Bradley Wiggins became the first Britain to win the Tour de France last weekend, a remarkable achievement in and of itself. When Sky set up their cycling team back in 2010 their manager Dave Brailsford started talking about the concept of “The Aggregation of Marginal Gains” – read more on the Team Sky website.
In essence what Brailsford set out to do was to look at making small gains in everything that his team and the riders did in the knowledge that those small gains would accumulate and manifest as a larger gain. Clearly that strategy has been a roaring success.
In a digital context clearly the same rules apply and small gains in key areas of website performance will result in an aggregated improved performance and positive outcomes.
This article aims to highlight what KPIs organisations should be focussing on when striving to benchmark and improve their digital output.
Benchmarks can often take the form of simple statistical indicators such as:
- Unique visitors
- Page views
- Time spent on site
- Bounce rate
- Download of resources
- Search engine rankings
- Newsletter subscribers
- Site load speed
- Percentage of new visitors vs previous visitors
- Most popular content
- Least popular content
- Conversion rate
The list above is not exhaustive and there are lots of other potential KPIs that could be recorded. All these benchmarks can be tracked through Google Analytics once goal and conversions tracking have been set up.
However, how much value is there in those specific pieces of data when looked at in isolation? In order to get the most value from benchmarking then all the KPIs need to feed directly into organisational objectives. For instance let’s assume that the main KPI tracked is how many people visit a site each calendar month and all marketing activity is geared into increasing site traffic volume then the important KPIs to track would be how does those unique visits segment, what are those users doing whilst they are on the site, are they following specific calls to action e.g. making a donation, joining a newsletter, offering peer support. That information is far more valuable and will allow you to judge the real efficacy of traffic generation i.e. does more traffic in itself drive more donations or does it need to be a certain type of traffic or do we need to improve the way users can make donations.
As far as social media analysis goes an organisation might be tempted to simply record how many Twitter followers they have but again in isolation that information isn’t particularly useful. The point here would be to segment those followers and record how many of those followers are actively engaged i.e. within the same sector, retweeting your tweets, sharing your news, promoting your cause. 50 actively engaged followers are clearly more valuable than 100 followers who aren’t.
Once organisational objectives are established then a clear route forward can be established.
In the context of a charity website then the organisational objectives might be to:
- Improve service delivery
- Build engagement through community
- Increase donations
The actions, in a digital context, that would facilitate those organisational objectives might be to:
- Develop specific functionality that facilitates service delivery e.g. online support
- Encourage social media interaction and therefore community
- Include more options on the site that encourage donations or improve the donation funnel
In turn the KPIs might be:
- How many specific interactions have there been directly online through the support channel? How cost effective are those interactions in relation to non – digital input?
- How many followers/ fans does the charity have? How many of those people are actively promoting the charity through social media channels?
- How many donations have there been? What is there value? What is the average online donation? Where do users leave the donation funnel?
Relating the information collated so it ties directly back to the original objectives will lend focus to digital strategy. Obviously some consideration should be taken to benchmarking against other organisations (where the data is available) and if resource allows then more qualitative analysis is worth undertaking (direct feedback from site user groups etc..)
There are lots of great resources online around this topic. I have included some below that are worth reading.
- Great article on benchmarking engagement – www.smartinsights.com/conversion-optimisation/conversion-optimisation-strategy/benchmark-engagement
- Fantastic overall resource on digital metrics – lots and lots of great articles here http://blog.kissmetrics.com
If you are interested specifically in social media KPIs then the following two articles are worth a look:
- 48 social media KPIs – www.dreamgrow.com/48-social-media-kpis-key-performance-indicators
- Tracking ROI from social media – www.seomoz.org/blog/tracking-the-roi-of-social-media