Understanding Basic Digital Marketing Metrics

We all know that tracking and monitoring your digital marketing campaigns is as important as mapping out your strategy in the first place. But if you’re just starting, all those key performance indicators (KPIs) thrown around can get a little overwhelming. 

What does CTR even mean? Or how does the bounce rate help? 

But don’t worry! In this post, we’ll cover the KPIs you need to:

  • Evaluate campaign performance,
  • Identify issues and opportunities, and
  • Continuously improve results

Think of these KPIs as the vital signs for marketing campaigns. If you want to get an idea of how your current marketing strategy is doing, keep an eye on these KPIs: 


Impressions give insight into content visibility by showing the total views your content receives. In other words, they provide a sense of how far your campaign is reaching. While a high number of impressions sounds great, you also need to analyze impressions with other metrics to see if you are driving engagement. 


Reach is similar to impressions, but the former focuses on the number of unique users who have seen your content. If your campaign gets a ton of impressions but has low reach, it may mean you’re overexposing to the same users rather than getting in front of new ones. Analyze reach closely to make sure you’re maximizing audience size.

Click-Through Rate (CTR) 

Your CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions – essentially, the percentage of users who click after seeing your content. CTR lets you know if you’re targeting the right people or if your messaging works for them. A low CTR could signify content that isn’t resonating. 

Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is another KPI you shouldn’t ignore, as this metric looks at how users interact with your content. You can compute the engagement rate by dividing the number of interactions (likes, shares, comments, etc.) by reach. 

Active engagement shows your content is resonating and sparking interest with users. And while “vanity metrics” don’t directly lead to sales, high engagement does help expand your organic reach.

Bounce Rate

Another critical metric is the bounce rate or the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing a page. High bounce rates could mean that your content isn’t delivering. Or it simply means that there are errors on your site that you need to address. An unusually low bounce rate, on the other hand, can sometimes indicate a technical issue with your tracking setup. 

Most healthy sites see bounce rates between 40-60%. Monitor this KPI to make sure you stay within reasonable benchmarks.


Sessions track groups of interactions that happen on your website. For example, when a user visits multiple pages, those views get grouped into a single session.

Monitoring the number of sessions will give you an idea of how many distinct visits your site gets. More sessions mean more opportunities to drive desired actions like form fills, downloads, purchases, etc.

Source/Medium (from Google Analytics

Analyzing your traffic sources and mediums can provide valuable insights, especially if you’re looking to boost your site’s traffic. The Source report shows which specific referral sites, social platforms, search engines, etc., are sending users to your site. The Medium report categorizes traffic as organic search, social, email, referral, paid search, etc. Both of these key metrics are updated in real-time in Google Analytics.


While individual metrics are essential, pay attention to averages. Average time on site, pages per session, and session duration reflect typical user behaviors. Solid averages imply visitors are engaged with content. Weak averages indicate issues with attracting the right audience or getting users interested in your site.

Final Thoughts

Understanding these essential KPIs is critical for monitoring your digital marketing efforts. With the right KPIs, you gain actionable data to boost campaign performance, capitalize on successes, and continuously improve results.

Start by tracking impressions, reach, CTR, engagement rate, bounce rate, sessions, traffic sources, and averages. The key is focusing on metrics aligned to your goals and business objectives. Measure what matters most, and you’ll be well on your way to more traffic, leads, and buyers.


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