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How to set realistic KPIs for digital marketing projects

How to set realistic KPIs for your digital marketing projects

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How to set realistic KPIs for digital marketing projects
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How to set realistic KPIs for your digital marketing projects

What is a KPI?

Chances are, you’ll know that KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. And there are all kinds of KPIs you can use for any kind of project. It’s basically a way of measuring the success of what you’re doing.

But there are so many metrics to measure, especially when it comes to digital marketing. In fact, it can become an endless task of numbers, graphs, charts and buzzwords after a while. And let’s face it, they can be rather dry.

With so many areas to examine, it’s hard to know what’s meaningful and what’s a vanity metric.

Let’s look at the KPIs for web, PPC, social media and email marketing.

How often should I report?

Depending on what you’re looking at, you’ll want to consider if you’re reporting on a project basis or as a department. For smaller projects, you might want to look at weekly, but most others monthly will suffice.

While comparison is often the thief of joy, for projects it’s often the best way to measure success. If you’re just starting out, it’ll be good to compare future projects where you have more experience and know-how. Consider comparing month on month and year on year.

How to set realistic KPIs

Firstly, you’ll want to gauge what your current baseline is for your marketing channels and website. Familiarise yourself with the last 3 – 6 months of statistics for your website, email and social media. If you’ve not run any digital ads prior to this, have a look at benchmarks for both what channels you’re working on and then for your industry.

You can also analyse it by looking at your cost per acquisition (CPA). This means to consider the conversion rate for anything from clicks and downloads to sales.

The equation for this is:

CPA = total cost of campaign / total number of conversions

This can help you get an idea of things like:

#1 What is one customer worth

#2 How many leads do I need to speak to, to convert a paying customer

#3 What is my average conversion rate from lead to customer

What should I measure per channel, and what do all these terms mean?!



Reviewing visitors can tell you a lot about your websites effectiveness and if it’s attracting the right people. You can review new vs. returning visitors, their frequency and recency, as well as things like their location, language, most popular time of day and day of the week.

Session duration

Looking at the time spent on your website is a great indicator of whether it’s serving its purpose. If you have great content on social media, email or ads, but your visitors are leaving within 10 seconds, chances are something’s not meeting expectation.

Bounce rate

This stat reflects the number of visitors who leave quickly but can also impact how your website ranks in search going forward. It can be an indicator of poor UX, slow load times or low quality content.

Conversely, it can also be the opposite. For example, a contact us page might have a high bounce rate as the user finds what they need immediately (e.g. phone number or address).

Devices – mobile/desktop/tablet

Looking at how your website is consumed will give you a good basis for what to optimise design-wise. If you’re predominantly seeing mobile and tablet users, think about layouts that work best for smaller screens.

Most viewed pages

This will give you a good insight into what your visitors are most interested in. Of course, some of the results will fluctuate based on things like how you’re driving traffic (email, ads, social media) and how well they rank in search.



Starting simple, this equates to how many people saw your ad and clicked on it.

Click through rate (CTR)

Click through rate = total clicks in the reporting period selected / total impressions

It’s a good indicator of how your ad is performing, as it’s literally looking at what percentage of individuals clicking after seeing it. If you have lots of impressions but low clicks, chances are something’s not quite right. That could be your call to action isn’t strong enough, the offer isn’t compelling or simply it’s not what they’re looking for. In which case, it could be back to the drawing board. And of course, consulting your personas.

Quality score

This metric often confuses marketers are it’s not quite as cut and dry as the rest. Google essentially scores your ad content and how relevant it appears to be based on your CTR and landing page experience.

According to search engine journal:

Google improved how Quality Score is reported in Google Ads in 2017, but it still comes down to this simple fact:

A good Quality Score (between 7 and 10) means you pay less money to advertise with Google Ads.

A bad Quality Score (6 or lower) means you pay more money.

Cost per click (CPC)

While when you set up at PPC campaign you’ll assign a total budget, there’s also your maximum bid per click, otherwise known as CPC. Think of it a bit like eBay, you’re bidding against other competitors using the same criteria, and the highest bidder will win the auction.

Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)

In the simplest of terms, CPA is the average price paid for every new customer acquired.

Delving a little deeper, you can also look at Targeted CPA, which is a bidding technique that can be applied when setting up your campaign. It helps advertisers optimise bids to get as many conversions as possible, based on a predetermined CPA.

Conversion rate (CVR)

This is usually the percentage of your traffic that turns into paying customers. It can also refer to traffic to clicks or other actions, such as download or data acquisition.

Average position

When setting up a PPC ad for Google (or dare I say, Bing), there are a few possible positions for your ad to be placed. You can’t always be in first place, even if you are the highest bidder… so your position will be based on ad ranks.

Ad Rank = Quality Score x Max CPM

Keep in mind, the first ad isn’t always the most successful position. But that’s another rabbit hole for another time!

Social media


This is the total number of unique people to have seen your post. It can be increased by any engagement with the post (e.g. like/react, comment/reply, share/retweet) as well as if you choose to boost your post by sponsoring it.


Reviewing your likes/follows monthly is a good indication of brand awareness.

Engagement (likes/reactions, shares/retweets, comments)

Arguably, engagement is much more important than community size. As above in ‘reach’ engagement can help drive visibility. So if you have an account with a lot of followers, but your content isn’t resonating, what’s the point?

Website traffic and conversions from social media

Ultimately the goal of social media is to raise awareness and drive consideration for your followers to use your products or visit your website for your more in-depth content. So this metric is a good indication (if links are used sensibly in your content strategy) of the strength of your content.

Email marketing

Database hygiene

Keeping an eye on the growth and churn of your database makes good sense. There are a number of reasons why subscribers may opt-out of your marketing, from irrelevant content to no longer requiring your services. Depending on your sector and offering will influence this too. Your digital marketing agency will be able to explain this based on what you’re doing.

Click through rate

The most important metric to report in email is click throughs. It reflects the strength of your content and call to action.

Why not open rate?

Did you know what if you don’t have images switched on from a sender but you still read the email, you won’t count as an open? In the simplest terms, every HTML email sent will contain a pixel that tracks your activity but this will only work if images are showing. And yes, that counts even if you’re sending emails without images. So for this reason, open rates just aren’t so accurate.

Website traffic and conversions from email channels

The same as with social media, it’s always a good idea to look at cross platform interactions. So checking to see the acquisitions tab in Google Analytics to see what can be attributed to your email marketing programs is a good way of gauging performance.


Hopefully this has helped explain the various KPIs that are most useful for your digital marketing. And while the answer is subjective, hopefully you have a better understanding of how to set a realistic KPI by looking at benchmarks, both for channels and your industry.

As always, if you need any help looking at your digital marketing projects, let us know by leaving your details below.

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Social media advertising best practice

Social Media Advertising: Best Practice Tips

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Social media advertising best practice
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Social Media Advertising: Best Practice Tips

Social media advertising has revolutionised the face of marketing. More affordable than traditional OOH, television or radio, they are straightforward to set up (once you know what to do), highly targeted and provide a whole heap of insights.

While there are tons of social media channels these days, this best practice guide focuses on the big four: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These are the most common channels we use with our clients, and for good reason: they get results.


First, let’s look at the kinds of results you can expect. Of course, this will differ according to a number of variables, such as your budget, demographics and content.

For example, here’s what you can expect from Facebook:

Facebook advertising benchmarkBusiness accounts

Often, the page you create for your business is a ‘personal’ account by default. This means you won’t have access to all the insights and options as a business account. So converting the account is a crucial first step.

As well as ‘unlocking’ the advertising side, a business account also opens up reporting and communication streams. This includes followers being able to send DMs (direct messages) and:

  • Follower demographics
  • Engagement metrics
  • App integrations

Each social media platform has an equivalent business advertising platform, seen below:

Social media business accounts


As with most platforms that allow advertising, there are a number ways to manage your spend: total budget, daily budget and setting bids based on clicks (CPC), impressions (CPM) and delivered InMails (CPS).

You can be as conservative or extravagant as you like. Hubspot has created a helpful calculator to give you an idea on spend and return for social media ads.


  • 690m members
  • 180m senior-level influencers
  • 63m decision makers
  • 10m C-level executives
  • There are 675m monthly users
  • 40% of those monthly users login daily
  • 63m unique mobile users, monthly! (so make sure that ad is optimised)
  • 57% of LinkedIn users identify as male

LinkedIn users worldwide 2020Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn works best when you’re targeting professionals. While arguably professionals also use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s more likely that they’ve got their business and decision making hats on when they’re active on LinkedIn.

Not only this, but you can really zone in on those B2B segments, provided that users keep their profiles up to date.

Ad types:

  • Carousel
  • Conversion
  • Dynamic
  • Jobs
  • Lead gen
  • Message
  • Single image
  • Single job
  • Text
  • Video

LinkedIn Promoted post adLinkedIn ad example - job

LinkedIn recommends the following best practice tips to maximise success when advertising across it’s channel:

  • Write ad headlines that are under 150 characters. Concise headlines lead to more engagement.
  • Keep descriptive copy under 70 characters. Note that anything over 100 characters could be truncated on desktop.
  • Embed larger images instead of standard thumbnails. An image size of 1200 x 627 pixels is recommended. Content with larger visuals tend to get up to 38% higher CTR (click-through rates).
  • Feature a clear CTA (call to action), so your audience knows how to act on their interest.


  • 2.6 billion monthly active users
  • 1.73 billion daily active users
  • 60% of internet users have a Facebook profile: which breaks down further to 83% of women and 75% of men
  • 96% of active users are most engaged via mobile devices
  • 58.5 minutes per day is the average daily use
  • 54% of users identify as female
  • 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off

Why Facebook?

The social media channel we all love to hate (but we’re all addicted). Whether it’s nosing at people we used to know, laughing at memes or discovering new brands, Facebook is the reigning monarch of modern day social media (sorry MySpace!) with 60% of all internet users reported to have a profile.

This in theory provides the most varied reach. And with so many data captures along the way (in addition to what you fill in on your profile, a shout out here to page likes, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger), there’s potential for incredibly in-depth segmentation possibilities.

Ad types:

  • Video
  • Image
  • Collection (formally known as product catalogue, customised for the individual)
  • Carousel
  • Instant experience (formally known as Canvas, full-screen, mobile optimised)
  • Lead generation ads
  • Offers
  • Post engagement (boost)
  • Event responses
  • Page likes

Best practice tips from Facebook business

Here’s what the Facebook business manager team themselves recommend to optimise your campaigns for success:

  • Use vertical videos: Use a vertical or square aspect ratio. Most people hold their phones vertically, so you’ll cover more of their screen.
  • Avoid text on images: If you can, use the text/headline/link description boxes instead. If you have to use text on your image, try a smaller font and fewer words to lower the proportion of text to image. Our text overlay tool can help you get your ad approved. Learn more about text on images.
  • Shorten text: People on Facebook and Instagram scan quickly. In research conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association, it took 2-3 seconds for two out of three for people to see and cognitively recognise desktop ads compared to 0.4 seconds on mobile. Keep your text short, clear and concise to get your message across.
  • Add multiple images using the carousel format: Carousel allows you to show several images for people to scroll through at the same cost. It’s a great opportunity if you have lots of product or brand images. Get carousel tips.
  • Add movement: Ads with movement stand out in News Feed. When you make a Stories ad, you can use free templates that automatically animate your ad. You can also edit the colours, images and fonts. You could also try these free apps:
  • Hyperlapse – Create timelapse videos
  • Boomerang – Loop videos
  • Legend – Animate text
  • Videoshop – Edit videos
  • Adobe PhotoShop Express – Edit photos
  • Adobe Spark – Build videos from templates with text, images, photos and narration
  • Use calls to action: A range of call-to-action (CTA) buttons are available for Facebook and Instagram ads. These buttons draw attention and encourage people to engage with your ad. Based on what you want people to do when they see your ad, experiment with the CTA buttons available for different ad objectives and formats. See which ones get your audience to take action.


  • 1 billion+ monthly active users
  • 500 million+ daily active users
  • 500 million+ stories uploaded daily
  • 4.2 billion post likes daily
  • Apparently, 56.3% female (although this is interesting as this isn’t a formal data capture… hello data sharing)
  • 60% of adult internet users have an Instagram account
  • 130 million users tap on the shop call to action to learn more about products, monthly!
  • User generated content has 4.5% higher conversion rate for brands using Instagram

Why Instagram?

Instagram and Facebook are connected. So it’s easier to target your audience based on Facebook data. All budgeting and scheduling tasks, the setup and creation of ads are done through Facebook. So you don’t need to start from scratch and learn about Instagram, once you’ve already used its sister platform for marketing and ads.”

Although Instagram is essentially the same platform as Facebook, the demographic differs slightly, as does their engagement. It is thought that Instagram users are more engaged with brands than any other social media platform.

Ad types

social media ads instagramTwitter

  • 1.3 billion+ accounts
  • 330 million monthly active users
  • 152 million daily active users (42% of users)
  • 500 million tweets daily
  • Average session is 3.39 minutes

Why Twitter?

If your target demographic is mostly male, Twitter is a good place to advertise. According to Omnicore stats, 66% of its users are male, making up for 24% of all male internet users.

Not only this, but according to Kantar, 53% of Twitter users are likely to be early adopters, being the first to buy new products.

Twitter is also a good balance between the strictly business interaction of LinkedIn and the more personal uses of Facebook and Instagram.

Ad types

  • Reach (maximise your ad’s reach)
  • Video views
  • Pre-roll views (pair your ad with premium content)
  • App installs
  • Website clicks
  • Engagement
  • Followers
  • App re-engagements (get people to do something in particular with your app)

Twitter text only ad Twitter promoted imageTwitter promoted account

Best practice tips from Twitter business

#1 Choose an ad format that works for your campaign goals

Promoted Tweets: Create a regular Tweet with your account with text and/or images. With a Promoted Tweet, visibility is boosted to help your content reach more people.

Promoted Videos: Have a great video that you want to draw more attention to? Share it on Twitter, and then launch a Promoted Video campaign.

Pre-roll videos: Pre-roll videos are advertisements from one of our 200+ content partners that are played at the beginning of a video.

Website Cards: Image and video Website Cards enable your brand to share eye- catching creative that seamlessly drives to a landing page of your choice. Create a card and attach it to a Tweet to share with your audience.

App Cards: Twitter App Cards drives both app installations and engagement, and allows you to present your app and the supporting content in a rich and interesting way.

#2 Understand the creative guidelines for each format

#3 Embrace video best practices across multiple formats


Social media is a great way to create affordable advertising campaigns for any budget. If you’re thinking about dabbling with social media ads but aren’t sure where to begin, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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Digital advertising

Digital Advertising 101

By Blog posts, Digitisation
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Digital Advertising 101

What is digital advertising?

Those adverts you see on Facebook, sponsored search results on Google (or Bing, if you’re that way inclined). A cheeky sidebar banner featuring those shoes you were thinking of buying last night but didn’t. And of course, those infamous moments where you swear Facebook is reading your mind. It’s all digital advertising.

The more sophisticated, modern sibling of traditional ads. If done well, they are targeted, trackable and a wealth of information to marketing teams.

With so many tools to set up digital ads, there is scope for a full range of real-time reports. You can learn what motivates them to convert, and use this information to help build your buyer personas.

And, if you can’t decide on the creative or copy, you can even split test a multi-variant ad.

WebFX reports that 80% of shoppers research online. It’s fair to say a higher percentage of B2B decision makers will research suppliers this way too.

Inbound vs Paid Advertising

Digital strategy: social media ads

What about inbound marketing vs. paid advertising? Both have their pros and cons, and a successful digital marketing strategy will use a balance of the two. For instance, inbound or organic content is a great foundation to building consideration.

Whereas paid (or ads) are great for driving awareness and boosting conversion. They do this by reaching targeted leads who are further down the sales funnel, ready to make a decision.

Inbound marketing takes time and effort to get results. You’re stretching your net far and wide, inviting as many users as possible to visit your site. And they might not always be the best quality leads.

Budgets for digital ads are a lot more flexible than traditional, making it is less of a gamble to experiment.

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

How to choose the right channel for your ads

How DPC+UP plan digital marketing projectsSo you’re ready to allocate some of your budget to digital ads, but how do you know which channels are right for you? As always, refer to your customer personas.

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like us, we do the “hard work” identifying the best channels. To achieve this, we look at the following factors of your target audience:

  • The sites they use
  • What media they consume
  • What motivates them to convert

It’s also a good idea to audit your key competitors. We also carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

What channels are available?

You are spoilt for choice. That said, different channels work better for different audiences and ad types.

Paid search is great for capturing active leads. These users are already seeking information based on the keywords from your campaign. PPC get an average conversion rate of 3.17%.

Display ads tend to perform best for driving brand awareness and consideration. They work best for retargeting rather than prospecting. So for example those ‘hey, remember those shoes you were looking at yesterday?’ banners.

Social media advertising is the MVP here. Not only is it ideal for building awareness, it’s also great for driving traffic and conversions. Plus you have a wide selection of channels at your disposal, each with their own merits depending on your target audience.

Before you can start planning the where and how, you need to start out with what you want to achieve.

Create clear goals

Ask yourself: what do you want the user to do when they see your ad?

It’s not enough to just want new business to come in. You need to consider:

  • What’s your proposition?
  • What problems are you looking to solve?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • Are you linking to content, a product/service, or an event?
  • Are you looking to build your database?

To convert the user into a lead, the goal is to ‘pixel/tag’ them or capture their contact details. From there, you can trigger a lead nurture workflow to warm them. This is where inbound marketing goes hand in hand with paid.


Digital advertising is an ideal way to generate leads. With a flexible budget, you can create targeted campaigns across a range of channels, such as PPC, display retargeting and social media.

You’re likely to convert more leads and faster than your organic, inbound marketing activities. That said, the two work in partnership to help raise awareness, drive consideration.

Having clear goals will help you create a campaign that not only performs, but helps you learn more about your ideal customers.

Thinking about your digital advertising strategy?

Leave your details below and we’ll get in touch!

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