7 Metrics Any Serious Marketer Should Understand

Website Analytics

This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this, but data is vital. Without analytics, a website or piece of content cannot be optimized to its full potential. By that logic, any digital marketer worth its salt should understand at least some very basic metrics in order to achieve outstanding success.

Marketing metrics not only allow professionals and companies to improve their current content and performance based on hard data, but they provide the necessary information to set realistic KPIs and objectives.

Now, right off the bat, let’s make one thing clear: every marketer is different. What marketers consider crucial in terms of measuring performance varies from person to person. Regardless of which metrics you consider the most important, the following are – at the very least – the basics that will provide the necessary information to turn guesswork into educated decision-making.

 

TRAFFIC

Unique pageviews. How many unique visitors does your page get? This should not be confused with pageviews in general, which can measure several sessions from the same user. This metric will tell you how many different visits the website is getting. Having an idea about your traffic numbers is a great starting point to establish realistic goals for the next quarter or the whole year.

Source and Medium. Where does the traffic come from? Source will answer that. It will tell you exactly where your traffic is coming from. Medium, on the other hand, will reveal how. Is the traffic organic? Does it come from CPC ads? If you understand where the traffic is coming from and how, you can develop strategies to boost efforts with the most effective channels.

 

BEHAVIOR

Session Duration. This one can be tricky because tools such as Google Analytics require a fair amount of data before they can offer proper estimates, but session duration will, in theory, reveal how long people are staying in any given page. This marketing metric – along with the bounce rate – can paint an accurate picture about the level of interest and engagement generated by specific pieces of content.

Bounce Rate. This is one of the scariest marketing metrics out there, right? This is one of the main pieces of data that greets you whenever you access your Google Analytics dashboard. It is right there, staring at you, judging you, making you nervous with all its potential for failure or success.

The bounce rate reveals the percentage of users who visit a page and then leave without further interaction with your website. While a high bounce rate can be a red flag, it is by no means an indication of something being wrong with your content. The idea behind most landing pages is that, once someone reaches it, he or she will be inclined to keep navigating the rest of the content available and, perhaps, reach an offer or two that will convert them into customers. If that is not happening then perhaps all you need are some tiny tweaks to the design or wording to change that (often called Conversion Rate Optimization).

The bounce rate is useful because it draws your attention to pages that might need some evaluation. Any digital marketer serious about generating traffic and converting leads must understand this metric.

Click-Through Rate. This marketing metric is the ratio showing how often people who are exposed to your ads or even your website as a search result actually click to visit. While Google has only ever hinted about the importance of this particular metric in terms of ranking, there is enough research out there to determine it very likely plays a vital role.

It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. With ads, this information is more readily available, but for organic traffic it might be best to get acquainted with Google Search Console.

 

GOALS AND COSTS

Conversion Rate. You get the visits, but are they converting? How many are converting? This particular marketing metric reveals the ratio between your visits and actual conversions. A conversion is, of course, the point at which the recipient of a marketing message or visitor to your website carries out a desired action.  For example, if the goal of your landing page is to have a visitor sign up for a newsletter and he does, then congratulations – you’ve achieved lead conversion.

When you divide the number of conversions by the number of visits a page is getting, you will get your rate of conversion. A high one means you are doing great. A low one means that page or marketing campaign might need some attention.

Customer Acquisition Cost. This is another tricky metric because it is not, strictly speaking, a figure that is available by general means. This is something you actually need to sit down and review. How much is acquiring each customer costing you? To calculate that, simply divide the total of all your costs acquiring clients (usually marketing expenses) by the number of actual customers you acquired during that specific period. That is your CAC.

As a good rule of thumb, it might also be a good idea for you to understand Customer Lifetime Value, which indicates how much revenue any single customer is expected to generate over their lifespan as clients. The ratio between that and your CAC will determine if you need to cut back on expenses or double down.

When it comes to marketing metrics, the important thing to remember is that hard data lends itself to many interpretations. Becoming adept at actually interpreting those numbers the right way will open up new pathways to optimization. It will ensure that your marketing efforts are not only successful, but infinitely superior to those from your competition.

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Using Data Analytics to Plug the Leaks in Your Conversion Funnel

data analytics

Guest Post by Andrew McLoughlin for Colibri Digital Marketing

 

Despite the benefits, many sites and businesses are still not using any sort of data analytics systems to explore user behavior in their site traffic. Effectively flying blind, those sites cheat themselves of potential conversions, fail to improve user experience, and sacrifice their bottom line. But data analytics tools are low-cost, high-return systems that provide a huge wealth of information. Our digital marketing agency uses them every day for our clients, and it’s shocking that they aren’t in more common use. With just a little time and patience, your business can use data analytics to tighten your conversion funnels and improve user experience. We’re here to show you how.

 

Data Analytics

 

If you’re not familiar with the term, “data analytics” refers to the process by which information is collected and interpreted. For our purposes, that data might include things like how many visitors a webpage got, at what times of day, from which sort of device, and so on. By comparing two sets of data, patterns can be charted and leveraged.

 

For instance, a site tends to get most of its traffic on Fridays and Saturdays. It blogs weekly, publishing Friday mornings. There’s a good chance that the increase in traffic results from visitors coming back to read the new blog content. In another example, a site which typically gets hundreds or thousands of visitors per month suddenly drops to single-digits. That would indicate a serious problem, maybe with the site’s rankings or with some kind of server-side error.

 

By exploring trends and correlations, useful insights can be gleaned about the site’s operations, and improvements can be made.

 

Data generally falls into one of three categories: acquisition, audience, and behavior.

 

Acquisition

 

There are a number of different paths by which your site might be found and visited. Broadly, these paths divide into:

 

Direct

Direct traffic refers to those users who either type your URL outright, or find it in their history or bookmarks. They visited your site deliberately, and weren’t link to it from some other place.

 

Organic

Organic traffic found your site through a general search query. They searched a keyword or phrase, and your site was provided among the search results.

 

Social

Social traffic came to your site from a social media platform. It’s technically just a subset of your “referral” traffic, but with social media’s influence becoming more pervasive, it’s useful to keep it distinct from other referrals. If you include a link to your content in a Facebook post, for example, then users who follow that link will get grouped here.

 

Referral

Referral traffic, like social, describes users who followed a link on another site, and found themselves on your own page. If a user was somewhere else, first, then it’s considered a referral. This also contains the subcategory of email traffic, which isn’t quite a referral (since you emailed them the link) but is useful for tracking the efficacy of remarketing campaigns or newsletters and the like.

 

Audience

 

This section collects data about the people who are actually visiting your site. One user isn’t interchangeable with another. Different demographics, or users with different intentions, may have very different experiences on the same site. This section keeps track of whether a user has been there before (“new” vs. “returning” users), what device and software they were using, their location, other sites they frequent, personal data (if available) and so on. These are the sorts of insights that will let you target a specific landing page, call to action, or piece of content to a specific type of potential customer. By doing so, you’ll increase engagement, and help those customers advance through your conversion process more efficiently.

 

Behavior

 

Behavior data examines the type and sequence of interactions a user has with your site. Metrics include which pages got the most traffic, time spent on a page, how many pages a user visited in a single session and their order, whether a user completed a goal (like signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase) and so on. This data is most useful for diagnosing problems.

 

Imagine that one of your pages has an especially high bounce rate (instances of users visiting the page, but leaving your site immediately, without exploring further.) As an outlier, it would be clear that something about that page makes visitors disinclined to continue on your site. Maybe the content is unengaging, the interface confusing, or the site menu obscured. For whatever reason, if users are unwilling or unable to further explore your site, the page with the high bounce rate need will troubleshooting.

 

The behavior charts can also be used to spot pain points in your conversion funnel. You might see users filling a shopping cart, but abandoning the process when it comes to entering their shipping information. Maybe the layout is unintuitive, or incompatible with autofill software, or perhaps users are irritated at being asked for the same information twice (first for their billing address, then again for their shipping.) This sort of problem is relatively common in ecommerce, and more than once it’s been solved with a simple “use same address as billing” toggle.

 

How Do I Put All This to Use?

 

Step one: start collecting data. There are a number of tools out there to get you started, but Google Analytics is probably the simplest. In just a few minutes, you can add a small bit of script to each of your pages, and start collecting data. The sooner you start, the better. You’ll need at least a few weeks of data before you can start making useful inferences. The bigger your sample size, the more representative it’s likely to be.

 

Once you’ve got a sufficient pool of data (the exact sample size will depend on the scope and scale of your particular site) you can start exploring it for trends.

 

If you aren’t sure where to start, just pull up visual representations of your data and look for the outliers. If you’ve got a stable line, with a huge spike, look for changes in other sections that correlate with it. If you’ve got a spike in traffic for a certain day, look at the previous week and see if there’s a corresponding spike, for instance. Compare your CTR (click through rate) against the relative percentages of new and returning users, to see if there’s a pattern. If returning users tend to explore more deeply, double down on your remarketing initiatives (like email, social media, and newsletters).

 

Basically, it all comes down to this. Data analytics tools give you a record of how your site is being used. If you see something that’s going well, reinvest in it. If you see something going wrong, take steps to correct it. Observing the way your users interact with your site will alert you to pain points, and holes in your conversion funnel. By restructuring your site’s content to plug those holes, you can better keep your users engaged, delivering a better experience, and driving more conversions. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start improving your site!

 

 

Guest