While we certainly cannot say that there are some KPIs that any business should follow regardless it’s profile or history, we can say that there are types of KPIs that any business would want to monitor in a certain moment in time.

Businesses grow organically and their objectives and goals need to be assessed periodically. You can pass to a new or a better goal only when the previous was accomplished and its target fulfilled. In online businesses, goals are also inter-dependent and should evolve from year to year.

So, what are the needs of an online business, and how can we translate those needs in KPIs in order to see the evolution of the business?

The Bottom of the Maslow Pyramid for online marketing KPI

For e-commerce sites, especially for the new ones, the most important KPIs are those connected to traffic. Because nothing can be done without traffic, we would put traffic at the bottom of a Maslow pyramid for online marketing KPI. This is the metric that online businesses rely on. Without it, all other indicators are meaningless and there would be no point in talking about conversions rates, number of leads or bounce rate.

Examples of traffic KPIs: Total visits, Page views, Unique visitors, Bounce rate, Traffic by sources

The Middle of the Maslow Pyramid for online marketing KPI

The middle of the pyramid coincides with the evolution of a business, when its needs are no longer strictly based on traffic. At this moment, an e-commerce site can grow through advertising, and you need to know which kind of advertising is more effective.  The best way to do this is by keeping a close eye on online advertising KPIs.

Examples of online advertising KPIs: Pay-per-click Cost per Acquisition, Pay-per-click Cost per Conversion

Sales KPIs also belong to the middle of the Maslow Pyramid for online marketing KPIs. Now that the site has traffic and advertising is running, you can measure the sales they generate. This is the moment that proves if your previous strategies and the traffic they brought were successful or if you need to go back and redefine them.

Examples of sales KPIs: Number of orders, Number of leads, Average order value, Conversion rate, Return on investment

The top of the Maslow Pyramid for online marketing KPI

At the top of the pyramid are the KPIs you can measure only when a business is fully developed. If the traffic goes well, and the advertising and the sales perform well, you can start to see the loyalty of visitors and the brand awareness.

Examples of Loyalty KPIs: Visitor Loyalty, My account usage, Branded Traffic, Branded External Linking

Online marketing KPI's hierarchy