Which KPIs matter the most?

Tony Hallett

Tony Hallett

Managing Director

March 14, 2013 10:57 am

Nearly every industry has key performance indicators (KPIs) these days. Some industries are proud to measure, measure, measure, even if that measurement isn’t acted upon.

Collective Content (UK) mainly works in the world of content marketing and more generally follows trends in marketing, media and related fields. So what are marketers’ KPIs?

Some recent research by a partner agency – which for now we can’t talk about specifically, as it hasn’t been released – got us thinking. Namely, what do we measure and what should we really be measuring?
KPIsBecause the two aren’t the same.

Why? It often isn’t because we don’t have a clue what to measure. It’s more often about not being able to measure those things. So we fall back to what’s easy, what’s obvious, what’s always been reported.

In the research data I referred to ‘Website visits’ (79%) rank ahead of ‘Leads converted’ (66%), to take one example. Bet which one is more important.
Looking further down the list, we see ‘Website dwell time’ (22%) and ‘Social media traction’ (15%) for the number of shares and the like. That’s even though those things can’t possibly be that much less important than raw site visits.

Measuring, not counting
Our publishing platform partner over at Compound Media, Mike Barrett, likes to talk about “measurement, not counting”.

What he means, which we agree with, is that it’s all too easy just to bundle up metrics, even calling them KPIs. But actual meaning is something else.

If a website gets 200 visits per day but each visitor stays on specific site pages for 15 minutes, is that more important than a site with 10,000 visits but a dwell time of just 15 seconds? Perhaps not, if your aim is for a visitor to click on a specific competition button and leave.

But more likely, especially when it comes to content or other deep engagement, the first example means more. And even that isn’t a sophisticated KPI.

How many companies out there confidently stand up, proud of their 200 daily visitors?

Taken further, how many site owners consider clicks on a specific call to action (CTA) before volume or dwell time? We’ll be hearing more about the CTA – possibly how it’s become king or usurper or something – over the  next few years.

Any business, any department, has to work out what they need from online and then work out the best ways to measure that – not just count what everyone else counts or what’s easiest.

*photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

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