Predicted Top Web Analytics KPI’s for 2010

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.

Social Influence

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.

5 thoughts on “Predicted Top Web Analytics KPI’s for 2010”

  1. Thanks Garry for putting a stake in the ground and sharing your thoughts. IMO, you picked a few good areas to focus on.

    I may be biased, but here are some thoughts for each of your topics that you may find useful.

    The Economy
    While the economy was poor in general. Many companies used 2009 to really see that the web was the place where they could better “foresee results” in a more efficient and effective way v. other channels. In short, online marketing may haver represented a larger (maybe even growing in absolute terms) slice of a smaller marketing pie.

    Conversion:
    Attribution is a lot easier to accurately measure when you simply ask a credible statistically representative sample of your audience, all of the influencers, not just the “last click”.

    Social Influence:
    IMO, “hard metrics” like retweets per 100 clicks are way too simplistic and can be (and often are) gamed. It is not uncommon for companies to simply ask their employees to retweet for them to improve their influence score, which does little but allow initiatives to be justified.

    Consider a more “holistic approach”. To me the most important area of focus is influencing people who are influencers. The first step is to profile your audience and see if they are willing to seek information and/or share information. If they are willing to do either, then a presence on social media makes sense, and the opportunity exists to influence them. $ well spent. However, perhaps your “Bolts-R-Us” site may not have many seekers or sharers… in which case, $ are not well spent. How? Just ask your visitors.

    Voice of the Customer
    Not to be confused with Voice of the Squeaky Wheel, which is what most surveys will output. A credible statistically representative sample with a methodology that works will yield actionable results. Surveys are just a tool to collect data. You will need to ask the right questions, use the right methodology, gain intelligence and take action.

    Hope you find this value added.

  2. Thanks Garry for putting a stake in the ground and sharing your thoughts. IMO, you picked a few good areas to focus on.

    I may be biased, but here are some thoughts for each of your topics that you may find useful.

    The Economy
    While the economy was poor in general. Many companies used 2009 to really see that the web was the place where they could better “foresee results” in a more efficient and effective way v. other channels. In short, online marketing may haver represented a larger (maybe even growing in absolute terms) slice of a smaller marketing pie.

    Conversion:
    Attribution is a lot easier to accurately measure when you simply ask a credible statistically representative sample of your audience, all of the influencers, not just the “last click”.

    Social Influence:
    IMO, “hard metrics” like retweets per 100 clicks are way too simplistic and can be (and often are) gamed. It is not uncommon for companies to simply ask their employees to retweet for them to improve their influence score, which does little but allow initiatives to be justified.

    Consider a more “holistic approach”. To me the most important area of focus is influencing people who are influencers. The first step is to profile your audience and see if they are willing to seek information and/or share information. If they are willing to do either, then a presence on social media makes sense, and the opportunity exists to influence them. $ well spent. However, perhaps your “Bolts-R-Us” site may not have many seekers or sharers… in which case, $ are not well spent. How? Just ask your visitors.

    Voice of the Customer
    Not to be confused with Voice of the Squeaky Wheel, which is what most surveys will output. A credible statistically representative sample with a methodology that works will yield actionable results. Surveys are just a tool to collect data. You will need to ask the right questions, use the right methodology, gain intelligence and take action.

    Hope you find this value added.

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