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How to Know If Your Digital Marketing Is Working

Jacob Brain


Too many businesses treat their digital marketing like it’s some sort of slot machine. Sometimes you get results, but most of the time it just feels like you’re throwing money and time at something that you don’t quite understand.

Throwing money at things that don’t have a clear ROI generally isn’t the best idea.

But how can you know if your digital marketing is working?

The Bottom Line of Digital Marketing

For most businesses the answer to our question is simple: you know that your digital marketing is working if it’s producing leads and sales. If it’s not doing that, then it’s not working.

Good digital marketing doesn’t mean throwing money into the void; it means turning marketing spend into real, live, genuine sales.

The problem, of course, is in determining the gap between your marketing efforts and your sales. How do your marketing dollars turn into sales?

Bridging the Gap: The Challenge of Digital Marketing ROI

The great thing about digital marketing is that it is incredibly quantifiable. Everything can be measured. The bad thing about digital marketing is that everything can be measured – which makes it hard to know what, exactly, you should be measuring.

Really, this is at the heart of why the majority of business owners don’t know whether or not their digital marketing is working. They don’t know what to measure.

The First Step: Understanding the Marketing Funnel

To understand how marketing turns into sales, you need to be familiar with your business’ sales funnel. A typical sales funnel looks something like this:


Based on your sales funnel, you can see that there are two ways that you can increase sales: by increasing the size of the funnel (i.e. generating more visits, leads, etc.), or by increasing the rate of conversion from one stage to the next (i.e. increasing your traffic to lead conversion rate).

Digital marketing, when it’s working, should do both of these things. How it does those things, though, varies across different digital platforms.

At New North, we’re passionate about helping businesses take the mystery out of their marketing. To that end, we’re showing you the two most important statistics for some of the most common digital marketing campaigns.

Here we go.

Digital Marketing Statistics By Campaign Type


1. Open Rate

  • What it measures: What percentage of people who receive your email are actually opening it?
  • What it means: If people are opening your email, it means two things: it was delivered to their inbox, and they found it interesting enough to open, based upon a combination of its subject line and their opinion of its sender. A higher open rate means your emails are reaching more of your list.

2. CTR (Click-through rate)

  • What it measures: How many clicks to your content are your emails generating?
  • What it means: A high CTR means that the content your users are finding in your emails is relevant to them and intrigues them enough to want to find out more.


1. Number of first-page keywords

  • What it measures: the number of keywords that you’re optimizing for that appear on the first page.
  • What it means: This is a basic indicator of how effective your SEO efforts are. If you’re optimizing for 100 keywords and only get 10 onto the first page of Google, that’s not good. SEO is one of the best ways to get traffic to your site. If you’re ranking high for relevant keywords, you’re increasing the size of your funnel’s top end.

2. Focus on #1. There are other SEO metrics, but you probably don’t need to worry about them. Every other SEO statistic is a method – first page keywords are what you should track. As a Maryland search engine optimization company, we’ve seen this time and again.

Social Media

1. Percentage of site traffic from social

  • What it measures: The percentage of visitors to your site that are brought from social, as opposed to other entrances.
  • What it means: It means that your social is increasing the size of your funnel’s top end by driving more traffic.

2. Percentage of leads from social

  • What it measures: The percentage of your leads that first touched your company on social, as opposed to other channels.
  • What it means: It means that not only is your social presence increasing the size of your funnel, but that your message is resonating enough with your audience to drive action.


1. Number of sessions per month

  • What it measures: The amount of times that visitors enter your site over the course of a month.
  • What it means: Higher sessions mean that your digital marketing is doing a good job at building the top end of your funnel.

2. Conversion rate

  • What it measures: The ratio between sessions and conversions.
  • What it means: Higher conversion rates mean that the content and design of your site are compelling enough to inspire action, and that your message and product are resonating with the visitors you’re getting.

If you are optimizing your digital marketing strategy towards these metrics, sales will nearly always follow. Consequently, these metrics are a good place to start.

Signpost put it this way, “If you start with the bottom line of increasing sales, there’s a good chance you might be missing crucial steps along the way, and have less insight into how your marketing performed at each step.”

We agree. We’d add, though, that the end result of digital marketing should always be increased sales – and that things work both ways. If you’re not getting sales, it’s cause to go back and reexamine your steps to find out where you’re getting off track.

So, there you have it: how to know if your digital marketing efforts are working. Want more help? Get in touch with us. At New North, we’re a Frederick, Maryland web design company that loves helping business to create digital marketing strategies that really work – and showing them how it happens along the way.

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