The What, How and Who of Metrics These Marketing Teams Track

by Alton Zenon III
August 6, 2020
Marketing metrics LA

“No two companies in the same space can or should be tracking the exact same metrics.”

So says Ali Haeri — VP of Marketing at adtech company SteelHouse and a digital analytics instructor at UCLA Extension — who recently shared an idea with Built In LA: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for determining marketing metrics. A business’s needs should be determined based on what that organization is, and marketing metrics should be a means to reaching whatever business ends stakeholders prioritize. 

Haeri, and marketing experts at communications strategy company MediaCom and virtual reality company Talespin, agreed that a significant part of determining their metrics was based on working backward from major business goals. 

With a plan and feedback systems in place, marketers can get their campaigns underway.

Local pros shared the roles that measurements like video completion rates, brand mentions and return on ad spend (ROAS) played in gauging and leveraging success for their company. However, they said they made efforts to connect — not silo — all the data they collected. No matter the metric, every measurement plays a part in making the big-picture goals of the marketing infrastructure work. 


Ali Haeri
VP of Marketing

What are the most important marketing metrics your team tracks?

Before we identified what we wanted to track and what metrics mattered most to us, we first identified why we exist as a marketing organization. It came down to three things: coordinated digital marketing (what we call Marketing 360), brand marketing and sales enablement.

We then identified corresponding metrics for each category that would help us grade our work. For Marketing 360, we wanted to measure our ability to coordinate content marketing with digital marketing, so we track things like asset downloads, site conversion rate and search term visibility. We count how many content marketing assets we created for lead generation campaigns. For brand marketing, we measure things like quantity of PR placements, TV appearances, brand mentions and organic traffic growth. For sales enablement, we track familiar B2B digital marketing metrics such as ROAS, leads generated, inbound sales cycle velocity and qualified lead ratio.


Haeri’s philosophy on marketing:

“Some marketers get a bit carried away with metrics. Many marketers copy the data collection and analysis practices of other marketing orgs without considering that these other teams implemented a system that made the most sense for the type of marketing they’re doing the most. Teams can’t simply replicate the metrics system of a company that looks and feels like their own.”


How did you determine which metrics would be most impactful for guiding your marketing strategy?

There are seemingly an infinite amount of web metrics that can measure digital marketing performance. Once we considered our actual marketing approach — where we would be advertising and for what objectives — the metrics that would be most useful became a lot clearer.

We worked closely with sales to determine sales enablement metrics that would help them succeed. We had to make sure any sales-related metrics were pulled from the same source of truth so efforts weren’t duplicated. The goal was to avoid conflict and confusion where two departments have different metrics about marketing impact. 

We optimized our advertising targeting criteria and content based on feedback from sales.”


How have your metrics informed your marketing strategy and the business overall?

When building a lead generation program, I always obsess over lead quality rather than quantity. I tell my team that there’s a ratio of qualified and unqualified leads, and we should endeavor to always be on the right side of that equation.

This approach was especially helpful in the early days of building a lead generation program. We used to closely monitor all qualified leads driven to the sales team and optimized based on feedback from those that were disqualified. Eventually, we found ourselves on the wrong side of that optimal ratio, driving more unqualified leads than qualified. Then we optimized our advertising targeting criteria and content based on feedback from sales. We were able to get on the right side of that ratio in a matter of weeks and haven’t been underwater since. 


Jaclyn Griffin
Associate Director Analytics

What are the most important marketing metrics your team tracks? 

Looking specifically at our agency’s e-commerce brands, we lean heavily on ROAS to determine how our media campaigns are performing. This metric is a leading performance indicator based on user site action. Other key metrics based on website action include cost per visit, average time on site or average order value. 

While these metrics indicate user behavior after ad interaction, it is also important to leverage ad attention performance indicators, such as ad viewability rate, cost per ad engagement and video completion rate. 


Why are these numbers so important to what you do?

When pairing these two types of media metrics, we gain real-time visibility into media performance. That visibility allows our investment teams to be optimization-focused and objective-oriented. It also allows us the ability to measure media influence and effectiveness day to day.

But it’s also key to develop a framework that considers the mid- and long-term impact of our media. Multi-touch attribution metrics grant us insight into the various ad interactions a single consumer may experience. They help us understand the value of each touchpoint based on their propensity to drive a consumer to buy. Lastly, to asses long-term media effectiveness, we look at the share of revenue contribution across our holistic media portfolio using mixed media modeling.

Rather than relying on a single performance measurement methodology, each of these metrics plays an invaluable role in addressing specific media performance questions. Leveraging both short- and long-term metrics allows for a more connected measurement framework. It breaks down data silos and provides a 360-degree view of media performance.

Each touchpoint or channel has a specific role within the larger ecosystem.”


How did you determine which metrics would be most impactful for guiding your marketing strategy?

Our strategists dive into the human element of why and how people may want a product or service. Often, knowledge is constructed using a decision journey that helps our clients understand a product’s role in someone’s life. Then we look at the entire ecosystem of potential ways people might come in contact with a product. Finally, we architect these touchpoints to deliver specific data-driven results.

Each touchpoint or channel has a specific role within the larger ecosystem. Roles are measured against specific performance indicators that ladder up to the larger marketing and business objectives. Our analysts create the measurement framework, which keeps us and our clients focused on measuring the right results at the right time.


How have your metrics informed your marketing strategy and the business overall?

Our connected measurement approach allows us to optimize in-flight media campaigns with leading indicators of campaign goals. They also provide macro-level learnings across campaigns, business units and markets that ultimately guide our strategic approach.

Media metrics guided our strategic approach in a recent performance review for one of our larger e-commerce clients. We reviewed performance across their digital media portfolio and determined how we could improve our full-funnel strategy and measurement alignment to drive their incremental revenue. Our data-driven analysis validated the need for brand awareness driving upper-funnel tactics. We also determined the media channels and partners that would deliver the best brand reach. These insights generated purchase action downstream with most the efficient return on investment. Ultimately, we refined our cross-division and channel media mix to drive an overall increase in rate of return.


Justin McLaughlin
VP of Marketing and Communications

What are the most important marketing metrics your team tracks?

I’m sure at some point in their career every marketer has tried to explain the value of a metric like social media engagement and received a response along the lines of, “Yeah, but did we sell anything?” That’s why marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are one of the best measurable metrics from a marketing perspective. They enable teams to attribute tangible revenue to their strategies. MQLs put things like brand awareness into a context where you can prove they deliver leads and correlate directly to revenue. 


McLaughlin’s marketing philosophy:

“There can be a lot of noise around marketing metrics considering the volume of measurable data at a marketer’s disposal. The key is determining what matters most for a strategy. For a B2B company like Talespin, brand awareness is a critical element. But supporting sales — and driving conversions — is where the rubber meets the road for B2B marketing.”


How did you determine which metrics would be most impactful for guiding your marketing strategy?

Marketing metrics will be heavily influenced by organizational goals. For example, at Talespin we invested heavily in brand building in 2018. Marketing, sales and leadership were in agreement: the essential next step was prioritizing top-of-funnel awareness for our company and our new products. Metrics like quarterly media coverage, social media growth, web traffic and inbound leads were the priority during that time span.

As our product offering matured, we shifted the focus to target mid-funnel activities to more directly support sales. This strategic shift was intended to convert top-of-funnel traction into customer relationships, and metrics like MQLs and a healthy sales pipeline became the top priority. A blended strategy that feeds top-of-funnel awareness, and also directly supports sales through product marketing and sales enablement is key. This balance is something that will always be shifting based on organizational priorities. 

Marketing metrics will be heavily influenced by organizational goals.”


How have your metrics informed your marketing strategy and the business overall?

A fun example of a small tweak in our strategy was when we A/B tested preview image posts versus uploading the same image as an actual photo during the same campaign. Despite the same image, copy, call-to-action link and publishing strategy, the image posts outperformed preview link posts for engagement on LinkedIn. It’s that kind of iteration and research that is not only interesting but also has a real impact on the ROI for marketing efforts. 


Jobs from companies in this blog

Los Angeles startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Los Angeles
Coolest Tech Offices in Los Angeles
Best Perks at Los Angeles Tech Companies
Women in Los Angeles Tech