As a digital marketer, you can’t prove your marketing or advertising campaigns are successful without analyzing conversion metrics. Then, using those metrics to tweak and improve them going forward.
Too often, marketers are overly focused on improving their conversion rates, leaving them with other advertising pain points to address. While ad conversion rate is certainly a priority, it’s only a small piece of the overall web analytics puzzle.
(Note: Many of these key advertising metrics can also be applied elsewhere besides Google and Facebook.)
16 conversion metrics you should be tracking
1. Website sessions
This metric is one of the most well-known and important of all data points — the total number of website visits. Google Analytics offers a graph to spot traffic trends:
Ideally, this graph should show a steady increase in the number of visits and sessions from each referral source. If you notice the number of sessions declining, you can revisit referral sources to identify any issues. This metric can help you determine what percentage of visitors convert, since it’s part of the formula that calculates conversion rate.
This data point may seem similar to website sessions, but the difference here is users visiting your site, not total visits. When somebody visits your site multiple times, only one user is counted. This is critical because it indicates how many people return to your site — your most highly-interested prospects or loyal customers.
The pageviews metric (aka average page depth) shows how many individual pages people visited during their website session. Keep in mind that a single visitor can generate many pageviews, so a high count doesn’t necessarily mean many individual visitors.
4. Click-through rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the percentage of people who have visited your post-click landing page or website by clicking your ad. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of link clicks by impressions and is a great way to gauge how well your audience responds to your ad creative. A low CTR indicates that your ads don’t appeal to them and that you should A/B test your ads to make them more appealing to click.
5. Mobile vs. desktop visitors
With mobile usage continuing to rise, you must pay attention to the number of people visiting your site on mobile devices. So, if most of your visitors come from mobile, a fast-loading, mobile-friendly site is important than ever so they stick around and don’t bounce.
6. Traffic sources
In addition to knowing the devices people use, recognizing which sources referred them to your site is equally important.
Google Analytics categorizes traffic sources into several categories:
- Direct – from a bookmark or directly typing the URL into the address bar
- Social – from a link on any social media platform
- Referral – from a link from another site
- Email – from an email link
- Organic search – from a link in search engine results
- Paid search – from a paid search ad
- Other – from anywhere else not mentioned above
You should aim for a variety of sources for incoming traffic and then analyze each one separately to make improvements and focus your efforts more appropriately. For example, if you find that your Facebook traffic is generating higher bounce rates, it could mean that traffic is irrelevant to your brand or offer. Conversely, if paid search visitors generate more sign ups and paid upgrades, focus more on that channel.
7. Page load time
Providing a great user experience is mandatory with everything in digital marketing, and page load time plays a huge role in that. The faster, the better. This is especially true when you consider Google includes this metric in its organic rankings.
For faster page load speeds on mobile devices — i.e., a better user experience — marketers and advertisers should utilize the AMP framework. Then test the page speed with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights:
Not only is page speed part of Google’s search algorithm, but it also impacts bounce rate. If your page loads too slowly, people will bounce. So to improve your chances of ranking high and ensuring people see your page, make it load lightning fast with AMP and monitoring it using page speed tools.
8. Time on site
Time on site (TOS), or average session duration, refers to how long a visitor spends on your site per visit. It is calculated by dividing the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) by the number of sessions. The higher the number, the better your conversion chances are:
The equation can be used in two ways: a visitors’ time spent on your entire website or individual pages. If you notice that visitors are spending double the time on your pricing page, but half the time on your signup page, your signup page should be revised to generate more conversions.
9. Bounce rate
This is the percentage of users who land on your website, perform no action, and bail immediately. Google calculates bounce rate by dividing the number of single-page sessions by all sessions:
A high bounce rate means your website isn’t appealing enough to make people want to stick around and browse. Broken down, it can mean several different things. There’s a good chance your page isn’t optimized for conversions (poor design, high load times, low usability, etc.), or traffic is coming from irrelevant sources. Either way, be sure to revisit those pages and make the necessary changes to reduce the bounce rate.
10. Interactions per visit
Even if your visitors aren’t converting on your desired action, pay attention to what actions they take on your site (e.g., commenting on a blog post). Every interaction can help you better understand visitor behavior and their path to purchase. And the more insights you collect, the easier it is to identify ways to improve conversion rates.
11. Value per visit
The primary goal here is to understand the value you’re getting from your site traffic. Value per visit is tied directly to interactions per visit and is calculated as the number of visits divided by total value created. However, calculating value per visit can be difficult because many intangibles are involved. For example, visitors on ecommerce sites create value by completing a transaction, but they also create a somewhat incalculable value by leaving a product review.
12. Cost per acquisition (CPA)
Cost per acquisition measures what it costs to acquire one customer. To find this number, divide all of the marketing expenses generated during the customer acquisition period, by the number of customers acquired during that period:
From there, ask yourself some basic questions: Is the customer bringing in more revenue than the CPA? If so, how much? Meaning, is there a healthy enough margin given all of the other business expenses? The answers to these questions should indicate whether your business is on a path to profitability or loss.
Facebook ad metrics
Frequency tells you the total number of times an ad served to a target user, calculated as impressions divided by reach. Track this metric is necessary because if you keep showing the same ad set to someone, they’ll likely experience banner blindness and ignore the ad altogether.
AdEspresso found that with increased ad frequency, also comes increased negative comments and feedback, decreased click-through rates, and increased cost per clicks. When their ad hit a frequency of 9, they were paying 161% more per click than when they first launched the campaign:
The maximum frequency for Facebook ads depends on your industry and margins. AdEspresso starts making changes to their campaigns when the frequency approaches 5, while other companies have better margins and can wait for higher frequencies. Either way, it’s recommended to never go above 10.
It’s a delicate balance between showing ads too many times and showing them just enough to make the user take action. Which leads to the next point…
14. Return on ad spend (ROAS)
You want to make sure your ads are generating more money than you put in — or at least breaking even to acquire new customers. The best way to know this is to track the return on ad spend:
(Note: ROAS refers to the return on ad spend from specific ad campaigns, instead of the whole marketing picture which is what ROI does.)
By knowing your most and least financially effective ad campaigns, you can reallocate your budget to different campaigns accordingly.
15. Cost per action
Whether or not visitors are fulfilling your primary conversion goal, you still want them to take some action. Depending on your business, desired actions include:
- Sharing, liking, or commenting on your posts
- Subscribing to a blog
- Watching a video
- Downloading a report
- Adding a product to a cart
Total actions alone may not provide sufficient insight, but the cost of those actions gives a more accurate overview of your ad campaigns. And if you can lower your cost per action, you’ll likely see higher conversion rates and revenue for the same spend.
16. Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
Cost per thousand impressions is the average cost to show your ad 1,000 times. CPM is the perfect conversion metric for getting an overall view of an ad set’s performance and varies depending on the demand for your targeted audience.
It’s the ideal benchmark to compare different campaigns and ad sets against each other. More importantly, it can help you decide where to spend your budget to maximize your ad impressions and reach.
Start tracking the conversion metrics that matter most
Regardless of the digital ad campaign, having a list of conversion metrics to analyze is mandatory. It’s the only way to continually monitor, tweak, and improve your campaigns for the best possible results.
Turn more of your campaign clicks into conversions with the guide below.