For B2B companies, part of any good e-commerce strategy is measuring key performance indicators (KPIs). The importance of identifying proper online KPIs cannot be stressed enough. Time and time again I have seen organizations measure metrics that do not accurately indicate success areas in their online campaigns as they relate to ROI. Quite often it seems as if the online key performance indicators are not aligned with the company's overall KPIs being measured. Remember that an effective KPI should incorporate the following:

  1. They must reflect your business or organization's goals.
  2. They must be measurable.
  3. They must be a key factor for the success of your company or organization.

In order to measure a KPI properly, it is important to understand what a key performance indicator is, more specifically what a web or online key performance indicator is.

Web Key Performance Indicators Defined

An online key performance indicator is a metric that will help your organization define and measure progress toward your website's business objective. Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable website measurements that reflect whether you are successfully meeting or falling short of your websites business goals.

Online key performance indicators should align with your company's overall goals. Depending on the type of site you have, KPIs will differ. It is fair to say that, due in part to the lengthily sales cycles that B2B sites have, most B2B sites tend to be lead generation sites. As a result these lead generation sites have a handful of metrics that should be measured. Example of key performance indicators for lead-gen sites can include:

  • New Account Signups
  • Page Stickiness
  • Contact Us Form Completions
  • Drivers to the Registration Process

Determining which KPIs to track can be daunting as there are numerous metrics out there. For example, tracking page views and the cost per page view can be important. Page views represent the amount of times your pages are viewed by the people who visit your website. It can be an important measurement if you have a very high trafficked content website looking to sell B2B advertising in the form of banner ads or the like. The trick is to identify key (with an emphasis on key) metrics that reflect your business or organization's goals. As goals change so will your key performance indicators.

Online KPI Trends in 2007

So what's in store for online key performance indicators in 2007? I expect that measuring online progress will become the main focus of many online campaigns. The point needs to be made that measuring your online KPIs accurately is not an easy thing to do. Consequently here are some expected trends and a few predictions with regards to online key performance indicators in 2007.

  • Selection of robust web analytics package(s) will become essential.
  • More than ever before, organizations will be looking to analytics experts for education on how to set up their web analytics package(s) to track proper KPIs and conversion paths.
  • Education about online key performance indicators will become a responsibility of marketing managers as they look for ways to communicate the importance of online marketing campaigns to management.
  • Identification of proper key performance indicators will become even more difficult as marketers look to creatively promote their organization's web presence. As a result secondary conversions may distract marketers and web site owners from tracking the proper KPIs and the metrics that matter.
  • Revisiting existing company KPIs so that they incorporate online performance metrics will become more of a focus for many B2B organizations.
  • Many site owners and marketers will continue to measure overrated metrics that do not effectively measure their site's progress in the competitive online space that exists.

Part of a successful online marketing campaign in 2007 means tracking and measuring the proper key performance indicators for your websites. You may want to re-evaluate the metrics that you are currently measuring. Are they reflective of where you want to be in 2007 and beyond?

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

February 7, 2007

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Search Engine Guide > Jody Nimetz > Online Key Performance Indicators in 2007