The terms metrics, analytics, data, KPIs, etc. get thrown around a lot — so do hits, pageviews, visits, unique visitors (but those are for a different post). People want to know how their website is doing so they ask for analytics or reports. Usually what people really want is an analysis of the data with some recommendations. A similar relationship holds true with metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators).
Metrics are measurements of statistics which describe events or trends (in this case, on a website). Metrics are things like bounce rate or time on site or pageviews. Metrics are useful for understanding trends on a website and analysis of metrics can help you figure out what’s going on.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) is a metric which helps you understand how you’re doing against your objectives (or your business goal). You won’t have any KPIs until you first understand what you’re trying to accomplish. KPIs also tend to vary from each company, since each will usually have their own objectives.
People will ask me what KPIs or metrics they should use to figure out how they’re doing online. My answer is always “it depends.” It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. It depends on what your business goal is and what objectives you’ve set for your online strategy. It also depends on what your specific online strategy is and what you need to measure.
Understanding Metrics & KPIs
As with any strategy, start with your goal, or your endpoint. Where do you want to be in 6 months? What’s a specific and attainable goal for your business? Now we can start to take a look at what tactics will help us get there (which put together is a strategy). Once we have our strategy, we can look for metrics and KPIs to understand how we’re doing.
(photo by Magnus A.)