Marketing your store can be an intimidating experience, and understanding whether that marketing worked is often overwhelming.
Did you use the right channel and strategy? Which metrics should you pay attention to? What’s really important, and what’s a nice-to-have in your marketing reports?
Without answers to these questions, you’re in the dark when it comes to choosing the next marketing approach to use or the right products to promote.
In this guide, we’ll cover the reasons you should measure marketing performance and what you need to get started.
Why should you measure marketing campaigns?
When you run a marketing campaign, it can be tempting to rely on a gut feeling or vague numbers.
You see your overall sales slightly increasing and decide the campaign was a success—or you walk through an empty store and see nothing but failure.
This is what makes measuring your marketing campaigns essential. It removes guesswork and feelings from the process. You get the details and context to answer these questions:
- Did the campaign do what you wanted it to do, and to what extent?
- How can this make your future marketing strategies better?
1. Prove efficacy: did your marketing campaign succeed?
First, measuring marketing campaigns will help you understand the results it created.
Did you hit your desired numbers? From sales and revenue to new customers and repeat purchases, marketing campaigns aim to create results that otherwise wouldn’t happen.
Each campaign is an investment of your time, energy, and money. This includes everything from organic content and paid ads to email promotions and pop-up shops.
Measuring your marketing performance helps you understand which strategies are worth that investment.
2. Inform future campaigns: what can you do better next time?
Data you collect through marketing measurement will also reveal clues to improvements you can make the next time around.
Let’s say your campaign increased footfall to your store, but only marginally increased revenue. You can learn from these numbers and explore store layout options or product bundling strategies to increase the average transaction value the next time around.
Even better: when you run a specific type of marketing campaign multiple times, you’ll get access to deeper insights.
For example, if you launch several pop-up stores throughout the year, you can learn which seasons, locations, and products performed better and apply those learnings to future pop-up launches.
Marketing metrics and KPIs for your store
Keep track of your marketing performance by tracking these four metrics and KPIs:
1. Revenue and sales
Revenue and sales are the most obvious metric to track when it comes to marketing performance. Make sure you know the answer to these questions:
Did your marketing campaign drive additional revenue and/or sales? If so, by how much?
Don’t stop at measuring revenue and number of sales alone. Instead, focus on the objective of the campaign and measure revenue and sales for:
- Specific periods of time (days, weeks, months, and custom ranges)
- Products you promoted
- Locations you included
- Channels you focused on
Another metric to pay attention to is average order value (online) or average transaction value (in-store), as well as the average number of products per purchase. This will show you how your campaign affected the way your customers usually shop, not just your bottom line.
💡 PRO TIP: With Shopify, it’s straightforward to track sales by channel, store location, or product over time. To get started, view Sales reports in Shopify admin.
2. New customers
Every store owner dreams of thousands of loyal customers—their raving fans—but to get there, you need new customers first. When you track your marketing performance, answer this question:
How much did we expand our customer base with this campaign?
Of course, not every campaign will be focused on reaching new customers. Even then, however, there’s a chance you’ll reach them, and it’s a metric worth tracking.
When you grow your customer base, you can tailor your upcoming marketing campaigns and focus on building and deepening your relationship with these new customers.
For example, you can send them emails or run social media ads to:
- Cross-sell products that go well with their first purchase from you
- Promote product guides and educational content for a better product experience
- Introduce your staff and show the work that goes into your products and store
- Promote a local event or a pop-up shop to meet customers in person
3. Brand awareness
Brand awareness indicates how familiar and recognizable your store is to your target customers. This includes your brick-and-mortar locations, your website, product range, specific product names, logo, colors, and more.
When measuring your brand awareness, you’re looking to understand:
Have we increased the likelihood of customers recognizing, interacting with, and/or buying from our store?
Brand awareness isn’t a single metric. It depends on the channels you use to market and sell your products, as well as who your target customers trust when it comes to making purchase decisions.
Here are some examples of metrics that contribute to tracking brand awareness:
- Press features in relevant media categories and formats
- Mentions and conversations about your brand on social media platforms
- Engagement and reach on owned social media channels
- Google searches that contain your brand name
- Referral traffic to your website
- Partnerships and collaborations with local brands
4. Customer retention
The longer you’re in business, the more important it is to focus on customer retention. It allows you to build customer relationships and maximize revenue for each customer.
To measure customer retention, you need to know:
What percentage of your customers makes a second purchase (and beyond)? What is their purchase frequency?
You can hugely impact customer retention with a loyalty program, the quality of your customer support, and email marketing, so metrics like customer satisfaction score and email conversion rates also matter.
💡 PRO TIP: Want to see how effectively you’re attracting and retaining customers over time? View the First-time vs. returning customer sales report in Shopify admin to see how many orders come from new or returning customers, the total value of those sales, and more.
How to measure marketing performance
1. Track customer data in your point-of-sale (POS) system
Customer profiles let you store all interactions your customer has with you, including promotions and purchases. This can include:
- Date of their first purchase
- How long it took them to make a second purchase
- Purchase frequency
- Average spend per purchase
- Average number of products per purchase
- Customer’s birthday
- Returns they’ve made
Viewing your sales numbers after a big campaign will instantly tell you if the campaign made a difference that week or month. But this 360-degree overview of each customer lets you see which channels and strategies got both new and existing customers to buy from you time and time again.
For example, you may have seen great short-tem results from a paid ad campaign on Instagram and Facebook. However, when you look at customers with the highest spend and most purchases in your POS system, you learn that 70% of them started buying from you after an existing customer referred them.
The power of customer data is in showing you where your marketing efforts make the most impact for the longevity of your store, not just the short run.
2. Collect customer feedback
Each time you invest efforts into a marketing campaign, channel, or strategy, make it easy for customers to share their feedback to it. And before going all in, help them tell you what they need.
Numbers can only tell one side of the story. You can learn what happened—how many customers purchased a product, how much they spent, how many of them purchased again—but not necessarily why it happened.
The best way to get that context is by asking them.
For example, you can ask customers at the checkout counter for their email or phone number so you can send them their receipt and a short survey. Or you can email all customers with a prompt for open-ended feedback to learn about their burning questions or struggles.
That’s exactly what Kettle & Fire, a company selling bone broth, did with their customer base. They asked them: ‘If you could wave a magic wand, what would make your life 10 times easier on Keto?’ The answers revealed that many people struggled with always eating the same foods. This allowed Kettle & Fire to launch Keto soups with much more specific messaging.
We wouldn’t have identified that if we didn’t have that loop going. It’s always incredibly helpful to be very close to the customers and hear what they say and what they want.
Pay attention to conversations your customers have with customer support agents and on the shop floor. This can uncover valuable insights, too.
Athan Didaskalou, founder of a luxury luggage brand July, spoke in a case study about using physical stores to learn about July’s customers. “We have weekly chats with our retail teams about what feedback customers are sharing with them.”
3. Unify website and in-store analytics
What happens when you promote a specific product with an email campaign and the customer buys it in the store?
If your online and in-store analytics aren’t integrated, this will look like the email campaign didn’t do much—that the customer just randomly walked in and bought that product.
An integrated POS system (like Shopify POS) lets you see the big picture of each campaign and each customer. It also automatically updates inventory no matter where your customers shop, so you’ll avoid unexpectedly running out of stock or holding too much of it.
When you know how your customers like to shop, you can offer flexible ways to do so, including buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) or buy in store, ship to customer.
The result? A complete picture of how your marketing drives sales, and a chance to personalize your customer’s in-store experience.
4. Tie marketing campaigns to unique identifiers
Even with detailed and connected analytics, you may struggle to attribute sales to a specific campaign. Only 12% of retailers can identify a customer that has engaged with their store either online or offline.
For example, an influencer organically mentioned your store at the same time you were running a limited-time email promotion. Which sales came from which event?
This is where unique campaign identifiers come in handy. They’re nothing more than an element you can track when sales come in to show you where that customer came from.
Here are some examples of identifiers:
- Discount codes: let your customers type in or quote a code to get a discount (like BLACKFRIDAY10, an influencer’s name, a custom code for a birthday discount)
- Trackable links: add custom parameters to every link you share on social media and in emails, including the source, medium, and campaign name (learn more on Google Analytics Help)
- Specific products: run promotions on specific products or product bundles so you can track increased sales for them compared to promoting your entire store
Unique identifiers will let you filter sales in your system for specific campaigns and analyze what worked and what didn’t.
5. Compare results to historical data
Analyzing one marketing campaign is powerful.
But analyzing many marketing campaigns over a long time is a superpower because you can get a bigger picture overview of the impact your marketing is making.
When reflecting on the results of a campaign, look for past data you can compare these results to. For example:
- How did your July 4th email promotion compare to the one you did for Valentine’s Day?
- How does your summer social media giveaway compare to the one you ran during winter?
- What are your revenue numbers during December year-over-year?
You can compare similar campaigns, like channels you used or the product categories you promoted.
Dig into your POS data to learn the differences and similarities in revenue from campaigns you run every season and every year.
Keep in mind that things out of your control can change, like world events, changes around your location, and competitor activity. Take advantage of demand forecasting to run better marketing campaigns.
Pitfalls of evaluating marketing campaigns
Once you’ve set your marketing channels and POS system up for success, here are four pitfalls to look out for when measuring your marketing efforts.
Are you measuring the right metrics? There are dozens of metrics you can track for each campaign, from the number of clicks on a product link to the average order size and beyond. Not every metric will be relevant for every campaign.
The metrics to be wary of are those that seem like a good thing to track, but don’t actually influence your bottom line or desired results.
Here are some potential vanity metrics:
- Social media followers (instead, consider click-through rates, organic mentions, conversion rates)
- Website pageviews (instead, consider checkout conversion rates, abandoned cart rate, pages per session)
- Total number of customers (instead, consider percentage of repeat customers, items per order, average order value)
Of course, what’s a vanity metric depends on your unique context. If a jump in Instagram followers always leads to more press mentions—which then leads to more sales—then Instagram followers aren’t a vanity metric.
Disconnected customer data
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth repeating: if you can’t track how your customers shop through different channels, your campaigns will often seem like they underperformed.
How did a customer feel when you sent them an SMS promotion of your limited-edition product line? Did your QR codes in the store make any difference? What about the product guides you launched and the email sequence that promoted them?
Without an integrated system to connect online and offline sales, you can only guess.
Small sample sizes
Did your campaign reach enough people to confidently call it a success or a failure?
When analyzing your marketing performance, take your audience size into consideration. If your Facebook ad only reached 40 people, it’s probably too small a sample to apply its results to your whole addressable market.
Same goes if you sent a discount code to 15 people through SMS or had a handful of people in your store while promoting a special product bundle.
If you’re working with such small numbers, take the campaign results with a grain of salt, whether no one purchased or everyone did.
Finally: did you run your campaign at the right time? Seasonal factors play a huge role in marketing success, from weather conditions to buying habits.
For example, a promotion of sunscreen and inflatable pools can fail if you run it too early, before temperatures rise to summer levels. Same goes for promotions around Christmas holidays or any other events defined by the calendar.
Your customers have established shopping habits (whether they know it or not). Sales data from previous seasons and years will help you understand how demand for certain product categories varies, so you can time your campaigns well.
It’s also worth checking out Google Trends to learn what people search for on Google based on the time of year, their location, and more.
Leverage marketing performance data for your next campaign
Use these metrics and tips—and avoid these pitfalls—to dive deep into each marketing campaign you run. Learn why you got the results you did and use that knowledge for your next marketing effort.
Start by unifying your online and in-person shopping data by choosing a commerce platform that lets you sell on any channel and track the true impact of your marketing campaigns. That way, you can make sure every minute and dollar you invest into marketing pays off.
Marketing KPI FAQ
What are the 5 key performance indicators in marketing?
- Website Traffic
- Customer Acquisition Cost
- Lead Conversion Rate
- Customer Retention Rate
- Brand Awareness