6.4 Marketing Metrics

Advertising is expensive, and marketers employ various measures —'metrics'—to quantify the effect of their marketing spends.

Advertising Terminology

Most terms are fairly self-explanatory:

1. Click-through: the process of clicking through an online advertisement to the advertiser's destination.
2. Click-through rate: (CTR): the average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage.
3. Conversion rate: the percentage of visitors who take a desired action.
4. Cost-per-action: (CPA): online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.
5. Cost-per-click: (CPC): the cost or cost-equivalent paid per click-through.
6. Cost per thousand impressions: (CPM)
7. Customer acquisition cost: the cost associated with acquiring a new customer.
8. Hit: request of a file (not web page, which commonly consists of several files: text, graphics, etc.) from a Web server.
9. Hybrid model: a combination of two or more online marketing payment models.
10. Impression: a single instance of an online advertisement being displayed.
11. Page view: request to load a single HTML page.
12. Pay per click: (PPC): online advertising payment model in which payment is based on qualifying click-throughs.
13. Pay per lead: (PPL): online advertising payment model in which payment is based based on qualifying leads.
14. Pay per sale: (PPS): online advertising payment model in which payment is based based on qualifying sales.
15. Site stickiness: the amount of time spent at a site over a given time period.
16. Unique visitors: number of individuals visiting a website at least once over a fixed time frame, often a 30 day period.
17. Web site traffic: the number of visits and visitors a web site receives.

Social Media

Matters become more complicated with marketing through social influence because it's not the metrics on social media platforms that are important, but the effect of employing the whole range of social media (blogs, message boards, podcasts, bookmarks, social networks, communities, wikis) and social influencers (people who have great influence on their peers by virtue of how much content they share online) to achieve the company's marketing aims. Additional terms:

1. Social media: technologies allowing communication between individuals and their friends: e.g. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube.
2. Social networks: groups of people or communities that share a common interest, perspective, or background.
3. Social graph: the broad collection of people, places, and interests that makes us individuals.
4. Positional or peer influencer: someone close to the consumer who carries personal sway with him or her.


1. Define ten of the commonly-used marketing metrics.
2. Explain the difficulties in using marketing metrics in social media marketing. What measures are nonetheless used?

Sources and Further Reading

1. Advertising Metrics. MarketingMetricsMadeSimple. Straightforward description of commoner terms.
2. Internet Marketing Reference. MarketingTerms. Simple but useful dictionaries of marketing terms, plus links to others.
3. The new advertising metrics by Eric Picard. April 2010. iMediaConnection. Introduction to metrics applicable to social media.
4. Mobile Advertising Metrics: What Matters Most by Chetan Sharma. September 2009. GigaOm. Metrics in the mobile context.
5. Social Media Marketing For Dummies by Shiv Singh. For Dummies. 2009.
6. Twitter Marketing for Dummies by Kyle Lacy. For Dummies. 2009.
7. Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day by Chris Treadaway and Mari Smith. Sybex. 2010.
8. Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan. Wiley. 2010.