KPIs and Metrics of Online and Digital Marketing

In every industry, trends emerge that transform the way we work, how we interact, and most importantly, the product or service itself. When it comes to marketing and communications, these trends can appear with lightning speed, forcing marketers to re-evaluate the way they work and interact with their audience.

One such trend is the evolution of analytics and the measurement and evaluation of marketing performance.

Before we dive into the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that represent the evolution of analytics and measurement in digital marketing, it is important to establish the difference between these two terms.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

These are the key numbers that measure a marketing program’s performance. The metrics and numbers used to calculate these KPIs are often referred to as indicators because they serve as a measurement of a specific aspect of a marketing program’s performance. For example, the number of website visitors, the amount of online traffic, and the conversion rate of website visitors into leads and customers are all key performance indicators for a digital marketing program.


These are the underlying numbers that calculate the KPIs. These are the metrics that tell you how well your marketing program is performing. Unlike key performance indicators, metrics are the results of the analytics and measurement performed on your behalf. For example, the metrics that calculate the key performance indicators for a digital marketing campaign include the number of website visits, time on site, pages per visit, and more.

Evolution Of Analytics And Measurement In Digital Marketing

With the exception of direct mail, digital marketing emerged as a distinct field in the early 2000s as marketers shifted their attention to online and offline platforms to reach their audience and potential customers. In the early days of digital marketing, marketers often performed analysis and measurement manually, relying on tables and graphs to establish the performance of their marketing campaigns.

As these marketers established baseline performance metrics and began to measure the success of their marketing initiatives, they realized that manual analysis was ineffective and often led to inaccurate conclusions. This is where the need for analytics and measurement tools arose.

At the same time, mobile devices and the internet opened up unprecedented opportunities for marketers to engage with and measure the performance of their audience. The ability to track and monitor an individual’s movements and interactions around the clock via their mobile device helped marketers establish the effectiveness of their online and digital marketing campaigns. As a result, the field of digital marketing as we know it was born and the metrics and indicators that govern it were structured and designed to precisely capture and measure audience engagement on digital properties like websites, blogs, and social media.

The Power of Mobile Analysis

Mobile analysis platforms such as Chartbeat, Flixster, and Google Analytics extend the reach of analytical tools and extend their use beyond simply visiting a website or logging into an app. These platforms let businesses and marketers establish real-time analytics to gain valuable business insights. This is especially beneficial for marketing and advertising programs that occur outside of traditional marketing platforms like email or social media.

Email Analysis

Email analysis platforms such as MarketingCharts, MailCharts, and Hootsuite give marketers the ability to track the success of their email marketing campaigns, regardless of whether they use automation or not. These platforms provide in-depth reports about the performance of each individual campaign, helping marketers establish the efficacy of their email lists and determine the optimal time to send out promotional campaigns.

Social Media Analysis

The ability to track and analyze an individual’s presence on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter came with significant advantages for marketers. First, the sheer volume of data made it easier to establish baseline performance metrics and identify the effects of any new initiative or campaign. Second, the reach of these platforms is virtually unlimited, allowing marketers to establish credibility with an audience that may never have known or heard of their company. Third, and perhaps most importantly, these platforms provided a space for marketers to interact with and engage with their audience. Through social media analysis platforms, marketers can establish customer care and gain valuable insights into the behaviors and interests of their audience.

The Rise Of Online And Digital Marketing

With the exception of direct mail, all of the above examples represent a transformation to online marketing and digital marketing. These are the methods that market researchers, analysts, and marketers utilize to engage with and measure the performance of their audience. In the coming months, we will examine these terms in more detail.