By Mike Murray published June 25, 2017

101+ Key Performance Indicators – Pick the Best

kpi_pick_best_oneA key performance indicator (KPI) is only effective if you’re actively measuring it.

Key performance indicators can help provide insight into whether your marketing efforts are effective or you need to take a different approach. For example, if one of your campaigns is negatively affecting ROI, the sooner you know the better.

Marketers who measure their KPIs on a frequent basis can more easily identify bad campaigns and flip the switch before it affects the ultimate objective. Likewise, campaigns showing promise through positive key performance indicators can be further explored.

Cathy McPhillips, vice president of marketing for CMI, emphasizes the importance of measuring your marketing activities in A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content.

“I can’t stress enough how critical it is to measure the results of your content marketing activities so you can continually learn what your audience likes and use that information to continually improve,” Cathy says. “The result? Happier prospects, happier customers, and happier management.”

It is critical to measure the results of your #contentmarketing activities, says @cmcphillips. Click To Tweet

If you’re not actively measuring your KPI, then you’re missing out on opportunities to improve your business’s bottom line. Each KPI can also be a useful reporting metric for marketers wanting to strengthen support for their work.

The bottom line? Pick KPIs that you are going to actively measure and stick to it.

Link marketing goals to the right KPI

Not every marketing campaign starts off with a perfect goal set. In some cases, a little fine-tuning is necessary along the way. You will only know whether you’re chasing the right goals if you associate the right KPI with them.

In some cases, marketers create a bunch of random key performance indicators for show-and-tell, but they mean little in the long run if they don’t match your goals. If you’re only reporting KPI for reporting’s sake, you’re doing a disservice to your business.

If you’re only reporting KPI for reporting’s sake, you’re doing a disservice to your business. @mikeonlinecoach Click To Tweet

“Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to identify the key performance indicators (KPI) you need to measure,” Sarah Goliger says in 5 Ways to Translate Your Content Marketing Goals into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). “To get the most out of your content marketing strategy, determine your specific goals and tie them to the right KPIs.”

There’s no magic formula to identify the KPIs you need to measure, says @sarahbethgo. Click To Tweet

Use multiple ROI metrics to help paint a bigger picture

If you’re focusing on only one KPI, you could be negatively impacting other metrics without realizing it. Analyzing multiple key performance indicators can help paint a bigger picture.

TIP: Unsure of what KPIs to consider? Check out the list near the end of this post.

Neil Bhapkar offers some excellent perspectives in 8 KPIs Your Content Marketing Measurement Should Include:

So what if you have 15,000 unique views if the average time spent is 12 seconds for a 30-page white paper? Both bounce-rate percent and time-spent metrics are good early indicators of how engaged the traffic to your content is.”

Bounce-rate % & time-spent are good early indicators of how engaged traffic to your content is. @NeilBhaps Click To Tweet

This can also apply to conversion rates. If your KPI shows high views with a low conversion rate, then you may need to reassess your content marketing strategy.

“The ultimate goal of content marketing is to increase your brand’s reach and bottom line. Thus, the ultimate indicator of success is often the number of leads generated from your content marketing initiatives,” Neil says. “However, by not overlooking these other marketing KPIs along the way to a lead or a sale, you’ll be in much better shape while getting more out of your content!”

Remember, no single KPI can effectively measure your entire marketing campaign. Rather, you should be measuring a diverse set of key performance indicators tied directly to your unique marketing goals.

Don’t forget to measure social media KPIs

Are you including social media metrics in your key performance indicators? When it comes to a KPI, it’s easy to get stuck measuring web metrics like conversion rates, traffic, and sales while neglecting your social media stats. But your social media performance is just as important to measure as your other metrics. Staying connected with your customers can help strengthen your brand and profitability.

Your #socialmedia performance is just as important to measure as your other metrics, says @mikeonlinecoach. Click To Tweet

In 6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance, Derek Edmond notes that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great tools for generating brand awareness and gaining a valuable insight into your customer base:

Paying attention to the volume of social sharing happening across platforms can be an important indicator for establishing improvements in thought leadership and broader engagement levels.”

He recommends the use of Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics – built-in tools that allow you to export important social metrics for analysis.

Use built-in tools like @Facebook Insights & @Twitter Analytics to export important metrics. @DerekEdmond Click To Tweet

And when it comes to social media metrics, you may want to pay attention to more than just your “like” and “follower” counts. Metrics such as follower counts often reveal little about your overall performance. You should measure a KPI to provide an insight into data such as how your customers engage with your content and if that content is converting.

By measuring your audience’s engagement, you can better focus your marketing efforts on strategies that positively influence your critical KPI metrics and less on activities that drag it down.

KPIs for your consideration

Hundreds of KPI categories can help marketers determine whether they’re meeting their goals or falling short. Here is a sampling of marketing, customer, and financial KPIs:

Marketing

  • Cost per acquisition
  • Market share
  • Brand equity
  • Cost per lead
  • Conversion rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Page views
  • Bounce rate
  • Share of voice (SOV)
  • Online share of voice (OSOV)

Email

  • Open rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Opt-out rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Subscribers
  • Churn rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Delivery rate

SEO

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Conversion rate
  • Visits
  • Time on site
  • Time on page
  • Landing pages
  • Keyword rankings
  • Page views
  • Bounce rate
  • Indexed pages
  • Increase in non-branded search traffic
  • Increase in branded search traffic
  • Referring websites (backlinks)
  • Domain authority
  • Page authority

Pay-per-click

  • Cost per click
  • Click-through rate
  • Ad position
  • Conversions
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Cost per sale (CPS)
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Wasted spend
  • Impressions
  • Quality score
  • Total spend

Social media

  • Amplification rate
  • Applause rate
  • Followers and fans (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
  • Conversion rate
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Return on engagement (ROE)
  • Post reach
  • Klout score

E-commerce

  • Annual sales
  • Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly sales
  • Sales growth
  • New customer vs. returning customer sales
  • Conversion rate
  • Website traffic
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Average order value
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate
  • Checkout abandonment rate
  • Average margin
  • Cost of goods sold
  • Product affinity (different products purchased at the same time)
  • Product relationship
  • Inventory levels
  • Competitive pricing

Miscellaneous

  • Site traffic
  • Texting subscribers
  • Chat sessions
  • Affiliate performance rates
  • Product reviews

General website analytics

  • Website traffic
  • Unique visitors
  • New vs. returning visitors
  • Time on site
  • Average time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rate
  • Page views
  • Page views per visit
  • Traffic sources
  • Geographic trends
  • Mobile visitors
  • Desktop visitors
  • Visits per channel

Customers

  • Net promoter score (NPS)
  • Customer retention rate
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Customer turnover rate

Financial performance

  • Gross profit
  • Gross profit margin
  • Net profit
  • Net profit margin
  • Operating profit margin
  • EBITDA
  • Return on assets (ROA)
  • Working capital ratio
  • Price earnings ratio (P/E ratio)

Additional resources

If you want to get more KPI ideas or study metrics in more detail, check out these resources:

Conclusion

Everyone from a new social media specialist to the CEO of a Fortune 1000 company has a different perspective about which KPI matters the most.

At the end of the day, it’s simply a matter of tracking what you’re trying to achieve. By creating this resource post for KPIs, my goal is to help you evaluate what you have in place and identify opportunities for the future.

But remember, no matter what KPIs you pick, there is one universal thing you must do – don’t forget to actually measure them.

What KPIs work well for you?

Operate your content marketing program at peak performance. Subscribe to CMI’s free daily or weekly digest newsletters to discover more tips, trends, and insights on content marketing.

Cover image by Prawny via Morguefile.com

Author: Mike Murray

Mike Murray has shaped online marketing strategies for hundreds of businesses since 1997, including Fortune 500 companies. A former journalist, he has led SEO studies and spoken at regional and national Internet conferences. Founder of Online Marketing Coach, Mike is passionate about helping clients identify their best opportunities for online marketing success based on their strengths, his advice and industry trends. You can find him at his blog, Online Marketing Matters or on Twitter @mikeonlinecoach.

Other posts by Mike Murray

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