Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Online Key Performance Indicators: Select And Identify Your Strategic KPI To Measure Your Website Progress

Sponsored Links

Online Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are web metrics used to help an any Internet publisher define and measure progress toward achieving its communication and business goals. Identifying and selecting your key online performance indicators is a great strategy to measure the performance of your online business and spot those areas where you need to make improvements.

Photo credit: tiero

A KPI is a key part of a measurable objective, which is made up of a direction, KPI, benchmark, target and time frame. For example: "Increase Average Revenue per Customer from £10 to £15 by EOY 2008". In this case, 'Average Revenue Per Customer' is the KPI.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Which are then the online key performance indicators that a web publisher should look at? Traffic? Visitors? Revenue? Yes, all of these are critical variables which should be constantly monitored to see how your web site is performing and how effectively you are achieving specific improvements.

The expert team at the Google Conversion Blog has just finished preparing an introductory guide to such online Key Performance Indicators to help you understand how to wisely select them as well as how to start tracking them inside the various Google data monitoring tools (AdSense, Analytics, etc.).

If you are a professional online publisher who is serious about creating a strategic framework to direct, monitor and support your online business growth, this is must-read information.


Using Web-Based Key Performance Indicators

by Brian O' Sullivan

Get More Quality Visitors

Each Key Performance Indicator refers to a sub-objective of the main target "Get more quality visitors" and those KPIs have a precise reference inside the Google Analytics dashboard.

Report in Google Analytics
Have more people visit the website
Number of unique visitors
Visitors > Visitor Trending > Absolute Unique Visitors
Ensure there's a return on marketing efforts
ROI of online campaigns
Traffic Sources > AdWords > AdWords Campaigns (Clicks tab)
Have more people buy products from the website
Ecommerce conversion rate
E-commerce > Conversion Rate
Have more people register to be a user on the site
Goal completion rate of 'new registrations'
Goals > Conversion Rate
Increase the number of interactions people have on the site
Goal completion rate of 'new comment posts'
Goals > Conversion Rate
Increase the percentage of returning visitors
Percentage of returning visitors
Visitors > New Vs Returning
Increase the number of 'branded visits'
Percentage of visits that come from direct or branded keywords
Visitors > Visitor Trending > Visits (apply branded visitors segment)


What Are KPIs?


Simply put, a KPI is a metric in Google Analytics that measures how well your website is achieving your objectives.

If for example the objective of your site is to sell online, a key metric to monitor in Google Analytics is the conversion rate in your Ecommerce report. See what proportion of visitors to your site, from what sources, go on to buy from you.

What separates KPIs from every other metric is the "key" part: these metrics are critical to the performance of your site, and therefore your online business.


Why Use KPIs?


KPI creation is useful for two things.

  1. Changes in your KPIs tell you when you need to take action. If the bounce rate on your homepage increases by 50% you need to figure out why and take action to reverse the trend.

  2. Secondly KPIs help you bridge the gap between your Google Analytics account and the rest of your business.

    They help you understand what each stakeholder in your company wants from your Google Analytics account, and from your company's online presence.

    Get your colleagues engaged with how your online business is progressing, per key reports and metrics.


How Should You Create Your KPI List?


Successful KPI creation is about translating your site's business objectives into metrics that make sense in your Google Analytics account. You know your business best, and as every business is different only you can create your KPIs.

To get started you need to ask yourself and some key people in your organisation one question: From your perspective, why does your company's site exist? Write down the answers. They are likely to differ depending on who you talk to. It's important to get input from all the departments in your company and then prioritise the answers. I'd suggest you aim to keep the top 10 at most.

Once you have taken your business objectives into account, you can start creating related KPIs.

For example, let's say a business objective is to have more people come to your physical shop as a result of visiting your site. Here, a good KPI in your Analytics account would be the conversion rate of people visiting the page with directions to your physical location.

Here are some ideas to help you create meaningful KPIs to monitor:

1. Make Sure They Are Important and Related to The Business


You really need to tie your KPIs with your business objectives. A KPI such as 'attract more visitors' may seem like a good choice but is it really tied with your business objectives? What if marketing go ahead and double your visitors but none of the new visitors buy?

Attracting more quality visitors might be better, where quality is measured by conversion rate or bounce rate.


2. Make Them Actionable


If you can't take action on one of your chosen KPIs it's not a good KPI. Ask yourself, if I come in tomorrow and this KPI has doubled or halved - what am I going to do?


3. Focus on Your Audience and Give Them Context


If you're sharing reports with other team members, bear in mind that not everything is relevant to everyone. If you're sharing metrics with team members, try focusing their attention on what is most important for their jobs.

Example: "50% of users used the search function on our site last week. Of those that did 45% exited the site immediately after viewing search results for the top ten terms".

This is useful information for the design team members working on improving site search and for their manager but it may be unnecessary information for the marketing department.


KPI: Bounce Rate - Why Is It So Important?

You can watch Google Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, talk about the significance of bounce rate in this YouTube video:

Originally written by Brian O' Sullivan for Google Conversion Room and first published on February 14, 2009 as "Using Key Performance Indicators: Part 1 and Part 2".

Photo credits:
What Are KPIs? - Cyril Hou
Why Use KPIs? - adempercem
How Should You Create Your KPI List? - Eduard Härkönen
Make Sure They Are Important and Related to The Business - vacuum3d
Make Them Actionable - Andrey Stratilatov
Focus on Your Audience and Give Them Context - _chilli

Brian O' Sullivan -
Reference: Google Conversion Blog [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, February 18 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics