The Importance of Relevant KPIs

The Importance of Relevant KPIs

Even if you’re not into big data or complicated analytics, there are a few basic things you need to be aware of just to make your marketing work.  At the very least when running a marketing campaign, you need to set a goal and choose a KPI to measure your progress.  And in doing this, it is essential that you select the right KPI.   

KPI stands for key performance indicator.  It is the primary metric you use to measure whether your efforts were successful in achieving their aims or not.  A KPI can be anything from the number of sales to the number of email addresses collected to the percentage of viewers who engaged with your content.  No matter which metric it is though, there’s no doubting that a KPI is important. It’s right in the name: these indicators are “key” and you cannot accurately gauge the effects of your marketing without them. 

So when it comes time to select the KPI you will be relying on to measure your campaign’s success, be sure it is the right one.  How can you ensure your chosen KPI is a good selection?  Be sure it is relevant, specific, and measurable.


First and foremost, your KPI must be measurable.  This may seem obvious to some people, but you might be surprised how often this aspect gets overlooked. 

We’ll explain with an example.  Let’s say your brand is running a Facebook video ad.  The ad is promoting a line of purses that have not been selling well lately.  Management has decided that your main goal with this campaign is to drive additional sales of these purses.  

Your marketing team has come up with five ideas for performance indicators that could be used to determine the success of this campaign: Overall sales, sales of these particular purses, difference in sales in the month before and after the ad, incremental sales that can be attributed directly to the ad, and visitors the ad brings to your website. 

Now, let’s say that the majority of your customers who make in-store purchases do so with cash.  That makes it nearly impossible to determine whether those customers saw your Facebook ad or not, and whether the ad influenced their purchase decision.  Thus, incremental sales should not be your KPI because it is not measurable.  Having a KPI you can’t accurately measure will just lead you to have faulty or missing data, and you will be unable to measure your campaign’s success. 

If you determine that your chosen KPI is not measurable, like incremental sales in the example above, you will need to either change the KPI or find a way to measure it.  Be wary of changing your KPI though, because as we will explain below, you’ll want to make sure it remains relevant and specific as well.


Your KPI also needs to be relevant.  It needs to align with the goal of your campaign and actually measure the outcome you’re interested in.  Let’s continue with the example from above.  Incremental sales are not measurable for your company’s situation, so that is out as a potential KPI.  Four options remain: Overall sales, sales of these purses, difference in sales in the month before and after the ad, and visitors the ad brings to your website.  Since the goal of your campaign is to make sales, website visitors would not be a relevant KPI in this case.  That doesn’t mean generating website visitors isn’t valuable, because it is.  However, it should not be the main measure of performance for this specific campaign, because it tells us nothing about how many sales are actually being generated.


The final aspect of a strong KPI is its specificity.  If a KPI is too broad, it might not provide you with specific enough information to really be helpful to your brand. Your KPI needs to relate back directly to your business goal without including extraneous data outside of that as well. 

In our purse example, the Facebook ad is meant to increase sales of a particular line of products.  Thus, KPIs involving sales meet the standards for being relevant and measurable.  However, using overall sales as a KPI would be too broad: that would not tell us about this line in particular. Even sales of this particular line of purses is not specific enough: Since the ad is meant to increase sales, you would need to narrow down the KPI even further to compare past and future sales of these purses.  

So by using our three-fold process, we can determine that the best KPI, that is relevant, measurable, and specific, would be the difference in purse sales for this line from the month before the ads ran to the month after the ads ran.

As you can see, selecting the best KPI is not always a quick and easy choice.  You have to be careful to choose a performance indicator that is measurable, relevant, and specific to really give your brand accurate and usable results.  This selection is essential to the success of your marketing efforts, and choosing the right KPIs will really help your business in the long run!

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