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Boost Your Digital Marketing with these Essential KPIs

Published on: November 17 2023 by Eric Andrews

Boost Your Digital Marketing with these Essential KPIs

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the Marketing Funnel 2.1. The Top of the Funnel: Creating Awareness 2.2. The Mid Funnel: Building Relationships and Consideration 2.3. The Bottom of the Funnel: Conversions and Purchases
  3. Evaluating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) 3.1. The Importance of Customer Acquisition Cost 3.2. Calculating CAC for Each Channel
  4. Customer Retention and Lifetime Value 4.1. Understanding Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) 4.2. Determining a Reasonable CAC Based on CLV
  5. Optimizing Digital Marketing Channels 5.1. Balancing Spending Between Channels 5.2. The Relationship Between Channels in the Funnel
  6. Building an Effective Marketing Dashboard 6.1. Key Metrics to Include 6.2. Blended ROI and Blended CAC Calculation
  7. The Importance of Organic Customers
  8. Understanding Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  9. Setting Reasonable Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) Targets
  10. Conclusion

Understanding the KPIs for Digital Marketing: Evaluating the Marketing Funnel, CAC, and CLV


When it comes to digital marketing, understanding and evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for success. In this article, we will delve into the most important KPIs for digital marketing, focusing on the marketing funnel, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and customer lifetime value (CLV). By analyzing these metrics, businesses can optimize their marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions to drive growth and profitability.

Understanding the Marketing Funnel

At the core of digital marketing is the marketing funnel, which represents the customer journey from awareness to purchase. The funnel consists of three main stages: the top, the mid, and the bottom.

The Top of the Funnel: Creating Awareness

The top of the funnel is where businesses aim to generate awareness and reach new customers. This can be achieved through various channels, including social media advertising, events, public relations, and television. The key objective is to target people who are unaware of the brand and introduce them to its products or services.

The Mid Funnel: Building Relationships and Consideration

Once potential customers are aware of the brand, the next step is to build relationships and nurture consideration. This is where tactics like email marketing come into play. By capturing the email addresses of interested individuals, businesses can provide them with information, discounts, and incentives to move them closer to making a purchase.

The Bottom of the Funnel: Conversions and Purchases

The bottom of the funnel is where the focus shifts to converting prospects into customers. Channels like Google Ads, particularly search ads, play a vital role in targeting customers who are actively searching for products or services. By providing attractive offers and removing friction from the purchasing process, businesses aim to entice customers to make a purchase.

Evaluating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a critical metric in digital marketing. It represents the total advertising spend required to acquire one new customer for the first time. Understanding the CAC for each marketing channel helps businesses assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing efforts.

The Importance of Customer Acquisition Cost

CAC is a vital metric as it provides insights into how much businesses need to invest to acquire new customers. It helps determine the profitability of customer acquisition activities and enables businesses to make informed decisions about their marketing budget allocation. By analyzing CAC, businesses can identify cost-effective channels and optimize their marketing strategies accordingly.

Calculating CAC for Each Channel

To calculate CAC, businesses need to divide the total advertising spend on a specific channel by the number of customers acquired through that channel. Each channel's CAC should be monitored individually to gauge its performance. Expectations should be set based on the funnel stage, with the top of the funnel generally having higher CAC than the bottom. It's essential to consider the overall CAC by combining the channels to determine the lowest possible cost.

Customer Retention and Lifetime Value

Customer retention and lifetime value play a significant role in the profitability of a business. Customer lifetime value (CLV) refers to the total gross profit expected from the lifetime purchases of an average customer. To assess whether a specific CAC is reasonable, businesses must evaluate CLV.

Understanding Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV is calculated by multiplying the average order value (AOV) by the gross profit margin and the number of purchases expected over the customer's lifetime. The result provides an estimate of the profit businesses can expect to make over the customer's relationship with the company. By comparing CLV with CAC, businesses can determine whether their marketing spend is profitable in the long run.

Setting Reasonable Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) Targets

By analyzing CLV and understanding the profitability of customers over their lifetime, businesses can set reasonable CAC targets. Although businesses may incur losses on the first purchase, a positive CLV means they can still make money from each customer in the long term. This analysis helps guide marketing budget allocation and optimize spending across channels.

Optimizing Digital Marketing Channels

To achieve optimal performance, businesses must optimize their spending across channels based on the customer journey. While it may seem logical to reallocate funds from underperforming channels to those with better ROI, this approach can be misleading. Each channel plays a unique role in the funnel, and cutting off the top can negatively impact overall customer acquisition.

Balancing Spending Between Channels

A general rule of thumb is to allocate 60-75% of the marketing budget to the top of the funnel and the remainder to the bottom. This balance allows for effective prospecting and ensures a steady flow of customers through the funnel. Cutting back on the top of the funnel may lead to higher customer acquisition costs and hinder long-term profitability.

The Importance of Organic Customers

While paid advertising channels are essential, businesses should also focus on organic customer acquisition. Organic customers are those who make purchases without any paid advertising. By optimizing organic channels, such as search engine optimization and email marketing, businesses can generate revenue without incurring additional advertising costs.


Understanding and evaluating the key KPIs for digital marketing, including the marketing funnel, CAC, and CLV, is vital for effective decision-making and optimized marketing strategies. By analyzing these metrics, businesses can allocate their marketing budget wisely, optimize channel performance, and maximize profitability. Balancing spending between prospecting and conversions, while also nurturing organic customer acquisition, is crucial for long-term success.

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