Measuring the success of your ecommerce marketing

Posted by: Stafford Sumner


When it comes to measuring the success and effectiveness of marketing, too many people are still hung up on measuring the wrong things.


I’ve found lots of people at board level get caught up on vanity metrics, which are a rather outdated method of measurement and often shows they’re out of touch with what matters and how these relate to the bottom line.

When we have conversations about email marketing, time and again we see a focus on the size of database (number of email subscribers), open rates and click through rates. Yet the value of these metrics is extremely limited. Open rates are unreliable, as they rely on images being switched-on by the recipient in order to deliver a result. Many more emails are opened than reported due to this. And to get a realistic view of your database, you need to consider bounces, unsubscribes and more importantly, non-engaged contacts who aren’t doing anything.

The same is true when it comes to fans and followers on social media or website statistics. What does it matter if you acquire 1,000 more page likes on Facebook if these users don’t interact with your content or go on to purchase your products? And for website visits, of course you want the number to go up but engagement statistics like time spent on site and number of pages viewed will give you a much better insight into the quality of your website traffic.

While it’s interesting to measure vanity metrics, which can be useful indicators of performance, your focus and KPIs should always be set around conversion rates and how much it’s costing you to acquire new customers.

As a starting point for measuring the success of your ecommerce marketing, these are the metrics that matter:

Conversion rate

As mentioned previously, conversion rates will tell you in an instant how successful your marketing activities are. You’ll also be able to drill down further and see which channel and which campaigns have the best conversion rates. Simply put, the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who end up making a purchase. The higher the conversion rate, the better it is for you.

Cost per acquisition

We work with our clients to turn their data into sales. And typically our clients will want to know how much money they will make based upon their spend. By working out how much each new customer costs you (your cost per acquisition), you’ll be able to make much more effective use of your marketing budget. The more effective your marketing is, the lower this number should be.

Return on investment

Measuring return on investment should be top of every marketing manager or business owner’s list. If you spend £1,000 on a campaign, then you’re going to want to know how much money that £1,000 made you. Measuring ROI should be a simple task for an ecommerce store, especially with ecommerce tracking enabled within Google Analytics.

Average order value

Tracking your average order value over time will help you make better decisions, budget more effectively and more accurately predict revenue growth for the future. Simply take the total value of sales and divide it by the number of orders to get your average order value.

Lifetime customer value

It also pays to know how much each customer is worth to you over their ‘lifetime’ of being engaged with your business. Every store will have an element of churn or one-off purchasers. Once you know how much each customer is worth to you and what your churn rate is (how many customers you lose each year) you’re then able to set accurate KPIs for both the number and the value of new customers your marketing needs to acquire.

Shopping cart abandonment

Knowing the percentage of shopping cart abandonments is a great indicator to how effective your checkout is. Customers who reach this point have a strong intent to buy. If a high percentage of them are failing to complete a purchase then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way your checkout works. You can ‘recycle’ abandoned shopping carts with triggered emails which is a great way of improving conversion rates and your average order value.


Too many people spend too much time measuring the wrong figures. And too many marketing agencies send too much time making decisions based on whims, hunches and gut feelings.

We look at the metrics that matter to help you make evidence-based decisions, driven by data, which ensures both immediate and long term results.

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About the author

Stafford Sumner

An expert in developing businesses through data-driven marketing, Stafford founded Jarrang in 2003. “I’ve worked with many organisations, helping them grow while enabling them to fundamentally shift the way they operate their sales and marketing processes for the better.”