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An introduction to monitoring online marketing results

By Alexandra Gavril - September 9, 2015

You may have a nicely designed website that you’ve tried to promote through social media and paid advertising. You’ve probably also done a bit of search engine optimisation (SEO) to help more people find you online. But when it’s time to ask yourself if your online marketing is getting results, do you know the real answer?

In our annual 123-reg survey, we found that 57% of our customers don’t monitor their online marketing and 38% of that group say it’s because they don’t know how. Plus for those who do monitor it they’re not monitoring the right things – 80% look at total website visits, but only 24% look at return on investment (ROI).

We get it. It can be easy to get lost in the dashboard of Google Analytics. With endless statistics, charts and graphs, even the best marketers can lose their way. But knowing exactly how well your site is performing and what results you’re getting from your campaigns is crucial.

In this post you’ll learn more about why it’s important to monitor the results of your online marketing, how you can monitor it and what exactly is vital to monitor in order to get some real insights into how your online marketing is performing.

Why you should monitor your online marketing results

Online marketing refers to promoting your brand, products and services on the Internet through SEO, email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and any other promotional activities that are done over the web.

While you may be doing some or all of these to promote your business, do you really know if you’re getting any results? The only way to know if your online marketing efforts are paying off is through analysis. Depending on your goals and what you’d like to achieve – whether it’s to sell more products, to get more people to download your whitepapers, to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or to get them to call you – analysing the results of your online marketing strategy can offer great insights into what your customers like or dislike about your products or your business. This allows you to tweak and improve every aspect of your strategy in order to get even better results.

In other words, monitoring your online marketing is a great way to determine what’s working and what’s not. By reducing or eliminating the latter you can avoid throwing good money after poorly performing aspects of your marketing campaign.

So, here’s a short recap of the main reasons why you need to monitor your online marketing results:

  • To get valuable insights into your customers’ likes and dislikes
  • To see how effective your marketing campaigns are at generating revenue and sales
  • To see how effective your campaigns are at generating interactions with your target audience and at getting them to take an action as a result of your campaign
  • To get access to all the data you need so your online marketing performs at its full potential.

Why looking at total website traffic isn’t a very useful metric


With the huge amount of data available from web analytics tools like Google Analytics, it’s not surprising that so many get lost or focus on the wrong metrics, missing the truly valuable insights that can benefit their businesses.

The most obvious example: website traffic. It’s tempting and all too common for site owners to focus solely on the number of visitors to their site. While it’s not a bad idea to track this metric, on it’s own it doesn’t say much about the real business impact. Visitors come and go but it’s what they do while they’re on your site that matters most.

For example, say you’ve just launched a new product and you start promoting it via social media, email marketing and Google AdWords. You notice a significant increase in your website traffic and that pleases you. That must mean it works. However, when you take a closer look you notice that you haven’t made any sales. Is the website traffic increase still relevant? By itself it isn’t. In fact, it’s misleading as you might think that your campaign has been successful. But when you combine this with useful metrics like conversion rate, time spent on site and bounce rate you realise that the campaign hasn’t had any results.

The same goes for email marketing or PPC campaigns. You may get people to open your emails, click on your links or on your ads and entice them to go to your site, but if they leave immediately or without taking the action you want them to take, then what’s the point?

So tracking and reviewing actions like actions completed, conversion rates, time spent on site and bounce rates, will tell you much more about the true business impact of your online marketing.

Next we’ll explain which metrics you should be looking at in Google Analytics to ensure your online marketing is paying off.

Useful metrics you need to look at

To get a real sense of whether your online marketing is generating results, spend your time monitoring metrics that illustrate not only successes but also failure. Keep in mind that you can’t optimise your online marketing for conversions without a good grip on the metrics that drive them.

Here’s a look at the key online marketing metrics you’ll want to pay close attention to:

Conversion rate
The conversion rate of a page is the percentage of people who complete a desired action on that page, such as buying a product, downloading an ebook or filling out a contact form. If your pages have a high conversion rate it means that your online marketing is paying off.

A landing page is usually the first page that visitors see when they arrive on your site so it’s crucial that you make it as enticing as possible if you want to convert visitors into buying customers. If you don’t, then all the traffic you get isn’t really valuable.

Google Analytics allows you to set up funnels so you can then monitor users’ journey on your site as well as goals that enable you to track conversions such as buying a product, downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a webinar, filling out a contact form. Find out how to track conversions from our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate of a page is the percentage of people who left your website after viewing that specific page. A page that has a high bounce rate isn’t doing a good job at keeping people on the site. On the contrary, it’s driving potential customers away from your site. Use this metric to analyse what’s working for your visitors and what isn’t and needs improvement. Learn more about bounce rates, why they matter and how to find it in Google Analytics.

Traffic sources

This tells you where your visitors are coming from. It’s an important metric as you get to find out where people have read about your business. It may be from your social media accounts, from your guest posts or from other sites that have written about you. Every business will have their mix of organic, referral and direct traffic so make sure you monitor this to see how your various marketing channels are driving traffic to your site.

If you want to find out more about conversions and dig deeper into how to use Google Analytics to measure the results of your online marketing, check out our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics.

Which metrics do you monitor?

Although these are some of the most important metrics to monitor, we’re sure that you have some of your own that you use to determine whether your online marketing is successful. Let’s discuss them in the comments below.