Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They differ depending on the type of business, but, for any business, they are the actionable scorecard that keeps their strategy on track as this video from Erica Olsen of OnStrategy shows
KPIs are metrics tied to a target. For B2B marketers, KPIs should be the five or six most important metrics that measure the success of their strategy to increase and accelerate commerce transactions between businesses.
More often, these days, that strategy involves digital marketing and tactics like website optimization, search engine marketing, content marketing, email marketing, webinars, videos, ebooks, podcasts, social media and social selling.
What KPIs should B2B Marketers consider to keep their strategy on track? Here are 17 essential KPIs for B2B marketers,
SALES REVENUE: A KPI scorecard start with the primary measurement that determines success. Sales revenue is often considered #1. It may be obvious but it also shows offline and critical business requirements are integral to any KPI scorecard.
PROFITS: But not all B2B customers are equal. Some may generate strong sales revenue but also involve a lot of costs to maintain. That’s why, to some B2B businesses, sales revenue is important, but profits are more important because they provide a stronger measure on the health and viability of the business.
WEBSITE VISITS (SESSIONS): A visit is one individual visitor who arrives at a web site and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to the site.
WEBSITE UNIQUE VISITORS (USERS): A unique visit tells which visits from previous item are visiting the site for the first time. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer.
MOBILE VS. DESKTOP VISITS: According to Marketing Land, mobile devices are responsible for 30% of website visits and 15% of online orders. And growing. So understanding what devices prospect use to access a website and the experience they have on a mobile device is now important.
BOUNCE RATE: The percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). Bounce Rates are considered a measure of a website’s relevance because, in most cases, if a website is relevant, visitors will view more than a single page.
SALES LEADS: The identification of a person or entity that has the interest, authority and budget to be a customer. From a measurement standpoint, this might be determined by someone who subscribes to a newsletter, downloads an ebooks or attends a webinar. Or the total of people who do these and other related activities.
QUALIFIED LEADS: Like profits may be more important to some businesses than sales; qualified leads are more important than leads. A qualified lead with need, budget and buying authority; who meets the customer profile or Buyer Persona and has a buying horizon that falls within your business plan. The criteria for a qualified lead is often debated withing B2B companies. That’s why making “Qualified Leads” a KPI is productive because the definitaion of the KPIs have to be agreed-to before it can be measured.
COST PER ACQUISITION (CPA): How much is it costing you to acquire each lead? How many leads are generated by each one of your marketing efforts, and what’s the value of those leads? Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is a metric that helps connect the value of marketing with results. It help determine if there is Return on Investment (ROI) for the initiatives being undertaken.
TRAFFIC SOURCES: People like to do business with people they know. If marketing effort generNow that you know CPA in general.
COST PER CLICK (CPC): If paid advertising is used, CPC is the actual price paid for each click, Cost-per click is important because it: 1) quantifies how much has to be invested to generate interest, 2) can often be tracked to a specific keyword and ad that generated the click and 3) can be changed up or down to optimize results relative to investments.
CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR): The number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of times the ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). A good click though rate depends on various factors such as channel (Paid search, Display, Facebook) and position. But good click rates usually begin in the range of 1% to 3%.
CONVERSION RATE: The percentage of users who take a desired action is the conversion rate. The desired action can take many forms, varying from site to site. Examples include sales of products, membership registrations, newsletter subscriptions, software downloads, or just about any activity beyond simple
page browsing. Conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in digital marketing and, in marketing, essential to determining return on investment (ROI)
MACRO CONVERSIONS: Because conversion rate is so important, a number of conversion activities might be tracked to understand the buying process. A macro conversion the primary conversion on a website, for example a completed online order or a completed lead generation form.
MICRO CONVERSIONS: Smaller engagements such as a newsletter sign up or a user watching a product video and micro conversion. Taken together, macro and micro conversions enable an understanding of a customer’s buying process.
CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE (CLV): The dollar value of a customer relationship, based on the present value of the projected future cash flow from the customer relationship. The value of knowing CLV is that it is is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI is the measurement that reveals how well a business is being managed. ROI is a calculation. Here are most often used calculations.
If you are a B2B marketer, do these KPIs provide the actionable scorecard to keep your business on track? Is there anything that is left out? Or you would want to consider?
Digital marketing planning is no different than any other marketing planning. In fact, companies shouldn’t separate plans for ‘digital’ and ‘offline’ since that’s not how your customers perceive your business.
But we’re often required to have plans for “digital” based on the way teams and reporting is structured within companies. A way of aligning the two needs to happen at the start. It’s likely to facilitate buy-in for both that way.
To get you going in the right direction, here are 7 core criteria when creating a digital marketing plan.
FOCUS THE PLAN AROUND CUSTOMERS, NOT PRODUCTS AND TACTICS: Always start with the customer, their characteristics, behaviors, needs and wants, often expressed through keywords. Create Buyer Personas to establish a segmentation of the people who buy your products. Buyer Personas are examples of real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products, services or solutions you market. They are a tool that builds confidence in strategies to persuade buyers to choose you rather than a competitor or the Status Quo. By focusing the plan around consumers, you bring out the best in your products.
LEARN FROM COMPETITORS: Online is a prolific place to do research on competitors. For one thing, the information is at your fingertips. For another, there are so resources to help. For information on competitor’s website usage, there is Alexa and Compete. You can compare the social media presence of your brand versus competitors in terms of Likes and Followers or engagement terms like Comments and Shares. You’re likely to gain more than a few good idea for your brand in the process.
IDENTIFY CONTENT RESOURCES: After the product or service you offer, content is a brand’s most relevant asset. In a digital marketing plan, you’re going to need a lot of content. You should not only consider the communications but the form it takes such as an email, blog, infographic, video or podcast. Know who will publish it and and how often it will go out. Make a Content Calendar a backbone of your plan.
HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR THE YEAR; PLAN FOR 90 DAYS: Articulate the desired results, expressed by the metric that matters most to your organization – sales, revenue, profits, leads, conversions – and the reason why it will be achieved based on what your brand can stand for to its customers. Have the plan that is going to make it happen for the first 90 days but be flexible to change. Situations and plans change, especially online, so ensure plans are usable by having a clear vision for the year and keeping real detail to a shorter term.
MAKE PLANS FACT-BASED SO IT’S EASIER FOR OTHERS TO BUY INTO: 90% of consumer buying decisions begin on the internet according to Forrester Research. 87% of consumers research products online, then buy offline according to Internet Retailer. 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations according to Search Engine Land. These are just a few ways to gain the attention of people in your organization to support your plan. So, consider using facts throughout your digital marketing plan to win the approval of the people who may not totally understand digital but are smart business people who sign off on it.
KEEP IT JARGON LIGHT: Digital has a tendency to go into a whole new type of nomenclature. Don’t go there. Instead, use the same language as you would for traditional media channels but support it with the facts, resources and metrics that give digital an even greater credibility.
CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: End your digital marketing plan with a scorecard of the measurements that matter most, your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Show how you will source them and review them regularly to look for insights. When you review, take actions to keep your business strategy on track.
To put these guidelines into steps every company should take to achieve success in digital marketing, we follow a process of Crawl, Walk, Run and Thrive. You can learn more about it on the sidebar of this website.
Did these criteria help you in creating a digital marketing plan?
The ALS Association (ALSA) — which fights Lou Gehrig’s disease by funding research, supporting people with the condition and fostering government partnerships — this weekend has now collected over $100 million dollars from a viral social media campaign. Over the same period last year, they collected $2.6 million.
A viral social media campaign is a buzzword that refers to a tremendous increase in brand awareness from word of mouth enabled by social networks and the internet.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has its fans and critics. But there’s no denying, for a very worthwhile organization, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated tremendous awareness and financial success. It is likely to go down in history as one of the most successful viral social media campaigns, ever; and to serve as a model for other non-profits and profit organizations who will attempt to duplicate this level of success for their causes.
Without question, donations and time to results are key metrics to be included as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). But social media has played a key role. What metrics do we use to make the connection How do we create an actionable scorecard?
Here are 16 social media metrics for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to watch.
KEYWORD TRENDS: The chart at the top is from Google Trends. It is an index that measures increases and decreases in keyword search volumes. In this case, “ALS” and the “Ice Bucket Challenge” were plotted. As you can see, increases in “Ice Bucket Challenge” have had a direct affect on interest in the “ALS.”
KEYWORD SEARCH VOLUME: The average monthly keyword search volume for ALS is now 550,000 according the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Ice Bucket Challenge is 2900 showing how awareness has been transferred..
WEBSITE RANK: The organization’s website, alsa.org, is now ranked as the 648 most viewed website in the US and 4.192 in the world (an improvement in rank of 168,792 within 3 months) according to Alexa. For perspective, the #1 website is Google; #2 is Facebook and #3 is YouTube. This is quite an accomplishment proving the campaign has driven people from social media to the website where they can donate.
WEBSITE LINKS: There are now 3,248 other sites linking and driving web traffic to alsa.org. Among the biggest are YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia and Reddit.
WEBSITE ANALYTICS: Although only the ALSA has access to the Google Analytics of their website, Unitque Visitors, Traffics Sources. particularly the social networks, and Key Content (Web Pages) would be primary measurements. Website Analytics are often overlooked as social media metrics when they are often the most valuable.
CONVERSION RATE: Of course, the Donate page would be a key web page from which to track the Conversion Rate about visitors and people who donated. The Conversion Rate should be monitored weekly and measured against the Conversion Rate a year ago.
VIDEOS: Since videos are central to this campaign, YouTube is the first social network to examine. There are 6,000,000 videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challengea now posted on YouTube.
MOST VIEWED VIDEOS: Among some of the most viewed videos and their numbers are Bill Gates (18,465,237), Simpsons (11,567,782) and a compilation of the Failed Attempts (17,903,561).
VIDEO SUBSCRIBERS: On YouTube, there are two channels dedicated to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; one was created by Zoomin and has 34,832 subscribers; the official ALSA channel has only 1,962 subscribers.
YOUTUBE ANALYTICS: ALSA could know from looking at their YouTube Analytics where geographically viewers came from, how long they watched and what type of device (desktop or mobile) they viewed the video.
SENTIMENT ANALYSIS: Since there are fans and critics of the effort, sentiment analysis plays a key role in the evaluation of any viral marketing campaign. According to Social Searcher, the ratio of positive to negative comments has been 3:1 overall. But it differs widely by social network. Facebook is 7:3; Twitter is 2:3 (more negative than positive) and Google+ is 9:1. Another social search engine, Topsy, which is predominantly influenced by Twitter reports a positive to negative ratio of 27% to 73%. This indicated targeted resources are required to manage conversations from a viral social media campaign.
LIKES: The ALS Association Facebook page has 319,000 Likes. It was growing at a triple digit weekly rate. However, after just a few weeks, the rate has slowed and is now beginning to decline. This provides learning on what should be expected as the life cycle of viral social media campaigns.
PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS: Facebook also has a measure called “People Talking About This.” It is an algorithm of people who Like, Comment or Share conversations that are occurring on a particular Facebook page. For the ALS Association, there are over 470,000 People Talking About This for the ALS Association – more than Like the organization. This is rare. According to WOMMA, a normative rate rate of People Talking About This to Likes is 1%. This shows the virility of the campaign.
HASHTAGS: There are numerous hashtags on the Ice Bucket Challenge – such as #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge and #StrikeOutALS. All of which can be measured for Likes, Shares and Comments to show the level of sentiment and engagement for this event.
TWEET VOLUME: Within the past 30 days, according to Topsy, there have been 8.7 million Tweets for the Ice Bucket Challenge. In the past 7 days, the number is 2.4 million Tweets. But, it looks like it’starting to fall. It’s now 160,,000 per day (1.2 million weekly rate) to 6,000 in the last hour (1.0 million weekly rate).
KEY INFLUENCERS: Participants been a key to the success of this campaign. From politicians (George Bush, Barak Obama), business leaders (Mark Zuckerberg) to celebrities (Matt Damon, Charlie Sheen), many people of influence have given their implied endorsement by taking the Ice Bucket challenge. The quantity and quality of these participants are a key metric.
Rutgers Business School Executive Educative, where I teach, has a Social Media Marketing Mini-MBA for Non-Profits. Donna Dourney York, was a participant in the program. Donna has made amazing progress changing the way people perceive ALS.
Do you think these are social media metrics the ALS Association should watch? Did this help you understand how to use metrics to guide success for viral social media campaigns?
Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic.
Off-site web analytics refers to the measurement of a website’s potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the internet as a whole. On-site web analytics measures a visitor’s behavior once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions.
Taken together, web anlaytics provides a complete picture of your audience and their attitudes and behaviors toward your brand. Web analytics is the most valuable, useful, cost-effective and timely resource a business has to answers key strategy questions.
Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics software. Google Webmaster Tools shows traffic for each keyword separately; it gives more information about website performance. There is even a Google Analytics Academy to learn all about how to use web analytics done online on the participant’s schedule. They’re all free to use so there’s no reason a company shouldn’t dedicate some time and attention to examining web analytics.
If you need more convincing, here are 37 key strategy questions web analytics answers.
WHO ARE OUR CUSTOMERS?
Who do we attract?
Who do we want to attract?
Who is visiting for the first time?
Who is returning for more visits?
What cities or countries are most people visiting from?
What search keywords are sending us traffic?
What percent of traffic comes from mobile devices?
Who are our most valuable segments?
Who is worth doing marketing efforts to based on their business potential?
Are we doing better or worse?
WHAT ARE THEIR BEHAVIORS TOWARD OUR BRAND?
What actions do people take?
Are they taking the actions we want?
How do people find us?
How do people travel through the site?
What sort of experience do we create for our users?
What percent of users view at least 3 pages per visit?
What percent of users remain on site for at least 3 minutes?
Where do our most active visitors come from?
Where do visitors click?
Where are our most valuable users coming from?
Who shares our content?
What content works best?
What percent of users comment on content?
Who recommends us to a friend?
What social networks and social media metrics are worth tracking?
What do they buy from us?
HOW DO FIND MORE PEOPLE LIKE THEM?
How do we find more people like the ones who are most valuable customers?
How long does it take for someone to decide to do business with us?
How do we know if our site is doing well relative to competitors?
How do we know if our marketing efforts are working?
How has advertising worked?
Was advertising worth it?
How can we identify the ideal marketing mix?
How do analytics help us understand how the business can make the most revenue and profits?
What key metrics should be used for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
What is the best way to measure ROI?
Do the answers to these questions matter to your business? Do they convince you to dedicate time and attention to web analytics? Does your company need to learn how to use web analytics better?
91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
40%-60% annual growth increase is occurring in the volume of data available every year; in media intensive sectors and financial services, the increase is 120% (source: Fathom)
The facts indicate company leaders believe understanding data is a critical component to business growth. And more of it is coming at us in ever increasing rates.
Data visualization is the art and practice of gathering, analyzing, and graphically representing empirical information. More and better data visualization tools have come to market from software services like Tableau, Fusion Charts, Google Chartsand Visual.ly to help better display data. So, there is no reason business leaders shouldn’t be able to fulfill their data dreams.
But it’s not the data. It’s what you do with it.
Software doesn’t find the insights in the data, people do. Before companies jump into Big Data, they should be asking: Have we mastered the principles of little data?
To help, here are 8 guidelines for great data visualization.
BEGIN WITH BASIC DATA PRESENTED AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE: Great data visualization begins with measurements that are readily available, come from a reliable source and are easy to understand. For example, the line chart below for a coffee shop chain uses just profits by key beverage and time. But it shows very clearly what types of drinks are going to be the most profitable and when. It gives all the information the owner requires to order, promote and maximize revenue and profits.
CHOOSE AXISES THAT ADDRESS KEY STRATEGIC ISSUES: If you want data to provide answers, you have to set it up by addressing the right questions. How you choose and define your axises serves as a primary guide. The chart below plots software companies based on based on their “vision” and “ability to execute.” The axises address a key strategic issue that can provide answers like likely winner and losers based on positioning and competitive advantage. The company data is telling because the criteria is clear.
PROVIDE A USABLE LEGEND: The definition of the legend plays an important role in motivating action. The data visualization below of expenditures per student for New York state schools offers a telling picture of where education monies are going, what are areas of greatest need and how they might be redistributed.
ESTABLISH SEGMENTATION: If you want actionable insights from data, it helps to establish segments or groupings that create differentiation. The chart below shows the Top 100 Entrepreneurs, divided into three segments. From this chart, it’s clear that not all entrepreneurs are created equal. If you want to understand what makes great entrepreneurs, the data tells you to focus on the “Rocket Ship” segment and probe into what makes them tick.
FACILITATE DISCERNMENT WHEN SHOWING A TIME SERIES OR GEOGRAPHY: When showing time or geography, incorporate colors, coding, history or forecasting to provide perspective or context that shows where things are headed. The “stacked graph” below on unemployment in the US by industry (time series) and the cost of chronic disease care (geography) show how how to display time series and geographic data, effectively.
IDENTIFY CLUSTERS: When looking at many variables, use clusters to show the data in ways that creates groupings that lead to conclusions. The Cluster Analysis below was created to identify the college basketball teams that were most likely to win the NCAA’s based on defense. As you can see, clustering the many variables that were examined helps to clearly show the teams that have the most potential.
TELL A STORY WITH THE DATA: Good data analysts are storytellers. Effective data visualization is often helped with text. Simple headlines or text boxes help explain what the data is saying and the actions that should be taken. This example below from Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, shows how data visualization might be presented to the C-Suite.
CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: The data dashboard your company creates should be based on Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are one of the most over-used and little understood terms in business development and management. They are too often taken to mean any metric or data used to measure business performance.The role KPI’s play is much bigger and more important. In fact, KPI’s are one of the most important guideposts for any business. Every business should have them. Here’s one of the best definitions I’ve heard: KPI’s are an actionable scorecard that keeps your strategy on track. They enable you to manage, control and achieve desired business results. The KPI dashboard below for a call center is simply laid out, easy to understand for decision making and incorporate a little from each of the previous critical components.