Author’s Note: We’ve given this blog post a refresh on November 2, 2023, complete with fresh information, new links, relevant data, and more.
If you’re anything like the growth marketers at Tuff, I bet you’re knee-deep in the world of planning for 2024 and setting your marketing and business goals for the year ahead. It’s quite the juggling act, isn’t it? You’ve got to keep the Q4 engine running while also looking at next year, and on top of that, you need a clear measurement framework to benchmark your goals, evaluate your success, and justify an increase in marketing investment.
Identifying the right metrics and figuring out how best to track them can be time-consuming tasks. And the urgency to show and get results can sometimes override your ability to set up the right measurement processes in the first place. But until you have your core growth metrics behind, it will be hard to build and get adoption of any strategy for next year. There are multiple avenues to a good end result, but it’s key that you have at least a foundational understanding of what metrics matter most to your business so you can scale those results.
In this post, I’ll walk through the common growth marketing metrics we’ve been working on with our clients as a growth marketing agency, as well as give insights into the KPIs we keep a close eye on daily, weekly, and monthly.
What does success look like for Tuff clients?
Being a growth marketing agency requires us to grasp your business objectives and create a solid growth roadmap that’s all about turning plans into revenue. When we team up with a client, we make sure we’re on the same page, crystal clear about what success means, and we make sure it’s measurable, data-driven, and actionable.
Now, as we rev up for annual planning in Q3, we went straight to our clients and asked, “What’s your core KPI for this year, and any changes for 2024?” No beating around the bush.
To give you the lowdown, here’s a sneak peek at the most common answers we got from our ambitious startup and scale-up clients across various industries:
- SQLs, Meetings Booked, Closed/Won Deals
What are growth metrics?
When looking at your company’s growth, it’s helpful to look at it as a complex equation with a number of different variables mixed in. We like to call these different variables “Growth Metrics” and they’re the levers we look to pull as we think about identifying the right mix of growth tactics and optimization strategies to scale a brand.
Growth metrics encompass the various factors that can impact your company’s bottom line. They may vary depending on your specific industry, but they often revolve around metrics related to advertising channels, on-site performance, and post-purchase analysis.
Now, the specific metrics to focus on will differ based on your business and industry, but here are a few essential ones we like to keep a close watch on:
- Site traffic volume
- Site conversion rate
- Customer acquisition cost
- Lifetime value
- Average order value
Here at Tuff, when we collaborate with ambitious startups and scale-ups to implement growth marketing strategies and execution, we zero in on three core KPIs from this list. This approach allows us to pinpoint the right tactics, gauge our success, internalize the numbers, and make informed decisions about what comes next.
Ready to get data-driven? Let’s dive in.
What are the top growth metrics across the customer funnel?
Here’s a straightforward way to approach growth metrics – break them down into stages that align with your customer funnel. These stages may vary depending on your business, but the three common ones to consider are:
- Acquisition: This is all about getting people in the door, attracting potential customers to your business.
- Engagement: Once they’re in, how well are you keeping their interest and getting them to take action?
- Retention: Finally, it’s about keeping those customers coming back for more, building loyalty, and increasing their lifetime value.
The beauty of organizing your growth metrics this way is that it helps you spot where things might not be running as smoothly as they could be. For instance, in the acquisition stage, are you struggling to drive enough traffic to your site? Are you overly reliant on paid advertising?
In the engagement phase, maybe you’re getting tons of visitors, but they’re not converting – why is that?
And in the retention phase, you might be good at bringing in new sign-ups, but they aren’t converting into paying customers, or they’re not returning to increase their lifetime value.
By keeping a close eye on each stage of the user funnel, you can quickly pinpoint the challenges and prioritize your efforts where they’ll make the most significant impact.
1. Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic
Long-term growth will be easier if you consider organic acquisition from the start. It doesn’t have immediate results or the same short-term momentum as paid customer acquisition, but the payoff can be 3x greater down the line compared to other acquisition channels if there is search volume in your industry. In fact, we think SEO is one of the best investments a marketing team can make.
Why? People use search as their main gateway when considering a purchase, so if you set your organic foundation early, you’ll be able to actively work your way up the rankings to drive more non-branded search (and sales, purchases, and leads). To get a better understanding of the potential impact that an organic search and SEO strategy could have on your business in 2024, check out our SEO forecasting spreadsheet here.
To measure organic acquisition successful, we’ll look at growth metrics like:
- Organic traffic growth
- Keyword rankings
- Organic conversions
- Organic revenue
2. Better content can increase blog traffic by up to 2,000%
When it comes to content, remember that quality is better than straight-up quantity. If you truly understand your user and their unique challenges, you can create content that will provide real value. Quality content paired with strong technical SEO will help you get found by more prospective customers more often.
Here are some key metrics to consider when measuring content performance:
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Content Downloads
- Leads Generated
3. 50% of PPC visitors are more likely to purchase something than organic visitors
With SEO in place as your long-term investment, paid channels can complement your strategy and bring quick momentum. The right keywords for your business will have high commercial intent and because of that, those clicks will convert at a high rate. When it comes to PPC channels like Google, Bing, and YouTube, we rally around these five growth metrics:
- Search Volume
4. 81% of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as six hours per week invested in social media marketing
Social isn’t going to supercharge your growth overnight but it’s a key player in the growth strategy mix. Don’t over-invest here but don’t ignore it either. Expending even just a bit more effort could net you big results. When it comes to Social Advertising, we’ve been focused on running campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. No matter which channel though there’s one common factor that underlies all of their answers: how we define goals. For social, we take a look at social campaigns inside Google Analytics and then hone in on individual ad set’s cost per session over time. We also look at conversion and cost per acquisition.
5. The average website conversion rate is 2-5%
This means that for every 100 users that land on your website, 2-5 of them will actually take an action you care about. This is where conversion rate optimization plays an important role in your 2024 growth roadmap.
Optimizing conversion rates can make a huge impact on revenue-generating actions on your site, and moving that percentage up one or two points can lower your customer acquisition cost and add up to thousands of dollars in additional revenue growth.
6. Video content gets shared twice as much as any other type of content
Organic distribution is always preferred over paid because, well, it’s free. Video marketing is highly digestible and you don’t need to break the bank to make it! Looking at the popularity of TikTok and Instagram reels goes to show that UGC style videos can make a huge splash on social. We’ve even got an entire blog post on how to create your own high-impact creative with limited resources.
Here are some of our favorite types of video content you can create on a budget:
- Unboxing videos
- Customer reviews
- “How it’s made” behind-the-scenes videos
- Message from the founder
7. The average yield for email marketing is $44.25 on the dollar
Email provides extraordinary ROI in almost every industry. It takes resources to build your list and craft compelling emails, but people still prefer to get their information this way, and that quality traffic will translate into more sales for your business. How quickly is your list growing and how do they convert?
8. Companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues four to eight percent above the market
If you want to grow, you can’t do it alone. You’ll need loyal enthusiasts. If you can provide the kind of experience that keeps customers not only coming back but gladly telling everyone about you, you’ll maximize your customer lifetime value.. How long does a customer stay with your company? What’s your LTV? How can you make it better?
9. Loyal customers are five times as likely to repurchase, five times as likely to forgive, four times as likely to refer, and seven times as likely to try a new offering
Creating a fanbase of loyal customers means you’ll have a consistent business, constant new leads, the freedom to try new things, and the ability to make mistakes. Successful growth is inextricable from customer experience.
10. 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers
You can cast a wide net when marketing your business, but remember that a core of regular customers will make up the base of your revenue. It’s the responsibility of everyone at the company to complement acquisition with retention strategies. In fact, Bain & Company found that “a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%”.
These ten quick growth metrics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to focusing the priorities in your growth strategy next year.
What are the top growth metrics for B2B and B2C orgs?
In addition to looking at metrics across the full funnel, another approach is to consider your company stage and industry. For an early-stage brand, you’ll want to define key metrics and then quickly identify benchmarks across those. For scaleups, on the other hand, you likely have these benchmarks and it’s all about making them more efficient as you increase your investment in budget, tactics, and talent.
In the B2B space, seed-stage startups should focus on specific metrics that help them measure their growth, validate their business model, and ensure they are on the right track. This will help you unlock additional investment as you look to future plans.
Here are some key metrics for seed-stage B2B startups that we’d recommend tracking:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Measure how much it costs to acquire a new customer. This should include all marketing and sales expenses related to customer acquisition.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Calculate the expected revenue a customer will generate over their lifetime as a client. Compare this to your CAC to ensure you’re acquiring profitable customers.
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): If your startup offers subscription-based services, track the monthly revenue generated from your customers. This provides a predictable income stream.
- Conversion Rates: Monitor the conversion rates at various stages of your sales funnel. This includes metrics like lead-to-opportunity conversion rate an
- opportunity-to-customer conversion rate.
- Churn Rate: Keep an eye on the rate at which customers cancel or stop using your product or service. Reducing churn is crucial for long-term success.
- Runway: Calculate how long your startup can operate with your current cash reserves. This helps you manage your finances and fundraising efforts.
- Active Users: Track the number of active users or customers who are actively engaged with your product or service on a regular basis.
- Lead Generation Metrics: Measure the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. This includes metrics like website traffic, lead form submissions, and the growth of your email list.
- Sales Funnel Metrics: Analyze the effectiveness of your sales process. Track metrics like the average deal size, the length of the sales cycle, and the win rate.
- Customer Feedback and Satisfaction: Gather customer feedback and measure their satisfaction with your product or service.
Remember in the early stages, you want to test and experiment efficiency and work your way to establishing benchmarks as quickly as possible. Additionally, regularly reviewing and adapting your metrics is crucial for refining your strategy and demonstrating progress to potential investors.
On the B2C side, the growth marketing metrics we evaluate aren’t too different from B2B but there is some nuance to measurement that’s important to get right. In addition to CAC and CPA, here are some key metrics we analyze and report on for B2C clients:
- Monthly Active Users (MAU): Track the number of unique users who engage with your product or service on a monthly basis. This metric is crucial for assessing user engagement.
- Daily Active Users (DAU): Measure the number of unique users who engage with your product or service on a daily basis. This metric is particularly relevant for apps and websites.
- User Retention Rate: Monitor the percentage of users who continue to use your product or service over time. High user retention is a sign of a valuable offering.
- Conversion Rates: Monitor the conversion rates at various stages of your sales funnel, from website visitors to registered users and from registered users to paying customers.
- Churn Rate: Keep an eye on the rate at which customers stop using your product or service. Reducing churn is crucial for long-term success.
- Average Revenue per User (ARPU): Calculate the average revenue generated by each user. This can help you understand the value each customer brings to your business.
We’d love to work with you.
No matter what metrics you measure, scaling your business is hard, and growth marketing is not a hat trick
Rather, growth marketing is a path to creating intentional and sustainable expansion. It’s balancing high-risk/high-return campaigns with low-risk/low-return campaigns to find the perfect formula for your company and data sits at the center of any well-rounded plan.
Growth marketing isn’t just about quickly increasing your numbers, either. It’s investing your money intelligently to create valuable, relevant campaigns that your ideal buyer both wants and needs with the expectation that this will, over time, impact your bottom line. It’s a continual process of learning and self-improvement.
It can be hard to define and prioritize goals, but that’s the real benefit of working with a growth marketing agency like Tuff. We’ll help you not only understand what to do but why you’re doing it. We’lll first help you gather and analyze key data for your business. From there, you’ll work together to create hypotheses to identify why certain processes are happening.
Next, they’ll help you prioritize the ideas that have the most potential to spur growth. In implementing those ideas, you’ll be running experiments to confirm or disprove the earlier hypotheses. This cycle repeats until you have a refined and definitive growth marketing strategy that speaks to your company’s unique needs.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.