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Key Performance Indicators

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What are KPIs?

Key performance indicators (KPI) are more specifically the individual metrics that we use to combine to actually report back our key success outcome.

So in terms of KPIs, we have:

  • Sales
  • Site visits
  • Engagement levels
  • Sentiment
  • Hashtag usage
  • Video views
  • Leads
  • Response time
  • Video retention
  • Community size
  • Mentions
  • Response rate

It’s important to identify what are the ones that are important to you because, collectively, you can use these to prove the existence of your key success outcome. So, for example, you might have high positive sentiment. You also might have high video views and high retention, and as a result, high site visits. It’s important to understand the relationship between your KPIs driving towards your specific outcome. Because a key success outcome is awareness, you might use hashtag usage, volume of impressions, volume of reach, and you can show that, “Well, okay, we’re reaching a lot of people and in turn, they’re actually talking about us, so our awareness levels are high.”

Most common KPIs

Within this, there are the most common KPIs that we need to adhere to.


Within engagement, how many users that you’re reaching with your content are actually choosing to engage back with you, to actually, you know, initiate a response? That response doesn’t have to be a comment. That response could be comments or shares. Avoid likes on Twitter and Facebook. Likes are more valuable on Instagram, but on some of the older platforms, it’s a very passive action. What you do want to see are shares, and you want to see comments.

And then within the comment section, the real goal that you want to get is friends tagging. So when somebody in a comment section, or when they read Twitter, retweet, or in the Instagram comment, when they actually tag one of their friends’ handles, that’s really what you want because that’s telling you the person that you reached felt so strongly about the content that they received that they chose to actually tell a friend about it. And that’s a really strong thing to have as a key success outcome, is actually that advocacy.


How is your content being received? And it’s closely linked to the engagement performance. The likes and the comments and the shares are actually making people go to your website. Further to that, if you carry out research, are individual customers actually recalling specific pieces of content, especially the bigger pieces that you do. If you’re going to do a large campaign involving kind of social media only video, it is important that you do address this research to see actually did it resonate with them. What did they feel when they actually saw? Are they more likely to recommend to family and friends?

A recent campaign last Christmas that was done with the airline Aer Lingus, it brought six people home as a surprise for their families from all over the world and then it gave them GoPros, and they videoed it. But post campaign, it ran research that proved that it had an X percentage increase in how likely someone was to recommend it to family or friends and how more likely they were to use Aer Lingus again. They’re invaluable to know that when you do pieces of content like this that they actually will result in a business result. They will actually make people tell their friends to use the brand more often.


Are you converting users? If you’re able to track the ability, to track from content through to sale, or from content through to conversion of, let’s say, a lead form, what actually is causing that? How is that content causing that and is it actually impacting the business, not necessarily in sales but in sales and leads?

How is the content being consumed? So for example videos, for a long time, people just focused on video views. “How many views am I getting? Oh, 3 million views. Fantastic.” But actually, on average, of 3 million people, those 3 million people on average watch the video five seconds and it’s three minutes long. That is not a strong performance. What you want to see is retention of that video. What percentage of the video? You can use YouTube and Facebook to do this, and Twitter will actually give you percentage like quartile. So like 25%, 50%, 75%. It’s important to look at are they getting the message. What is positive retention? So you can use that to actually understand their consumers.


Another one and a really strong one that’s being used at the moment is Facebook reactions. So actually, are people using emotions to react to your content? If they are, why are they? If, you know, one piece of content just gets likes and then another piece of content gets a love or a ha-ha or a wow, why are they doing that? Because if you’re causing consumers to go that extra mile to actually engage in a different way, then it’s working. You’re doing something.

From KPIs to KSOs

The formula for this is you need to identify the KPIs that are related to your specific KSO. So is it, “Okay, our first KPI is that our videos, most receive in excess of 50% retention because our message happens in the 8th second of a 20 second ad.” That tells me straight away that if our users on average watch over 50%, they’re on average getting our message. The second of these is the view. So we know if we just get 10 people to get a video retention of over 50% that’s not really that positive. So what is the video view KPI? What do we want to hit? Do we want 10,000 views? Do we want a million views? Do we want 10 million views? What, actually, do we need to achieve?

And then finally to that is relating hashtag usage. “Okay, so we’ve got them to see it, we’ve got them to consume the message and actually, as a result of that, we’re also seeing people actually talk about our brand and using conversation to actually talk about them.” So that’s a real clear ability to say that there’s positive brand sentiment and people are speaking positively about us, they’re consuming our content, and choosing to consume our content in a much more positive way.

So that’s definitely one way to build your KSOs is to try and develop it from multiple KPIs and I promise you, the KSOs are going to be more valuable to your superiors because they’ll be able to understand them more clearly. KPIs are just numbers in the air. And unless you can actually equate them to a performance within the business, then they hold no value. A KSO is something that is the success outcome. It’s what we know is a performance that we can identify clearly within the business that’s positive.

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Matt Mooney

Head of Digital Strategy @ DDFH&B

  • Head of Digital Strategy @ DDFH&B
  • 8+ years working with brands in social media, content and digital strategy
  • Expertise in developing integrated digital strategy
  • Experience with local and global brands in the US and Irish markets
  • Five time winner of ‘Social Media Agency of the Year‘, 2013-2017

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