Lead Generation Metrics — The Basics and Beyond

Lead generation metrics should help you understand not only what parts of your digital marketing are working, but what parts are generating the highest quality leads.

There are basic lead generation metrics that you must to be tracking in order to evaluate the success of your lead gen efforts. You’ll likely have to go beyond the basics to mine truly valuable insights about your efforts.

Here’s a list, that’s by no means comprehensive, of my favorite basic and more advanced metrics.

First, the basics.


How many people are seeing your ad, your content or whatever it is you’re using to attract that audience? This is, to use another term, your reach. Your tracking and evaluation here should be on a per-channel basis, with an eye toward finding the channels that you are able to grow most cost-effectively.

Clickthrough Rate

CTR is the number of people who interact with your content. Typically, that means they click the ad or the link in your social media post, etc. (You might also want to track other types of engagement, like subscriptions.) The critical element of this metric is breaking it down to individual ads or content, including individual issues of your newsletter campaign. You want to know what is resonating with your audience and what is driving them to take action.


A conversion can be many different things, depending on the goal you have for your lead generation campaign. (e.g. marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, etc.) Whatever action you deem to be a conversion, it’s generally a “state change” along the buyer’s journey. That can be a move from a member of the target audience who’s never heard of you to a website visitor to a prospect to a MQL to an SQL and finally to becoming a client. Each of those state changes is a conversion that should be tracked separately.

Conversion Rate

This calculated metric is a function of conversions divided by impressions. It’s worth tracking on its own, of course, but should also be evaluated with some latitude. That is, as you expand your reach and your impressions rise, you may have a less tightly targeted audience. Of course, you’d like your conversion rate to always rise. But if it falls while the total number of conversions rise, that’s not necessarily a bad trade-off.

With these data points solidly represented in our dashboard, we can move on to additional (and increasingly useful) measurements.

Cost per Lead

What does it take to move a prospect through a stage in the funnel? How does the cost compare with other methods? (Direct mail, trade shows, etc.) How do costs compare across the various digital channels you’re using? These are the metrics that will guide your spend going forward.

Leads per Channel

Another calculated metric worth adding to your dashboard. Here, you compare how many leads a channel is generating against all other channels. It’s an analog to conversion rate in that a channel with more leads generated from a smaller audience (impressions) might be a channel worth exploring more deeply.

Time to Conversion

This metric typically takes some aggregating of data across platforms, as you’ll want to note when each state change occurs. It’s valuable to know how long it takes a typical prospect to proceed through each stage. It’s even more valuable to know this on a per-channel basis. And more valuable still to know average time-per-conversion for those prospects that become clients. You can then tailor your programs to pay more attention to those prospects who appear to be on that “golden path.”

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV should be calculated across the board and broken down by channel. A channel with a slightly higher cost per lead but a 10-time increase in CLV is a great channel!


You may find the able list of metrics daunting to consider, especially if you’re not gathering and reviewing any of them now. If so, there’s no reason not to start small. As you become more comfortable with the data, you can expand your dashboard to include a broader range of data points and a broader possibility of action points.

Instagram Stories Pros and Cons

Last week Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and like most new digital things, the Internet erupted into the usual yelling debate about new things like: “Instagram ripped off Snapchat!” and “Instagram Stories is waaaaay better designed than Snapchat!”

Instagram Stories MemeLast week Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and like most new digital things, the Internet erupted into the usual yelling debate about new things:

“Instagram ripped off Snapchat!”

“Instagram Stories is waaaaay better designed than Snapchat!”

“Ugh. Another feature.”

And so on.

Oh, and Facebook is now testing selfie filters, à la Snapchat. Snapchat’s like the sister with all the good clothes that keep getting filched.

I may be only 34, but there are days when I feel like I’m 82 in regard to new features on things I already use, and feel like I use pretty well. And originally, this post was titled “Instagram Stories, Get Off My Lawn.”

No, really:

Blog post in WordPress back officeBut then, like a good blogger, I took a little time to do some reading, and, well, my opinion — much like the Battering Ram ride at Busch Gardens — has swung to and fro a bit.

So here are my thoughts, in a classic Pros and Cons list. Because if a P&C list can help me determine if I should date someone who loves Phil Collins and owns a lot of plastic sheeting, it should help me come to a conclusion about Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories Pros

Marketers have been using Instagram successfully for awhile now, and it has a wider reach than Snapchat.

• It is way easier to find and follow people on Instagram, compared to Snapchat.

• I personally use Instagram constantly, and I could set up another account professionally for Sass Marketing with ease. Snapchat? Not so much.

• The design is cleaner and easier to understand, which means there will be fewer people saying they’re afraid to use it (unlike Snapchat).

• The stories won’t be in your Instagram feed. Instead, when someone you follow posts a story, a ring will appear around their profile photo. You can then either check it out, or ignore it.

• You can hide a story from anyone you don’t want to see it, without having to make your account private. You can even hide stories from people who actually follow you (Whoo-hoo! You can keep your aunt from creeping on you!)

• I always wanted to be able to draw laser beams coming out of my cat’s eyes.

Instagram Stories Laser-Eye Cat

Instagram Stories Cons

• Seriously, what is the deal with people wanting stuff to disappear after 24 hours? Is there something about hour 24 when you realize, “Oh god … I have made a MISTAKE!”?

• Even though Instagram didn’t do anything wrong (you can’t copyright an idea), it still comes off as a little lame to not only use almost exactly the same idea, but to not even bother renaming it. Or as Jack Brody, a product designer at Snapchat put it:

Wow … I can’t think of any other cons, aside from my general crankiness over new features that I don’t feel like using, but with Instagram Stories, you don’t HAVE to use it. You can completely ignore it, as well as the stories of other.

All right, fine. With my Pros and Cons list being a solid 7 to 2, I get the picture. Though I’m reserving the right to claim “cool” or “lame” until I actually have access to Instagram Stories.

In related news … dang Hubspot … you released a guide on how to use Instagram Stories TWO DAYS after the feature’s launch. It’s taken me this long to get cranky enough to write this post (mind you, I publish every Tuesday). Teach me your ways, oh Orange and Sassy One.

Millennials, Music and Marketing

Music is a powerful marketing vehicle that fits neatly into the social media space. Big brands have aligned with celebrity artists to reach Millennials in their native social media milieu. Taylor Swift is the face of Keds and Diet Coke. Impresario JayZ has a multi-million dollar deal with Samsung, and Katie Perry is on board with H&M to name just a few. Music festivals have become mega-marketing events with a complex web of social sharing opportunities.

Music is a powerful marketing vehicle that fits neatly into the social media space. Big brands have aligned with celebrity artists to reach Millennials in their native social media milieu. Taylor Swift is the face of Keds and Diet Coke. Impresario JayZ has a multi-million dollar deal with Samsung, and Katie Perry is on board with H&M, to name just a few. Music festivals have become mega-marketing events, with a complex Web of social sharing opportunities.


This relationship between big brands and celebrity musicians is symbiotic: For the brands, music can be the relevant tie that binds them to an audience that’s skeptical of traditional advertising. For celebrity musicians, brand endorsements are not only a lucrative revenue stream, but also an important platform for extending their reach.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, most boomers would have called a rock star who endorsed products a sell-out. You would never see anything like The Grateful Dead endorsing Fritos back then, but now we even have Bob Dylan on TV for IBM’s Watson.


The evolution of music into a marketing vehicle has been a long, strange trip. Music has always been a shared experience, but there’s a huge difference in the way young people share between Millennials, the current largest generation, and boomers, the previous largest generation.

From my teens through my 30s, it was cool to have a high-fidelity stereo system (tuner/amp, three-way speakers and turntable) to play vinyl records at high volume and fill a room full of friends with music. Music listening was a social thing, something to be shared live and in-person. The listening unit was an album side, usually start to finish, but occasionally someone would take the trouble to play an individual cut, carefully using the turntable lever to drop the needle in the space between the grooves of the spinning vinyl platter. These precious vinyl disks were handled very carefully to ensure that they didn’t collect oily fingerprints, or God forbid, noise-producing scratches.

Back then, creating a playlist was not a drag-and-drop task. It was a longer-than-real-time event. Using a reel-to-reel or cassette tape recorder plugged into the same amplifier as the turntable, the playlist maker would push the record button, drop the needle for each track, play it through, pause the tape, carefully change out the vinyl record, and then record the next track. The advent of the compact disc made this a bit easier, but it was still a real-time event.

For Millennials, music is still a shared experience, but it’s shared on social media rather than in-person. Rather than being an onerous task, the easily generated playlist is now a common unit of listening. People share playlists through Spotify and Pandora, and can instantly share snippets of music they’re listening to on Spotify or Apple Music using Facebook Music Stories. And music consumption is high. A study by Vevo found that Millennials spend an average of 25 hours per week streaming music.

But rather than filling a room with music, much of music listening today is a solitary activity, using earbuds and mobile devices. High-fidelity systems are a thing of the past – people 18 to 34 are about half as likely to own a receiver/amplifier as those 55 to 64 according to MRI+ data. And while 11 percent of 55 to 64 year olds still have a turntable, only 2 to 3 percent of Millennials own one. Meanwhile, Millennials are about 50 percent more likely to own an mp3 player docking station (with tiny little speakers) and 40 percent more likely to own earbuds than their older counterparts.

The biggest change, however, has come in the area of music festivals. Last year, 14.7 million Millennials attended music festivals. Face-value for Coachella tickets was $349. The festival grossed over $84 million. And brands like Coca Cola, Red Bull and TMobile pony up about $1.4 billion annually in festival sponsorship money. Why? A study by live promoter group AEG and branding company Momentum Worldwide found that 93 percent of those surveyed stated that they liked the brands that sponsor live events. Eighty percent said that they will purchase a product following a music festival experience, as opposed to 55 percent of those who were not in attendance, and those who attended a music festival with brand sponsorship walked away with a 37 percent better perception of the company.

By contrast, Woodstock, the watershed music festival of 1969, was attended by about 500,000 people. Not all of them had the three-day festival ticket that sold for $18. Corporate sponsors? Really?