We build a lot of measurement plans for clients.
With no two websites the same, we need a multitude of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure their goals.
Over the years I’ve been writing these KPIs down in a matrix to reference for future plans.
I decided to let that matrix live in this post.
**NOTE: I’ve also included the Google Analytics reports, segments and dimensions to view the KPI. For most KPIs, there are multiple reports, segments and dimensions you can use to pull the data. The ones I’ve listed are my personal preference.**
I organized the KPIs into 4 buckets:
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I love KPIs that measure cost – these are the measurements that help calculate digital ROI. When working with costs, you’re going to need more than Google Analytics. You will need to pull data from anywhere you’re spending money: Facebook advertising, Twitter, AdWords, Outbrain, PPC, etc.
Take that cost data and crosswalk it with traffic data in Analytics. For example:
- Cost from Facebook Ad Set 1 / Visits from Facebook Ad Set 1
- Cost from PPC Keyword 13 / Visits from PPC Keyword 13
You can get as granular as you like with the calculation – ad set, medium or campaign, they’re all gold!
Most analysts stop at campaign data. I like to go one step further.
SEO has costs – whether you’re paying an agency or not, someone within your organization is allocated to drive organic traffic.
That needs to be accounted for. I like to use:
How much does each sale cost your business? In other words, are you getting a positive return on your marketing spend?
How does each marketing channel impact your top line? This KPI will answer that question for you.
How much is each website visit worth to your business? Knowing this metric is huge. It allows you to scale (or descale) efforts.
Tracking purchase requires eCommerce implementation in your Google Analytics account. In addition, you’ll have to implement custom variables. Your configuration will look something like this:
Arguably my favorite KPI! How much are you paying for your website’s key actions? See tips from cost per visit KPI above.
Time to conversion is a great KPI to understand your sales cycle and how long it takes visitors to convert.
If you own an eCommerce website, out this KPI at the top of your list. This measurement will let you know where customers exit the funnel – it’s your job to find out why.
Tracking order value requires eCommerce implementation in your Google Analytics account.
I use this KPI to measure how my services pages and blog posts are performing. I have opt in forms on all pages – I like to layer the conversion segment on top of the pages report to determine if my copy is persuasive enough to drive submissions.
If your newsletter form does not redirect to a thank you page on submission, you’ll have to set up Event tracking.
However, once an Event is created it can be tracked as a Goal. I strongly recommend converting all Events to Goals because the depth of reporting is 100 times better.
Bounce rate is a valuable measurement that needs to be analyzed properly. A bounce is defined as a user that visits your site and leaves without viewing another page. There are dozens of key actions a user can take on your site while remaining on the same page (time on site, submit a form, share on social media, comment, etc). I strongly suggest you look at bounced visits as a segment – analyze the actions those users did (or didn’t take) before leaving.
If you don’t sell anything on your website then form submissions are “macro” conversions. I like to add the previous URL dimension when reporting – it helps to visualize the content that drives the most conversions.
Perhaps more important than % of form completed are the % of users who begin to fill out a form and abandon it.
You can get great insights on how to improve form UX, form UI and overall satisfaction from this measurement.
Note: My website’s forms only have a one screen so the screenshot is a bad example. This KPI works best with forms that have multiple page submissions.
Email open rate = # of emails opened / # of emails sent.
It gives you insight into the quality of leads you’re generating.
More important that email open rate is email click through rate. This measures the number of subscribers that click the links in your email.
This gives you tremendous insights into the quality of your lead generation efforts.
If users aren’t engaging with your email content you need to take a closer look at your lead gen campaigns.
You can also run the report Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords but you get jammed up by the (not provided) data.
The report I’ve outlined is my way around it.
“Direct/None” traffic confuses the crap out of a lot of marketers.
If you’re tagging all outbound URLs (as you should be) then direct visits are straight forward.
- Results of offline advertising (people typing in your URL directly)
- Results of referral traffic (from domains Google doesn’t recognize)
- Results of people returning directly to your site (generally to make a purchase or contact you)
According to Google’s case studies, direct traffic is responsible for more sales than any other medium. Direct traffic is a good thing!
Some businesses require customers to make purchases in a store, warehouse or through a rep. These business types should have a store locator widget on their website and they should be tracking usage through custom Events.
Widget Usage Rate = # of Events triggered / Sessions
Your website should have a direct contact email.
You can track these by setting up an Event that triggers when a user clicks the link or by counting the number of direct emails you receive.
Direct Email Rate = # of Emails Received / Sessions
Call tracking is easy from mobile (click to call) but more difficult with desktop. If you’re an organization that relies on phone leads, you should have a system set up.
There are a number of vendors that offer call tracking and analytics. If you’re on a budget, simply get an 800 number that is only displayed on your website.
Call Rate = # 800 Calls / Sessions
This is HUGE for businesses that advertise offline.
When you advertise, you should always include a call to action that drives traffic to a web property (your site, micro site, etc).
The best practice is to create a short vanity URL and 301 (permanent redirect) that URL into a landing page on your site.
Here’s how to measure that in Google Analytics:
- In Google’s URL Builder Tool enter the URL of your main site using “Redirect” as campaign source, “Offline Ad” as campaign medium and name of vanity URL as campaign name
- Change the .htaccess file on the vanity URL domain server with a rewrite rule, replacing parameters as needed
- Enter the URL you generated with the URL builder Tool
301 Redirect Rate = 301 Campaign Sessions / Sessions
Now you can measure the reach and effect of offline ads!
Ready to really see the value of your offline efforts?
This is it.
Measuring how many users visit the vanity URL (provided in the ad) and then come to your site and take meaningful action will change the way you look at advertising.
301 Conversion Rate = 301 Campaign Goal Conversions / Sessions
So many SEOs neglect Analytics and it drives me crazy.
I check this report daily to see if my content has generated any inbound links.
If it has, I check the domain to make sure it’s a link that I want – in today’s SEO, not all links are good links!
Visitor loyalty is defined as a visitor who returns to your site within a certain time period – I like to set the cookie at 30 days.
This is a highly underrated KPI – people who return to your website show signs of purchase intent, lead intent or they really like your work.
Either way, all good things.
Like newsletter sign ups, exit surveys will need to be tracked as a custom Event.
Follower Growth Rate = # of social media follows / Page Sessions.
This is a great indicator of how your audience reacts to your content.
Tracking it can be tricky – the way I do is by setting up a custom Event that fires when a user clicks one of the ‘follow’ buttons in my blog SEO.
Social Media Share Rate = # of social media shares / Page Sessions.
See social media follow rate (above).
Comment Rate = # comments on a page / page sessions.
Comments need to be set up as a custom Event before being tracked as a Goal.
This is a web analytics 101 measurement, but still very useful to determine content quality and user engagement.
I read a lot of Analytics blogs and a lot of them try and downplay the important of traffic.
That’s horse crap.
Traffic is the most important measure of your website’s success. Without traffic, nothing else is possible!
What are your favorite KPIs? Leave them in the comments below!