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How to Define Web Marketing Conversion Goals

Goals? Key Performance Indicators? (KPIs) What’s the difference? It might seem like they’re the same, but they’re not. KPIs measure performance. Goals measure success and only success. All goals are KPIs. Not all KPIs are goals. Dizzy yet?

KPIs are signs of a response to your message and site. Goals are what happen when the visitor does what you want him to. Goals are always narrowly defined success KPIs, such as

  • A sale

  • A lead

  • An e-mail newsletter sign-up

  • A download of a specific article

  • A view of a specific page

You must select goals you’ll have around for the duration of any campaign. Consistency is critical.

For example, say that you’re doing a new product launch campaign. As part of that campaign, you’re offering to send visitors a free product in exchange for an e-mail sign-up. You need to track those e-mail sign-ups throughout the launch campaign! If you switch from tracking e-mail sign-ups to, say, tracking product purchases halfway through, you’ll have no way to compare the performance of different advertising strategies.

Many goals will exist for the entire life of your business: Sales and leads are great examples. In those cases, it’s important that you track those goals the same way over time.

For example: You’re tracking the sales conversion goal based on views of the final checkout page. Then you decide to track the final order confirmation page, instead. That will throw off your numbers and make it impossible to track performance over time.

Always maintain consistent goals. If you do have to change, do the following:

  1. Measure the old and new goals side by side for a full business cycle (a week, a month, or longer).

  2. Compute the average difference.

  3. Apply that formula to future calculations.

    Be very careful when you use this kind of percentage conversion because you’re not going to get even 75 percent accuracy. But, it’s better than nothing.

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