CEOs continue to be frustrated by marketers. This is fuelled by what they see as an inability to prove the ROI of their campaigns. In fact, the 2012 Fournaise Global Marketing Effectiveness Program Report revealed 80% of CEOs didn’t trust in marketers’ ability to deliver growth.

This is a particularly swift blow for traditional marketers who find it near impossible to be able to provide accurate, quantifiable results for their marketing efforts. How on earth are you supposed to gauge whether that exceptionally expensive billboard generated leads and whether those leads landed up being closed as paid customers ?

Fortunately, the inbound marketing approach does not suffer from the same weakness and we are able to quite easily provide comprehensive reporting regarding our online marketing activities, which will appease CEOs and boost credibility with senior management. 

What To Measure, Analyse and Report on for an Inbound Marketing Campaign?

I have split the reporting requirements into 2 sections, namely programme and profit performance indicators. The programme performance metrics will cover metrics of specific campaign elements while the profit performance indicators relate to the ROI orientated that the c-suite chaps (and ladies) are after.

Programme Performance Indicators

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Your call-to-action button entices your prospects to click through to your landing page where your offer is homed. Here you want to establish whether it is doing it is job by looking at the number of views received in relation to the number of clicks to determine your conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the more effective your CTA is.

Landing Page

Your landing page outlines the value the offer holds for your prospect. If it conveys this well they will go on to download the offer by completing the form. Here, again, you will consider the number of page views compared to the form submission rate to establish the conversion rate of the page. Considering prospects are already somewhat familiar with the crux of the offer (via the CTA, social media post or email message) you should anticipate a high conversion rate. If yours is on the lower end, you may want to consider implementing an A/B test on certain elements to improve performance.

Email Marketing

Promote your offer via email to your established leads. As with any email you’ll want to have a look at the delivery, open and bounce rates but more importantly for campaign performance measurement will be your click-through-rate to your landing page. In order to report on source performance, isolate the conversions that can be attributed to email clicks.


Throughout your campaign period you should blog around your offer’s primary keywords in order to attract search-based traffic (as well as to have content to share out on social media leading to your offer). Measure the efficacy of your blogging by tracking page views, keyword rankings in organic search and the conversion assists.

Social Media

Another channel should use to promote your campaign is social media. Use views, shares and re-posts as well as traffic and leads directly attributed to social media to establish the engagement and conversion rates of your social promotion.

Lead Attribution

Use what you know from your sources of leads generated during your campaign to establish the channels that work best for you. By measuring conversion by source you will be know where to plug additional efforts and budget with your next campaign.

Just a quick tip here: HubSpot’s Campaign Reporting Tool does a great job of compiling all this information for you at a named campaign level in a one-pager.

Profit Performance Indicators

Lead Conversion Rate

In order to establish how many of your leads converted into customers, it helps to have closed-loop reporting set up that will show the activity on leads from a sales perspective. The lead conversion rate will provide a good indication of the quality of lead generated. You could go a step further here and break it down by source to not only determine the most effective channel for lead generation but revenue generation too.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

It’s no surprise that the c-suite will want to see the lowest number possible here. Fortunately leads generated via inbound marketing cost on average 61% less than those generated by outbound strategies. You will need to calculate the costs of the entire campaign and divide the total by the number of leads generated in order to establish your CPL. The more leads you are able to generate for the campaign the lower your cost per lead will be.

Cost Per Customer Acquisition (CPA)

There is no point in spending more to acquire a customer than the value they represent to the business. In order to establish your cost per customer acquisition, you’ll need to calculate the total cost spent to convert that lead into a customer (which may include sales costs too) and divide that by the total number of customers acquired throughout the campaign.

Lifetime Value of Customer (LTV)

As mentioned above, this is an important metric as it allows you to determine whether you are acquiring customers cost-effectively or not. This will also help to estimate how much recurring or repeat revenue you’ll generate from a given customer and what budget is required for a customer acquisition campaign and is a key element in measuring overall ROI. To establish the lifetime value of a customer, multiply the gross margin by the number of transactions anticipated and the average retention rate. (You may need to call on sales or finance to provide you with the numbers for this calculation.)

And finally …

Marketing or Campaign ROI

The ultimate measure of how well you are executing your marketing efforts and campaigns. In order to calculate your ROI deduct the cost per customer acquisition from the lifetime value of the customer and then divide that number by the cost per customer acquisition.

ROI = (Customer Lifetime Value - Cost per Customer Acquistion) / Cost per Customer Acquisition

ROI is generally expressed as a percentage, so multiply your result by 100 and hey presto, you’re done!

Now you’re armed with the all-important KPIs that your management team can understand and appreciate. With solid data backing up your claims, you can be sure that the execs will be willing to evaluate budget requests for marketing campaigns as they can see – in black and white – the impact on the bottom line. While there is no doubt that inbound marketing leads to greater brand awareness and increased traffic, these benefits will follow if you’re committed to tracking meaningful KPIs that help predict revenue too!

How do you report on your marketing campaigns? Do you include metrics that directly relate to P&L? What other indicators are useful? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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