Whether your website is in the beginning stages of development, well on its way to becoming an internet dinosaur or somewhere in-between it is never too late to take a good look and gather a robust understanding of the KPIs driving your website. In the land of a million and a half acronyms if needing to fully grasp one, key performance indicators (KPIs) rank near the top.
In essence KPIs are metrics used to assist in the understanding of actual performance marked against established business objectives. This metric will be unique to your business; it will help you and your team form a hierarchy of digital initiatives. It will, if done correctly, help you make smarter business decisions affecting most areas of your company; from goal-setting to new business development, account management and financial forecasting, KPIs will help form the framework to a well-structured, soundly engineered operation. However as Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, warns choose the wrong metric and you will slowly and surely “bleed your business to death”.
Choosing the right set of KPIs for your website unfortunately is not always consistent among businesses operating in the same vertical. Rather, it is a process needing to be massaged, tweaked and altered overtime. At its core KPIs help to not only quantify and qualify a piece of information, but also give justification for a new or ongoing investment in a specific service. For example, if you are looking to invest in the service of an internet marketing company to run your SEO or PPC campaign it is crucial for you and the hired firm to be on the same page about what is truly important and what you wish to have measured. This collaborative approach is pivotal in executing a success campaign and helping to ensure positive ROI on your service investment.
Let’s look at two general groups of metrics that would be appropriate to measure (and others that may not work) for a business that had products to sell, but did not have an ecommerce platform and rather relies on submissions of request-a-quote (RFQs) and phone calls as primary and secondary goals.
Visitor Metrics- Often times visitor metrics automatically get attributed to Page Views, because measuring these are easy and straightforward. Yet what does this metric actually tell you? Page Views offers an average number of pages a customer views when they come to your website. This sort of consumption-based metric may be difficult to interpret however; is a high number of Page Views per visit a good thing, or does it mean the visitor is moving through your website and not seeing what they are looking for? It is difficult to answer this, and easy to mistake a “high” Page View count as irrefutably positive. However Visitor Loyalty, a less common but still standard metric, may be a much more valuable and revealing KPI to measure. Visitor Loyalty measures behavior across multiple user sessions to a website. So for a company selling a service or higher-priced items that are not impulse buys and may require a longer purchase period, this is incredibly valuable metric because it forces the business to facilitate and foster a positive ongoing user experience in order to create a long-term relationship with the customer.
Lead Gen Metrics- Your bottom-line, units sold, revenue earned: it is easy to become fixated on these hard number ‘buy now’ metrics. But what happens if a site visitor doesn’t ‘convert’ on that first visit, does that mean you’ve failed them? If you are using Revenue as a KPI, then yes, this single-session visit that didn’t convert fails to be measured. However, often times this same visitor completes what is called a micro-conversion, they return to your site after visiting Google, reading a review elsewhere, after viewing and clicking on an email campaign, and maybe after the fourth visit to the website will finally convert. So what is the best way to account for these micro-conversions, quantify multiple return behaviors, learn from it and improve your business because of it? Economic Value must become the new lead gen KPI; measured by added total revenue to the “business value”- the sum of all micro conversions. With Economic Value as your new KPI you will not only be able to measure revenue, but you will be able to better understand the buying behaviors and purchase funnels that led customers to your website to convert.
The point cannot be emphasized enough, if you wish to have a presence online regardless of the type of business you offer, for-profit or non-profit, you must understand the purpose of your website. This purpose will translate into your websites goals, and these goals will then be able to be quantified by your KPIs. With the KPIs you will be able to measure, find insights and then use this awareness to formulate an action plan. Don’t wait a minute longer; understand your business today by identifying your KPIs.