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Digital Marketing KPIs That Matter to D2C Brands

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

Topics Covered:

“How well is your marketing working?” It’s easy for D2C brands to feel stumped by this simple question — the connection between a company’s success and metrics like video views and website visits can be murky. To find an answer, marketers not only have to comb through an overwhelming amount of data, but they also must understand topsy-turvy customer journeys that warrant different attribution models.

No need to stress: We compiled this cheat sheet of common digital marketing KPIs. All you have to do is select the ones most relevant to your marketing channels and business objectives (you don’t have to measure everything), choose the proper monitoring tools, and regularly review your progress.

In this article:
Social Media Marketing
Email Marketing
Digital Ads
Lead Generation and Sales Strategy
It’s Time to Achieve Your Goals


Monthly website traffic

The amount of monthly traffic to your website can be a good indicator of your marketing pipeline’s success in encouraging shoppers to click on links, CTAs, and ads. 

Measurement tools: Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Matamo, Woopra 

How to improve: 

  • Optimize SEO to boost organic visitors
  • Increase paid advertising 
  • Make sure all CTAs drive to key website pages

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Number of pages per visit 
  • Average time spent on page 

For more on improving website traffic:

Cart abandonment rate

The average cart abandonment rate hovers at 68.8% — but that doesn’t mean abandoned carts are a lost cause! Consider the reasons people may be abandoning their carts: Is your checkout page confusing? Too lengthy? Are your shipping and returns policies not shopper-friendly? Identifying these pain points and easing shoppers’ concerns can easily reduce this number.

How to calculate:

Cart abandonment = 1 - (# of shoppers completing transactions / # of shoppers adding items to carts)

How to improve:

  • Optimize checkout pages
  • Send cart abandonment recovery emails
  • Create cart abandonment retargeting ads

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Browse abandonment rates

For more on pushing past cart abandonment:

Number of returning vs. new visitors

The percentage of returning vs. new website visitors reveals the engagement level of your target audience. For example, if your content pages have few return visitors, it may be time to review your content strategy.

Measurement tools: Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Matamo, Woopra

Google Analytics makes it easy to see the number of new users.

Google Analytics makes it easy to see the number of new users. Source: Greet More

How to improve:

  • Determine which pages are seeing fewer return visitors, then update them using new images or copy
  • Revamp your content strategy — ensure that every piece of content you create is useful, entertaining, and compelling

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Number of unique visitors
  • Page/scroll depth
  • Top exit pages

Website conversion rates

What good is a website if it doesn’t convert? (Spoiler alert: Not much.) Luckily, there are ways to improve your site so that people don’t just window shop but engage with reviews, explore content, and purchase products. 

Measurement tools: Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Matamo, Woopra

How to improve:

  • Craft strong and catchy CTAs (and conduct A/B testing if you’re not sure which ones are the most effective)
  • Make sure the site hierarchy, navigation, and visual design all drive visitors to the CTA. Pro tip: Instead of burying your CTA at the bottom of the page, sprinkle it throughout the site
  • Regularly update your copy, images, and design
  • Optimize the checkout process
  • Conduct an SEO audit, focusing specifically on load times, mobile device friendliness, and intuitive navigation

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)

For ways to optimize online checkout for conversion:

Social Media Marketing

Engagement rate

A successful social media strategy is one that creates buzz. Think of Wendy’s or Denny’s, both of which have distinctive tongue-in-cheek tones and timely content that people love. But snarkiness is not the magical solution to engagement — ultimately, it depends on who your target audience is. 

Engagement rates can be calculated in various ways but typically encompass metrics such as post shares, likes, clicks, and comments. Case in point: The higher your engagement rate, the larger your reach. 

Measurement tools: Hootsuite, Buzzsumo

How to improve:

  • Create more engaging (and genuinely valuable) content: ask a question, encourage followers to share their experience, put your spin on trending moments
  • Review your social media strategy to ensure that posts — including copy, visuals, and content type — are aligned with your target audience’s interests, desires, and habits
  • Develop targeted social media campaigns

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Number of social media followers (new and lost)

For ways to build an engaging brand on social media:


Social media mentions are another great way to monitor both positive and negative reactions to your brand, product, and customer experience — your whole brand image, if you will.

Measurement tools: Sprout Social, Agorapulse

How to improve:

  • Thank customers for leaving positive feedback
  • Leverage social media mentions for a future user-generated content campaign
  • Use negative mentions as an opportunity to remedy poor customer experiences

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

Social media traffic

Having an engaged community on social media is great, but having them become buying customers is even better. By monitoring the amount of website traffic from social media, you can see if the posts you are painstakingly crafting are actually contributing to sales and revenue. 

Measurement tools: Google Analytics, KissMetrics, Matamo, Woopra

How to improve:

  • Add CTAs to your social posts
  • Experiment with social shopping 
  • Create promotional campaigns 

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Traffic from video content 

Email Marketing

Subscribe rate

With widespread changes to user privacy and third-party cookies, first-party data is more critical than ever. With that being said, it’s not surprising that emails remain one of the reigning champs of digital marketing — for every $1 you spend on emails, the expected ROI is a whopping $42

Having a high subscribe rate not only indicates that your website is doing an excellent job encouraging people to subscribe, but it also means you can disseminate your marketing messages more widely. 

Measurement tools: AdRoll, MailChimp

How to improve:

  • Review your email sign-up form — make sure you are providing value via content, a discount, or other exclusive perks
  • Minimize the clicks it requires for website visitors to subscribe

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • List growth rate

For more ways to collect email addresses:

Open rate

With more and more brands realizing the potential of emails, marketers now have mere seconds to capture attention via catchy and relevant headlines. If nobody is opening your emails, start by asking yourself why.

How to calculate:

Email open rate = unique opens / (number of emails sent - bounces) 

How to improve:

  • Craft short and snappy headlines. Don’t be afraid to experiment with personalization to boost each email’s relevancy
  • Test email frequency. Nobody wants to receive a dozen promotional emails from the same brand in a week
  • Mix up your sales-related content with entertaining, brand-related, or informative content 
  • Try segmenting your emails to send the right marketing message to the right people

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Unsubscribe rate 
  • Spam complaints

Click-through rate

Emails should serve as an introduction to your brand, products, or a promotional campaign. Therefore, the goal of each email is to encourage people to click on a link and take a desired action, whether it’s to shop a sale, return to their abandoned cart, or sign up for an event.

How to measure:

Email CTR formula.

Email CTR formula. Source: Brainpulse Technologies

How to improve:

  • Make sure your CTA is prominent and clear
  • Experiment with different CTAs
  • Use graphics to jazz up your emails (but make sure that load times remain low!) 

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Number of emails delivered
  • Number of forwards
  • Email conversions

For ways to use data to send smarter emails:


Organic search traffic

“Just Google it” is one of the most popular modern sayings for a good reason — search engines can deliver you the answer to (almost) anything. Unfortunately, this means that brands must fight for coveted space on search engine result pages (SERP). If you see low traffic from organic search, it’s time to improve your SEO.

Measurement tools: Google Analytics, SEMRush, Moz

How to improve:

  • Review your keyword strategy — you’ll want to rank highly for targeted keywords
  • Publish new content related to keywords, or optimize existing content
  • Do an SEO audit, then use findings to improve your website

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Number of leads from organic search
  • Conversions from organic search
  • Keyword click-through rate
  • Keyword rankings

For more on building an SEO strategy:

Inbound links to a website

The more inbound links you have from sites with high page authority, the better your site will perform in search engine results.

Measurement tools: Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs

How to improve:

  • Partner with industry leaders in a content exchange (reports, case studies)
  • Pen guest posts for authority sites
  • Interlink pages on your website, especially blog content

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Domain authority

For more on creating content that improves search rankings:

Digital Ads

Click-through rate on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Paid ads (displayed on sidebars, search results, or social media) are an easy way to generate more traffic, leads, and conversions — but only when they work. If your click-through rates are low, it means your ads are being seen but ignored. 

Measurement tools: Google Analytics (for Google Ads), AdRoll

How to improve:

  • A/B test every aspect of your digital ads (design, copy, CTA)
  • Experiment with different types of PPC advertising 
  • Review your landing pages — you want to provide a seamless user journey from an ad to its respective landing page

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Cost per conversion

Conversions from paid advertising

One of the biggest headaches that marketers face happens when shoppers click on paid ads but don’t convert — essentially eating up the marketing budget. Ouch. Luckily, there are quick and easy fixes for low conversion rates.

Measurement tools: Google Analytics (for Google Ads), AdRoll 

How to improve:

  • Review your keyword strategy; target paid keywords with less competition
  • A/B test your ad copy, images, ad types, and CTAs — make sure they clearly convey your unique value proposition
  • Optimize your landing pages

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Leads from paid advertising 

Lead Generation and Sales Strategy

Average cost per lead

Acquiring leads is easy. Acquiring affordable leads is a challenge. To gauge whether your marketing efforts have a positive ROI, you’ll need to calculate the cost per lead.

How to measure:

Average cost per lead = total marketing cost / number of new leads in a set period 

In this case, the total marketing costs include:

  • Your time spent managing a lead acquisition source (e.g., social media, blog, Google Ads campaign)
  • The cost associated with the lead acquisition source (includes relevant resources and tools)

How to improve:

  • Experiment with free marketing channels, such as organic social media
  • Update your marketing campaign targeting to make sure you’re reaching the right audience at the right time
  • Review your marketing funnel as a whole — each touchpoint should work seamlessly with one another

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Cost per conversion 

Customer retention rate

Acquiring a new customer is challenging (and expensive!), so why not encourage them to come back for more? In other words, once a customer converts, your work doesn’t end there — you’ll want to continue engaging with them by delivering a new series of marketing messages. 

How to calculate: 

Customer Retention Rate formula.

Customer Retention Rate formula. Source: ProductPlan

How to improve:

  • Provide excellent customer care 
  • Send post-purchase follow up emails
  • Respond to all negative feedback 

Similar digital marketing KPIs:

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Attrition/churn rate

For more on how personalized marketing can boost customer retention:

It’s Time to Achieve Your Goals

Whew, that was a lot of digital marketing KPIs! To make it easier for you, we’ve created a super handy checklist — now, you and your team can quickly keep track of all business goals, KPIs, and reporting responsibilities. 

And don’t forget to bookmark this cheat sheet for future reference! As your brand grows, your business goals will change, which means you’ll need to update your digital marketing KPIs.

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