Analytics data is valuable beyond measure, as it provides information that can help remove guesswork from important decisions. Alas, few companies really grasp the value of web traffic data, and even fewer actually put that data to good use. There are companies who spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year on analytics solutions who rarely use their accounts!
So, if you have access to analytics data that you aren’t using, now is the time to make a change. Perhaps you don’t really know what to look for, or perhaps you think it just doesn’t matter. That’s OK.
At the end of the day, the purpose of analytics is to provide you with 3 things:
- Data that you can use to improve website traffic,
- data that you can use to increase the conversion rate of your website, and
- to help you focus and improve the ROI of your marketing efforts.
So, without further ado, here are 10 metrics you should be watching and how they can improve your bottom line:
- Traffic – This is by far the most popular metric, and while it isn’t the be all end all of analytics data, it is important. The more traffic, the more chances your site has to make a conversion (lead, sale, ad click, etc). This is also a reflection of the success of all other advertising methods intended to drive traffic to the website. This number should be increasing month over month.
- Unique Visits – Unique visitors represent an opportunity to secure a new customer, and the more the merrier. Some companies, like Facebook, may want far fewer unique visitors (repeat visitors are their bread and butter), but for most websites you should have far more unique visits than repeat visits.
- Pageviews – If you site makes money from ad revenue, then you want as many pageviews as possible per visit. However, if your site is geared towards lead generation or sales, lots of page views may mean that your conversion funnel is inefficient. Watch this number, and depending on the type of site you run you may need streamline content to tighten your conversion funnel or add more engaging content to keep people on-site longer.
- Bounce Rate – Any website that intends to make money wants customers to get to the site and stay there until they’ve converted. If you bounce rate is very high, there may be something wrong with your website. People might be showing up on the site from an irrelevant keyword, your content or image may be very poor, your site might look spammy…there are numerous possible reasons for a high bounce rate. Think of a bounce as a lost conversion, and try to keep this number as low as possible.
- Traffic Sources – Knowing how people are arriving at your site is absolutely critical. It can tell you where to focus your advertising budget, where to spend more time engaging with customers, etc. It can also tell you where to stop spending money. For example, if a ton of traffic is coming from a certain paid source, but the bulk of that traffic is bouncing, you might want to spend that ad budget elsewhere. You can determine the ROI of each traffic source using your conversion rate and average order value, thus determining which traffic sources are worth the most effort.
- Keywords – This tells you which keywords searched for on search engines are driving traffic. This can help you to focus your AdWords budget, your SEO efforts, and perhaps even your branding. Showing up for the right keywords for your industry and product is an absolute must.
- Top Landing Pages – Knowing what content people are first seeing when they reach your site can help you to manipulate your conversion funnel for maximum effectiveness. It can also help you determine which pages on your site are most important, and thus most worth linking to (internally and externally). This metric is especially useful if you are considering building a new website, as it can teach you how to optimize the architecture of your site to improve conversions and interaction.
- Top Exit Pages – Knowing how people are leaving the conversion funnel is every bit as important as knowing how they enter it. By identifying what pages are leaking, you can make page and site changes to plug those leaks and increase your conversion rate. Most pages can be fixed, but some may need to be removed all together. Remember, an exit/bounce is a lost conversion.
- Navigation Summary – Good web designers build an efficient conversion funnel into the architecture of the website, but that doesn’t mean that users will cooperate. Knowing how people are actually using your site, compared to how you want them to use your site, can help you to make improvements that will lead to more conversions. Remember in E.T. where Elliot led E.T. to the shed with piles of Reese’s Pieces? Same concept. This metric will show you where to put the candy to lead your visitors to the goal you want them to complete.
- Goals – Goals, or conversions, are the end purpose of every website. It is absolutely critical that you know what your goals are, the funnel that leads to those goals, and that you are monitoring every step in those conversion funnels. Set goals, track visitors, plug leaks, improve conversions.
Most website owners get tunnel vision thinking about more traffic, but by monitoring analytics data and putting that data to good use you can make much better use of the traffic you already have. Then you can focus on getting more traffic, and you’ll get so much more from that new traffic than would otherwise have been possible.
However, before you make important decisions based off analytics data, you need to know that data is accurate. A Utah company called ObservePoint has developed a site audit technology that can analyze your site for proper analytics implementation, broken tracking pixels, site load issues and more. If it spots any problems that could lead to inaccurate or lost data, the system will tell you where the problem is and what needs fixing. We use their Firefox plug-in regularly to look for missing tags and site load issues 🙂
And that is that. Make sure your analytics data is accurate, monitor the 10 metrics listed above, and make sure someone tech savvy is assigned to use that data to improve your website and you’ll be on your way to increased conversions and an increase in the bottom line.
If you need help interpreting your analytics data or making improvements to your website, please contact us today.