For those small business owners who choose to tackle it alone, planning and monitoring are vital to keep budgets and time-schedules in check and make sure both are well spent. In this article, I’ll describe how keeping an eye on a few key website metrics and conversion statistics can smooth your journey and achieve just that.
Know your goals
As my grandma used to say, “you can’t tell if you’ve arrived if you never knew where you were going”. While some numbers are universally useful to all campaigns, which others you’ll focus on will depend on what you’re trying to achieve, so you need to know whether you want to:
- Boost sales through your website
- Increase your following on social media channels
- Improve your Domain Authority (DA) or search engine rank
- Grow your PPC or referral conversions
- Gain X number of new subscribers
If you’re trying to gain 5,000 new subscribers, you’ll be paying more attention to website metrics like click-through rate, time-on-site and bounce rate (user behavioural metrics).
Whereas, if you want to increase your DA, you’ll be more concerned will be your link profile. Set clearly defined, numerical goals right from the off and you’ll find it much easier to measure success.
Digital marketing tends to impact your website metrics. After all, it’s the hub that all other activities point to.
Here are a few of the most important website metrics to watch and what insights they can give you about your campaign. Most good website builders include or allow the installation of website analytics.
Regardless of your methods and goals, your web traffic should steadily increase throughout your campaign.
- Organic – users who followed a link from a search engine query. It should dramatically increase if you’re trying to boost SEO.
- Social – comes from social media channels. If you’re focusing on social media followers and engagement, or you’re relying heavily on content marketing, this will increase.
- Referrals – referrals follow a link from another website to yours. If you’re trying to boost your DA or search engine rank, you should be getting a lot of referral traffic from link building efforts.
- Paid search –directed via PPC (pay-per-click) ads in search engines. You can use the volume to work out your PPC conversion rate.
- Email –people who arrive at your site via an email link. If you’re paying for email marketing, this should dramatically increase.
2. Total visits
- New visitors –digital marketing is about promoting your business online, so you should see a steady increase in new visitors right from the start. If you don’t, it could mean you’re targeting the wrong approach at the wrong audience.
- Return visitors – you’ll get more return visitors if people get what they expect the first time, enjoy your content, or convert and want more. If your campaign is driving high-quality traffic and your content is good, you’ll have a high frequency of return visitors.
- Bounce rate – the number of users who click through to your site, but quickly leave. If it’s high, people are probably not getting what they expect when arriving at your site. Irrelevant advertising or poorly designed landing pages may be to blame.
- Time on site – indicates whether users are interested and engaged enough by your website to spend time on it. You’re unlikely to see many conversions if people aren’t taking a good long around. If this metric is low, you’ll need to reassess your on- call-to-actions (CTAs), internal linking strategy and on-site conversion funnel tactics.
- Exit rate – indicates the percentage of people who leave your site via each page, so you’ll be able to see which pages aren’t converting and then fix or delete them. Your exit rate should be low for your conversion pages.
Conversion statistics get to the financial root of your campaign’s success, but there are many ways of measuring conversions and whether one is useful to you will depend on your goals. Here are a few of the most widely applicable.
Cost per visitor versus revenue per visitor
These aren’t the most specific measures of financial success, but they are still useful. If your RPV is higher than your CPV, then your campaign is on the right track because you’re bringing in more revenue per visitor than it’s costing to get them on-site in the first place.
Return on investment (ROI)
This isn’t always a useful measure because a lot of digital marketing is about generating interest, subscribers, recognition or engagement rather than value-specific sales. But, if you are running a campaign to sell, this will be your most important measure of success. The higher your ROI, the more successful your campaign.
Cost per conversion
This is my preferred metric for conversion success because it is not specific to sales values. You might define it as cost per lead, cost per paid referral, cost per link etc.
Calculate it based on your per-unit inputs (per paid ad, per guest post link etc.) versus the number of your personally defined conversions (purchase, subscriber, follower etc.). How much you think an acceptable cost per conversion is will depend almost entirely on your budget.
Digital marketing is a single term that represents many different strategies and goals. It takes planning to know what you’re looking for in your measure of success. But understanding basic website and conversion metrics will help any marketer keep track of their campaign and tell when their goals are being met.