Have you ever heard the phrase, “Pics or it didn’t happen”?
Marketers have a similar battle when it comes to website performance metrics. Too often we see marketers measuring the wrong metrics or forgetting to measure their site entirely. This is a recipe for misallocating marketing resources and wasting precious budget dollars.
Don’t worry! Marketers can easily show the progress of their website and marketing efforts through KPIs.
Why do KPIs matter?
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are quantitative measurements of how your site is doing. KPIs differ depending on which business or department they are being applied to, but they have one thing in common: they’re used to make your business run more efficiently.
When it comes to measuring digital or web performance, you must be selective about which metrics you choose to report on. KPIs aren’t as simple as listing users that look at your site each month. In fact, this is what marketers refer to as a vanity metric.
A vanity metric gives the appearance of tracking your site’s progress, but in reality, it’s a meaningless number that has no impact on your business. For example, let’s say Florence is running a report for her website on Google Analytics. She’s delighted because she sees her site had over 4,000 visitors last month. If we’re just looking at visitors, Florence is doing great! But what Florence fails to see is how these visitors influence business. If she focused on conversion reports and tracked customized goal completions, rather than focusing on the amount of visitors to the site, she would have a better idea of customer engagement and site quality.
You can’t grow as a business if you aren’t measuring the right things. Thankfully, KPIs help businesses move away from silly vanity metrics to data that’s useful. KPIs help marketers analyze site performance and determine how they can get better.
The great news is that it’s never been easier to measure your KPIs. You likely already use a tool like Google Analytics to measure your site’s performance. With a few tweaks, you can stop focusing on vanity metrics and get data that matters.
Top ten KPIs on your website
You might be thinking, “I do count my website visitors as a metric. Does that mean all of my metrics are worthless?”
Not at all! KPIs should be customized to reflect your goals, customers, business, and industry. Get started on your KPI journey to evaluate your website for real growth long term. Here are our top ten favorite KPIs to get you started.
There’s a big difference between measuring the number of pageviews on your site and measuring unique pageviews. Unique pageviews logs the IP addresses of a user, noting not how many visits there were total, but how many individuals came to your site.
Unique pageviews matter more because it shows the total number of people reached during a period of time. If you look at all views, your data can be easily skewed by repeat site visitors . A KPI known as Sessions measures the amount of traffic to your site, without filtering out repeat users. For example, if Sue visited your site five times in the last month, she would only count as one unique pageview. Unique pageviews is an important KPI that gives you an idea of your true audience size.
2. Conversion rate
Every website has a goal in mind. After all, the purpose of a website is to bring in leads that boost business. The action you want your visitors to complete on your site is referred to as a conversion.
Your conversion rate is one of the most important website KPIs to measure. You can have all the traffic in the world, but if that traffic isn’t converting, it’s unlikely to make an impact on your sales.
Let’s say you want your website visitors to request a quote after visiting your site. If 3,000 people visit your site this week and 100 request a quote, your conversion rate would be 3.33%. A good conversion rate for sales or quotes is around 1%, while 10 – 25% is common for freebies or newsletter signups. Use your conversion rate to gauge and directly correlate marketing efforts and turn them into hard data.
Want more conversions? Check out this guide on improving your conversion rate.
3. Bounce rate
Not everyone who visits your site will stick around for a long time. However, if tons of people are exiting your site in just a few seconds, it could be indicative of a bigger problem. Your bounce rate shows how many people visited just one page on your site before leaving.
Bounce rate averages vary between businesses and industries, and it’s hard to nail down the ‘right’ bounce rate for your site. Ideally, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible.
The bounce rate is an incredibly important website KPI. Bounce rate is a perfect way to diagnose errors and user experience problems on your site.
For example, you might think your website is running just fine. However, you check your analytics and see you have a 95% bounce rate. Ouch. After some digging, you realize there are errors on your site that make it impossible for customers to visit. Thanks to faithfully checking your KPIs, you’re able to make adjustments and bring customers back.
4. Average time on page
Did you know that retail stores measure how long customers spend in store? Marketers need to do the same thing on their website, regardless of whether your site is purely informational, lead generation or an eCommerce platform.
Average time on page is a great KPI to see how long users stay on your site before leaving. The number can vary from session to session, so it’s best used as an average in weekly or monthly reports.
Marketers use average time on page as a KPI to evaluate user experience. If users enjoy the site, they’re likely to spend more time there. If your site’s experience isn’t up to snuff, they’re likely to bounce and have a shorter time on page. This average time on page KPI is about having quality content; if you have relevant, quality content that is related to what your users are interested in, or more importantly searching for, you will have a much longer average time on page as your users engage with your content.
You should shoot to have a time on site around 2 – 3 minutes. This gives users enough time to evaluate your offerings and navigate effectively.
5. Exit pages
Exit pages are the pages where users leave your website, and all marketers should be obsessed with them. This KPI helps you see where most of your audience is dropping off, helping you identify potentially problematic areas of your website. You can use this data to analyze the customer journey and deduce what changes need to be made to keep them on your site longer. If you are running a paid search campaign, exit pages will be where you will want to build your remarketing lists and retarget users with content related to the page they exited your site from. This is an invaluable metric when optimizing for your remarketing strategy.
6. Landing pages
Have you ever stared at your Analytics and thought, “What are my visitors seeing when they first land on my site?” Thanks to Analytics, you can do just that. Use the pages KPI to see the first page that your visitors land on.
While your homepage is a popular landing page, there are other landing pages on your site. Whether you designed a landing page specifically to promote a new product or you’re beckoning users to visit your blog, there’s a wide range of landing pages users can stumble upon.
Landing pages helps you determine what pages are bringing visitors. Your homepage isn’t always the number-one landing page, either. If you see that a blog post from three years ago is still one of your most popular landing pages, do some research to see why that’s the case. You never know: you might be able to replicate your success for even more traffic.
7. Cost analysis
Every drop of your marketing budget is precious. It’s the marketer’s job to know exactly what return on investment you’re seeing in terms of website clicks, particularly from paid channels. If you’re running ads on Google, Facebook, email, or a display network, you need to look at the cost analysis KPI.
Cost analysis shows how much return you’re seeing compared to advertising spend. Let’s say you spend $3,000 on email marketing. From that campaign, you can see in your analytics report that the campaign generated $10,000 in business. That puts you $7,000 in the black for return on investment.
Cost analysis is critical to keeping PPC campaigns sharp and marketing departments profitable. Don’t spend your valuable budget without attributing every cent to customer action.
8. Search terms
Most websites have a search function. Did you know you can see what customers are searching for on your site? The search terms KPI can be easily run in Google Analytics, and it offers important insights into your site content and user needs. Access this data under Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms.
Let’s say your company sells shoes. However, when you look at search terms, your users have been searching for the term ‘socks.’ This is a sign that you either need to clarify the messaging that you’re only a shoe company, or acknowledge that your users want more than just shoes.
Search terms help you give customers more of what they want. Listen to the voice of your website visitors to see improved conversions and revenue increases.
You have to know where your website visitors are coming from. Use an acquisitions report in Google Analytics to sleuth your traffic sources. You can see how many users came from organic traffic, search engines, social media, and any other referring sites.
This KPI helps you streamline your inbound marketing efforts. If hundreds of users come from organic traffic, rather than paid advertising CTA for example, you know which marketing efforts are paying off, what needs to improve, and, more importantly, what to put your money towards. Somewhat related back to the vanity metric we discussed previously however analyzing visitor traffic relative to your other KPI’s (conversions, downloads, email signups, exit pages, bounce rate, time on site etc…) will provide you with tactical insights that you can apply to the investment you are making in any single channel. For example, Paid Search might be your highest traffic volume channel and email marketing your lowest but if email is your best performing relative to your conversion rate, then this will be a channel you will want to increase traffic volume.
10. Lead generation
Websites are great for making a statement and sharing your brand. In the existential sense of the word, sites truly exist for brands to demonstrate the value they can add to their customers in the real, and digital world by providing good content, whether that be informational, services or product based. For the majority, in a free enterprise economy, the website’s true purpose is to generate leads for your sales team or serve as a platform for companies to sell direct to consumer through e-commerce purchasing.
While some marketers define lead generation as their conversion rate, we recommend tracking all lead KPIs separately. For example, a white paper download or email sign up should be tracked in your analytics as a conversion point, however they should be tracked and measured differently than contact form submissions or purchases. The “value” of a lead is different in all of these scenarios, so you will always want to configure your analytics to report on, and measure them individually.
True Lead generation shows in detail how your website generates actionable leads for business. While your conversion rate is a percentage, lead generation often comes down to the cold, hard numbers of leads brought in from a certain landing page or piece of content. Use this KPI to focus more heavily on driving business from your site.
The bottom line
Analytics platforms give marketers a treasure trove of website data. But not all of this data is created equally. Use these top ten KPIs to get deeper and more actionable insights on your website. Scratch your head less and make a bigger splash with your audience thanks to website KPIs.