Home / Implementing a Performance Measurement Framework

Digital Analytics by Site Model

A performance indicator is a quantifiable measurement or data point used to gauge performance relative to some goal. The best web strategists will be persistent about helping identify the desired outcomes of an organization’s website before they talk about website features, colors or content. Here is a handy step-by-step plan to get you started on an initial Performance Measurement Framework for your website.

STEP I: Fundamental Assumptions

By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. A successful website will provide measurable value to your organization. For a strong foundation, start by identifying organizational goals in a snappy “elevator pitch” positioning statement.

Here is a template:

Organizational Positioning:

For [ target audience ] that [ needs / cares about ], [ this organization ] is a [ solution/product/service ] that [ special sauce / benefit ].

Unlike competitors/similar organizations, [ this organization ] is different because,
[ unique differentiator ].

Targeted Audience Segments:

For [ Persona A ] who [ needs / wants ], [ this organization’s ] website is a
[ site model ] that [ special sauce / benefit ].

For [ Persona B ] who [ needs / wants ], [ this organization’s ] website is a
[ site model ] that [ special sauce / benefit ].

For [ Persona C ] who [ needs / wants ], [ this organization’s ] website is a
[ site model ] that [ special sauce / benefit ].

Note: Be sure to write one for each of your personas!


STEP II. Organizational Goals & Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Your KPIs should align with your organizational goals and website type. You will track some KPIs offline, but just as those KPIs correspond to business goals, the KPIs related to your website should align with specific actions you want website visitors to take.

KPIs should correspond to trackable metrics in Google Analytics so that they can provide data for evidence-based content publishing and feature creating decisions.

When you know what your KPIs are, you should connect each one to a specific tool or tool in Google Analytics.

Here are a few examples of goals and associated KPIs:

GOAL 1 — Increase our conversion rate by 30% in the next quarter.
Note: a typical ecommerce conversion rate is around 2-3%

GOAL 2 — Reduce customer service calls by 25% in the next quarter.

GOAL 3 — Lift sales by 10% in the next year.

GOAL 4 — Increase online registrations by 20% in the next year.


STEP III. Website Model

A goal is a broad primary outcome. A strategy is the approach you take to achieve a goal. The next step is to identify the user interaction model of your website.

Most websites begin with branding content, then add other functionalities to strategically support organizational activities. Select all that apply to your site:

[✓] Branding — Drive awareness, engagement and loyalty.
[   ] Content Marketing — Publishing valuable content that attracts targeted visitors
[   ] Lead Generation — Making contact with prospective customers or clients
[   ] eCommerce — Facilitating sales transactions for products or services
[   ] eLearning — Facilitating online education and courses
[   ] Social Network — Facilitating online community building and content sharing
[   ] Knowledge & Support — Connecting visitors with solutions and resources
(eg. product specs, location finder, application instructions, user manual download, etc.)
[   ] Specialized Application — Facilitating a customized task workflow
(likely a combination of some of the above plus something else awesome…)


STEP IV. Base Digital Analytics by Site Model

For sites with clear conversion goals (product purchase, contact form submission), there will also be dozens of micro-conversions to track as leading indicators. These are often just as important as the big conversions as they pave the way for user engagement and provide valuable data about where users are dropping off. On some sites there are no obvious macro-conversions, just lots of micro-conversions.

Here are some ideas for what to track based on goals and site model.

Beginning with Branding, you’ll want to track things like:

  • Visits per month
  • Page views per visit (engagement & depth of site exploration) 
  • Visit duration
  • Total social interactions
  • Page scroll - scroll breakpoints based on the page height, which fire an event when users scroll to certain percentages of a page
  • Button click - read more links and other CTAs
  • Social share - clicking on a social sharing widget
  • Newsletter signup - basic site form submissions

“Numbers have an important story to tell.” ~ Stephen Few

If you are actively using Content Marketing, include:

  • Ratio of new to returning visitors 
  • Frequency - # of visits over a period
  • Recency - time since last visit (disengagement) 
  • Call to action conversion rates
  • Content-grouping statistics - the aggregated number of pageviews for all content in a designated topic group
  • Download statistics
  • Bounce rate
  • Content subscribers

If you are pursuing Lead Generation, be sure to track:

  • Overall conversion to lead form (or call)
  • Step-by-step conversion (eg. of a registration process) 
  • Conversion by campaigns drivers
  • Conversion of leads to actual customers (have you defined a criteria for 'customer'?) 
  • Value per lead based on conversion (could be different for different types of leads!)

“What gets measured gets improved.” ~ Peter Drucker

If it’s an eCommerce site, confirm that you have enabled eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics and plan to measure:

  • Overall purchase completion 
  • Step-by-step purchase completion 
  • Average order size
  • Average order value 
  • Affinity analysis - products that create multiple purchases
  • Frequency - # of purchases over a period
  • Recency - time since last purchase (disengagement) 
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) 
  • Customer satisfaction rates
  • Effect on offline sales

With eLearning, or an LMS, you’ll want to track:

  • Recruitment conversion (program/course registration) 
  • Gross and net enrollment rates
  • Revenue per student
  • Number of course starts
  • Course starts by category
  • Course progression (steps or % to completion) 
  • Media consumed (videos, audio, slides, text)
  • Questions answered and quiz results
  • Attrition or abandonment rates
  • Time to competency
  • Student satisfaction

If you are building a Social Network, measure:

  • Conversion of non-subscribers to subscribers (overall and step)
  • Member visits per month (or quarter, or week) 
  • Page views per visit (engagement & depth of site exploration) 
  • Visit duration 
  • Ratio of new to returning visitors 
  • Frequency (# of visits over a period) 
  • Recency - time since last visit (disengagement) 
  • Number of posts
  • Number of contacts
  • Referrals (eg. invites sent by members) 
  • Active member base by cohort
  • Average subscription length 
  • Renewal conversion rate

A cohort is a group of people who share a common characteristic over a certain period of time.

Specialized Application 
Consider Implementing Google's UX HEART framework for Experience Benchmarking: 

  • Happiness - Perceived ease of use or satisfaction level (survey)’
  • Engagement - The amount of time people spend on the site, or amount of content viewed, shares (time on site, pageviews) 
  • Adoption - The number of outbound links and newsletter signups.
  • Retention - The number of active users and repeat visitors (See ‘Frequency’ and ‘Recency’ above) 
  • Task Success - All page interactions should be tracked by configuring event tracking
  • User Flow - Observe the pathways users take through the site


Next Steps…

“A metric will tell you that something is happening, while analysis will tell you why something is happening.”

Tesserac is a small digital strategy consulting company that works with organizations and entrepreneurs who want to optimize their online business. We conduct user research to assess the challenges that site visitors are encountering to discover the most impactful User Experience solutions.

Our goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.

Be certain your website is driving business results, get in touch with us today.

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