October 7, 2021

Why Metrics Matter

How to get started measuring program success and guiding future efforts — by the numbers

Without metrics, there’s no way to measure the performance of a campaign or to create benchmarks that ensure your advertising dollars are being spent properly. Key Performance Indicators aren’t just for sales numbers; they’re also to ensure that time is spent wisely and that campaigns are being successful.

It may be tempting to look at the performance of one ad or one blog post or one email blast, but the trends you can discern from a year’s worth of metrics are much more important than the results you see from one email blast, one product special or even one quarter.

You might be nodding along, but if you’re not sure what you can tell about a marketing or content campaign by analyzing the numbers, keep reading.

When analyzed properly, ad or email performance numbers should help brands understand which methods of advertising are most effective and the types of subject lines that have an impact on your campaigns, just like the amount of time someone spends on a webpage can partially tell you if the content is what they were looking for when they arrived at that page.

There are a host of different ways to track performance, so for the sake of brevity, this post will cover the basic types of metrics you should look at for web-based content, digital ads and email campaigns and some things you can learn from their analysis.

Web-based content

It’s not just pageviews that are important. Consider other factors such as bounce rate, if they continue deeper into your site and the amount of time spent on the page. Compare across your site to find out what visitors find the most valuable. The more pages you have to compare, the more accurate your analysis will be. If the numbers seem low, try tweaking your web copy 

Digital ads

Digital ads are the billboards of the 21st century. They are for brand awareness and to get simple messages to your target audience, but they generally won’t have a high clickthrough rate. When paired with other types of messaging, they can keep your brand front-of-mind.

Most digital ads will have a CTR of 0.5-2%. Low or no clicks on your ad may indicate it has design issues or irrelevant copy.

Email campaigns

While industry averages will vary, most industries expect between 20% to 25% open rate for emails. According to Mail Chimp, an email marketing campaign and automation tool, the average open rate for industries they analyzed was 21.33%.

Open rates don’t tell the whole story, though. They will help you understand the impact of both your brand and subject line, but without digging deeper or watching for trends in that data, you might be missing some key information about your campaigns.

Engagement is something that you’ll see via a clickthrough rate (CTR) or click-to-open rate (CTOR). The CTR measures the rate at which people who received your email actually clicked on something inside of it and the CTOR shows the rate at which those who opened your email clicked through. CTR can show you if your audience is properly targeted, but CTOR can tell you how well your subject line and body content line up. If you see a low CTOR paired with an average open rate, you might need to revisit the pairings of subjects and body copy.

Well-done emails will also have a lower unsubscribe rate. If you’re seeing an increase in unsubscribes, consider both how those folks were added to your lists as well as how well-targeted your emails are 

If you see that your campaign is not having the impact you hoped, use the numbers to guide changes to subjects, body copy or email frequency.

Comparisons over time

Instead of just looking at each component, compare similar components over time. Look for trends in high- or low-performing subject lines and CTOR. Consider layout in your performance analysis and do A/B tests to check how different subject lines resonate with your readership and if they lead to different CTORs when those tests contain the same email bodies. Categorize your emails by offers, newsletters, announcements, events and look for trends in each category that is relevant to your campaigns. Compare different ad layouts, fonts, gifs or static ads for their success. Pay attention to the types of content your audience prefers and adjust your strategy to positively impact the details in your google analytics account.


About the author

Jess Schmidt brings a creative writing degree and over a decade of professional writing experience to the team. As a career marketer with a background in the design world, she works with clients to make their brand stories stand out. Her specialties are thought leadership, compelling descriptive language, technical details and marketing strategy. She writes content for all of the publications under the Great American Media Services umbrella and manages advertiser-driven projects. She’s also the in-house SEO and SEM guru. Learn more about our team here: smartsolutions.media/contact-us.