Marketers of every stripe are feeling the pressure to prove the ROI of their efforts. In B2B marketing, this proof is even more important — and harder to quantify. Long sales cycles, large buying committees, and convoluted customer journeys all make measurement more challenging. 

But data-driven marketers are up for the task. We have the capability to measure a host of key performance indicators (KPIs). We just need to define them and build the capacity for measuring them into our marketing strategies.

This guide features 20 of the most common B2B KPIs. From traffic and visibility metrics to lead generation, engagement, and beyond, these equip marketers to measure, fine-tune, and elevate their campaigns.

20 B2B marketing KPI examples

We’ve grouped these metrics by category to make them easier to browse. The right metrics for your campaigns may vary depending on the tactics you’re using, your audience, and where you’re getting the most engagement.

Traffic metrics: Brand interaction that signifies intent

On the looping highway that is the customer journey, traffic metrics serve as signposts that indicate points of interest — where your messaging is earning engagement and visibility. These metrics offer a scenic view of how audiences navigate and interact with your brand, making it easier to see where your optimization time and effort is best spent.

Organic Traffic: Picture this as the organic foot traffic wandering into your digital storefront. It signifies the number of visitors reaching your site through search results or direct clicks, without interacting with a paid ad. This KPI can show how relevant your content is to your target audience’s search needs.

Paid Traffic: Just like toll roads can speed up your journey for a small fee,  paid traffic makes it easier to bring visitors to your site. It simply means visitors that came from any paid advertising effort. Understanding this metric helps you measure your ad spend efficiency and the resonation of your campaign with the right audience. 

Social Media Impressions/Engagement: If paid ads are toll roads leading directly to a destination, social media is a town square. Engagement is key, community is king, and success is measured in likes, impressions, comments and shares. Impressions and engagement metrics on social platforms offer insights into who your audience is and what content is most meaningful to them. 

Earned Media: Restaurants that land in the Michelin Guide are more likely to bring in tourists. This is an example of earned media — it means your brand is mentioned on other platforms without your direct involvement. Healthy earned media mentions are a testament to your brand’s reach and impact. 

Traffic from Social: Just a few years ago, this was the chief social media success metric. Now, algorithms are less likely to promote posts that link off site. If your social media strategy is consistently driving traffic from the social media town square to your brand’s site, that’s an excellent performance indicator. 

Understanding and harnessing these traffic metrics helps to show how customers are encountering your brand, what messages are resonating and with whom. All of the above helps reveal areas of strength and opportunities for optimization along the route to increased engagement and visibility.

Visibility and search metrics: How well does your content match searcher intent?  

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly moving target. Not even Google employees fully understand the algorithm that determines search rankings; it’s a program that is constantly building on itself with minimal human intervention. 

It’s critical to keep a close eye on metrics that measure your search visibility. The following visibility and search metrics act as guiding lights, offering insights into your brand’s discoverability and credibility.

Keyword Rankings: Every keyword typed into a search engine is an expression of desire — a need to be met. Monitoring keyword rankings can show whether your content is meeting the relevant needs. It involves tracking the positions your website holds in search engine results for specific terms. Higher rankings signify enhanced visibility and relevance, potentially driving more (and more relevant) organic traffic to your site.

Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR): Rankings are important, but rankings alone don’t turn browsers into prospects. CTR for search measures the percentage of users clicking on your organic search results compared to the total number of impressions. If your CTR is low, your meta descriptions and titles need an overhaul to more closely match user intent and compel a click. 

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Features: Search engine results used to be a set of links ranked in order of relevance, with a text ad or two on top. Now there are multiple ‘position zero’ places for content to rank. Featured snippets, knowledge panels, video excerpts and other specialized search results can increase your visibility. 

Backlinks: The number of sites that link to your content used to be a key quality indicator for Google. Now backlinks are one of many such indicators, but it’s still important to monitor them. Backlinks from credible and authoritative sites can help your rankings, while backlinks from untrustworthy sources can harm them. Monitoring backlink quantity and quality helps gauge your site’s trustworthiness and its potential to rank higher in search engine algorithms.

Domain Authority and Page Authority: These metrics assess the strength and credibility of your website (Domain Authority) and specific pages (Page Authority) in search engine algorithms. Higher domain and page authority scores typically correlate with better search visibility and rankings. In fact, many keywords have a minimum domain or page authority to even be considered for page one results.

Understanding and optimizing these visibility and search metrics helps to ensure your brand remains visible, credible, and discoverable by your target audience. 

Lead generation metrics: Turning prospects into partners

The previous sections help measure how well you’re bringing prospects closer to your brand. Lead generation metrics can help you prove your effectiveness as a partner with the sales team, helping guide prospects into becoming customers. 

Note that these metrics are less rigidly defined than the previous. Domain Authority, for example, is a universally-recognized number. But the definition of a qualified lead will depend on how your organization approaches the sales process.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): Not everyone who visits your site or fills out a form will be a good fit for your solution. MQLs are prospects that demonstrate a level of engagement that deems them more likely to become customers than others. B2B MQL criteria might include job title, seniority, demographics, organization size, and role in decision making.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): MQLs are sent to the sales team for further qualification. Sales compares these leads to their history of deals won and lost to determine whether an MQL is an SQL as well. Measuring how well your MQLs convert into SQLs can help guide efforts to align with sales. 

It’s imperative for sales and marketing teams to align on these lead definitions. Collaboratively establishing and agreeing upon what constitutes an MQL and an SQL ensures a shared understanding of lead quality, minimizing discrepancies, and fostering a smoother transition of prospects through the sales pipeline. 

Engagement and conversion Metrics: Gauging audience interaction and action

At the heart of it, marketing is about compelling people to take specific actions. Engagement and conversion metrics help marketers understand how well their marketing campaigns are leading to the desired outcomes. 

Engagement Metrics: Engagement means, at a broad level, any kind of interaction that your target audience has with your content. It can include comments, shares and reposts on social media, comments and sharing of blog posts, clicking links in your email newsletter, and much more. Any sign that someone has seen your content and found it valuable can be considered engagement.

On social media platforms, likes and comments on posts showcase the level of engagement and resonance of content with the audience. Similarly, shares indicate a higher level of interest, potentially expanding the content’s reach.

Conversion Rate: This metric measures the percentage of users who take a desired action. It could be as large a step as making a purchase, or an incremental one like subscribing to your newsletter or downloading a guide. You’ll likely measure many different conversions as you map out your customer journey. 

Conversion rate is expressed as a percentage: If 100 users visit your website and five of them make a purchase, your conversion rate would be 5%. This rate reflects the effectiveness of your content or campaigns in prompting the desired action.

These engagement and conversion metrics provide valuable insights into audience behavior, content performance, and the effectiveness of marketing strategies in prompting desired actions. This is crucial for both optimizing your strategies and showing the value of your marketing efforts. 

Advertising performance metrics: Measuring the value of your spend

Measuring the return on advertising expenditures is an essential part of proving your marketing team’s effectiveness. These metrics can help guide you to understand where best to invest your ad budget for maximum return. 

Cost Per Click (CPC): This metric calculates the average cost paid for each click on an advertisement. It shows whether you’re backing the most effective ads with your money. For example, if you spent $100 on an ad campaign that generated 200 clicks, your CPC would be $0.50 per click ($100 divided by 200 clicks). But if a $100 campaign only generates one click, that means a $100 CPC and a dire need to re-evaluate your campaign.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR measures the percentage of users who click on an ad after seeing it. It gauges how relevant your offer is and how compelling your creative is. A high CTR means your ad copy is on point and your subject matter is compelling.

Like conversion rates, CTR is expressed as a percentage. If your ad is shown 1,000 times and receives 50 clicks, the CTR would be 5% (50 clicks divided by 1,000 impressions multiplied by 100).

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This metric includes cost per click and conversion metrics for an overarching look at how much it takes to acquire a customer through all of your campaigns. 

For example, if you spent $500 on an ad campaign and acquired 10 customers, your CPA would be $50 per acquisition ($500 divided by 10 customers). Of course, whether $50 is a reasonable CPA depends on the monetary value of each customer (more on that in the next section).

With these metrics on board, you can optimize ad campaigns, maximize ROI, and refine targeting strategies to attract and convert high-value leads or customers.

Customer lifecycle metrics: Measuring marketing beyond the first sale

Marketing’s job doesn’t end once a prospect becomes a customer. Nurturing customers into repeat customers, and even loyal brand ambassadors, is a critical part of successful marketing. These metrics help measure the business value of existing customers.

Lead to Close Rate: This metric measures the percentage of leads that eventually convert into paying customers. It signifies the efficiency of your sales process and the quality of leads generated by marketing efforts. This metric is presented as a percentage as well: if 100 leads are generated, and 10 of them become paying customers, the lead to close rate would be 10% (10 customers divided by 100 leads multiplied by 100).

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV measures the total predicted revenue a customer is expected to generate throughout their relationship with your business. For example, If the average customer spends $500 annually, stays with your business for 5 years, and has an associated profit margin of 30%, the CLV would be $1,500 ($500 annual spend x 5 years x 30% profit margin). Knowing this helps determine if your CPA is sustainable—if customers cost more to acquire than they generate in revenue, it’s time to reevaluate your strategies.

Churn Rate: Churn rate calculates the percentage of customers who leave the business in a given period. This percentage helps to measure the level of attrition over time, which can assist in developing new retention strategies. 

Measuring churn rate requires a little extra math. If you have 500 customers at the beginning of the month and 50 customers churn during that month, your churn rate would be 10% (50 churned customers divided by 500 total customers multiplied by 100).

You can see how combining these metrics can give you a complete picture of each marketing activity’s value. If you know:

  • The average amount of traffic to a landing page
  • The conversion rate for filling out a form on that page
  • The percentage of form fillers that become MQLs
  • The percentage of MQLs that become SQLs
  • The percentage of SQLs that become customers
  • The average customer lifetime value

Then you can quantify the value of a single visit to your landing page in real dollars and cents.

Use KPIs to spot opportunities in B2B marketing

When we talk about metrics and KPIs, it’s important to remember that they’re not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Each data point represents an opportunity to better understand the customer journey and optimize the paths from awareness to repeat purchases.

The TopRank Marketing team puts a high value on measurement and optimization. Our marketing strategies can include benchmarking and comprehensive monthly and annual reporting. 

Learn more about how TopRank Marketing can help you measure and optimize your marketing results.