Metrics that influence brand engagement, brand perception, revenue and customer retention

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a three part series on digital marketing metrics. 

Investment in marketing is increasingly important as more brands compete for attention in the digital space. With a comprehensive, strategic digital strategy that is optimized based on data, businesses can increase leads, build positive sentiment among target audiences, and drive sales.

According to Forrester Research, Inc., interactive marketing budgets are expected to double over the next five years. More resources will be dedicated to mobile marketing, digital advertising and other channels in an effort to accommodate the changing digital landscape. In order to reach online audiences, marketers must continue to adapt their digital strategies as search engines become more advanced and pervasive in everyday life.

Unlike traditional marketing, digital strategies can be tracked and measured — often in real-time. This advantage allows content and campaigns to be optimized, ensuring that every dollar is utilized efficiently.

Through tests, marketers can repeat success and minimize failure for each action taken in a digital marketing strategy. Analyzing social media posts, blog content and advertising campaigns, for example, can tell marketers which actions yield results and which should be modified. By continuously adapting and improving based on data, digital marketing works more efficiently — thus capitalizing on all resource allocations.

In order to fully understand why metrics matter and how they should influence resource allocation and actions, we have broken down the most important metrics for businesses. These metrics provide insight into four key areas: brand engagement, brand perception, revenue and customer retention. (Note that these areas are not mutually exclusive. Nearly every metric can provide insight into many aspects of digital marketing.)


When it comes to developing brand affinity along the consumer decision path, brand engagement is extremely important. Before a potential customer is compelled to make a purchase, they must first become aware of a brand and consider its products or services. Investing in digital strategies that improve overall brand engagement allows marketers to influence this crucial part of the lead development pipeline.

Analytics that measure brand engagement: social media likes and followers, average visit duration and pages per visit, and referral traffic

Social media likes and followers

There is ongoing debate about the importance of social media likes and followers among platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, it is important to note that the more individuals following a brand on any given social platform, the more visible the brand. This data point indicates how many individuals have shown interest in your brand via social channels. Alone, the number of likes and followers you have is not enough. However, when combined with quality content and a strategic social media marketing plan, having a larger audience becomes extremely valuable. To increase followers, make certain that your social media platforms are optimized and integrated seamlessly with the rest of your digital marketing strategy.

Average visit duration and pages per visit

The average amount of time spent on a site and the number of pages visited are very telling metrics once visitors find their way to your site. (We will look later at visit rate as it pertains to revenue.) These metrics indicate the quality of content as well as how well your site is organized. The better the content and site organization, the longer users will want to spend on a site and the more pages they will view. Both of these metrics indicate engagement, or the degree to which users will engage with your content and site. Engaged users are more likely to make a purchase, sign up and share your content. To improve these metrics, optimize your website with a user-friendly design and make certain that your content is engaging and relevant across all platforms.

Referral traffic

Referral traffic is a metric that tells you how individuals are finding your website. By looking at which platforms are sending website traffic your way, you can deduce where individuals are engaging with your content. If a particular social channel or website is referring users to your site more than others, it’s an extremely helpful tool for brands to consider. By optimizing content for sites that are already delivering users to a site, you can continue to grow that base. For example, if Facebook is referring the majority of your site traffic, it’s important to consider what it is about Facebook users that might appeal to your content, products or services.

Sara Flick is the director of content strategy and public relations at ZOG Digital, a leading independent digital marketing company. With more than 10 years of experience in marketing and communications, Flick has served as a strategist in the areas of traditional and digital marketing, public relations, executive and political speech writing, reputation management, and crisis communication across a broad range of industries. At ZOG Digital, Flick is responsible for brand positioning, messaging and content strategy.

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