Metrics are the framework around which your marketing campaign is built. Whether you’re pursuing email marketing, SEO, PPC, or direct response, metrics give insight into what works, what doesn’t, and whether or not you can continue to justify the effort and cost that goes into the campaign itself. When looking at metrics, there are countless ways one can measure success. In fact, so many exist that it’s overwhelming. Not to worry. We’re here to make it simple. Connected Culture has our recommendations for core metrics to show success, as well as the ones that you can over look for the time being. Remember – every site and campaign is different and has different goals. These recommendations are ideal for most sites, so take that into account when you’re reading through the liss and assessing whether or not they’re right for you.
Conversions: Never a Waste of Time
If there is one metric you can take back to your CEO and effectively show what kind of success your campaign is having, its conversions. This really is the overall goal, so it needs to be effectively tracked and measured. A person is buying a product from your store, visiting a specific page, or signing up for an email list are all just a few examples of conversion. The first step to measuring conversion is to first figure out what actions you want users to take and then, put tools (e.g. Google Analytics) in place that can measure this accurately. From there, do your research to figure out industry standards and trends relating to conversion. Some actions and some industries will have variable conversion rates depending on action. Get a feel for what’s average, and then, start measuring and evaluating.
Tip: Keep in mind that an analytics program doesn’t always play nice with certain carts or features that can hinder revenue attribution. Work with your developer team on confirming correct installation of tracking codes and data reporting.
The Bounce Rate Matters More than You Think
Bounce rate, like conversion rate, is variable from industry to industry and page to page, but it’s still a valuable metric for measuring the effectiveness of your UX, copywriting, or other site features, not to mention, a measurement of relevancy for certain types of traffic. If a page’s content or design isn’t engaging to a reader or potential customer, you need to know that. Bounce rate can give insight into problem pages and from there, you can do deeper analysis and A/B testing to try to correct any issues. The key is to look at where the traffic is coming from on that particular page in order to provide context. You may discover new audience segments that are driving unexpected visits and conversions, or you may find that people are bouncing because you’re ranking well for an irrelevant keywords.
Tip: Testing a new marketing tactic? Put annotations in Google Analytics to indicate when certain actions were taken so you can compare results with previous time periods to measure effectiveness. Also, utilize tagging options in your URLs to provide further insight.
CTR: How to Use it and why it’s Great
Click-through rate is valuable for all types of online marketing. According to Google, this number represents the amount of people that click on your ad or website in a search result, divided by the amount of times it has been shown. It’s a simple equation with powerful data behind it. CTR can give you indications on whether or not your ad copy is working, whether or not your site is being perceived as relevant when it appears in the SERPs, or whether or not your call to action is strong enough, among other things.
Tip: There are some metrics which are hard to quantify, things like engagement on social media or customer feedback on a particular page or site feature. Be sure to track these things as well as they can provide further insight into what’s working, but make sure that your stakeholders understand that these metrics are not quantifiable but still provide information of value. This is the biggest challenge for an online marketer, but it can be done.
Don’t Stress Over PageRank
This is one search engine marketing tool that isn’t as valuable as one might think. This SEO-focused tool is often one of the most stressed when learning the basics of search engine marketing, however, it isn’t as useful as people make it out to be. This tool shows how trustworthy your website appears to Google, but it’s updated infrequently and often doesn’t register correctly with the true nature and context of a site. For example, a brand new site with a large and active community may have a page rank of 0 because it’s just new. It doesn’t necessarily mean the site has anything wrong with it – the tool just hasn’t been updated. The PageRank tool is important to some extent, but definitely not as accurate as some of the real-time metrics you can gauge success on. This is the risk with any proprietary metric – it may not always be 100% accurate – so take it with a grain of salt.
So What Really Does Matter?
A successful search engine marketing campaign needs results to be justified. However, bear in mind that every site is different and establishing a normal can take some time. Instead of looking at only day over day performance, try to look at longer spans of time to assess patterns and build models of user behavior, sales cycle, or other frameworks that can provide guidance and context. While analytics tools offer a multitude of measurements, start off with the core ones listed above and then begin to drill down to analyze. The key is to look at metrics that affect your bottom line most and then, start segmenting and going deeper into the data that’s collected to answer the biggest questions in any marketer’s mind: who, what, when, where, why, and how?
What metrics do you use to show the success of your online marketing strategy? What did you find effective in proving that the campaign had results?