Why Should I Understand Marketing Reporting: Metrics vs. KPIs

Why are Web metrics important?

For B2B marketing professionals, you need to understand what’s going on with your Web properties. It is as important as building content, engaging in lead nurturing, and social media participation. If you don’t know what content resonates with your prospects, how are you going to improve as you opine?

The first step is getting your Web analytics setup: Once you have that in place, you need to take the data and put it into a readable, actionable format.

Get started with reporting:

  • Know the functionality of your analytics package. While many are good, Google Analytics gives you the most detail of any and the best part is it’s free. It doesn’t matter if you want to track all or a very small amount of information, but knowing the ins and outs of the tool is essential.  Your web design firm can often times set that up for you for free.
  • Understand your objectives and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Based on your strategy, you should define objectives and KPIs. Each objective should require an actionable metric to look at such as a particular type of search traffic. Under that objective, you would have your KPIs which roll to it.
  • Create a schedule to gather specific data to report. It’s always a good idea to gather specific data on your objectives the same time each month, week or day, depending on your needs. If you create a report for stakeholders and others to see, creating this schedule around the reporting time is even better.

Remember: Don’t just send out the data you have gathered. Put it into a format that’s understandable and tells what is happening with those objectives your team has agreed upon. Not everyone will read the entire document, but getting the most important information up front helps decision makers who don’t have time to read a long report.

Create actionable goals that are realistic. Now that you have the report creation process down from the data you gather, it’s time to put those reports to good use. This is where you create goals and outline how you are going to carry out those goals. When doing any type of marketing forecasting, be sure to predict realistic, grounded goals to set proper expectation with your team.

Samples of how KPIs roll to objectives

We’ve talked about objective metrics and KPIs, but let’s go through some quick examples to help you see the difference. As the first example, let’s take a look at search engine traffic as the objective metric.

A few KPIs to look at that roll to this objective would be:

  • Search engine rankings: Personalized search and other trends have made rankings increasingly less valuable and should always be tracked as a KPI, not the end objective.
  • Inbound links: How many, and of what quality, are the inbound links to your website? Are they growing each month as you implement promotions or remaining flat?
  • Number of pages indexed by search engines/pages actually receiving search traffic: How many pages are actually getting indexed by search engines each month? As you add content, is it getting found via organic keywords?

What about social media KPIs?

Should you include the traffic from your blog or other social media? Social networking objectives will vary. Depend on what you are looking for; some social KPIs to track could include:

  • Unique visitors: What’s the traffic to your community and linked sites?
  • Amount of subscribers: How many subscribers do you have to your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts? Are they subscribing through RSS or through email updates? More subscribers will lead to more shares, ReTweets, and interactions on and off site.
  • Visitors converted: Are your visitors leaving without doing anything on your site? Are they just reading and bouncing? Time to check your subscription CTA and move it to different positions around your content.

How are you measuring accountability of your marketing? If you’re not using web analytics to track information on your site, you are losing out on a proven way to help with making key decisions for your business. It’s good to start out simple and as you and your team become experienced, you can always add more depth to your analytics.

Our Po!nt: Today, with every marketing dollar being precious, you need to make sure that you are seeing the results of your investment and that you will be able to react quickly to change it if you don’t see what you want.  Once management gets use to seeing the KPI data regularly, you will be able to make sound marketing decisions based on the anticipate results you have been tracking.  We welcome your comments and thoughts…

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