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  • Writer's pictureLiz Maguire

What makes a good KPI?

When you're working on the elements of your marketing map, or strategy, you should ask yourself: How can we tell what works and what doesn't? Determining the metrics by how you'll track your strategy should be part of the foundation of building said strategy. In marketing we call those metrics Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, which are:

A set of figures to track progress of a project over a decided length of time, i.e. open rate of email, increase of site visitors etc. Should be something which reflects a greater impact on the business, not necessarily a 'vanity' metric like followers or likes on social media.

KPIs allow a way to track the Return on Investment (ROI) of a various campaign within a strategy. KPIs help to consider how a budget (time or money) was spent previously to inform future decision making.

In this post we'll look at standard KPIs for social media and email marketing campaigns. Whether you're running your own in-house marketing or you're working with a marketer, asking for these metrics should become part of your vocabulary and language.

KPIs for Social Media:

If there is one message to take from a post about social media KPIs it is this: Follower count is not a viable metric for reporting. Confusing 'engagement' and follower count when reporting social media KPIs is easily done. As a society there has been conditioning that a follower count can be equated with popularity, or generally, success. However, it is not the number of followers on a page which amount to the valuable metric but the action(s) they take that matter. These actions are called 'engagements' and can include: likes, shares, and comments, as well as visiting your site via tracked links provided on posts or in 'bios'.

Paid Media:

On a seperate hand, if you are running a promoted paid media campaign such as Facebook ads you will be able to access your reach and impressions data. This data will tell you the 'reach', or the number of unique people/accounts who have seen your promoted content. Whereas 'impressions' are the number of times your content was displayed to on screens anywhere. This information can and should shape your budget for promoting posts to various audiences.

This video is short and sweet in helping to break down the all importance difference between these two metrics:

With paid media you will also be able to track the actions that a user takes with your promoted post, such as the number of orders or more simply the number of visits to your website, directly.

KPIs for Email Marketing:

There are a number of metrics to consider when managing an email marketing campaign. These data sets help to color the picture of performance for a once off campaign or an automatic messaging sequence. Consider them a 'check up' for the virtual health of your email marketing.

  • Open Rate:Open Rates are found by the percentage that opened over the rate of messages that were delivered. Open Rates tell us how the subject line performed in the inbox.

  • Click Thru Rate (CTR): The percentage of people who opened the email and who clicked something in the email, like a link to the website product or blog.

  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of people who ordered something through the email, from your website. This tells us how well the emails are working for sales directly.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important to define at the start of a campaign so that the Return on Investment (ROI) can be measured after the fact. In social media marketing, the number of followers for a social media account doesn't matter nearly as much as the actions your followers take with the media. When running a paid campaign the difference between impressions and reach is vital, as is defining which actions from your audience matter. In email marketing, there are a number of metrics to consider such as the Open Rate, the Click Thru Rate and the Conversion Rate. Whatever you choose to record be sure to be diligent in your record keeping and let the data speak for itself!

Get In Touch

Setting out to decide what KPIs matter? We can help. Send us an email:

Have a question about any of the terms in this post? Check out our marketing terms glossary for more detail.

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