Media Insights

Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2021 | Edition 5: Key Indicators to Watch

The 2021 holiday season will require marketers to deliver in new ways to meet customer expectations. With consumer behavior continually changing, COVID-19 concerns lingering, and supply chain challenges presenting uncertainty, marketers should be diligently tracking key performance indicators and be ready to adjust marketing investments real-time based on findings. 

Many marketers fixate on the media performance metrics they are responsible for, often missing indicators across the rest of their business or industry that are critical to remaining competitive. We have gathered a checklist of key metrics to monitor this holiday. Comparing these metrics to last year or similar sales periods this year, and including nuances for your specific business (e.g. store closures), is important to telling the full performance story.

What Should I Track and Why?

MEDIA PERFORMANCE

Why watch? Tracking media performance in the context of the broader business allows you to optimize key levers to hit your goals.

  • Revenue
  • Traffic, click-thru rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate (CVR)
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR)*
  • Cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPM)

SITE PERFORMANCE

Why watch? Keeping a pulse on key site metrics will help you quickly diagnose user behavior and issues with the site.

  • Site visits
  • Conversion rate (CVR)
  • Cart abandonment rates

CONSUMER TRENDS

Why watch? Customers are at the core of your business – watch what they are doing and respond accordingly.

  • New customer rates
  • Buying behavior (category, device, etc.)
  • Consumer sentiment, consumer confidence, social conversation
  • Shopping method (online, in-store, BOPIS)

MACRO TRENDS

Why watch? Understanding broader industry trends helps explain and predict marketing performance.

  • Unemployment rate, stock market, credit card default rates
  • COVID-19 closures, state mandates, case rates
  • Supply chain delays, low inventory across certain categories

PROMOTIONAL CALENDAR

Why watch? Key events drive marketing performance.

  • Promotions
  • Key events
  • Philanthropy, PR

OPERATIONS

Why watch? Product mix, availability, and pricing also influence marketing performance.

  • Product launches
  • Inventory levels and shifts (full price, markdown, clearance), product data feeds
  • Shipping cutoff dates
  • Fulfillment capabilities

*EMR incorporates online and offline revenue, future customer value, incrementality, and profitability into a single metric of success. EMR is not just a return metric but also a mindset that pushes business leaders to transform how they approach marketing.

What’s Next?

Use this checklist and work across functional areas to design the set of metrics that is right for your business to track this holiday season. Develop an action plan detailing what you will do based on the results of each metric to enable agile decision-making when pressure is high.

Interested in reading more from Ovative on how to prepare for the holiday season? Read our latest edition on Holiday Strategies to Engage Your Customers and download our Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2021.


Ovative Group is a digital-first media and measurement firm. We bring together the best of media, measurement, and consulting to enable an enterprise approach to marketing that increases our clients’ profitable revenue, strengthens their customer base, and creates sustainable competitive advantage. Connect with us to learn more. 


Bethany Hawthorne

Senior Manager, Client Services

About the Author

Bethany is a Senior Manager on the Client Services team. She has over 10 years of agency experience driving digital strategy, data analytics, paid media execution, and advanced measurement. She is passionate about people, process, and always in pursuit for a new problem to solve!

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