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How can I track my marketing success in a changing landscape?

Marketing KPIs are a constant debate between brands and their agencies; if you’re investing in marketing, it’s only right that you’ll want to track and monitor your return on investment. Recent changes to data, tracking and privacy rules make ‘fully’ tracking impossible, but we can still show and review overall effectiveness; this does mean redefining your KPIs.

What are KPIs?

KPIs, or key performance indicators are the metrics through which a business tracks the success of a campaign or activity against pre-set objectives.

What are Marketing KPIs?

KPIs will often vary depending on the type of business you have and what you deem to be a quantifiable measure of success. For some businesses it’s purely sales focused, perhaps meeting a specific sales target, others may be more concerned with conversions, authority and rankings or social metrics such as engagement/interactions.

It is important that KPIs reflect your business objectives and are monitored, reviewed and altered (if required) to keep your objectives on track. You will agree objectives with your agency or marketing team, but it’s important to challenge them and really think about what matters to your business, rather than getting bogged down in what we refer to as ‘vanity metrics’.

What are vanity metrics?

Vanity metrics are those which present a positive picture of performance or progress externally (such as a specific number of social media followers) but lack the depth or substance that enable you to progress and help develop future strategies. For example: you may want 10,000 followers as a target for your business and growing your community is not a bad thing, but a good agency should ask why that number? Follower numbers do not necessarily translate into engagements, so we need to focus on what you actually need to be successful. A smaller number of engaged followers being fed targeted content (informed by relevant insights) is more likely to yield results than a large following which is being served generic content.

The same goes with PR - you may crave coverage in a national publication, but that will only yield results for you if your audience is consuming that information. If you have a niche product or service and the engaged audience is reading a smaller, but more focused publication, then that could be the very best outlet for you and your news, yielding more leads.

What to consider in 2022

Your KPIs must be determined by your business objectives. Historically we would measure performance based on data and tracking insights which allow us to monitor and review activity by channel; while that’s still possible to an extent, it is being made much harder with changes to iOS and data/cookies regulations. In short, many of the changes mean that your customers can opt out of many forms of data gathering you might have previously used to tailor your campaigns and report on them. So, your current data could be painting a misleading picture and will most certainly be underreporting results; this doesn’t mean your marketing isn’t working, it means we need to adjust what we look for as signs of success and ways to track this. If you’re not sure on how this may impact your ability to monitor and report on your marketing, you can find out more in our comprehensive guide iOS, cookies & privacy changes blog.

Both agencies and businesses have been spoilt with access to a wealth of data, so the restriction and/or reduction of this may feel like a shock, or even a step backwards, but, a good agency (like us) will work with you to circumnavigate these challenges and help you focus on the really important information i.e. your bottom line. There’s always a way, but it’s important to recognise these changes will impact all of your marketing reporting and they are a universal problem- so the grass is not necessarily greener.

It’s more important than ever to understand your customer, but harder to do so, so what can you look at to shape your marketing approach? Here are some KPIS you can look at, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Which you choose can often depend on what type of business you are, your business goals, and context.

A table showing what KPIs can match each objective.

A New Era of Marketing

So it’s not backwards, but in some cases, back to ‘basics’. You’ll need to listen to your agency, trust their expertise because basics doesn’t mean easy! Basics in this case means looking at a holistic view of your marketing results, less focus on individual channels attribution, instead looking at how all of your channels can work together to help you achieve your aims. Look at your sales, look at your leads and it’s working if you’re meeting your targets! Your channel experts will each be able to tweak and amend their approach as they go, tailoring it to your needs, so make sure you communicate your true objectives and then let them help you navigate the rest. It’s important to remember too, that many tried and tested measurements, such as Google Analytics are being misreported, so consider alternative tools, or combining analytics with your first party data for a more comprehensive view.

If you think you’re ready to go back to the future, then let us help you. Drop our team of experts a message today, or give us a call on 01423 396959.

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Laura col


Paid Social Strategist

Laura joined Team Extreme in 2017 and through the years has refined her social media skills to become our Paid Social Strategist. She works with our social clients to plan and execute content across a broad range of sectors and channels, helping clients maximise their results and ROI.

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Team Lucie


Paid Media Lead

Lucie is our lead on all paid media activity, overseeing our talented paid media team and managing the strategy and implementation of all paid search campaigns across multiple platforms. Fully Google qualified and working directly at Google prior to joining Extreme, there's not much Lucie doesn't know about PPC!

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Team James M


SEO Lead

Our SEO Lead with over 10 years’ experience. James calls on an extensive knowledge of search and works closely with our content marketing team to deliver targeted, results-driven SEO strategies.

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Team Amy K


Head of Brand & Content

Amy joined in 2014 to set up our Content department. She now heads up a growing Brand and Content team, utilising over 13 years’ experience to deliver brand awareness through targeted, multi-channel copy. As well as engaging content for websites and blogs, Amy delivers PR strategies and tone of voice exploration, helping clients to communicate the purpose and values of their brand with maximum impact.

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