Key performance indicators for online marketing success
Key performance indicator, or KPI, is often a phrase that gets preached in MBA classes or used in the latest business book targeting the c-suite executive.
KPIs can be as simple or complex as you see fit for your organization. Many businesses might even call these success measurements, because that's what they are, with a fancy name associated with them.
Most often, KPIs are defined for some internal performance metric, either financial or non-financial, such as quality control, units produced or customer service.
But what about your online success measurements — do you have KPIs identified for your online presence as well?
Web analytics and KPIs
We use website analytics (metrics) as our guide for defining such KPIs. This makes the assumption that you are using an analytics application (which you should be) that can track the performance of your website. While these tools are great at disclosing a lot of data sets, really honing in on those that are important and should be monitored on an ongoing basis is key.
Common KPIs to consider
Shifts in traffic source: increases or decreases in traffic from a particular source. Are you gaining or losing traffic from organic search, social media, email marketing efforts or another channel?
Lead generation rates: what percentage of visitors complete a contact form? Your website should be a source of lead generation and these forms should be tracked as conversions, goals or events as a measurement of success.
Content downloads: perhaps your product or service requires some technical reading or downloaded documentation. In this case, tracking the number of documents downloaded is key in understanding what they're interested in. Perhaps consider making that document or its content more readily available instead of downloading a file.
Order value and conversion rate: if transactions are made on your site, tracking the actual sales dollars and how many visitors make a purchase is going to be key. Monitoring this on an ongoing basis is equally important in understanding where sales dollars are originating.
Bounce rate: how effectively are you capturing your audience's attention? Bounce rate is the percentage of a single-page session where the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page. Meaning, the more engaged your audience is, the lower the bounce rate. That's especially important as your organization goes down the path of content marketing. Having a better understanding of what your audience likes and dislikes is a great tool.