Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Key Performance Indicators

 

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The always amazing Avinash Kaushik recently wrote an excellent article explaining The Digital Analytics Ecosystem. As you can imagine by the title, it’s not a quick read. Despite that fact, it contains information that is absolutely essential for both digital marketers and their clients alike.

One of the key points Avinash makes early on, is the importance of choosing the right Key Performance Indicators.

KPIs are a subset of all metrics, things you can measure, related to your website. Search engine rank, total number of visitors and bounce rate are all website metrics. However, none of these should probably be used as a KPI.

A KPI should measure your progress in achieving specific business objectives.

As obvious sounding as it is, that means that you need to know, and be able to communicate the precise objectives for the business. A shared understanding of critical KPIs, align business stake holders with the marketing agency, and provide the foundation from which successful outcome can be achieved.

A metric like a website’s search engine rank for a specific search term is pretty meaningless by itself. If visitors are not actually searching for the term, it won’t result in traffic to the website and has very little chance of contributing to the bottom line of the business.

Even a metric like unique website visitors isn’t usually a good KPI. How do you know if that traffic is helping you grow your business or just adding to overhead?

It is surprising how many prospective clients we talk to who have never had this conversation with their marketing agency. When possible, the KPIs which will be used to measure a successful outcome should be discussed in advance and included as part of an Internet marketing agreement.

What makes a good KPI?

It depends on the business model. For the fertility clinics that we work with, a good KPI is the total number of times that their consultation request web form is filled out. This unequivocally expresses the visitor’s intent.

Many fertility clinics, who aren’t our clients, use a single web form for all visitor requests: contact, request information, schedule consultation. This isn’t a good idea because it greatly dilutes the relevance of any single KPI.

For example, a single web form may be used by current patients to ask treatment questions. The business might be interested in measuring those form submissions to quantify how the website contributes to operational efficiency. To do so, the ability to measure each KPI needs to be separate in order to be meaningful. You can’t do that if you use a single web form for everything.

Why should I bother?

It is difficult to improve what you do not measure. Even if it feels like your Internet marketing is successful, it is challenging to build on that success without good data. Tightly defining website KPIs enables an analyst to identify successful patterns and replicate them. By studying the website dimensions and visitor segments that contribute to a KPI, we are often able to come up with new hypotheses, additional testing, and even better outcomes. Success truly breeds success, but only if you have the right data.

If you aren’t getting this level of detail from your Internet marketing team, please contact us for a complimentary consultation. We love talking about web site performance and would be happy to spend 15 minutes with you in person or over the phone to see how we can help you become more knowledgeable and empowered through the use of effective Internet marketing.


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