KPIs: Why Are They So Important?

KPIs: Why Are They So Important?

Interim KPIs Help You Check Results and Allow Time to Pivot

By: Nina Rossi | March 3, 2020

A marathon runner maps out her goals and progress months before her race even begins.  A good student sets a graduation time for themself, and plans his or her schedule sometimes years in advance to make sure they achieve this goal.  Every successful business tracks and predicts their progress with KPIs.  A brand’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is uniquely tailored to them and used to measure their own success.  KPIs must be made in advance, easy to evaluate, and always provide results of a campaign’s performance along the consumer path to purchase.   

When it comes to mobile marketing campaigns, KPIs are essential and need to be a part of every campaign that you run.  Defining your penultimate goals is the first and most important step in making a KPI for your marketing campaign.  Without doing this, your campaign will fail epically.  No need to fear this happening to you: President of Purplegator, Bob Bentz, has developed a SMART goal set for you:

  • Specific: Exactly how much growth would you be happy with next year? How many more phone calls would you like to receive each month? If you already set your goals, then review them to make sure they are specific.
  • Measurable: Your goals must be measurable, so you know if you’re moving closer or further away from achieving them. With mobile marketing, you can use Google Analytics to measure many of your web-based goals. A wealth of statistics are available on social media engagement and from mobile advertising data. The great thing about mobile marketing is that it is far more measurable than traditional marketing.
  • Achievable: It’s fun to set lofty goals and dream big, but make sure they are achievable in the time period set. Goals should excite and motivate you and your team, not demoralize you when they are not achieved. When setting goals for your campaign, consider a goal that you have 50% chance of achieving. That will keep the staff motivated and in sync with your penultimate goal.
  • Relevant: Does your goal even matter? If you achieve it, then how does that goal impact your bottom line? Ranking #1 in Google for “West Virginia pediatric dentist” is specific, measurable, and probably achievable, but it’s not relevant for a dentist that doesn’t work with children. Relevance is an important aspect of goal setting.
  • Time Bound: Goals need to be set in advance. That seems so logical that it doesn’t even need to be said, but some people set goals while a campaign is running. That’s stacking the deck. It’s amazing how something as simple as setting a deadline can make all the difference in the world when it comes to accomplishing your goals. If the company goal is an increase of 25% in sales in a year and it takes you two years to meet that sales increase, then the goal wasn’t achieved.
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Now that our SMART goals are locked in, let’s work backwards a bit.  Define your goals, then work backwards from that day in the future when you plan on hitting your goals to calculate exactly when you will actually achieve them.  This will help you set up a monthly goal for your KPIs. Working backwards is key to developing a strong KPI, and necessary to achieve the end goal you are yearning for.  However, do not forget to be a realist when it comes to hitting these numbers you have set for yourself.  Speaking with an expert and doing extensive research will have to be done to make sure your goals are achievable.  If you come to the conclusion that these numbers are too big, you are going to have to start over and set more accurate numbers for your campaign.  Do not feel discouraged if this is the case. It is a lot easier to realize this now then trying to achieve unreachable numbers for a whole year and feeling defeated.  Especially if you are going to be evaluated by management, you should always under promise stockholders or bosses then over deliver at the end of the campaign.  The final step you want to take is determine what team members are going to be responsible for implementing and measuring progress each month.  Both weekly and monthly reviews are necessary to keep the whole team on track, or pivot if interim KPIs are not being met. If your growth plans are still bigger than your business can currently handle, it may be a good idea to hire in-house or outsource to hit your KPI goals. 

These are the steps your brand should follow when developing a successful campaign.  KPIs and goals are essential for every project and campaign in mobile marketing. With no set goal, how will you be able to measure your success rate?  KPI goals should be set in advance, but tweaking them along the way to help align your goals is more than acceptable.  Base your goals on past data so that you can set realistic targets.  Make your KPI goals easy to understand, easy to evaluate, and run these numbers by management to seek approval before setting in stone these goals.  KPIs act as your interim report card, so make sure you continuously check your progress to help measure your progress and long term success.

Nina Rossi is a Marketing Specialist at Purplegator: mobile-first marketing agency in Philadelphia with offices in Des Moines, Buffalo, Dallas, and Honolulu. Nina is a proud Purplegator studying advertising in the Lew Klein College of Media & Communication at Temple University.

Creating KPIs for Mobile Marketing Programs

Creating KPIs for Mobile Marketing Programs

Key performance indicators for mobile marketing campaigns must be made in advance, be easy to evaluate, and must give results of the performance of the campaign along the consumer path to purchase. In this article, I’ll discuss how to choose the right KPIs for your program, how to establish goals, and how to determine if your mobile marketing campaign was successful or not.

Key Performance Indicators

No matter what you do in life, you need to set goals for yourself.  Mobile is no different, only instead of calling them goals, we call them key performance indicators, or KPIs. A KPI is a metric used to determine the success of a business by assessing a particular critical factor. There are many different end-result KPIs to consider.  Obvious ones might be increased sales, increased memberships, or similar. But often increased sales figures, especially for luxury items with a lengthy path to purchase, are not immediately available, and even if they are, they may not be an effect of the mobile marketing promotion. Therefore, early-term KPIs are often considered so that the business can get a more immediate evaluation of the effectiveness of the campaign.

Choosing the right KPIs relies on a good understanding of which factors the organization needs to evaluate. Such KPIs will likely vary based on the department doing the evaluating. What is important to marketing, for instance, may not be as important to the sales or finance departments. Effective KPIs may not be financially related, even though increased sales is often the ultimate, and the most obvious, outcome of an effective marketing strategy.

When Key Performance Indicators Work Best

KPIs work best if they are:

  • timely and able to be measured frequently;
  • simple and easy for all involved to understand;
  • team based so that all departments are pulling together for success and there is no finger-pointing later;
  • based on factors that have had significant impact in the past;
  • acted upon and approved by senior management;
  • able to be evaluated and analyzed to lead to future success.

Choosing the right KPIs for your organization is paramount to evaluating the success of a mobile effort. Too often, businesses blindly adopt KPIs that others in the industry like to evaluate and base their success of their program on those. An example of a KPI that is often improperly used in mobile is tap-through rate. Tap-through rate can be an important KPI, but if the marketing message is misunderstood or exaggerated, it can result in a terrific tap-through rate but poor sales conversion. In addition, a tap-through on a mommy blog may not be as valuable as one on a Huffington Post article.

Be sure that your organization starts with the basics and understands both the goals of the promotion and how it plans on achieving them. The process should be an iterative one that involves feedback from multiple department managers and those implementing the details of the campaign. Then the overall goals need to be understood by all employees who are involved in the process of attempting to reach a particular KPI goal.


With mobile marketing, there are many different KPIs that you can consider based on the type of effort that you are employing. Here is a rundown of some of the metrics you can assess and subsequently use to optimize your marketing’s efficacy and engagement:

  • Active users
  • Ad revenue
  • App downloads
  • App revenue
  • App reviews
  • App store rank

Note — that’s just the A’s.  If you want the complete list, with a description of each, you’re going to need to buy the book.

Choosing the right KPIs in advance will allow alignment of all members of the organization and will create a common goal when running your mobile marketing campaign.

While immediate and interim KPIs are certainly an important gauge of the overall success of a campaign, early mobile marketers were too hung up on some of the more short-term ones. Tapping on a mobile ad and downloading an app are certainly important, but it is what happens after the click or app installation that really matters. Lifetime value may be impossible to predict at this early stage of mobile marketing, but in the long run, it is retention, compared to the cost of acquisition, that matters most.

If you’re really into it, you can listen to my interviews, but we don’t expect you to know all this. After all, at Purplegator, we eat, dream, and sleep mobile every day…so you don’t have to. Send a message to the swamp and we’ll get right back to you. 

Portions of this article are taken from my book Relevance Raises Response: How to Engage and Acquire with Mobile Marketing. The book is the official textbook used in the graduate level course in Mobile Marketing that I teach in the Communication Department at the University of Denver.