Key performance indicators (KPIs) show how well you achieve your business goals. Metrics monitor the status and progress of your business operations.
Big data enables businesses and companies to accurately measure many aspects of their organization’s health. The data helps executives get actionable insights that they can use to make data-driven decisions to optimize operations and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Metrics and KPIs have become invaluable assets to all kinds of businesses and companies. But aren’t they the same thing? Let’s explore KPIs vs. Metrics, their differences, and how they work.
What gets measured gets improved.
What Are Key Performance Indicators?
A KPI or a key performance indicator is a measurable value that monitors a company’s progress towards set goals. They direct you towards attaining your goals and making more informed decisions.
Effective KPIs are:
- Measurable and clearly defined
- Applicable to your business
- Are continuously monitored and have a clear performance history that shows your progress towards the business targets and objectives
KPIs focus on your progress toward long-term goals. They also provide measurable ways of determining how you perform against industry standards and competitors.
KPIs always have specific targets that your team strives to achieve. For instance, if your goal is increasing sales by 15% in the next six months, you can use KPIs such as:
- Customer churn rate
- New customer acquisition
- Upselling success rate
Objective and key results (OKR) is an agile goal-setting framework that enables businesses to break down their strategic goals into actionable quarterly objectives. In order to quantify and track key results, this framework uses KPIs. KPIs become key results once they have a baseline value, target value, deadline, and owner responsible for fulfilling the target.
Profit.co is a customizable OKR management tool that allows you to set your objectives and key results transparently so your team can keep track of important targets and hold one another accountable for deliverables. Profit.co comes pre-loaded with a library of over 400 KPIs to help you focus, measure, and achieve your important goals. You can get started on Profit.co for free today!
What Are Metrics?
A metric refers to a quantifiable value that monitors progress and assesses success. Metrics monitor the performance and improvement of particular vital processes in the business.
Business executives use metrics to evaluate the overall business status. Although some metrics offer valuable data, some are vanity metrics. They only make you feel good, such as the number of likes your posts get on social media.
For instance, you can monitor the website visitors in a day. If this figure has no relation to a particular business objective, it will be a metric. However, if you link it to a specific purpose, it becomes a KPI.
KPIs and Metrics: What’s the Difference?
Both KPIs and metrics are quantifiable values, but they refer to different things within a business. They overlap sometimes, so some people use them interchangeably. KPIs align with the business targets, while metrics focus on the activities and processes in the business that don’t necessarily connect to a business goal or indicate business health.
1. Metrics vs. KPIs- Business goals
Let’s evaluate the metrics vs. KPIs in the context of a webinar.
You can measure the number of clicks on an email or an ad that promotes the webinar. You can also measure the number of signups and the webinar’s page conversion rate. These individual metrics show the overall registration, and success of this tactical activity.
Meanwhile, the number of webinar attendees who then become customers is a great KPI to contribute to a goal pertaining to new leads or new revenue. While the metrics listed above support the improvement of this KPI, they do not address the core strategic goal of the webinar– the KPI does.
2. Metrics vs. KPIs – Timeframes
KPIs help measure particular short-term goals that teams aim to achieve. They are specific things that indicate business health that a team targets within a set duration, such as the next month or three months. They measure essential objectives in a set period.
Metrics are similar to growth markers and have no attachment to particular essential objectives. They have no specific timeline either.
3. KPIs vs. Metrics – Revenue
True KPIs directly relate to how your business generates income, such as the sales leads, revenue, and cost ratios like the return on investment (ROI).
Metrics are diagnostic values that can help improve your KPIs or help determine if your KPIs are successful, in some scenarios.
4. KPI vs Metric – Importance
Let’s use an example of characters in a story. Every character has a purpose and is part of the story, but they serve different purposes. Supporting and background characters appear in a handful of chapters and are important to the plot. Meanwhile, the main characters define the story, and if they weren’t in it, there wouldn’t be a book.
In the story of your business, your KPIs are the main characters. The others who support them and help the story make sense are the metrics.
What is the Difference between KPIs and Metrics?
- KPIs monitor your progress towards the primary business goals, while metrics evaluate the performance of particular processes
- Metrics align with industry benchmarks, standards, or thresholds. The business or company defines its KPIs based on its main objectives
- Metrics are specific to a team, department, or person, while KPIs combine various metrics and strategies
- KPIs are strategic as they help you determine your progress towards the business goals. Metrics are tactical as they evaluate the processes that help you improve your KPIs
Are Both KPIs and Metrics Required?
KPIs combine various metrics to show you a detailed picture of your progress towards your goals. Metrics help contextualize KPIs, so they are interdependent.
Using the example above about website visitors, the tracking information is made up of metrics, not KPIs. If you pinpoint the goal of the business, and link a metric to that goal, it becomes a KPI.
Let’s say your business goal is to generate 20% more leads within the year. The data on website visitors is inadequate. However, if you understand how this data relates to specific activities such as completing online forms, you can link the two. The metric becomes more valuable and changes into a KPI
With this example in mind, what if most new customers come from an email campaign but not the website? In this case, monitoring the website visitors is only a metric, not a KPI. You’ll still track the visitors, but it’s not the top indicator of your progress towards a business goal.
|KPIs vs. Metrics|
|KPIs evaluate performance depending on the primary business goals||Metrics assess the progress of specific business processes|
|KPIs are often strategic||Metrics are tactical or operational|
|KPIs are common in various departments as they work towards the same objective.||Metrics are specific to a team or department|
|KPIs ensure strategic decision-making||Metrics add context to your business processes|
|KPIs have a connection to particular goals||Metrics are the data points that help contextualize KPIs|
|KPIs commonly have a timeframe or target average||Metrics have no timeframe because they involve daily activities|
You will use both KPIs and metrics in your business to help track your most important goals and measure the daily progress and performance of various teams and departments, as well as your business as a whole. Whether you’d like to track just a handful of your vital key performance indicators or an array of metrics, the right software can help you keep up with the changes in your data in real time.
Profit.co’s OKR management platform enables you to customize a list of your most important KPIs to get an at-a-glance view of progress changes and keep an eye on your business’s health. To learn more about how Profit.co can help you track KPIs and set OKRs, schedule a free demo with our OKR experts today!