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key performance indicator ( KPI ) or life


KPIs introduced into workflows will surprise no one. Guided by the fact that (in theory) this system allows you to pay only for the result, reports on indicators are used both within the team, thinking over the goals for literally every specialist, and in working with contractors and partners, prescribing conditions in contracts.

It is necessary to measure and calculate everything, no one argues. Views, conversions, depth, time on page, hits, cost per lead, etc. – important indicators that allow you to increase the effectiveness of actions based on statistics, and not “from the ceiling”. They will tell you in which direction to develop, in which part of the process changes are needed, where are the weak points, and where, on the contrary, are the strong ones. On one condition: this data must not only be collected but also analyzed correctly. And the most important thing is to choose the right indicators from the beginning. KPIs for the sake of KPIs is a road to nowhere or into trouble, but this path is often chosen by modern companies when working with contractors.

The measure of the result

In our field, most often, specialists engaged in Internet marketing – agencies or freelancers – fall under strict KPIs. This makes it possible to control the workflow and evaluate the result of cooperation. Therefore, the customer comes up with numbers that he would like to receive in the reports and which, in his opinion, will reflect the result of the contractor’s work.

Unfortunately, often everything happens according to the following scenario:

01. In the contract, before the start of work, the average KPIs (or an interval from an acceptable minimum to a maximum) are fixed that the customer would like to see on a monthly basis, and the contractor promises to show you. There is an advance payment, the second part is usually tied to the achievement of specific results.

02. A month of work, when the customer is trying to understand what the performer is doing.

03. The presentation of the first report on the work done, in which the customer sees the previously agreed numbers, does not understand what has changed in the global sense, but the numbers seem to be reassuring. This item is repeated for n months (on average, 3 – 8).

04. The customer is dissatisfied with the fact that he does not see the result in the business as a whole (or cannot evaluate it) and still does not understand anything, the contractor does not understand what they want from him, because he fulfills the figures from the contract. The contract is terminated, both parties are dissatisfied.

After that, the customer comes up with new KPIs, becomes more distrustful and demanding. And this working scenario will be repeated until, at last, the correct indicators are chosen, which will clearly reflect the quality of work for the client, or until the client is completely disappointed and abandons attempts to develop in the chosen direction.

The main KPIs for internet marketing that a contractor can influence in one way or another:
  • Number of clicks (visits, unique users)
  • CPC
  • Distribution of traffic by channels
  • Bounce rate, time on site, viewing depth
  • Share of new visitors
  • The number of targeted actions (placed order, application, download, subscription, call) and conversion rate
  • Analysis of conversion by channels
  • Cost of the attracted client
  • Average check
  • ROI
Specific KPIs for directions
KPIs for SEO:
  • positions on search queries,
  • traffic from search engines,
  • cost of the attracted client from search engines,
  • list of standard work performed.
KPIs for advertising placement (contextual, display, or targeted advertising):
  • CPC (cost per click),
  • CPM (cost of 1000 impressions),
  • CTR (click-through rate of an ad/banner),
  • conversion rate and a number of goals achieved specifically from ad placement.
KPI for SMM:
  • Full coverage / viral coverage of the group,
  • Involvement,
  • CPC (cost per click),
  • CPM (cost of 1000 impressions),
  • CTR (click-through rate of a promo post/side posting/ad post),
  • The number of subscribers.
What KPIs to watch out for

• Those that can be falsified.

The number of subscribers of the Vkontakte public can be increased monthly by at least 1000, at least by 3000 (yes, as much as you like!), If you do it with the help of bots. This, firstly, is useless for business and does not convert into sales, secondly, it negatively affects other indicators, and thirdly, it can lead to a ban. A similar situation with likes and reposts.

• Those that do not depend on the artist.

An Internet marketer cannot guarantee a certain volume of sales in areas in which the processing of an application is not carried out in his department (for example, placing an order on the website, which is confirmed when communicating with the customer’s manager by phone).

We have come across situations when traffic indicators, the number of orders from the site, and calls are good, but there are not many sales. I had to act as a mystery shopper and call the client’s company. It turned out that the problem is on the surface: the customer should have listened to the answers of his managers on the phone at least once, because of their unprofessionalism, the customer was losing money and was missing out on hot customers.

Another example of such a situation is changing in the economy as a whole, which cannot be influenced by the contractor.

Polina Stolpovskaya. Head of Internet Promotion Department

One client demanded a sharp increase in sales in the stagnating low-rise construction market in 3 months of website promotion in search engines. At the same time, we could not be responsible for the reputation of the company, for the solvency of clients, for the prices of projects, for the portfolio, and for other indicators that directly influenced a sufficiently long decision-making cycle. In this situation, we had to part with the client, since we could not guarantee the achievement of the KPI, for which the client wanted to lay down responsibility on us.

Those that are unattainable.

If the performer initially agreed to increase the site traffic 20 times in a month and only by the 15th day noticed 0 after a two in the previous figure (or he could agree for some other reason), then this will push him to use dishonest methods. Specifically, in a situation with traffic, you will be “poured” traffic to the site, but, of course, this will not affect the number of applications or sales.

We had a case when a previous contractor brought traffic from St. Petersburg and Moscow to a client’s website, while the project was promoted in Novosibirsk. All “visitors” behaved the same way, followed the same search query, spent exactly 15 seconds on the site and left. Naturally, sales did not grow, the client was dissatisfied, and only after switching to us, as a new contractor, from statistics, we established why there was no result in the past.

• Those who unevenly redistribute emphasis in the work process.

In addition to irrelevant KPIs, you should also be wary of putting too much emphasis on one specific indicator. This will lead to the fact that in the work processes the contractor will focus on this indicator, while the rest of the process will suffer.

For example, if the executor is responsible for the number of leads (applications/orders), his goal is to bring these applications in any way. The quality of these leads, the company’s reputation in the future, the balance between different products/services immediately suffer from such an emphasis and aspiration – “leads at any cost”. As a result, this scheme can really give an increase in applications in the short term, and it is good for one-day companies, but for companies with long-term development plans, it can become a dangerous blow to the reputation and disrupt production plans.

Polina Stolpovskaya. Head of Internet Promotion

DepartmentIn search of high-quality SEO promotion, clients often come to us who worked with a previous contractor in the format of payment for finding 10-15 key queries in the TOP of search engines. The contractor really fulfilled his duties, received full payment under the contract, but at the same time, he did not care about the site as a whole. Additional requests, traffic, usability, quality of site content – this was left overboard. The client was dissatisfied with something but did not fully understand how to change this situation.

Usually, such clients first want to pay us for positions, but we explain what is the disadvantage of this format, how we work, and how we can be controlled within reasonable limits.

This applies not only to SEO, which is much sadder in terms of KPIs for SMM. Some prescribe in the contract only one indicator – “+ 10% to the number of subscribers.” As a result, the customer receives this 10%, but they consist of bots and offers. The indicator has been achieved, but no result.

How to choose the perfect KPI

It is already clear that this is not one statistical indicator. And even less the volume of sales (since the responsibility for the product/service and business processes lies with the customer and his employees ).

First, it is worth deciding on the roles of the performer and the customer. If the contractor performs the work accurately at the insistence of the client, that is, as a performer, and not as an expert, strategist and creative person, then his KPI is a list of tasks marked “completed” / “not completed”. In this case, the customer alone bears responsibility for the overall result, because the work was carried out under his leadership and control.

If the contractor is not just a performer, but participates in the formation of a list of tasks and chooses how to solve the task, depending on the task, the customer can choose a set of relevant KPIs – positions, number of visitors by channel, cost per click, reach, conversion rate and number of conversion actions, list of completed works and other indicators.

As a result, the selected indicators must meet the following criteria:

  • Anchoring to a specific project goal,
  • Linking to the goals of the customer,
  • Getting into the performer’s area of ​​responsibility.
What if the selected KPIs do not represent performance?

If every month in the reports you see the numbers that were agreed upon, but at the same time do not feel that qualitative changes are taking place, you need to look for the problem. You will have to track the whole process, discuss your concerns with the contractor and, possibly, revise the KPI. The point is not to increase the numbers in it, but rather to replace the indicators with others.

You can give both the new and the old contractor time for tests, for determining the cost of the target action and then, based on the statistical data accumulated during the test period, set new, achievable goals.

Polina Stolpovskaya. Head of Internet Promotion Department

Since we work without a sales manager, this is our approach, I myself often communicate with new clients and answer questions. Often after 5 minutes, I am asked: “What is the effective advertising budget for my direction? How many applications can you promise? Will we be able to reach 200 orders per month? Which channel is better to use? ”

And I, as a marketer, honestly answer – “We need a test period to find out how your site works, how it works out the generated traffic, what is the conversion rate, what is the cost of a lead, what channels are effective and what advertising budget is needed to reach 200 orders. We have experience in advertising, but each client and each business is individual and requires analysis of statistics, selection of optimal promotion channels. ”

Unfortunately, in other companies, sales managers sometimes say straight off: “The effective budget is 100,000 rubles, the channel is targeted advertising.” As a result, the client suffers, because all the money without analytics and testing goes into one channel, which may turn out to be ineffective.

Don’t be afraid to spend 1-month testing, it will save you much more time and money in the future.

So, if you ordered website promotion, pay attention to the following indicators:
  • Site positions,
  • Number of visits / unique visitors, traffic sources,
  • Site browsing depth, time spent on the site, refusals,
  • Conversions by traffic sources.

At the same time, tracking the volume and quality of applications and giving feedback to the contractor in time is in your hands.

If you ordered a group promotion, then track:
  • User activity in groups (likes, reposts, comments, content from subscribers), reach, growth of subscribers by channel, and time.
  • The cost of one subscriber, etc.

We are not talking about the fact that it is worth giving up the numbers altogether and not fixing such requirements in the contract. On the contrary, you need to approach this more broadly, choose the right indicators, conduct tests, and in the process of promotion analyze not only the selected indicators but also related parameters, not be afraid to change the selected KPIs.

For example, if the number of visitors to the site has grown, the number of orders has remained the same, but the average check has increased (which was not spelled out in the contract), will this tell you that the contractor is performing poorly or is it about the quality of traffic? So collect numbers and analyze wisely. A good contractor can become a real partner in his field and advise you with both KPIs and a promotion strategy.

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