How to Set Digital Marketing KPIs

By TinyURL Marketing

Last updated on October 17, 2022

Digital marketing KPIs are numbers and indicators that clue you into whether your business efforts are paying off. To build KPIs, look at the aspects of your business that are working out, and use them to set achievable goals for the aspects that aren’t.


Setting the right digital marketing KPIs for your business is a tiny but important step towards marketing success. By prioritizing the most important metrics, you can keep your marketing efforts focused so that there’s no wasted effort.

Keeping a tight watch on your KPIs also makes it easier for your marketing analytics tools to track the effects of your marketing campaigns.

Let’s take a quick look at some basic principles you should always keep in mind when deciding on your business’s digital marketing KPIs.

1. Identify Your Business’ Sales Drivers

First off, figure out the factors that currently drive your business’ sales. Which channels and processes do best at generating conversions and new business? It can be tempting to pour all your effort into increasing numbers that you think are lagging behind, but it can be easy to do that at the expense of what’s already working.

There are a couple of benefits to noting down the aspects of your business that are working best for you. For one thing, it helps you figure out what success looks like: investigating your successes will help you strategize later on. For another, it helps you avoid making dangerous plays — you can make calculated risks when you know what’s at stake.

2. Identify your Costs

Your time and money are not unlimited, so it also pays to keep a close eye on your digital marketing costs. How much goes to ads, tie-ins, and other promotions? 

If you don’t have a clear idea of how your marketing budget is being allocated, then now’s a good time to start. Your priorities need to be grounded in the reality of your business: rushing to set KPIs can leave you chasing after impossible or terribly expensive goals.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the tools you’re using, such as SEO and website traffic monitoring services. Tallying up your marketing and analytics costs along with your sales drivers gives you a more complete picture of the cost behind your marketing efforts and their effects so that you can start choosing your KPIs.

3. Identify Your Goals

Now that you know what’s working and where your money’s currently going, it’s time to get specific with your planning. Take those dreams and ambitions you’ve been holding onto and figure out how to quantify them.

But before you zero in on specific KPIs, ask yourself: what does my business need the most right now? You might need a solution to a pressing problem (ex. customer churn), a positive target (ex. sales quotas), or a large-scale objective like growth. 

Naming your specific business goals narrows the field, which you want because there are any number of metrics that you could pay attention to. Unless you know what your business needs to achieve sooner than later, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds instead of pushing in the direction with the most impact.

Note that you can have different KPIs for different strategies.

For example, growing your business might have you tracking your net revenue or sales volumes over time. As you measure this, you might also want to keep an eye on your social media strategies — meaning you’ll be paying a lot of mind to post reach, ad spend, and ROI.

As you can imagine, this means it’s possible that your team might find itself saturated with KPIs: tracking so many “key metrics” at once that you don’t actually end up prioritizing any.

Learn to distinguish between stepping stones and outcomes when looking over your goals. Going back to the example of social media, reach and engagement are ultimately just stepping stones to conversions.

4. Decide: What Should You Measure?

A metric becomes a digital marketing KPI when you’re highly invested in seeing it improve over time.

With your business goals in mind, it’s time to transform marketing metrics into KPIs. While the key is to focus on the metrics you’ve decided matter most to your business’ goals, it’s also important to discern which of those metrics you could reasonably influence.

The point of measuring a KPI is to set a clear indicator of what you need to do about a given strategy. If your KPIs are positive or growing, then you should do more of what you’re doing. If they’re shrinking, you’ll need to change things up.

If you’re wondering whether you should mark problem metrics as KPIs (ex. setting direct sales as a KPI when it’s been on a downturn), we say go for it. From a management perspective, addressing low-performing aspects of your business head-on is a great way to shift focus to it — just be sure to set reasonable expectations when you do so.

5. Set Benchmarks

On their own, digital marketing KPIs don’t tell you the whole story. You need to have something to compare their performance against for any changes to your key metrics to guide smarter decisions. These benchmarks let you know if your KPIs are growing or falling (and how quickly they’re moving in either direction) by giving you a reference point.

You can create a benchmark for your actual performance based on the data you already have, such as the performance of past marketing efforts. If you have a new business or haven’t been tracking your data, you could make do with a measurement of the most recent period — just note that factors like seasonality (ex. measuring chocolate sales in February) can throw your estimate.

It’s also a good idea to supplement your own performance benchmarks with comparable data from the rest of the industry. They’re particularly handy because industry benchmarks give you an idea of how a business of your size and industry ought to perform, which can be critical when competition is fierce.


Setting the right digital marketing KPIs cuts out the noise so you can focus on your marketing goals. Figure out your most important objectives, and turn the marketing metrics most closely tied to those goals into your digital marketing KPIs.

Cut out the extraneous distractions, set clear benchmarks for those KPIs, and you’ll find yourself running optimized, responsive marketing campaigns in no time. 

TinyURL’s link shortener can help you keep an eye on your digital marketing KPIs by gathering a wealth of useful traffic metrics from your shortened links, such as traffic sources and referrers, geographic locations of visitors, and peak traffic times. 

Real-time metrics tracking and a streamlined analytics dashboard turn each of your shortened links into an analytics powerhouse, providing useful data that you can use to improve your marketing efforts. 

Check out how our platform can help your marketing analytics and sign up for a TinyURL account today!

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