Understanding Audience Metrics: Key Terminology Every Business Needs to Know

Gerri Knilans
5 min readMay 20, 2024

Successful businesses know that understanding the needs of their customers and prospects is a top priority. When it comes to marketing communications, this means reaching out to target audiences across various channels. By establishing and tracking quantitative and qualitative audience metrics, companies can evaluate the success of their efforts and gain valuable insight into pain points and preferences. This data can be a game changer for businesses.

By leveraging data collection and analysis, marketers can better segment audiences and tailor messaging based on behavior. To accomplish this, it’s important to understand the key differences in the terminology used across various platforms. Metrics, collected data, and analyses are valuable tools for understanding different audiences, but using those metrics correctly can make all the difference.

Website Metrics

When it comes to B2B marketing, website metrics are a core measure of success. A company’s website is often the headquarters of its brand and business interactions. Performance data tells the story of how visitors engage with the site and can inform decision-making that leads to improved conversions and business success.

Key metrics to track include:

  • Page views reveal the total number of times certain pages on your website are viewed, including repeat views by the same visitor. They indicate a site’s most popular pages and tell marketers what visitors are interested in, how well pages are optimized for search, and how users move around on the site. When landing pages are used in marketing and advertising initiatives, page views can show the effectiveness of those efforts.
  • Unique visitors refer to the number of distinct individuals visiting a site during a given time period. This is typically broken down by month, regardless of how often they visit. Unique visitor figures tell marketers how many people are seeing their website for the first time. This can be helpful in determining the effectiveness of a new advertising campaign, social media initiative, or email program. By combining this information with page views, marketers can improve SEO strategy, enhance keyword usage, and better understand traffic patterns.
  • Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave without visiting other pages. This figure can indicate that unviable prospects are finding your website or that content isn’t relevant or engaging.
  • Average session duration is the average length of time a visitor spends on a site. Longer durations can reveal what content is connecting with readers and shorter sessions indicate something needs to change.
  • Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors who take a desired action on the site. This may include downloading content, filling out a contact form, or making a purchase. Conversion rate is a vital metric for understanding the effectiveness of call-to-action (CTA) messages.

Publication and Media Outlet Metrics

These statistics describe the audience for a specific magazine, journal, or other media outlet. B2B organizations that are published in industry journals and magazines showcase their expertise and strong reputation in front of an already established and well-defined audience. Clearly understanding readers is vital when considering where to publish bylined articles and other content. Consider the following metrics:

  • Circulation refers to the number of copies, either digital or print, that a publication distributes over a certain period. It’s a common mistake to believe that high circulation is the most important metric. In fact, a smaller, highly targeted audience of decision-makers and experts in a field can often yield better results, especially for B2B organizations. For example, Industry Dive journals and in-depth newsletters target niche audiences. When identifying Industry Dive as one of the most innovative companies of 2024, Fast Company said, “It’s more valuable to reach the right 100 people in a sector than worrying about 100,000 only marginally relevant readers, and in a way that’s tailored to those industry’s leaders and decision-makers.”
  • Average issue readership estimates the number of readers for a typical issue. While circulation indicates the number of issues distributed, average issue readership indicates the number of issues actually read. This can help marketers understand different audience segments and how they engage with various topics, seasons, and special issues.
  • Demographics are typically readily available from publications and help editors, advertisers, and contributors understand exactly who is reading the content. Understanding the age, gender, education, organizational role, company size, and budget of readers can be a significant boon when tailoring content and targeting media outlets.

Social Media Metrics

These numbers help organizations measure the fast pace of social platforms. While each platform is different, social media metrics offer valuable insights into audience behaviors. Key metrics to track include:

  • Impressions represent the number of times content is shown, regardless of whether it was clicked, if it was shown to users more than once, or how much time the user spent viewing it.
  • Reach refers to the number of unique viewers who see a specific piece of content. A high reach can increase brand awareness, but it’s important to strive for active engagement with target audiences.
  • Followers/subscribers indicate the number of individuals who have opted to receive updates for your social media profile in their feed. This number is visible to visitors as well. While this is a key metric for understanding the reach of your brand, a high follower count is not always indicative of high engagement. That said, the growth of follower/subscriber figures can indicate the success of marketing efforts.
  • Click-through rate refers to the percentage of people who click on a link shared in a social media post or profile relative to the number of people who viewed the post overall. This metric helps marketers assess the effectiveness of a specific post and its CTA.
  • Conversion rate on social media posts measures the percentage of users who take a desired action, such as downloading content, clicking through to a website, or making a purchase. A/B testing can greatly improve conversion rate, especially on social media where the cost to post frequently is low.

Connect with Audiences through a Data-Driven Approach

By tracking success metrics, marketers can gain valuable insights into how well their content performs across different channels and with different audiences. This helps organizations and their marketing teams identify where to invest their resources and how to better engage with their audiences. Backed by a data-driven approach, audience-centric companies can greatly enhance the effectiveness of marketing strategies across every platform.

Originally published at https://www.tradepressservices.com on May 20, 2024.

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Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.