The Ecommerce KPIs Every Marketer Must Measure for Growth

by Today's Eggspert

Last updated on July 3rd, 2018

How to measure the ecommerce success?

Good marketers are obsessed with numbers like the ecommerce KPIs . They look at them every morning and end their day by checking them “one last time.”

According to AdAge, 93% of CMOs are under more pressure to deliver a better ROI. The problem is, they can’t do that if they don’t understand performance at all stages of the marketing funnel.

In this article, I’m going to outline key metrics for ecommerce that you must measure to help improve your ecommerce marketing. From awareness to retention, you’ll learn the metrics to watch daily and how to improve them.

The best KPIs for measuring the performance of an ecommerce

1. Brand Name Search

Brand awareness often gets a bad name. Just because you constantly show Facebook Ads to your audience, doesn’t mean they want to click (or even buy!)

But this does doesn’t mean brand building is fruitless. In fact, it can often be the first step towards a sale.

To measure your branding efforts, place KPIs against brand name searches. Those punching your brand name into Google are already aware of you and are most likely to buy. Their intention is to engage.

Use Google Search Console to measure impressions against your brand name. Head to Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Queries and check the “Impressions” box to see all impressions on search queries.

ecommerce kpis search analytics


How To Improve Brand Awareness

The impact made by your brand will improve slowly over time. As your audience become more exposed to touch-points, the more mindshare you’ll earn.

Look to retargeting ads to “follow” your audience around the web. Google’s Display Network and Facebook Ads are both great platforms. They cover the majority of the web and it will be hard for your customers to miss you.

Not only that, but Facebook retargeting can also contribute to direct sales. For example, Daniel Daines-Hutt at Inbound Ascension generated a 7,425% ROI through retargeting campaigns. While this is “best case scenario,” it still illustrates the power of retargeting customers through Facebook.

Tailor your ads and convert more top-of-funnel traffic by customizing your ad creative based on their first-touch channel. One ad for SEO traffic and another for PPC, for example.

Advertising, PR and valuable content creation will also contribute to brand awareness over time. The key is to drive value in the form of actionable insights and entertaining content.

2. CAC

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is key for measuring your paid marketing efforts. By collecting cost data and segmenting it by channel, you can identify activities which generate the majority of sales and a strong ROI.

Measure CAC by direct or assisted conversions (see image below). Which channels lead to a sale on the last click and which are part of the journey that eventually leads to that sale?

ecommerce kpis assisted conversions


Understanding CAC will help you spend your marketing budget more wisely by determining your poorest performing activities.

How To Improve CAC

There are some immediate methods to reducing your acquisition costs if you’re not doing them already. Let’s start with conversion optimization.

Improve the conversion rate of your targeted ad campaigns. Test new messaging and calls-to-action in order to improve your ad effectiveness. If you’re driving targeted traffic without seeing conversions, this is a good first step.

Consider removing customers who have recently purchased from your retargeting ad campaigns. Many ecommerce brands do this for a month after a customer has purchased in order to keep CAC down, focusing instead on other channels such as email marketing.

Identify which channels and campaigns are effective and which are performing poorly. Analyze poor performing campaigns. Identify which can be fixed and which can be deactivated. Redirecting your budget to proven campaigns and channels can be an instant win when improving CAC.

Then there’s referral marketing and advocacy. Turn your most loyal customers into advocates who spread the word for you. Empower them with the tools and content they need to do this, rewarding them with free swag and exclusive events.

ecommerce kpis lululemon

This is exactly what Lululemon (pictured above) does with their advocacy program. They showcase their best ambassadors and bring them together at annual events. This fosters customer loyalty and creates a boost of user-generated content in the process.

3. Audience Reach

While brand awareness measures who is aware of your brand, audience reach, shows how far your message is getting.

Facebook and Instagram provide reach metrics on those who have seen your ad at least once. However, this includes those who have seen your ads multiple times. Therefore, you may wish to measure individual impressions as well as frequency (the average number of times your ad was seen by each person).

It’s worth testing Instagram ads if you haven’t already. This image from L2 shows that it’s now the second-largest social network in the world:

ecommerce kpis social users


Other ways of measure reach include:

  • Adwords/Bing Ads: Search impression share and display impression share. Look at your Google Search Console for your “Total impressions” metrics.
  • YouTube & video: Count the number of views your video content/ads have received. YouTube classes a video as “viewed” once its been watched for more than 30 seconds.
  • Influencer marketing: You should have an idea of a target influencers reach before working with them. You’ll also want metrics on the reach of specific tweets/posts they create for you. Focus on micro-influencers and “the power middle” in order to spread out your budget and overcome skepticism from your audience.

How To Improve Audience Reach

Publishing evergreen content will make this process a lot easier. With Facebook, content that remains fresh and relevant will survive the test of time.

Of course, improving reach isn’t always a matter of increasing it. In fact, expanding your reach can negatively affect your CAC, resulting in wasted money.

If you have a well-oiled conversion engine, look at refining your targeting. Are there untapped audiences you can put your content in front of? Identify new keywords and interests to target.

Expand your reach by creating evergreen content in shoulder niches and promoting it to via relevant keywords. High-quality content that shares actionable and practical advice will generate visitors months and years after its been published.

4. On-Site Engagement

On-site metrics are easy to find, and all available through Google Analytics. Where many marketers slip up is monitoring them on a regular basis.

These site metrics, all available under Audience > Overview, are broad KPIs you should be paying attention to:

  • Sessions: The number of times a user has visited your website. These sessions usually end after 30 minutes of inactivity. Anything after this will count as a new session.
  • Pages/Session: This is the average number of pages viewed per session. Again, if the same user starts multiple sessions, this will be averaged out across each of them.
  • Users: The number of individuals who have visited your website. A user is defined by the cookie placed on their device. Therefore, if someone visits your page on their desktop, followed by a second visit on mobile, this will count as two different users.
  • New users: The number of users (from the number above) that visited your page for the first time during a specific time frame. Again, this is defined by the cookie placed on the user’s computer. If a returning visitor clears their cookies, they will be classed as a new user.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of users who visit your page and leave after visiting only one page.
  • Avg. Session Duration: This is the amount of time spent on your site divided by the number of sessions. This metric, alongside bounce rate, will show you how “sticky” your website is.

How To Improve On-Site Engagement

When it comes to on-site engagement, the two metrics to watch are bounce rate and average session duration.

If you’re seeing a high bounce rate, you may want to re-evaluate your targeting. Are you driving the right traffic to your website? Use customer intelligence to ensure you’re attracting your customer personas. You can also look at referral traffic sources and keywords that are driving traffic to your website.

If you’re attracting the right traffic but not making them stick, you may have a message problem. Ensure you’re accurately addressing the needs of your audience. Is your value proposition, headline and copy in line with your customer’s challenges?

This case study from VWO showed how a simple headline change increased this supplement brand’s sales by 89%:

ecommerce kpis vwo

You may not be giving a good enough reason for them to stick around. Having a solid content strategy that adds value to your audience will convince them to stick around. It will also make them come back, improving important retention metrics.

5. Email Marketing

When it comes to email, there’s a dozen or so metrics you could obsess over. Here are the top 5 I believe you should track on a regular basis:

  • Open rate: The percentage of users who open your email. Many marketers focus on optimizing this, but the next metric is potentially more important.
  • Click-through rate: The percentage of people who clicked a link in your email. This is calculated by dividing the number of clicks (total or unique) by the number of sent emails, then multiplying that by 100.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of recipients who completed a purchase or took some other kind of action on your website.
  • List growth: The amount that your list is growing by. This is calculated by subtracting unsubscribes from new subscribers, and dividing this by the total number of subscribers on your list.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that were delivered unsuccessfully.

Another metric you may want to measure is unsubscribes. This can be a key indicator of how engaging your email copy is.

How To Improve Email Marketing KPIs

As mentioned, click-through rate (CTR) is the most important email metric to optimize. Not only does it show you who opens your email, but who is actively engaging with it.

Here are some approaches to improving your click-through rate:

  1. Have one clear goal. Are you trying to drive traffic, make a sale or conduct a survey? If you offer your recipients too many options, they’ll end up taking none at all. This email from Reiss does a good job of giving you only one thing to click: ecommerce kpis reiss
  2. Give people a reason to act. Provide something of value that compels them to click. If you’re driving sales, offer a discount or add scarcity to quickly guide them through your funnel.
  3. Add multiple links. Not for multiple offers, but for the same call-to-action. Strong Women Strong Girls did just this and generated a 30% increase in clicks as a result. Find a balance, not exceeding 2 or 3 links. Any more than this and you risk landing in the spam folder.
  4. Follow up. Segment your audience by their actions. Send a different subject line to those who didn’t open. Follow up and offer upsells, cross-sells and discounts to those who buy immediately after they purchase.

6. Ecommerce Retention Metrics

It’s far easier to sell to current customers than it is to new ones. In fact, a mere 5% increase in retention rate can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in profits (according to Bain & Company).

Here are four retention metrics to include in your marketing dashboard:

  • Purchase frequency: The number of customers who have shopped more than once over a period of time. Measure this over a period of 12 months.
  • Repeat purchases: This is the number of repeat customers from your entire customer base. Calculate repeat purchases by dividing the number of customers who buy more than once with your entire customer base.
  • Time lapse: This shows the amount of time that passes between two purchases for a particular customer. Understanding this will help you time your retention emails more effectively.
  • Average LTV: The average amount spent by each customer over their lifetime. This will inform your benchmark CAC and help you decide how much to spend on acquiring a customer.

If you’re running a subscription-based ecommerce model, this can be easier to manage. In this case, a key metric will be churn, which is the percentage of people who never return to your store or cancel their subscription with you.

How To Improve Ecommerce Retention

The key to good retention is great communication. Use marketing automation to ensure your messaging is going to the right customers at the right time.

Can your marketing delight your customers in other ways? Providing a great experience though your packaging and customer service can be tipping points to retaining customers for life. In fact, 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction because of a poor service experience.

Speed is key, but this comes secondary to quality. If you’re fast to respond to customer queries but don’t go out of your way to help them, they’re going to be unsatisfied.

This thoughtful response from LEGO to a 7-year-old (as shared by Help Scout) is a great example of this in action:

ecommerce kpis lego

However, if you can go above and beyond the call of duty, you’re likely to push customers past those hurdles.

The key is to delight them at every stage of the process. Add extra value wherever you can. This is what makes a customer experience that keeps customers coming back.

7. Net Promoter Score

Net promoter score (NPS) is a survey that asks customers on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they are to recommend your brand.

To calculate this KPI, simply ask your customers the question: “How likely are you to recommend [YOUR BRAND] to a friend?”

Customers are then segmented into three categories:

  1. Promoters: Those who score between 9 and 10. These are incredibly happy customers who are highly likely to recommend your brand to their friends.
  2. Passives: Those who score between 7 and 8. They’re satisfied, but not very enthusiastic.
  3. Detractors: Those who score anywhere between 0 and 6. They’re very unlikely to promote your brand in a positive way, and may cause negative word-of-mouth awareness for your brand. ecommerce kpis nps


How To Use NPS

What you do with your NPS will depend on where your customers sit on the scale. Promoters, for example, are a great source of new customers. So how do you activate them?

Having a strong referral marketing system can encourage promoters to take action and generate new business for you. Offer valuable incentives in order to get them on board and spreading the word for you.

22 Days Nutrition use ReferralCandy to empower their customers. This results in word-of-mouth and social proof like the tweet below:

ecommerce kpis referrals

Delight passive customers so they become promoters. Are there ways you can optimize the customer experience to provide a more delightful experience?

Finally, there are the detractors. Find out why these customers are unhappy. Uncovering these sticking points can provide new opportunities for your marketing and customer service.

They may even be unhappy for reasons they needn’t be, such as products or lines of service you offer that they’re unaware of.


So, there you have it. These are the top ecommerce KPIs that every marketer should be measuring on a regular basis.

The key is to measure all stages of the sales cycle. From awareness to retention, your marketing must be a well-oiled machine.

Only by looking at the diagnostics of that machine will you help it to operate more effectively.

*Feauted Image Source

About the Author: Juuso Lyytikkä is the Head of Growth at Funnel is a marketing analytics tool for online marketers that collects data from ALL advertising platforms and allows marketers to send and visualise this data anywhere. Book a demo to get a free trial.

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