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Useful Website Metrics & What They Mean5 min read

Have you ever received a traffic report for your website or logged in and poked around Google Analytics? Felt overwhelmed by all the information at your fingertips?

One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the ability to track nearly everything, from pageviews and time spent on a page, to video plays and site-visitor origin. This can also be a bit exhausting for those who are not familiar with what all those metrics mean and whether they show improvement, stagnation, or even a decline in performance.

More information is great when you are trying to make decisions about adding or expanding your digital marketing budgets for 2021, but if you aren’t sure what that data means and how it relates to your success (or failures), it can be difficult to feel like those are informed decisions.

Following are details and tips on where to focus your attention when assessing your digital marketing efforts:

  1. Traffic – In order to have any sort of digital marketing success, you need to first have people consuming your content. The first sign that something may be wrong is a consistent month-over-month drop in traffic. There are numerous strategies for improving traffic. Finding the right mix is a critical first step.

Ideas to improve traffic:

  1. Traffic Sources – Successful digital marketing campaigns will see traffic improvements across a variety of sources. Visitors can find you through a number of different means, including organic search (through the search engines like Google and Bing), direct (they type in your website URL or visit a bookmark they have saved), referrals (through links on other sites or), display or paid search (paid ads), email (email campaigns), or social (via the popular social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). This can help you determine which source is bringing the most traffic, which is driving the most conversions, and determine how to best allocate resources based on those findings.

Ideas to improve targeted marketing efforts:

  • Spend more effort on areas that are working well for you. If most of your conversions are coming through emailed newsletters, see what effect increasing the frequency of those newsletters has. If paid ads are not generating any sort of meaningful traffic or conversions, suspend your paid campaign and find what is driving traffic and conversions and reallocate your spending here.
  1. Average Session or Page Duration – The average session metric highlights how long visitors stay on your website. If your visitors are spending a lot of time on the website but not converting, they may be getting lost or have lost interest on the conversion path. You may need to consider improving the navigation or making the content easier to consume. If your visitors are spending a lot of time on the website and are successfully converting, then your content is valuable and worth a lengthy review. A page-by-page breakdown functions in a similar fashion.

Ideas to improve average session or page duration:

  • Simplify the path from discovery to your call to action.
  • Provide users all the information they are looking for in one spot.
  • Add short, informative videos that relate to your page topic.
  • Simplify the messaging & break up large blocks of text with photos, lists, and other methods.
  1. Exit Pages and Exit Percentage – Where visitors are leaving your site tells you a whole lot about your website user-experience and the success of your sales funnel. If your website’s top exit pages are expected bottom of funnel pages, such as an order summary page or a thank-you page following a contact form submission, then your website is successful in helping users navigate your desired conversion path. If your top exit pages are service, product, or other landing pages that are in the middle of your conversion funnel, explore why your traffic is dropping off on those pages.

The exit percentages help you determine if it’s simply because that is a high traffic page (500 exits could look bad, but with 1,500 pageviews, it’s really only an exit percentage of 33%, whereas 5 exits on 7 pageviews is actually worse since it’s seeing a 71% exit percentage), or because that page may have some issues causing users to abandon the sales funnel.

Ideas to improve problem pages identified via exit page and exit percentage metrics:

Make sure:

  • All pages load quickly.
  • The page does not bounce around as it loads.
  • There’s clear call to actions to help guide conversions.
  • The content is what is expected by the users when landing on the page and it satisfies any questions they may have.
  • Review the user experience on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
  1. Conversions and Conversion Rate – Whatever the goal of your website and your digital marketing campaign, your digital marketing strategy needs to help focus and be the driver for visitors to convert.

Website conversions can mean several things depending on you, your business, and the desired actions you determine are most important to your business. These can be leads, sales, calls, newsletter subscriptions, downloads, video plays, brochure downloads, or any mix and variety of actions that helps put you in contact with a client or customer.

As with exits and exit percentages, conversions and conversion rates need to be viewed together to help determine actual success or failure. These should continue to show improvement as your digital marketing strategy continues.

Ideas to improve conversions and conversion rate:

  • Review which pages are initiating the conversion funnel, and which are lagging. Any pages that are leading to a high drop-off in the sales funnel need to be reviewed for the causes of visitor abandonment. These can overlap the reasons for high exits and exit percentages discussed earlier or can include specific sales metrics like higher-than-expected pricing, expensive shipping, products out of stock, or other issues.
  • A/B test small changes such as form layouts, messaging or CTA changes, and landing page navigation.

These are just a few of the important and powerful analytics available to you when you are serious about your digital marketing efforts. If you’d like any help with implementing, reviewing, or strategizing any of these items, or would like to discuss other helpful website metrics available to you via tools like Google Analytics, the experts at Sharp Innovations are just a call or email away.