The KPI: the what and the why

The acronym KPI stands for key performance indicator, and analytical platforms like Google Analytics use these tools to track progress towards their goals (What Is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?, 2020). Without KPIs, it would be extremely challenging, if not impossible, to maintain high-level insight into how website clientele are impacted by website content. Due to their variability, there is no solitary set of KPIs perfect for every type of business. E-commerce websites will use different KPIs than a mobile application, for example (Taylor, 2020).

Examples of business KPIs

The list of potential KPIs is close to endless, and yet there are some KPIs that, within their specific categories, have proven to generate higher value than others. For this discussion, consider an e-commerce website like Amazon. There are two KPIs mentioned by Michael Taylor (2020) that are unique to e-commerce applications.

1) A customer adding an item to their shopping cart

2) Basket Abandonment

These two are key to understanding what is and isn’t working with how the website is laid out and what steps can be taken to raise the first KPI and lower the second (Taylor, 2020). When a customer visits their shopping cart on Amazon, their activity is tracked and timed, and sent to their web analytics servers. These stats help the company understand what makes customers leave their cart and keep shopping or even what causes them to save an item for later. In Amazon’s case, it is unlikely that they utilize Google Analytics; however, smaller companies may.

How does Google Analytics Enable us to Measure these KPIs?

KPIs, like the ones listed above, are easily measured through Google Analytics (GA). Website administrators can program them directly into the dashboards on GA, which allows the platform to show movement patterns for users. There are several KPIs that are most commonly tracked with GA. A ubiquitous KPI is acquisition channels, which tells how the users were sent to the website. This is very useful to know for an e-commerce company that pays for a lot of marketing. New versus returning visitors to the website, their bounce rate, what devices they use, and their most common keywords are more KPIs that are commonly tracked (Roger, 2020). This list could go on for pages.

Figure 1. Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Illustration (Roger, 2020).

Finally, as mentioned above, shopping cart abandonment rates are a great KPI to track for e-commerce. Figure 1 shows an example of how these rates can be tracked in Google Analytics dashboards. Google Analytics allows us to measure these KPIs by providing a dashboarding solution that maintains these highly complex metrics in a format that is easier to understand.


Roger, P. (2020, June 25). Google Analytics: 10 KPIs for your Ecommerce website. Medium.

Taylor, M. (2020). Continue learning about KPIs.

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)? (2020).

Data Mining/Viz/Analytics Specialist - Masters in Strategic Analytics from Brandeis University. Interest Areas: Medical Analytics, NLP, all things Deep Learning