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What is a KPI?

Just like every industry, marketing is filled with acronyms. In digital marketing, you may have come across the acronym “KPI” and thought to yourself, “What is a KPI?” 

No, it is not the next trendy social media slang. KPI is an acronym for Key Performance Indicator. KPIs are used for measuring and tracking your campaign or content performance in relation to your intended goal.

KPIs are marketing indicators of success and are used for measuring goals and objectives of a digital marketing tactic or strategy. KPIs’ relationship to Social and Digital Marketing is simple—ALL good marketing must be measurable. KPIs do just that. They provide quantitative and qualitative measures of your digital marketing efforts.

As defined by Dictionary.com a Key Performance Indicator is:

 “a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc., in meeting objectives for performance.”

Like all marketing metrics and measures, KPIs should be used in all digital marketing campaigns. They should be approached the same way you would any marketing measure by using the SMART method.


There are several benefits of setting digital marketing KPIs and we have broken them down for you.

Benefits of using KPIs:

Gives an insider’s perspective: This is by far the most valuable benefit to KPIs. If you are tracking actions like link clicks, submissions, etc., you learn so much more from how consumers interact with the content when they get there. Do they take action? Do they leave your website right away? What are they doing and is it what you want them to do? If not, how can you adjust your content, user experience or copy in order to get them to make the desired actions (such as make a purchase).

KPIs can be simple to use: Often, marketing tools are difficult to comprehend and understand. But KPIs are simple, reliable, and aren’t too complicated to set up. Setting up a KPI can be as simple as tracking how many link clicks an ad or piece of content gets on a specific social media platform.

Identifies when things are NOT working: KPIs are used to measure the performance of your marketing tactics. You can identify if something is working or not, and make changes in real time. One of the benefits of digital marketing is the marketer’s ability to shift content, platform, budget or offers completely in real time, as opposed to a traditional advertising campaign. Once it goes to print, there is no going back.

Types of digital marketing KPIs

There are hundreds of digital KPIs to use and your decision should be based on your objective. However, there are several common KPIs any level of digital marketer can employ: 

What KPIs you use depends on your overall objectives and goals set for the marketing effort. More often than not there can be several KPIs for a single campaign. For example, tracking link clicks and social media platform community growth. Need more KPI ideas?

These are only a few of the benefits of using KPIs in online marketing. Click here to subscribe to our emails to stay informed on all things marketing.

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