Marketing ROI: The Metrics Behind a Successful Marketing Campaign

What is success? To an athlete or coach, winning a national title is a success. To an individual working overtime, completing a list of household chores is a success. To likely anyone on this planet, running a marathon is a success, regardless of if you complete it in three hours or six hours. The truth is, the definition of success depends on who you ask. 


There are cases — particularly in business — where the definition of success is far less arbitrary. Take marketing, for example. A campaign would not be considered a success simply because it was launched. Rather, there are a set of performance metrics tied to marketing activities that determine if the effort was indeed successful. 


As marketing strategies evolve, so do the ways we track success. The days when prospective customers were targeted by ads on just a few key outlets — newspaper, radio, and television — are long gone. Two decades ago, marketers focused on volume as the rise of marketing automation, email marketing, and SEO/SEM helped businesses reach millions of people right when the internet became part of our daily lives. Ten years ago, marketers dug deeper into the quality of their interactions with account-based marketing (ABM), targeted ads, and two-way communication via webinars and chats. 


Today, marketers are looking beyond ABM and placing greater focus on becoming more dollar efficient by measuring channels and vendors based on quality visits and the amount of pipeline influenced per dollar invested. 


Why Is It Important to Track Campaign Metrics?


Think of the last purchase you made. How did you learn about that particular product or service? And what pushed you to make the purchase? In this era of overstimulation, consumers are hit with marketing content from everywhere at any time (thanks, iPhone): in email, scrolling social media feeds, browsing the web, etc. And the type of content extends far beyond ads to include videos, webinars, events, downloadable assets, demo sign-ups, trial memberships, and more.


Given all these potential points of interaction, fully understanding the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns can be challenging. And while it may be tempting to attach a simple marketing ROI model to digital marketing efforts, some tactics won’t generate an immediate tangible return. Integrated marketing campaigns use multiple channels and approaches over various periods of time so tying revenue to a single tactic doesn’t tell the complete story. 


The sheer volume of potential touchpoints makes accurate attribution to individual channels extremely critical to determining if a campaign is successful. Simply bucketing marketing activity into direct, paid, or organic is detrimental as it limits your ability to identify which vendors or channels are the most effective at driving relevant engagements. 


Fortunately for marketers, there are unique key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of the various channels deployed during a marketing campaign. This set of metrics gives little room for interpretation, which is ideal in an environment where proving return on investment (ROI) is critical. Accurately measuring marketing ROI requires calculating marketing performance on every channel. 


What Campaign Metrics Should We Track?


Regardless of the specifics of your marketing strategy, monitoring the following KPIs per channel can help measure the general performance of your marketing efforts. 


  • Email: Open rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate.
  • Social media: Engagement, reach, audience growth, referral traffic, conversion rate.
  • Video: Views, engagement, audience growth, referral traffic, conversion rate.
  • Influencer marketing: Referral traffic, CTR, reach, engagement, conversion rate. 
  • Partner marketing: Referral traffic, CTR, reach, engagement, conversion rate. 
  • Digital advertising: Clicks, CTR, cost per click (CPC), conversion rate, cost per conversion, return on ad spend (ROAS). 
  • Events: Traffic, scans, meetings, giveaways. 
  • Content marketing: Traffic, backlinks, page views, average time on page, bounce rate, leads, conversion rate.


The KPIs above are a great place to start with any marketing campaign, but to determine if your campaigns are truly successful, dive a bit deeper and measure your efforts through the lens of the accounts you really care about — those in your total addressable market (TAM). These are the accounts whose opens, views, clicks, and downloads are most likely to convert into a sale. The following TAM-related KPIs can help guide your efforts to increase dollar efficiency. 


  • Total spend: The total spend to market a specific campaign. 
  • Total visits: The total number of visits to your website or specific landing pages.
  • TAM visits: The number of visits to your website or specific landing pages that come from accounts in your TAM. 
  • Cost per TAM visit: Total spend divided by number of TAM visits.
  • Cost per opportunity: Total spend divided by opportunity driven from the campaign.
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI): Pipeline opportunity dollars divided by total spend. 


There is no magic formula or exact calculation to prove the impact of marketing on the business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show its value. By benchmarking critical data points, supporting trial and error, and being comfortable with trying new things, you can use campaign metrics to inform your strategy and efforts. Remember, success is what you make of it. Campaign metrics, particularly those measured through the lens of your TAM, just help prove it.