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Analytics 101: Understanding Key Metrics for Your Small Business’ Digital Marketing Analytics & Performance

Analytics 101: Understanding Key Metrics for Your Small Business’ Digital Marketing Analytics & Performance

You’re a busy business owner. You've got your website up, your social media buzzing, and your products or services are top-notch. But how do you know if your digital marketing efforts are actually paying off? Enter the world of digital marketing analytics for small businesses.

Understanding these metrics can be a game-changer, but let's be real—many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) find it challenging to grasp and leverage this data. We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you understand the basics of digital marketing analytics for small businesses. For a more in-depth view, or help with your digital marketing strategy, call us today!

What are Digital Marketing Analytics?

Digital marketing analytics is the collecting and analyzing data from all your digital channels to understand your business performance. Unlike traditional marketing analytics, which often focus on overall business metrics, digital marketing analytics for small businesses dive deep into online data, offering insights into customer behavior, engagement, and conversion. This information helps you make better informed decisions in regard to your marketing strategy and budget allocation, allowing you to make the most of your marketing dollars.

Key Digital Marketing Analytics for Small Businesses Metrics Every SMB Should Know

Overall Web Traffic

Overall web traffic is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s all of the traffic you get to your website, no matter how it got there. The main goal of all your marketing activities is to drive traffic to your website, as more traffic means more chances to convert visitors into loyal customers. Tracking your overall web traffic across all channels can show you which of your campaigns are working best to bring you traffic, which ones need attention, and where your marketing budget is most effectively spent.

Tips to increase your overall traffic include:

  • Optimizing your website for SEO
  • Running targeted ad campaigns to attract your ideal audience
  • Being active and social on social media
Analytics 101: Understanding Key Metrics for Your Small Business’ Digital Marketing Analytics & Performance 2


A session is a measurement of all the actions a user takes on your website, including page views, filling out forms, clicking buttons, and the like. A session automatically expires after 30 minutes of inactivity from a user, or ends when a user leaves your website. This is an important metric to track when it comes to digital marketing analytics for small businesses because it will help you understand the behaviour of your users when they are on your website, including what actions visitors are taking on your website, and how long they stay there.

You can increase your average session duration by:

  •  Adding video content to your site
  •  Improving the readability of the content on your pages
  • Ensuring you are publishing the right content for your target audience

New vs. Returning Visitors

New visitors are just as they sound – users who are visiting your site for the first time. Returning visitors are those that have already visited your website and are coming back for more. Returning visitors is usually a good indication that the content your are providing is valuable to your audience, which is why they have returned to your website. New visitors indicate that your SEO is performing well, as it is bringing you new traffic.

As far as digital marketing analytics for small businesses go, this is a great metric to keep an eye on to measure how different pieces of your content performs.

How do you improve this metric?

  • Publish blogs featuring useful content that are optimized for user experience and SEO
  • Provide links to your new content in your email marketing newsletters
  • Promote and link your blogs on your social media profiles

Page Views and Most Visited Pages

Page views are the number of times a particular page has been viewed. While this is a pretty general metric for digital marketing analytics for small businesses, it’s an important one to help find out which pages on your website your visitors find the most value in. Is it only certain pages that users are looking at, or are you getting page views across the whole website? If pages are not getting views, it may be time to update or scrap them.

Improve your page view metrics by:

  • Linking users to the right pages
  • Publishing SEO-friendly, relevant content
  • Creating evergreen content that never goes out of style
Analytics 101: Understanding Key Metrics for Your Small Business’ Digital Marketing Analytics & Performance 3

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is percentage of visitors who don’t take an action on your site and “bounce” after viewing a single page. This is vital in digital marketing analytics for small businesses because it helps us determine why people are leaving your site too quickly.

Common reasons for a higher bounce rate are:

  • Slow page load times. If your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, consider your users gone!
  • Unattractive web design. If your website is hard on the eyes, people will not stick around!
  • Poorly designed navigation. Users can’t visit other pages and complete actions on your website if they can’t figure out how to!

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is simply the percentage of completed goals (conversions) compared to the number of visitors to your website. It shows you how effective your campaigns are and helps identify which campaigns could use a little boost.

It’s a simple equation that shows you how many conversions you are getting from those that visitor your website:

Conversion Rate = conversions/visits

Tips for improving your conversion rate include:

  • Simplifying the checkout process
  • Using compelling CTAs
  • Optimizing for mobile

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost per acquisition is a measurement of how much you are spending to acquire each customer. We track CPA for digital marketing analytics for small businesses because it also affects your return on ad spend (or ROI.) Once you know how much you are spending to acquire a customer, you can determine how to better allocate your resources. If it’s costing you too much to acquire customers, you’re going to have to take a look at your strategy!

How to calculate CPA:

CPA = Total Marketing Costs / Number of New Customers

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Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures how often users click on things in your marketing campaigns. In digital marketing analytics for small businesses, this is often applied to your pay-per-click ad campaigns and clickable items in your emails. CTR is the ratio of users who click on a link to the number of total users who view the ad or page. It measures the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Tips to improve your CTR:

  • Use compelling headlines that create a sense of urgency
  • A/B test your ad copy
  • Target the right audience

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost pet click is a crucial metric in digital marketing analytics for small businesses when it comes to any paid advertising campaigns. It tells you how much each individual click on your ads is costing you. Once you know how much this is costing you, you can analyze your campaign budget, and optimize your ads. Optimizing your paid search ads for a low CPC frees up budget to spend elsewhere.

Suggestions to optimize your ads and lower your CPC include:

  • Thorough keywords research to identify variations you could use
  • Refine targeting to the most ideal audience
  • Monitor and adjust bids

Tools and Platforms for Tracking Digital Marketing Analytics

Now that we’ve given you which metrics to track, it’s helpful to know where to track them! This information is not useful to you if you don’t know where to find it! Below are a few fantastic tools for digital marketing analytics for small businesses.

  • Google Analytics: Comprehensive but can be complex. In addition to providing very thorough reports, the other great perk of GA is that it is free! It can take some time to understand the ins and out of this program and how to find and organize your data, but it is free to all Google users. If you find it too complicated to use, or simply can’t be bothered (which is fair! You have your own business to run!) this is one area that partnering with an agency is a life saver. Understanding digital marketing analytics for small businesses is their wheelhouse.
  • HubSpot: User-friendly with excellent CRM integration. HubSpot’s digital marketing analytics for small businesses reporting tools are subscription based, but they are great for creating easy to read custom reports that show you exactly what you want to know.
  • SEMRush: Also a very user-friendly subscription service. SEMRush provides comprehensive reports on your marketing efforts, SEO metrics, as well as insights on your competition. This helps you make informed decisions about your campaigns and how you can adjust them to edge out your competitors.

With paid subscription tools like HubSpot and SEMRush, it is important to note that they can also be complex to learn, have an overwhelming amount of functions to navigate through for a beginner, and can be very expensive for a single location. While you can learn them (and pay for them!) on your own, an agency already has the knowledge and access to paid tools. It’s not a bad idea to partner with an agency and take advantage of their expertise and save some money by leveraging the agency’s subscriptions!

Analytics 101: Understanding Key Metrics for Your Small Business’ Digital Marketing Analytics & Performance 5

Don’t Fall in the Traps

An agency takes the pressure off of busy business owners like yourself by collecting and analysing the data for you. This saves you from many pitfalls and challenges that small businesses owners can face such as:

  • A lack of expertise. You’re already a busy business owner, and an expert in your own industry! It’s a little unrealistic to expect you to also become an expert in all of the nuances of digital marketing analytics for small businesses. Without a deep understanding of analytics, you may have a difficult time interpreting your data.
  • Costs. Frankly, subscription reporting services can be expensive. They are well worth the expense for an agency who can leverage a single subscription for several clients and then expertly make the most of the data that they collect. However, for a single small business, these tools are very costly.
  • Data paralysis. It is possible to gain too much insight into digital marketing analytics for small businesses if you aren’t 100% sure what you are looking at! With too much data at your fingertips, it can be difficult to prioritize your metrics and make decisions, causing data paralysis. The sheer amount of data can overwhelm you! A digital marketing agency knows exactly what data they are looking for and how to organize it for you to help your make informed marketing decisions.
  • Time Commitment. Marketing decisions should never be rushed. Data needs to be collected over a period of time before it can be analysed, and then continuously collected and analysed from different angles in order to be fully understood. You may become impatient when waiting for your data to become useful in your decision making. An agency takes that off your plate and presents you with the data when it is ready.

Unlock Your Insights!

Understanding and leveraging digital marketing analytics for small businesses is not just a "nice-to-have"; it's a must. So, if you haven't started, now's the time. And if you're already on it, keep refining your approach based on insights, whether this is on your own accord or with the help of an agency! To learn more about digital marketing analytics for small businesses, call Smart WSI Marketing today for a consultation.

Lynne team member
Lynne Motkoski, Marketing Strategist
Specialty: Online Marketing Strategies
Education: MA Communications & Technology, BComm [U Alberta]
Author: The Online Marketing Handbook for Busy Entrepreneurs (coming soon)

Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She has a passion for education, keeping up with current marketing trends and practices, and helping clients keep ahead of their competition.


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