A key part of being a digital marketer is reading and analyzing analytic reports. Reports give marketers insights into what’s working and isn’t working in a digital marketing campaign. With so many different metrics, marketers can be at a lost at where to begin. If you’re finding yourself a little lost in the metrics you’ve come to the right place!  

Understanding the What & Why Behind the Metrics

Conversions, clicks, impressions, oh my! There are many metrics to keep in mind when reading your digital marketing report, but if you don’t understand the meaning behind the metrics, then they are nothing but numbers on a piece of paper. Below we have defined and explained the top metrics to make your digital marketing reports more meaningful:

Conversion

What is it? 

Simply put, a conversion happens when a visitor to your site does what you wanted them to, such as completing a form, submitting an online application, or downloading a brochure.  

Why does it matter? 

Undoubtedly one of the most important metrics in measuring the success of your digital marketing campaigns. A low conversion rate can be indicative of a number of problems with your digital marketing campaign. If your conversion rate is low, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my landing page match why the prospective student was motivated to click on the ad?  
  • Is my form too long or confusing for prospective customers to complete? 
  • Does my landing page offer a clear call to actions (CTA) for a prospective customer?  

Conversion Rate 

What is it?

The percentage of users that take a desired action on a website. You can calculate your conversion rate by taking the number of conversions divided by the number of total ad clicks.  

Why does it matter? 

Your conversion rate allows you to see the percentage of how many prospects are converting. This metric can help you determine if your strategy is working or not. For example, if you have a high click-through-rate, but a low conversion rate, it would be wise to take a look at your website or landing page and reevaluate its effectiveness. Perhaps your form is too long or your copy is not relevant to your ad. You can maximize your conversion rate by:

  • Researching your audience so that you understand their needs
  • Capitalizing on your key selling points (i.e., the benefits you offer and the challenges you can solve for your audience)
  • Develop creative campaign concepts to drive the user to a conversion 

How does your campaign stack up? 

For campaigns in the education sector, conversion rates conversion rates can differ drastically depending on how a conversion is defined and what is being offered. That being said, we typically see them range from around 1% up to 15%.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)   

What is it?

The actual price you are paying for each conversion. Calculate cost-per-acquisition by dividing the total cost of the campaign divided by the total number of conversions.

Why does it matter? 

Cost per acquisition is key when helping companies measure the cost for acquiring new customers. The goal of CPA is to keep the cost low while maintaining a high number of valuable conversions. While you don’t want to get 50 conversions at $100 a piece, you also don’t want to get just 1 conversion at $2 a piece. It’s all about balance. How do you lower your CPA? There are a number of options, but the best bet is to continue to test and optimize to improve your ads’ quality score and reduce the maximum CPC. Long story short, you’re working to drive as many conversions as possible while keeping this number as low as you can.   

How does your campaign stack up? 

This can vary depending on how you define acquisition (e.g., inquiries, applications, registrations, etc.). But, on average, advertisers in the education industry can expect to see their cost per acquisition come in at around $40* for search and $80* for display. 

Impression

What is it?

Many people think that impressions = views, but that’s not actually the case There simply isn’t a technological tool available to count the number of times a viewer's eyes land on your ads. Instead, we get as close as we can, with your ad earning an impression every time it’s fetched from its source and loaded on a webpage. 

Why does it matter? 

This metric is important when determining the success of a brand awareness campaign. Why? A higher number of impressions indicates that your advertisements are being shown to many users, thus increasing your awareness. 

But, if your campaign goals are tied to conversion rather than awareness, be sure not to get too swept away by a high number of impressions. In conversion-oriented campaigns, impressions can be useful in gauging whether or not there is enough opportunity for users to engage with your ad but what matters most is your conversions. 

How does your campaign stack up? 

Impressions are tough to benchmark because they will vary so widely based on both budget and campaign goals. 

Click  

What is it?

In the case of this metric, the name says it all. Your click count goes up anytime a user clicks on your ad. Fair warning: your click count will go up even if a user doesn't make it to your page, which sometimes happens if the page fails to load or the user immediately hits the back button in their browser (sad, but true: sometimes people click ads by accident).

Why does it matter? 

If you’re looking to test how relevant and engaging your ads are to your targeted audience, this is a useful metric. You can take higher click counts to mean that creative is working and that you are targeting the appropriate audience. 

Click-through Rate (CTR) 

What is it?

Your click-through rate is all about examining how many clicks an ad received in relation to how many times it was viewed.  Many platforms will automatically provide you with your CTR, but if they don’t, it’s easy enough to do the math yourself: simply divide your clicks by the impressions.  

Why does it matter? 

Your CTR is an important metric for understanding and optimizing your campaign performance. A high CTR means the message and design of your ad resonate with your audience. But if your CTR is lower than you’d like, consider tweaking your ad creative to better align with the things that motivate your audience. The time to test and improve is well worth your effort because as your CTR increases, your cost per click will likely begin to decrease (conversely, a lower CTR may drive up your cost-per-click). 

How does your campaign stack up? 

Typically for education, click-through rates average about 2.20%* in Search and 0.22%* in Display. 

Cost Per Click (CPC)

What is it?

The actual price that you are paying for each click in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. 

Why does it matter? 

The cost-per-click metric allows you to determine the return on investment (ROI) for your campaign. Think that you’re spending too much on keywords in that new search campaign? Evaluate your CPC. If you’re spending a lot on a particular keyword and not seeing any conversions, it’s time to exclude it from the campaign and perform some keyword research. The key takeaway? Keep your cost-per-click low and your return high.  

How does your campaign stack up? 

Typically, in the education sector, the average cost per click is about $1.74* in Google Search and $0.40* in Google Display.

Make Appropriate Adjustments to Your Campaigns 

Taking the time to understand the metrics you are reporting on can help you to make your campaigns shine and prove better results. Once you become familiar with the meaning behind the metrics, you and your marketing team can make the right strategic and tactical decisions regarding your digital marketing campaigns. Remember: all of these metrics work together to determine the success of your digital marketing campaigns. 

Becoming a digital marketing expert takes time, but we hope that you found this guide helpful. If you have specific questions or want to chat with one of our experts, feel free to reach out to us at info@visionpointmarketing.com.

*The industry benchmarks provided here were generated by WordStream.