Advertising investments require good planning, implementation and success monitoring. In contrast to conventional media, digital media provide as early as the planning stage possibilities for testing valid simulations for investment success, for making readjustments during the campaign by way of the key performance indicators (KPI) and for conducting success monitoring through to the point of sale during the follow-up.

Target definition comes first

In online marketing companies can work with fairly accurate measured values if they want to check the performance of their campaigns or the structure and content of their website or the online shop. In contrast to conventional media, digital media offer a large number of measuring points and variables to control the performance of content, actions or advertising campaigns and to assess their success. Of course, this only works if goals and adequate measuring methods and key performance indicators (KPIs) have been defined in advance.

Depending on whether, for instance, the sales are to be increased or the brand profile is to be enhanced with a campaign different KPIs will be used accordingly. The same applies with regard to the nature of the content to be presented to the target group. A content marketing campaign intended to attract the target group with informative, advisory and entertaining content to convince them of your own company, its service portfolio or your own brand, requires a different set of success parameters from display advertising or the social media presentation of a brand.

In addition there are a large number of KPIs available for evaluating online activities and they only differ in certain nuances. Marketing investments only achieve optimum added value here with the correct metrics. As a first step, however, it is sufficient to know the most important success parameters.

Page impressions and ad impressions

Page impressions measure how many users have called up a page. But you can’t see whether an individual user has clicked a page a number of times. The variant ad impressions relates to an advertisement and it counts how many page visitors were supplied with the ad. For banner or display advertisements, ad impression is a good initial guide for measuring success.

Click-through rate

This traces what the ad impressions achieve, but more precisely this time. This parameter reveals how many users have actually clicked an ad or a link where such a call-to-action element has been integrated. The bigger the number the more successful the call to action.

Conversion rate

This is one of the harder figures. The conversion rate stands for the proportion of page visitors who have performed a certain action. This may be a registration for the Newsletter, participation in a competition or the purchase of a product in the online shop.

Dwell time

In content marketing in particular those responsible for the budget should keep an eye on the dwell time. From this they can conclude how long a user has stayed on a website, in other words how long he has taken to read or look at the content. It is also applies here that the longer the user stays, the more interesting he finds the content.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate counts the less gratifying user actions: ultimately it shows the proportion of individuals who have broken off their purchase again in the online shop. A metric with the same name is also used in email marketing. In this case it indicates how many mails have failed to reach the addressees.

Engagement rate

For social media in particular this rate is a reliable source for showing how well the content goes down with the user. It can be used to conclude whether the user has interacted with the page, for instance in the form of comments, posts, etc. A “like” alone takes no time to click and says nothing about whether an individual has also occupied himself with the page’s content. As a rate it stands for the proportion of those who have interacted with a page or campaign, in contrast to those who show no kind of interaction.

Analytical tools for the proper control of online marketing

This gives an initial insight into the world of the most important online KPIs. Unfortunately it does not give an informative number. But if you have the above figure in your sights you’re already on the right course. Knowing the KPIs alone is of course not enough. You also have to measure them. Only then can you assess and analyse results and adjust and control measures and campaigns accordingly. You will find an overview of and instructions concerning the most common measuring tools in online marketing in the next article, which will appear shortly.

You can find an overview of other KPIs here: