Key Performance Indicators
Your key performance indicators (KPIs) should be based on your overall business goals and the role your website plays in achieving those goals. KPIs should be company specific and not influenced by industry averages or your competitors' KPIs.
What are Key Performance Indicators?
Webopedia defines them thusly:
"KPIs, or key performance indicators, help organizations achieve organizational goals through the definition and measurement of progress. The key indicators are agreed upon by an organization and are indicators which can be measured that will reflect success factors. The KPIs selected must reflect the organization's goals, they must be key to its success, and they must be measurable. Key performance indicators usually are long-term considerations for an organization."
Let's summarize the important points of this KPI definition:
- Organizational Goals: It is important to establish KPIs based on your own business goals rather than standard goals for your industry. Expanding on this, a company whose goal is "to be most profitable" will have different KPIs than a company who defines their goal as "to increase customer retention fifty percent." The first company will have KPIs related to finance and profit and loss, while the second will focus on customer satisfaction and response time.
- Measurement Purpose: It is important to analyze KPIs over time, allowing you to make changes to improve website performance – then periodically reevaluate performance to verify progress. For this reason, KPIs must be measurable. The goal "increase customer retention" is useless because there is no quantifiable goal, whereas the aforementioned goal, "to increase customer retention fifty percent" has a definite quantity that can be tracked.
- Goal Continuity: KPIs are long-term considerations designed to help with strategic planning. While it is important to have targeted goals, they should be incremental to an overall success. Simply because something is measurable does not mean that it is significant enough to be a key performance indicator. You must define your KPIs and keep their measure the same from year to year. Not that you can't adjust your goals, but you should use the same unit to measure those goals.
- Managerial Consensus: It is important to have all managers on the same page because personnel from different functions within your company will help create the KPIs. If your KPIs truly reflect your organizational goals then it is necessary for all levels of your company to get with the program. Encourage company unity and enthusiasm for the project and make sure that everyone knows what the KPIs are.
While it is desirable to create very specific KPIs for your business, there are a few metrics that qualify as regular key performance indicators. These include the KPIs for measuring reach, acquisition, conversions, and retention.