There is no shortage of metrics to measure the impact of the online marketing strategy. Different digital channels all have their own metrics. For deployment of social media you use other metrics than for an e-mail campaign, for example. And about you measure content strategy you use completely different metrics than when you want to determine the success of your webshop.

How many metrics do you choose?

With a few simple searches on Google you will open up a whole bunch of metrics that you can start monitoring right away. By using Google Analytics you have already taken a first important step, because with it you can measure almost everything for your website. And there are also all kinds of tools that provide you with statistics about your social media channels. And in Google Ads you can almost immediately see the impact of your AdWords campaigns.

This abundance of metrics makes it very tempting to just monitor everything. After all, the information is there! And monitoring all information is almost never a good idea. With a lot of data comes a lot of responsibility. Everything must be analyzed in order to draw useful conclusions. That takes time and therefore money and by the time you get your first... data pool have analyzed, the next truckload of figures arrives.

So you have to organize it more efficiently. And you can achieve this by choosing just a few metrics per KPI. For example, only 3 or 4. By choosing a handful of metrics you bring an incredible amount of focus to all your online marketing activities. You can always ask yourself the question: “Does what I plan to do contribute to one of those four metrics?” If the answer is 'no', then you don't do it, if the answer is 'yes', then you continue. Easy.

Which metrics do you choose?

Three or four metrics are usually sufficient to monitor the impact of your digital channels and to determine which actions you will or will not carry out. But which metrics do you choose exactly? What do you let that depend on?

Each digital channel has its own objectives and KPIs. You use some channels purely for branding, others for conversion and still others for lead generation. Depending on those objectives, you choose the right metrics.

For a webshop in a B2C or FMCG environment, things such as the number of sales or the average order value are the most important metrics to monitor and send. However, for some B2B service providers these are useless metrics. A B2B service provider usually does not sell anything directly through its website. The website mainly serves as a lead generator, so the number of conversions on a form, for example, is much more interesting in that case.

So you choose the metrics based on the higher-level goals and KPIs in the marketing strategy. The metrics contribute directly to achieving those goals. If, over time, you have the feeling that focusing on certain metrics does not have a direct impact on the goals, you would be wise to choose other metrics.

Beware of vanity metrics!

Sometimes metrics are chosen because they are very mobile or because they provide a very positive picture of the development and success of your digital channels. For example, the number of countries from which visitors view your website. Soon you hear someone shout: “It's going great, because we have visitors from no fewer than 20 countries!”.

That sounds great indeed. But what exactly does that actually contribute to your objectives? If you are a Dutch webshop and you can only sell products within the Netherlands, all that attention from abroad is of no use to you. Visitors from other countries to the Netherlands do not contribute to increased turnover. So it is a metric that looks nice but doesn't say much.

We call that one vanity metric. You should ignore metrics that do not directly contribute to the business or say something about your objectives. You can't possibly manage that!

How do you set up the ideal dashboard?

The best way to keep track of your metrics is to put them all together in one dashboard. This way you can see the most important metrics and KPIs at a glance and view their progress.

Metrics often come from different sources. For example, there is data from Google Analytics, but also data from a CRM or ERP. By developing a custom dashboard you can bring all that data together. You can retrieve all relevant information through APIs from the various data sources. In the middleware or application that you have developed, you have the desired data operations carried out so that you see exactly what you need.

You can also determine the display of progress very precisely in your own dashboard. You can present data in graphs that also show historical data from a year earlier. This way you can see not only how things are going now, but also how things are going compared to the year before.

What data should be visible, what operations should be performed on it, and how everything should be displayed is often based on unique needs and situations. That is why a one-size-fits-all package does not always offer the best solution. Customization is usually the best choice to really see what you need.

How often do you review your chosen metrics and KPIs?

Once your dashboard is up, you have to do something with it. Depending on the type of company and the business you are in, it is generally wise to review and evaluate the metrics and KPIs on a weekly basis. Always involve the right internal stakeholders and be as transparent as possible about developments and progress.

For each weekly session you determine what is going well and what is not going so well. You also determine the actions for the coming days. Are we seeing a decline in the number of visitors? We may need to set up a new ad campaign. Is the average order value too behind schedule? Maybe it's a good idea to start a campaign. A week later you will see whether your efforts have had an effect. This way you tailor your activities to data and make decisions based on a good foundation. This way you can successfully manage your figures every week!