Creating a Digital Benchmark

May 6, 2016

I’ve recently had several people ask for help creating digital campaigns, so I thought it would be helpful to put together all the questions that are a starting place to benchmark how an organization currently uses digital tools and resources. A lot has changed over the years, but I think this reflects the right questions to ask in 2016.

The target audience for this process is a mid-sized non-profit or advocacy organization.

Is this right? Wrong? Missing something? Would love your feedback!

Digital Strategy

  1. Do you have defined objectives for the use of digital tools in your organization?
  2. Do you have key metrics tied to your digital efforts?
  3. Do you have goal metrics tied to your digital efforts?
  4. Do you record and review key metrics on a regular (weekly or monthly) basis?
  5. Do you have an editorial calendar for publishing new content and running digital campaigns?
  6. Do you have an integrated database of all of your contacts and users (donors, volunteers, media, activists, etc)?
  7. Does your organization’s leadership actively use digital tools personally (publishing content, active on social media, etc)?
  8. Do you have staff dedicated to digital efforts (social media manager, email marketer, website manager, database manager, etc)?
  9. Does the organization’s leadership encourage all teams to integrate digital tools and strategies into their projects?
  10. Do you work with an agency or other outside consultant on your digital efforts?
  11. Is your organization’s digital strategy detailed in a written plan accessible to all team members involved in the effort?
  12. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being never and 10 being very frequently, how often do you update the tools and strategies you use for your digital efforts?


  1. How many subscribers do you have on your list?
  2. How frequently do you email these subscribers?
  3. What software do you use to send email newsletters? Do you use more than one?
  4. When was the last time you evaluated email marketing software?
  5. Do you segment your list and send separate emails to separate segments?
  6. What is your current email open rate (if your email system does not provide an overall list open rate, you can average the last three emails)?
  7. What is your current email click through rate (if your email system does not provide an overall list click rate, you can average the last three emails)?
  8. Do you conduct A/B tests on your email to test different subject lines or content?
  9. Do you use drip campaigns to automatically follow-up with new email subscribers?
  10. If so, how many emails do you have setup in your drip campaign?
  11. If so, do you segment subscribers based on follow-up actions?
  12. If so, what are your conversion rates for follow-up emails?

Social Media

  1. What social media platforms are you currently using (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc)?
  2. What is the audience size (followers, likes, etc) for each of these platforms?
  3. Do you use a link sharing tool like, Hootsuite or Buffer to track clicks on shared links?
  4. For your Facebook page, what are the following for the past 28 days? (This can be found on your page under the Insights tab. Just change the timeframe from the default “Last 7 days” to “Last 28 days.)
    – People Reached
    – Post Engagement
    – Page Views
    – Page Likes
  5. On the same tab in Facebook, take a look at your most recent posts. Of those, pick the best one and record:
    – Reach
    – Engagement — Post Clicks
    – Engagement — Reactions, Comments & Shares
  6. Do you boost posts on Facebook?
  7. If so, describe the audience to whom you target your boosted posts.
  8. If so, what is the average budget you spend to boost a post?


  1. Is your website responsive (i.e., it has a different format for tablets and smartphones)?
  2. How do you currently track website metrics (Google analytics, Mixpanel, etc)?
  3. How many visitors do you receive on a 30 day average?
  4. How many page views do you receive on a 30 day average?
  5. How many pages per session does a visitor view?
  6. What is your average session duration (some analytics tools also call this “time on site”)?
  7. Do you have an email signup form on your website?
  8. How many visitors signup for emails via this form over an average 30 day period?
  9. Do you have other forms on your website (other than a “Contact Us” form), such as petitions, surveys, etc?
  10. If so, how many people complete these forms over an average 30 day period?
  11. Do you use landing pages — web pages designed for the purpose of getting visitors to engage with a single call to action?
  12. Do you have a secure online donation form on your website? If so, which service do you use (, Anedot, PayPal, etc)?
  13. How many online donations do you receive over an average 30 day period?
  14. Do you have a blog on your website?
  15. If so, how frequently do you post to it?
  16. Do you have a remarketing pixel installed on your site? If so, which service (Facebook, AdWords, DoubleClick, CampaignGrid, etc)?
  17. Do you use tools to check your website’s search engine optimization (i.e. Yoast for WordPress, Moz, Google Search Console, etc)?
  18. Have you recently (within the past year) conducted a usability study of your website?

Online Video

  1. How often do you publish online videos to platforms like YouTube or Facebook?
  2. How many views do your videos receive on average (typically based on a 30 day average)?
  3. When you post a video online, is it content created for online video, or repurposed from a TV buy?
  4. Do you work with an outside agency or producer to create online videos?

Digital Advertising

  1. Do you have a designated budget for digital advertising on any platform (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, DSPs, etc)?
  2. What digital platforms do you advertise on (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, other ad networks)?
  3. How much do you spend over an average 30 day period on digital advertising?
  4. Do you create multiple ads for a digital campaign or rely on one message? (Note: this is not referring to different sizes of the same ad, but rather different messages and creative.)
  5. Over an average 30 day period, what is your typical campaign reach (i.e., impressions)?
  6. Over an average 30 day period, what is your typical engagement (i.e., clicks)?
  7. What do you typically pay for digital ads on a CPM or CPC basis (feel free to break out by ad platform)?
  8. Do you run digital campaigns targeted to one of your remarketing pixels?
  9. What percentage of your overall media budget goes to digital advertising?
  10. Do you advertise to “lookalike” audiences — online segment models based on your current audience?
  11. How often do you experiment with new ad platforms (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc)?
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