Internal comms KPIs you should actually care about

Measuring the success of internal communications is a persistent challenge, but tracking the right KPIs gives you a window into what works and what doesn't when it comes to engaging employees. So, which KPIs are worth caring about? Which metrics correlate with success? These are the KPIs you should focus on when it comes to employee engagement.

Building blocks

Why are internal comms KPIs valuable?

Demonstrating the value of internal comms and the success of your strategy means having the data to prove it. But measuring success is a persistent challenge that has plagued internal communications leaders for many years – it’s hard to quantify things like culture and engagement, but not impossible.

As the function grows in importance, the business is asking more questions about how internal comms efforts are supporting business aims. A good internal communicator knows that numbers only paint half the picture, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Tracking specific KPIs can help to identify areas of concern or success that serve as a starting point for further investigation.

In the early days, it was difficult to track how many employees were reading the company magazine or checking the bulletin board. Even email open rates may not have been a reliable metric. But today, internal communicators have a wealth of data at their fingertips. So, what are the metrics that matter? And how can you start to implement and track internal communications KPIs to evolve your strategy and prove your value?

How can internal comms use data and KPIs?

Data and KPIs help uncover the secrets to success. They are the first step on the road to better communication, aligned employees, and an engaged workforce. The key to their use is in the name: Key Performance Indicators. They tell you what actions, strategies and decisions best indicate and predict performance.

Some metrics are more valuable than others, though, so knowing which to use and how much value to place on them is key. eNPS, for example, is a great way to measure employee engagement across a workforce and often considered a key internal comms KPI. But, as it is influenced by so many factors beyond just communications, IC departments are better off looking elsewhere to gain insight into their own success.

Internal communicators should invite the opportunity to implement data and KPIs to learn more about their audience and their goals. This is how KPIs can work with strategy to help internal communications make data-driven decisions, but specifically which KPIs will help you achieve this?

11 internal comms KPIs worth paying attention to

So, what exactly are the metrics that mean something to internal communicators and why? Which KPIs should you track, and how should you use them? We’re breaking down the key metrics to work into your engagement strategy that will help you take internal communications to the next level:

#1. Unique page views

Unique page views are one of the most simple and effective KPIs you can track. They tell you whether employees are looking at your content, and more important what content they’re looking at. Pages or articles with low view counts can be investigated to understand whether the content is accurate or relevant. If they are, you start to dig into how to make them more visible or findable.

Why is it useful?

Tracking unique page views helps you maintain content relevancy and build up an understanding of what your audience cares about. Use these numbers to inform your strategy and help you weed out content that needs improvement or removal.

#2. Time on page

Just like it sounds, time on page, dwell time, or session duration measures the average length of time users stay on a certain page or email. It gives you an idea of how long employees read an article for and what interests your audience enough to grab their attention and hold it.

Why is it useful?

Tracking time on page in combination with page views helps to build a richer picture of what employees care about and how useful the content on the page actually is. If you have high page views but low time on page, that’s a sign that employees need that information but it’s not being delivered in the right way. If you have low page views, but high time on page for the users that are landing on the page, you know that the content is valuable but users are having a hard time finding it.

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#3. Bounce rate

Bounce rates are bit like time on page, but they consider whether any further action was taken rather than how long the user spent reading the content. For example, if you’re looking at an HR page bounce rates will tell you whether users click into any of the links or simply close the page without taking any action. A ‘bounce’ occurs when users don't click on anything else, don't go to another section or article - they just land on a page, view the content, and leave.

Why is it useful?

Combined with page views and time on page, bounce rates review the relevance and value of content. They reveal a lot about how compelling your approach is and how much the content resonates. If a particular article or page is resulting in high bounce, you know you need to look at optimizing it.

However, a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your latest campaign used push notifications to send users to a recent update or important policy change, and all you need is for them to read and review the content, then a high bounce rate is to be expected.

#4. Clickthrough rate

Clickthrough rates (CTR) measure the percentage of viewers that ‘click’ through to read more, sign up, or take whatever desired action you have set up within your comms. Particularly effective in analyzing the success of outbound channels, like emails and push notifications, CTR will tell you whether people are interested enough to take action, sign up, or read more.

Why is it useful?

Clickthrough rates are a perfect measure of the success of your call to action. If you want people to sign up to a new charity initiative, your CTR will tell you what percentage of viewers were compelled to act.

A high CTR tells you you’ve effectively engaged people to your objective. A low CTR tells you people simply aren’t interested enough or may be missing the point. They may reveal a lack clear intent within your copy, an ineffective call to action, or show you that your employees are less interested in certain topics than you predicted.

#5. Social engagement

Measuring social engagement is one of the most noteworthy metrics at an internal communicator’s disposal. There are various different social metrics you can track for varying outcomes from article shares to @mentions, comments, reactions and follows.

Why is it useful?

Employees don’t have to react, comment or share an article – so when they do it shows you’re generating real engagement. Comments and reactions will give you an idea of the sentiment of your audience, while article shares and @mentions tell you that employees value the content enough to want to tell their colleagues about it.

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#6. Channel adoption

Channel adoption helps you to understand where your audience are so you can reach them there, and what channels are working best for what content. Are employees still most communicating by email, are messaging apps like Slack or Teams where employees are spending most of their day? How much of audience is active on the company intranet?

Why is it useful?

Channel adoption data gives you valuable insights into employee content consumption habits and helps you craft a strategy that meets them where they are. Today, internal communicators are battling to cut through the noise and an explosion of comms channels has created a complex matrix that makes it hard to reach everyone in one place. Channel adoption stats not only tell you which channels you need to be including in your comms outreach efforts but also helps you to identify redundant channels that should either be optimized or removed from the stack.

#7. Event signups

Tracking the total number of registrations for an event helps give you a reliable idea of employee engagement and how strong your culture is – it shows people are willing to give their own time to stay in touch with the wider business.

Why is this useful?

Knowing how many highly engaged users you have, who the most and least engaged users are, and which events garner the most interest helps you as you move forward with further campaigns. Knowing this, you can accurately retarget certain audiences and build engagement over time. Averaging these figures are useful as a benchmark for engagement and target to hit, but they also may help you identify specific topics and causes that employees care about. Event signups are also a great metric to bring to leadership as a sign of strong culture and as a measure of alignment, as there’s no better way to get people on the same page than by bring everyone together.

#8. Search volume

Search volume measures the number of user searches taking place on your platform. While specific to intranets and similar tools, search volumes give you an idea of how many people are using your platform to access information.

Why is it useful?

High search volumes are a sign that your employees are using search features to gain faster, more efficient access to knowledge. They are a key productivity driver and offer insight into the habits of your users. You can use key search terms to identify what people are looking for and tailor your platform to this, or to locate information that is not easily findable without searching. Use search volumes to better optimize the digital employee experience across your technology.

#9. Device usage

Device usage statistics measure how many users and which parts of your audience access content on various devices. Are most of your users accessing content from desktop or mobile? If you’re finding very low mobile usage stats, it might be time to launch a campaign to drive more mobile adoption.

Why is it useful?

Device usage statistics give you an idea of how people prefer to view content and whether desktop, mobile or tablets are most popular. This is useful because it allows you to properly tailor your content and platform to your audience. If your recent article isn’t optimized for mobile viewers but they make up 90% of your audience, this tells you that you need to rethink how you’re structuring and formatting content.

Supercharge your internal communications guide flat pages

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How to supercharge your internal comms

In today’s workplace, effective internal communications are vital to business success. Engaged employees are a company’s greatest asset, but with the workplace transforming at pace, the way we communicate must adapt. This comprehensive guide offers a collection of insights to support internal communicators to supercharge their strategy for the future of work.

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Engagement Automation makes campaign tracking a reality

The metrics above are all a valuable starting point for tracking the success of an internal comms strategy, but they typically require trawling through analytics dashboards to manually draw out meaningful insights – the bulk of the work is done by you.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, we’re beginning to see marketing-grade campaign tracking enter the internal comms arena, making our 10th essential KPI possible for employee communicators.

Engagement Automation is a new capability that helps internal communicators craft multi-step campaigns and track their success by laying out campaign goals at the outset – much like marketers.

Engagement Automation analytics dashboard snipper

Engagement Automation lets you set objectives at the outset and automatically track them on a campaign-by-campaign basis. The result is a more nuanced overview of how different employees and audiences respond to your comms approach and a clear view of how engagement builds over time.

How does it work?

Let’s say your focus for the quarter is to engage employees with your company’s diversity and inclusion agenda – it’s a broad goal with lots of different variables combining to deliver a cohesive and impactful overarching message. A campaign approach would allow you to:

  • Start by creating a 'DE&I hub' site to house resources and information and launch it on your intranet
  • Follow up by drafting your organization's equity value statement and sending it via email to your employees and target audiences
  • Alongside this you can set up goals that retarget users yet to read the statement, sending a push notifications to remind these users to check out the statement. Follow up again on different channels where people work, like Teams, to make sure your message reaches across your workforce
  • Finally, you can finish up the campaign by automatically posting to social channels once a certain number of employees have viewed or interacted with your campaign content, asking for feedback on your DE&I approach, starting valuable conversations, and inviting employees to make their voice heard at the next townhall meeting
Engagement Automation multistep DEI internal comms campaign

Engagement Automation lets you plot all these activities on a timeline and set completion goals against each activity. Once your campaign is underway, you can refer to your campaign dashboard to see how you’re achieving those goals in real-time. At the end of your campaign, you’ll be presented with a clear and concise overview measuring its success.

Why is it useful?

Today internal communicators are under pressure to deliver more personalized, omni-channel experiences akin to those employees see in their personal lives. But, unlike marketers who have a wealth of sophisticated technology to deliver, track and optimize highly tailored communications to consumers, internal communicators suffer some of the most unloved and ageing technology in the enterprise stack. That’s where Engagement Automation is levelling the playing field.

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Engagement Automation ties transactional data to context, bringing a deeper understanding of how KPIs relate to user behavior and how you can use data to influence your desired actions and outcomes.

By setting campaign goals from the outset and tracking these automatically, you can analyze the effectiveness of communications beyond counting views and likes. You gain insight into the characteristics of your most and least engaged audiences, identify the channels and actions driving completion of your goals, and personalize measurement to your intentions to prime campaigns for success.

Ultimately, Engagement Automation is so useful because it is more specific, delivering unparalleled insight into engagement, personalized to your organization’s strategy and aims. Your objectives are tied to your content, so you can go beyond measuring just engagement – you can measure how driving that engagement influences your overall goals.

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Use technology to track KPIs and support employee engagement

To be able to track and measure this kind of data, internal communicators need access to next-gen technology that supports the reach of comms and campaigns and measures their success. Discover how Unily supports internal communicators to make data-driven decisions by speaking to an expert today.

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