Happy New Year and welcome back to what will be a make or break quarter for many of us. It’s time to hunker down and turn what was a pretty terrible economic run last year, into the building blocks of recovery. Many of us will have to focus our efforts on hitting hard in early 2010, gaining an important early foothold amongst strong competition. That makes measuring continued success so much more difficult, especially if you haven’t yet established clear KPI’s on which efforts will be judged. So with all the vague “just measure ROI” discussion aside, I’m predicting the following to be the most important key performance indicators for early 2010.
Why the hate geared towards “ROI” as a metric? Simple, it’s pretty obvious that everyone brandishing the term about does not use it appropriately. When most people say “ROI” they don’t mean to take the conversation up to the next level, and don’t have research to back it up. Measuring true ROI can be pretty difficult, especially without tag-teaming efforts between a web analyst and financial controller/comptroller. So let’s all put the term “ROI” aside for now, and refocus on a term someone smarter than me used once upon a time, “business impact”.
Response or Conversion Rate
The perennial favorite!
We’ve all been measuring conversion rate for years, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. However, what will change is the attribution any one department or campaign or strategy is awarded when a response or conversion is achieved. Departments do not live in a bubble, be prepared to share and share alike as divisional lines begin to blur. Marketing folks will have to talk to sales folks, support folks will have to talk to IT folks, and everyone will want a piece of the organization’s success metrics, regardless of who reports on those KPI’s.
You can’t ignore social media anymore. To web analysts, social media is just another platform that can be measured independently using external sources, or analyzed with software by segmentation. Avinash Kaushik goes into greater detail on this subject, and while I agree his equation of influence on Twitter is useful, “influence = RT’s per 1000 followers”, a greater holistic metric is needed that can be applied to all other social media platforms.
Why not blend external and internal metrics? Do they blend? They sure do!
Consider segmenting social media sources as a group, and apply ball-park cost figures to the time you invest on social platforms versus lead or order volume to your site. In this manner, you can measure social media cost per acquisition (CPA) the same way you would banner ads, paid/organic search traffic, and email campaign success.
Voice of Consumer
As we delve deeper into advanced competitive intelligence reports from sources such as Compete.com, Hitwise, and even Google Trends, we can start measuring the impact of external traffic patterns, get additional context to put other metrics in perspective, and establish checks and balances for branding efforts. While this is great for marketing departments, it doesn’t do much to help other folks in the company. Enter your new favorite tool for 2010: the survey.
You may be aware of vendors that offer survey solutions for abandoned shopping carts, or as a last-ditch effort to people leaving a site, but what about using surveys elsewhere. Partnering with research houses can give you the best measure of voice of consumer because they go beyond the scope of your site, include all your competitors, and normalize the data.
Not the surveying type? Depending on how sophisticated your analytics solution is, you may be able to relate segments of authenticated users to your CRM or billing software. By applying external competitive intelligence metrics to internal web analytics, and then web analytics to real customer information, you can provide ample insight to customer services, sales, and support teams.