The inbound metrics you need to know

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Don’t get paralysed by analysis.

As an organisation that has recently adopted an inbound strategy. Whether you like it or not, you will need to prove that it’s working.

To your peers; to your bosses; to yourself.

This article is for you.

We will be answering two key questions:

How can you measure inbound marketing?
How do you report on the inbound metrics that really matter?

Let’s launch into it.

Inbound Marketing Metrics

Inbound marketing is about attracting, nurturing and converting leads into customers.

This takes place through online channels such as your website, blog, social channels and email.

So, we shall break down the relevant metrics via the labels of attract, nurture and convert.


Website Traffic: How many unique visitors are coming to your site? Where are they coming from (organic search, paid search, social channels etc.)? How many returning customers do you have on your site? Track your site traffic and cross-reference this data with previous months and traffic sources. You should expect to see a gradual increase in organic traffic over time.

Unique visitors means those who visit your site for the first time in a given period.

Social Shares: The more people who share your content on social media: the greater your social reach. It's also a great illustration of the types of content that resonate with your audience and what doesn’t.


Leads: How many leads are you generating each month? Leads are visitors who have been interested by your marketing efforts and have signed up for an offer or to email updates.

Leads By Source: Which inbound channels are generating the most leads? Is it organic search? Social media? Email? Focus on the channels that offer you the best return on your investment.


Site Conversion Rate: How many of your website visitors are becoming customers? A healthy conversion rate will keep management happy.

Landing Page Conversion Rate: How many landing page visitors convert and punch in their details? This is a good indicator whether or not your visitors are interested in what you are offering.

CTA Conversion Rates: Out of everyone visiting your pages; how many are clicking on your CTAs? Clicking on a CTA is a clear indication of a visitors’ intent. 

Cool, we now have a whole heap of inbound metrics to keep an eye on. But which statistics does your boss actually care about?

We saved the best till last.

If you forget every other metric, at least keep tabs on these two:

Visitor-to-Lead Ratio (VLT)

How many of the people who come to your site are becoming leads? Once you have this data, you can work backwards and calculate how many visitors you need to attract in order to generate enough leads to make your inbound efforts worthwhile.

Lead-to-Customer Ratio (LTC)

How many of these leads are converting into customers? Just like above, you can work backwards and work out how many leads you need to generate in order to gain your target customer account each month.

Here’s how it could look:

  • 500 unique visitors

  • 30 new leads (6% VTL ratio)

  • 10 new customers (33.33% LTC ratio)


We’ve gone through the inbound metrics. Now we need to talk about cost.

Invariably, your boss will be impressed by your visitor numbers, lead ratios and conversion rates... but, unfortunately; they are always going to ask about your spending.

Here’s some additional metrics that your boss will want to know:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Marketing & Sales Spend / New Customers = CAC

For example, over a period of a month you spent $3000 on inbound marketing. During this period, you brought in 30 new customers.

3000 / 30 = $300 CAC

During the month, it cost you $300 to acquire each new customer. Your boss will likely want to see this decrease over time.

The good news is that inbound efforts offer a higher ROI than traditional marketing methods.


Marketing Percentage of CAC

What percentage of your CAC was spent on marketing?

Marketing cost / Sales & marketing cost = Marketing percentage

2000 / 3000 = 66.66%

66.66% of your sales and marketing budget was spent on marketing in order to acquire 30 new customers.


Customer Acquisition Cost-per Channel (CCAC)

Channel spend / Customers acquired from channel = CCAC

This can be a tricky metric to calculate as it is sometimes difficult to know which channel converted which customers. It is highly likely that your customers interacted with more than one channel before they made their first conversion. Do you attribute the sale to the first or last channel, or all of them?

Here’s how you calculate CCAC: 

$1000 spent on an email campaign resulted in 10x conversions

1000 / 10 = 100

CCAC for email = $100

If you are using HubSpot’s marketing software then you will be able to easily track whether your customers are converting via organic, email, social, blog or paid channels. However, this is of course attributing the last ‘channel interaction’ as the channel that caused the conversion.

Enough about costs. We need to compare our costs with our average customer value.

For example, we want our average customer value to be higher than our cost-per-acquisition. This means that our cost to acquire a new customer is lower than our expected value from that customer.


Now that you know how to measure your different inbound marketing efforts, it’s important to monitor each metric as you go. We recommend on a monthly basis. (I know what you are thinking: that’s a whole lot more work...) Not necessarily, with HubSpot’s marketing software – you can set-up your dashboards in order to do a lot of the work for you. It also enables you to create automatic reports to be sent directly to any inbox of your choosing. So you can continually remind your boss about all the awesome work you’ve been doing.

Ready to change your marketing strategy? Download our inbound campaign checklist below: