VQVC test for using the right digital marketing KPIs

As a starting point for creating a dashboard for digital marketing activity based on Google Analytics or another digital analytics system, consider the VQVC measures.

By using the Volume-Quality-Value-Cost (VQVC) measures you can check you have a balanced set of measures in a dashboard. In our experience, some dashboards tend to include Volume measures only. There is a tendency to focus on Volume, but it’s Quality, Value, and Cost that really matter. You should also segment these KPIs by referral channel, for example, comparing social media to SEO to AdWords.

VQVC defines four types of measures that you should review within your analytics:

Traffic volume measures. Google Analytics is great at showing these simple measures of what we often call “traffic”. You will see these in the standard audience overview report. Key Measures include:

  • Unique visits – the number of individuals who visit the site in the specified period.
  • Visits – the total number of times the site was accessed by different individuals.
  • Pageviews – the total number of pages viewed by individuals.

Quality measures. For meaningful use of analytics to improve digital marketing it’s essential to go beyond volume measures to understand the quality of traffic on the site. The reason? It’s really challenging to deliver relevance to web users, they’re impatient if the content, design, and experience don’t match their intent as they search for a product or service, or their expectations based on visits to other sites. These traffic quality measures give an indication of how a visitor has engaged with a site, these examples of site engagement benchmarks show a typical range for these metrics.

Bounce rate The percentage of visitors who leave immediately after viewing only one page. Generally, unless they’re on the site for specific information such as a support question, a high bounce rate is a sign of poor quality traffic and/or experience.

Duration – The dwell time – measured as Average Time on Page or Average time on site.Pages per visit – I find this more useful than dwell time since it gives you an idea of how many pages your visitor views on average. It’s opportunities for a marketer to communicate their messages.

Conversion rates to lead and sale. These are the most important of the quality measures since they show what proportion of visits convert to commercial outcomes. –

While these don’t vary much from one week to the next unless there is a big change to the content or design of a site, they become really important to review for different site visitor segments. For example, if you’re paying for Google AdWords and your bounce rate for this traffic source is 90%, then you’re not getting great value from your ad investment.

If you’re involved in managing search day-to-day you will know this, but if you review search marketing with an agency or team, you do need to get into how traffic quality varies for different types of search marketing. But yet still more important are…

Value measures. Value shows the communications effectiveness and commercial contribution of our digital marketing to a business. Here we’re looking for outcomes which show intent to purchase or purchase itself. For an Ecommerce site this is straight- forward, we can look at measures like sales transactions and average order value. However, it’s less obvious for the many non-transactional sites, like many B2B sites. Here it’s necessary to setup goals for customised for the business in Google Analytics for when user actions are completed for qualified leads. Taking the example of a brochure or whitepaper download, you specify the thank you page address, give the goal a name and your goal is set up.

Many will do this, but often not set a value against it based on the conversion of brochure download to sale and their average order value. Since it’s so crucial to have Goals customized for a business I have inserted an example. Most agencies will get this right as part of their onboarding for new clients, but many businesses still don’t have this right I find.

Once you have Ecommerce or Goal tracking setup you can then use these Value measures. It’s vital to review these if you’re serious about improving marketing effectiveness by seeing which online campaigns and site pages are working best for you in terms of value rather than visits and those that aren’t.

  • Goal value per visit. If you assign a value to a goal such as a download, you can then compare how different visitor sources contribute value to the site. For example, how does social media marketing compare to Email, is LinkedIn more or less valuable than Twitter – this is very powerful for checking your marketing investments.
  • Revenue per visit. For sites with E-commerce tracking, Google will report Revenue per visit which enables you perform similar analysis to that for goal value.
  • Page value. If you review this measure for your pages you can work back to see which pages are prompting the creation of value enabling you to improve customer journeys and messaging.

Cost measures. Cost measures are historically limited in Google Analytics, although you can now import Google AdWords costs and using Google’s new Universal Analytics you can import information about product costs.

Here’s a summary of some of the key VQVC measures you should include from analytics.

Here’s a summary of VQVC to conclude this step:

Note that the VQVC checklist is mainly related to a dashboard for traffic to a site, so it can’t cover everything like satisfaction, so here’s an additional checklist to consider. You also need to check you have the right range of digital marketing KPIs.