I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for the last 12 years; even before that, I was a digital native on many formerly “taboo” sites that are commonplace today. I remember when you had to use a “.edu” address to even join Facebook, and now around 30% of the world’s global population are MAU (monthly active users and no that is not one of my 7 marketing metrics that matter most right now, just a bonus one that is in my top ten).
Throughout all of those years, the cornerstone of every single one of those platforms has been data tracking– data on my every click, keystroke, & query and on yours, too. Whether it was during my days in agency life–working with small business clients or large, global brands–or to my more recent years spent running internal marketing divisions for private companies, millions of the decisions I’ve made and dollars I have spent has ridden on my ability to activate against those data points in a meaningful way for the businesses I serve.
In my new role here with The ASK Method Company and Bucket.io, Ryan and the team are going to trust me to lead with data-driven decision making, as we look to help more small business owners, start-ups, and digital entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses online. So I thought I would let you in on the 7 marketing metrics that I think matter most not only for us right now, but for nearly every online business regardless of industry or vertical, and how I intend to both measure and leverage these data points for our brands.
The 7 Marketing Metrics and Why Each One Matters Now
#1 Main Landing Page Conversion Rate (CVR)
One of the largest misses I see online marketers make in businesses of all sizes is not split-testing enough. Take your main landing page for example–doubling your conversion rate on said page can literally double the size of your business. And that is why managing your main landing page’s CVR is one of the most important metrics right now. Having this as a “choke point” in your main user journey means every single customer you engage with has to pass by this page. The throughput of your main landing page has to be something you monitor Every. Single. Day. The incremental gains you make on this page can create monumental gains for your business.
When it comes to improving this conversion rate, ask yourself these questions: where does my eye go when I land? Is my primary CTA easily found? Does the text-based CTA make sense to the rest of my customer journey? How much information do I deliver “above the fold” before requiring a prospect to scroll through to learn more? Questions like these will give you fertile soil for testing various tweaks and hypotheses as you work to improve the throughput of this segment of your journey. At ASK, our webinar registrations pages tend to be the primary landing pages we have to monitor. Copy, graphics, page format, and many other variables all come into consideration when we look to improve the CVR.
Tip: HotJar is a great tool to use to “heat map” your landing pages to see where users get hung up or find it easy to drop off. Another great tool is UserTesting.com where you can have real world people record themselves as they experience your landing pages in real time.
#2 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
Return on Ad Spend shows up in the company ledger in more than one way. Yes, ROI defined as return on investment is the most critical area this metric impacts. For every $1 spent on an Ad, how much do we return? That would be true ROAS and would drive ROI. But there is another ROI that ROAS impacts: return on influence. In today’s multi-touch world, our customers and prospects behave like, well, we do. Between phone-based searches to apps to browsers on laptops, and tablets, and yada yada yada…the old days of linear step-by-step buyer behavior have come and gone. So, ROAS and our understanding of and measurement of it has to change too.
And when you consider the battlefield that is the post-cookie world we now live in, where third party data is nowhere near as abundant or reliable as it used to be, and major players like Facebook are having their ad inventory gutted, then our implementation of both how and where we spend and measure that spend has to evolve. ROAS should bolster the entirety of the customer life cycle within our business–from awareness creation, to content promotion, to list subscription, to first purchase, and to second purchase and product activation. We should be using paid media strategically throughout the business and measuring it accordingly, as it ROI’s or returns on influence throughout our ecosystem.
#3 90-Day Actives on Your Owned Lists with Email leading the way
2021 was a monumental year in the history of digital marketing. We saw one of the most significant movements in the landscape of how marketing actually works when Apple decided to take their ball and go home after rolling out iOS 14 (and other aggressive updates since) to all users. If you do not know about that update, you can read all about how the rollout affected just one platform in Facebook here. Numerous influential and trustworthy outlets have projected that since Apple’s release of AppTracking Transparency, that as many as 90% of Apple users now disallow tracking on their devices. Wow! The ramifications of this update, and that of iOS 15 since then, are plentiful. I want to focus on what I believe the most important one is for those of us left responsible for still building business well online.
Now, more than maybe ever before, it is critical that you are building, engaging, and growing your own lists. Period. Full stop. I consider lists to be of varying degrees of value to a digital business. That ladder of value ranks from the lowest value lists like fans on your Facebook page to high value ranks of 90-Day active email subscribers (90-Day Actives for short). For sake of time, I will cover that entire ladder in a future post in greater detail.
90-Day Actives are the lifeblood of your business. They are both your offensive approach to seeking out customer feedback, reviews, and testing out content (hooks/copy/angles etc.), but also your defensive strategy in that you will fend against the deplatforming of your business if you have a highly engaged email list. That’s why we teach what we do in our Quiz Funnel Bootcamps and Masterclasses. A well groomed and active email list says you are delivering value to the world, making deposits that improve your readers’ lives–setting you up to make withdrawals when the time calls for it as well.
At The Ask Method Company, I intend to measure our 90-Day actives monthly and leverage this list in both email and as a custom audience within Facebook’s Ads Manager, both to target them with future promotions and content of value while also building Lookalike audiences from this list.
**Here is one tip to apply today**
Survey your 90-day actives at least semi-annually to make sure they are still aligned to the avatar (or ideal customer profile) that you think you have been targeting.
#4 Average Customer Acquisition Value (Avg. CAC)
Every time I meet a business owner who cannot answer this question, I am stunned. The question is: how much does it cost you on average to acquire a customer (Customer Acquisition Cost). It is really hard to run a profitable business if you cannot answer this question. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have also worked with clients who had these elaborate formulas for CAC that required lab-coats and Delorean travel to get right. CAC can be boiled down in a simple manner: total up all of your online spend and divide by all of your new customers during the same period of time as the spend. (Now, for my more seasoned marketers, I do a more detailed analysis than this that would be way overkill for the point I am about to make. I will save a thorough explanation of how I use CAC for another blog as well).
30-Day Spend: $5,000
30-Day New Customers from Paid: 500
Avg. CAC: $10
Not knowing this simple calculation can be a massive anchor to your business or a massive opportunity missed. In the example above, for a book publisher a $10 CAC most likely means a net-loss or a neutral return. For a car dealership, they most likely should spend 100X on a similar campaign in the future. It is a simple calculation, but it has massive ramifications.
At ASK, I will measure CAC in a bit more sophisticated way than this, as we have multiple price points, products, upgrades, and target avatars. Even so, I intend to leverage CAC as the central metric for our paid media investment strategy in these tumultuous times.
#5 Second Purchase Percentage
The days of funnel building may soon be over. Welcome to the land of flywheels over funnels. Funnels have historically focused on single transaction businesses. There is too much competition today to only ever drive one purchase from a customer–costs are up on paid media and organic is exceedingly more competitive as the available inventory in search results gets gobbled up by stronger domains.
Flywheel businesses focus on relationships, using strong customer success teams (a marketing function in my opinion) to spur customer engagement and future purchases. This is why there has been such a flocking towards subscription businesses, as the second purchase percentage will naturally increase if the customer understands future payments are coming on the front end. Flywheel businesses also understand and leverage one of the greatest weapons in marketing–customer retention. It’s significantly more cost effective to sell an existing customer a second item than it is to get a brand new customer to buy.
At the ASK Method company, we measure second purchase percentage by the rate at which our bootcamp and class enrollees adopt our coaching services. Then, secondarily, we will measure how well our coaching clients choose to re-enroll for a second year. We will leverage this data on the front end of our business by building the avatar we target going forward with the unique data we have on those of our customers who have bought coaching twice. By doing so, we should naturally find future customers who will both start and stay in our coaching program for a longer term.
#6 Net Promoter Score (NPS)
A business can only hit true product-market fit and hyper growth if it has a positive Net Promoter Score. Those with detractor scores are always going to spin their wheels, and most with neutral scores find that they may not have problems driving transactions in the market, but they have a very difficult time creating customers (and definitely never create advocates or promoters). NPS is also a great measure of the value of your brand to the world.
When you are first starting out, establishing your NPS is fairly simple. Email your list of customers and ask them this question: ‘On a scale of 0-to-10, how likely is it that you would recommend this brand to a friend or colleague?’. Score all of the reponses. 9s and 10s are promoters, 7s and 8s are neutrals, and 6s and down are detractors. Leave the neutrals out, and then subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. If 50% of respondents are promoters and 10% are detractors, then your NPS is 40%. Call the detractors up and find out why they feel how they do. Then, work as hard as you can to make your NPS get into the 70s or higher.
At ASK Method and Bucket.io we have some of the best customer retention rates of any brand I have seen, and that is due largely in part to the fondness by which our past and existing customers speak about us in the market. We regularly take the opportunity to gather NPS scores for all of our paid programs. By keeping a keen eye on NPS, we will better project future opportunities for the brand as we grow.
#7 Lifetime Value (LTV)
The most important and final metric in our list of the 7 Marketing Metrics that Matter Most right now is Lifetime Value of a customer. LTV is truly an overall business metric that every leader at any level should want to know and help contribute towards. But, within marketing, this metric is the Holy Grail. Understanding the lifetime value of a customer sets the baseline for the entire go-to-market strategy formation. And if you can get to LTV of a customer by channel then you are really cooking with gas and set to exponentially grow your business.
LTV helps you to better assess where to spend your most valuable resources in business: your time and your money. So, measuring LTV is critical. I like to measure LTV as a function of the total value of a customer after they have made their second purchase. IF my main product is a subscription and it costs $100 annually, then I cannot calculate LTV until enough of my customer base (say 50%) have had a chance to buy a second time. Once that time comes, I will take the percentage of customers who buy a second time and add that dollar value to the dollar value of the first purchases to arrive at working LTV. If 50% of purchasers buy year 2, using our $100 example, then that cohort of customers were worth an average of $150 each.
As with some of our other metrics, there are headier ways to calculate LTV. But, suffice it to say that if you just started here and kept a handle on it over time, you will find that your ability to invest in customer acquisition and retention will both improve. At ASK, we will use LTV to radically define who we target, where we target them, and how much media spend we allow when it comes to acquiring those customers.
There you have it: The 7 Marketing Metrics That Matter Most Right Now. I am confident that if you focus on measuring these items and building your strategic initiatives around improving them this year, then you will have your best year in business yet. I do also intend to continue writing pieces on marketing throughout the remainder of the year.
I want to make sure I’m covering what matters most to YOU. So do me a favor, click below and let me know, when it comes to growing your online business, what is the #1 struggle or challenge that you are dealing with?
I’ll be reading every word, so feel free to write as much as you need to.
I hope to cover some of those topics in future blog posts!