"Visits, pageviews, time on site, time on page, unique visitors, conversions, impressions, click-throughs, view-throughs," writes Zack Pike in an article at MarketingProfs, "the list of metrics used to measure the performance of our digital marketing activities is as confusing as it is endless." Dense data can complicate conversations with C-suite execs who might focus on the wrong metric or fail to see how successful your program really is.

To help get everyone on the same page, Pike offers recommendations like these:

Encourage leadership teams to ask the right questions. Many Web professionals live in dread of the questions they get from executives. "That's because [they're] often coming from people who probably don't fully understand what they're asking," explains Pike. Instead of avoiding questions, steer execs toward questions that elicit productive answers.

Use analogies to frame your data in terms they understand. "You can compare your website traffic to the population of a major city, state, or country," he notes. "Or relate your online marketing measurement strategy to how airline pilots operate: They've got a ton of data points (just like you); they focus on the important things to keep the plane in the air; they use the more detailed data points to help diagnose issues and opportunities (just like your Web analytics strategy)."

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