Measuring the Success of an Initiative: What Metrics to Use?

Learn how to measure success with metrics and understand what metrics to use when assessing an initiative.

Measuring the Success of an Initiative: What Metrics to Use?

Knowing how many conversions you get each month is great, but you also need to understand the speed at which these conversions occur. To do this in a meaningful way, you need to look beyond the basic conversion rate, which is simply the number of conversions divided by the number of visits. For example, if you received 100 orders and 1000 visits, your conversion rate would be 10%. However, this may not be the most accurate way to measure your conversion rate.

For instance, if half of those orders come from retailers who buy every time they visit your site, then your conversion rate is being artificially inflated. To get a more accurate picture, you should segment out these resellers. If your site has multiple purposes, such as educating people and selling products, then the 10% conversion rate may not be a true indicator of success. To get a better understanding of how well your site is performing, create a segment that only analyzes visitors who saw a product.

The key here is to make sure that the data you're looking at is usable. Once you have a real conversion rate, you can start making informed changes. If you're seeing the wrong numbers, then any changes you make may not be effective. The same goes for bounce rate.

Looking at it holistically won't tell you much; instead, break it down into more specific segments. For example, if your total bounce rate is 47%, but your home page has an 85% bounce rate, then it's likely that the home page experience is poor. You can also look at bounce rate by device type or browser; if 75% of visits from mobile devices cause a bounce, while only 25% of visits from computers do so, then there may be an issue with mobile usability. When measuring success, don't just rely on the bounce rate.

Use it as a tool to make adjustments to your site and marketing campaigns. Your action plan should include metrics that you'll track over time; these can be divided into milestones (the completion of a task or project by a certain date) and quantifiable performance measures (such as revenue and profit growth). For example, if you're trying to reduce rework in your organization, then measure progress by looking at the percentage of employees' work hours dedicated to redoing tasks. According to a BDC study of more than 1,100 small and medium-sized companies, measuring progress is essential for success.

Business success metrics are quantifiable measures that business leaders use to determine whether their strategies are working effectively. If you've measured your team's metrics before implementing a new strategy, then use them as a benchmark. Finally, make sure that there aren't too many people managing projects and programs instead of driving change and improvement through meaningful and relevant measures.