
There is always a balancing act when it comes to maximizing the key metrics for an email campaign. If users don’t open an email, they aren’t likely going to click on any of the links inside. However, focusing too heavily on open rate–by writing catchy but disconnected subject lines–can improve one metric while reducing the other.
Like the power triangle, the goal is to get the right people to open the email because they are the ones who are more likely to click and purchase and are less likely to unsubscribe. It sounds easy, but it takes a lot of time, effort, and analysis to get it right.
At our agency, we believe that metrics are only useful if they help to drive decision-making. As a result, we focus on identifying actionable metrics that can be used to inform and improve our marketing efforts. To do this, we start by taking a close look at our goals and objectives. We then identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help us measure progress toward those goals.
- Guy Hudson, Bespoke Marketing Plans
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7. Local Marketing Metrics
Ferguson Dental in Brandon, Florida, or Joe’s HVAC in Des Moines, Iowa, probably don’t care about the average CPC for Google Ads in New York, nor how many followers they have in Australia.
As they should, local marketing metrics take things to a local level. These metrics provide marketing teams valuable insight into how marketing campaigns perform in specific geographic areas.
For example, local SEO performance metrics include organic search rankings, website traffic from local searches, and mobile visits, which marketing teams can track to better understand how campaigns perform in specific target markets.
Impressions, visits to website, calls, driving directions are the most important positive metrics to get a broader viewpoint if growth is happening in your local community. Calls seem to be the most important metric to many of our clients. The more calls come in, the more business feels busy. In reality, people expect to find the information they seek online without interacting, and they won't call unless you force them to. They might be down the road onto a competitor if you don't offer other ways to engage.
- Kira Krostag, Site Smart Marketing
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How To Measure and Report on Marketing Metrics Using AgencyAnalytics
Once you have identified marketing metrics that are important to your client, you can use AgencyAnalytics to track and monitor marketing KPIs. Our platform includes built-in integrations with over 75 marketing tools–at no extra cost–and allows users to easily visualize marketing performance data in one place.
Plus, SEO add-ons bring a word of keyword optimization to your fingertips.
Create custom metrics and reports to present performance in an engaging way. This makes it easier for clients to understand how marketing activities are contributing towards meeting their goals–giving them confidence in the value of your agency’s services.
The advanced reporting system provides easy-to-read marketing dashboards, graphs, and tables so that clients can quickly identify key trends or areas of opportunity within the data. In addition, AgencyAnalytics offers automated report scheduling functionality to send marketing performance reports to clients at a frequency that suits their needs. This helps marketing teams save time and resources as they don’t have to manually create marketing reports each month.
Our clients don't want a full-scale report–they want us to show them the metrics they care about. The dashboard gives our clients the ability to quickly understand what they're looking at, how it works, and what it means for their bottom line.
- Ruben Roel, Investigator Marketing
Bottom Line: Win Back Billable Hours by Streamlining Your Client Reporting
AgencyAnalytics is designed to simplify reporting for marketing agencies so you don’t have to manually pull data from multiple sources. No more spending hours gathering and cross-referencing data from different marketing channels–it’s all pulled together into one place.
This makes it easy to monitor marketing metrics over time and quickly identify key trends or areas of opportunity within the data.
Save countless hours each month by automating your data-retrieval process and housing all your clients’ unique marketing metrics under one roof. Start your free 14-day trial today and discover why 75 agencies use AgencyAnalytics.
When we onboard our new partners, we show them a full live example of the reporting and how easy it is to view real live data in one place. This is definitely a winning experience for our partners and us. They understand that they are also saving time by being able to view all these important metrics all at once.
- Justin Hual, HIP Creative
Paul Stainton is a digital marketing leader with extensive experience creating brand value through digital transformation, eCommerce strategies, brand strategy, and go-to-market execution.Read more posts by Paul Stainton ›