Web Metrics, What is Important and Why?

Web metrics are essentially the metrics that are used to measure the success of one’s webpage. Many different web metrics can go into the measuring of the success of an individual’s site. To name a few of these web metrics: Conversion rate, bounce rate, exit rate, visitors, top 10 pages, and more. In this blog post I will be discussing the top 3 web metrics that I find most important and why.

  1. Firstly, I would like to discuss the web metric. the exit page. Have you ever been on a website, then all of the sudden you get to a portion of the site where you feel the need to exit? This would be the exit page. The exit page of a website is the amount of people who left your website after visiting that page. This means that the more people who exit a specific page, the more poorly that page is doing. Website managers should always keep an eye out for high exit pages on a website, that way they can change them if need be. Unless however you are speaking of a receipt page or something of that sort, which would obviously be your highest exited page. An example to easily compare would be… I oversee the webpage for Best Buy. However, I notice that I have a really high exit page rate in one of my categories on the site, say it is the televisions section of the site. I would want to go ahead and make changes to that televisions page so it will not continue to drive any more customers away from the site. If you do not know the exit page rate of your pages, you could potentially be driving customers away, which is a huge issue.
  2. Next, I would like to discus the metric of visitors. Now there are two different types of visitors I would like to touch on unique visitors and website visits. Noah Parsons wrote a great definition of these two visitors in this article, http://articles.bplans.com/the-6-most-important-web-metrics-to-track-for-your-business-website/ “Unique visitors represents the count of individual people that visited your site regardless of the number of times they visited your site. So, if person A visits your site once and person B visits your site five times, you will have two unique visitors and six total visits.” Now that we have a general understanding of these two types of visitors I can tell you why these visitors are so important. These visitors are the people who will be making up all of our online web analytics (i.e. bounce rate, conversion rate, exit page, etc). It also represents the size of the audience we are trying to speak too which will help us better gauge how to communicate to our audience.
  3. Lastly, I would like to discuss the bounce rate. It took me a little bit to understand the difference between the bounce rate and the exit page, these are known to trip people up, it is not uncommon. The bounce rate is when someone visits your site, then immediately exits out or clicks the back button. A comparison of this would be a customer walking into a store, then immediately walking right out. A bounce rate is usually high because people did not find what they were looking for when they arrived at your webpage. Now, you cannot have a 0% bounce rate because people are obviously going to accidently click on your site occasionally and you cannot help that. However, every lost visitor to your site could potentially be a lost sale so you will want to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.

Measuring the Success of a Marketing Scenario

Ever since I can remember I have been involved in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I stuck with Boy Scouts all the way through, I even earned my Eagle Scout award. The Eagle Scout award is the most prestigious and highest ranking attainable in the BSA. In order for one to achieve their Eagle award they must perform an Eagle project.

With that being said, my Eagle project consisted of gaining trustworthy volunteers, doing some door-to-door marketing dropping off flyers, picking up canned foods (for shelter) and much more. The main goal of the project was to end up with 1,000 items total for the HAVEN shelter.

Goals:

  • Donate at least 1,000 items
  • Rally trustworthy volunteers to help pass out flyers
  • Get lunch donated for volunteers
  • Represent Boy Scout Troop 1627 and the BSA as a respectable organization

The metrics that I would use for this scenario are a little bit different than your typical metrics considering we are dropping off flyers for a canned food drive.

Metrics:

  • Ratio to determine which streets in the radius donated the most canned goods
  • Ratio to determine how many houses actually donated out of the number of houses delivered to
  • Counting out how many items were actually donated in total
  • Conversion ratio of items donated by people who were handed flyers
  • Conversion ratio of items donated by people who were told of my project by word of mouth

There are quite a few tools that could be used in this scenario to make keeping track of all of this information a lot more simple and less confusing. These tools that I used/wish I would have used during my Eagle project are the following:

Tools:

  • Excel
  • Google Analytics

Several accomplishments defined the success of this marketing campaign. I was lucky enough to have Hungry Howie’s pizza donate lunch for my volunteers. I also was fortunate to have enough amazing people around me to help out with the project by volunteering. I ended up raising over 1,700 items, which surpassed my goal by 700 items. Needless to say the shelter was overwhelmed.

What is SEO?

SEO is Search Engine Optimization, this is the process of affecting the ability to easily view ones web page in a search engines natural or organic results. In plainer language, an SEO will produce results in order based on their ranking on the first page of a search engine, very easily accessible and easy to see. In theory, every business is going to want their web page to come up first on the search engine. This is what leads us to the great debate of what a webpages ranking factors will be.

When we think of search engines what is the first thing that comes to mind? A lot of people instantly say Google without the blink of an eye, so let’s talk a little bit about Google. After reading through “The Myth of Google’s 200 Ranking Factors” by Gianluca Fiorelli, I would have to say that I probably side with him on his views of there not being a certified list of rankings that Google uses. However, this does not mean that there are not useful lists, nor does it mean that there aren’t useful portions of lists. I feel as though every list is going to have some biased to it so it would be hard to find an actual list that is credible.

Another thought that came to mind while I was reading this article was “I wonder if Google ranks web pages higher that use their tools”. The author discusses how “Youtube” comes up as a ranking, as well as “Google Analytics”. It makes you wonder if they do that so more people will use their tools such as “Google Analytics” and “Youtube”. In my own personal opinion, I believe that these factors probably do take a role in the ranking system at Google.

Keyword Density came up as a ranking for Google in the article. It did not really surprise me considering the search engine is based on words. However, the author did not seem to like the idea of Keyword Density playing a role in Google’s SEO ranking. He actually goes onto say that “Keyword Density never was a Google’s ranking factor. Never.” I would have to agree with the author on this thought. I do not think the more times a key word appears on your page the more likely it will to be ranked higher at all. It could very well be the exact opposite of this.

I’d like to also talk a little bit about the difference between ranking and indexing. When we talk about ranking, we are talking about the order of the contents. However, when we are talking about Indexing it is different. Indexing is used to determine what to suggest as an answer to a query with the words or phrases composing it. For example, you might research a specific question, and the most popular website could be at the bottom of your search engine. This would be because another web site was able to correctly answer your query specifically by identifying your words or phrases used.

Gated Content

After reading the article “To Gate or Not to Gate, Why You Should Give Your Content Away” by Kim Stiglitz (as well as a few other articles) I have came to the conclusion that I feel as though businesses should not gate their content online.

David Meerman Scott says that according to his statistics, “a white paper or eBook will be downloaded 20 times and up to 50 times more without a gate in front of it.” What do you think about that? If you were a company who was trying to get as many eyeballs on your product as possible, bring in as many customers as possible, wouldn’t you want your content to be viewed for free and as many times as the user wants at the touch of their hand? This way at least the content is not being forced upon the user.

However, not everyone is interested in having the most views of content from his or her page. Some people are more concerned with a qualified lead, which is fine. I read another article that I found this week “Is Gated Content a Necessary Evil?” by Kathryn Aragon and in the article, as said by Mike Volpe, the CEO of HubSpot, “If I can get 100,000 people to see that page and I can get 28,000 people to fill it out, 28,000 contacts may be more valuable than even 50,000 people seeing the content”. I really like that quote and that is why I added it. It shows how not everyone has to have the same view on what they want out of people viewing their content. As stated above, some people may be looking for quantity as others are looking for quality.

As some people see ungated content as a great thing, not everyone agrees. From the same article in the paragraph above, Copyblogger’s chief copy writer Demian Farnsworth discusses why he feels as though content gates are great for building a relationship with ideal prospects. He states that most people online are publishing content to generate some type of audience that they can build their business around.

He also states “Holding something back identifies those who are more serious.” Perhaps the person publishing the content wants you to dig deeper and download some information they have provided. Farnsworth goes onto state that the more valuable the content of the download, the more trust gained between the two parties. I would have to agree with Farnsworth in this situation. If I download a piece of information from a business online and that information seems to benefit me in someway, I am a lot more inclined to feel something positive towards that business

In my opinion, I feel as though a great relationship can be maintained and started from ungated content as well as gated content. This being said I feel as though most sites should not have gated content. We live in a world where people like the access of things at their fingertips. Give the people access to see all of your available content, even if they aren’t a good lead, you never know they could pass the message of your business along benefitting you.

Inbound Marketing

Brief description of Inbound Marketing in a nutshell: Inbound Marketing is when you attract qualified prospects to your business and will keep them coming back for more (as described . After reading the article “The Inbound Methodology” by HubSpot, I found myself doing a lot of thinking. As an online customer, (which I am from time to time) I want ads to be targeted at me from the companies I am buying goods from. Some people might find it a little bit creepy that companies gather information on you based on items that one might buy from that company/website. However, I find it kind of intriguing, I would rather be approached with an ad that is targeted at my interests as opposed to an ad that is not in my interests. What do you think about companies demonstrating inbound marketing?

One of the major themes discussed in the article that I found extremely important is ‘personalization’. This involves creating your product or content to the wants and needs that the people who are purchasing your product may have. This is important because your product is going to be more attractive to the customer. As I stated above my opinion already, however, would you not rather have a product geared at you directly to your wants and needs? Another great thing about personalization is that as time goes on, the more you can learn about your customer and their interests so you can better target their needs.

Although I have never dealt with a CRM software of any sort (Customer Relationship Management), after reading this article I feel as though they are probably very beneficial. When you can store personal information that the customer shares with you in a database, you can then pull up information on a customer at the snap of a finger. You could save e-mails, purchases the customers made, or even general information you want to remember about the customer. That is one main thought I will be taking away from this article.

I enjoyed reading the delight portion towards the end of the article. It goes to show that the job never goes unfinished. “Just cause somebody has wrote you a check doesn’t mean you can forget about them!” This is a line from the article. It is true. In order to maintain a steady relationship with that customer that you just made a sale to you always need to follow up with them and get some feedback. One tool that the article says is good to reach out to your customers is surveys. The best way to find out what someone wants is by asking them, correct? Then why not write a survey for your customers to fill out for some feedback. This way you can ensure you are giving your clients what they are looking for.

Something else to delight your customers is social monitoring. Checking tweets, likes, dislikes, comments, of your customers online. I feel as though this is also a very beneficial strategy. People truly do express themselves on social media. As a business you might get a need/want from a customer who maybe would not have expressed that need/want in a face to face meeting.

Example: My good friend Greg was on twitter complaining about how his Direct TV was not working. Direct TV (verified twitter) tweeted him back immediately apologizing for the inconvenience. It did not fix the problem instantly, however, they acknowledged that he was experiencing difficulty which made him feel better.