As with so many forms of marketing, measurement and analysis are truly key to succeeding and ensuring that your marketing delivers the results you need it to. Sadly can often view marketing as an afterthought or that some areas of marketing are perhaps a little too “fluffy” or superfluous to the expenditure of the organisation.
One of the most common reasons for this perception is down to the lack of measurement done for marketing activities to ascertain whether or not that activity/ investment is returning success to the organisation. The heart of many organisations marketing efforts these days is their website and this digital platform often provides the most widely available tool to promote an organisation, drive interest and engagement and potentially also sell products or services from. Understanding the metrics and data behind your website is highly important and can provide you with a number of insights into its performance as well as how you can make improvements.
If you’re not a “pro” when it comes to websites and digital marketing, there’s a few key terms and metrics you’ll want to get familiar with in order to measure your websites performance:
Total Site Visits
This is a pretty easy to understand measure and represents the total number of times your website has been visited by individuals during a given period of time. Of course, the higher this number the more times your content, messaging and products/ services are seen by people and therefore determines the audience it can market to. As well as measuring the total numbers for a website, you can also measure and monitor the total numbers of visitors to specific pages and areas of your website. This can play a really important part in helping you to optimise the content, design and delivery of your website to improve underperforming areas and highlight those key areas.
Unique Website Visits
Think of total website visits as the entire number of people who walk through the door of a store in your local shopping centre. Knowing how much footfall or web traffic being received is very valuable but it doesn’t allow you to better understand the nature of those visits. For this you will drill down a layer into unique site visits – this represents the unique individual visitors who visit a website during a given period. Think of it this way… if John, Jane and Jimmy all visit a site 5 times each during a defined period that website would have received 15 visits. Because there are only 3 different persons visiting though, the site would have received 3 unique visits.
Channel Specific Traffic
This type of data can have a few areas assigned within it, but probably the most easily explained purpose is that measuring channel specific traffic is done to define the ways and methods in which someone arrives at your website. Tools such as Google Analytics can provide this type of information and can contain both a high level and granular view of your web traffic. This could include a number of forms such as:
- Direct Web Traffic = this is the number of people who have specifically typed in or gone via a saved favourite link in order to get to your website.
- Referral Web Traffic = this metrics relates to visitors who have reached your site via a link on another website that is “promoting” or sharing a link to your website. For example if you have a website that sells bricks and another website was promoting a house builder; if that website linked to your website then they would be classed as a referrer and therefore you’d receive traffic from that as a “referral”
- Organic Web Traffic = A term that relates to people who have found your website and visited it by searching via a search engine such as Google or Bing
- Social Web Traffic = Visitors who have got to your website via links or posts on social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter
The term bounce rate is quite an important one when it comes to relating success of your website to a range of your other marketing tactics. Bounce rate will show you the number or percentage of visitors who leave your website before taking any other action or visiting any page other than your homepage. Generally you will find that the less engaging your website is for your audience, the higher your bounce rate will be as visitors to the website will find they don’t believe it’s appropriate or interesting to them. Therefore, in general having a bounce rate as low as possible is one metrics that highlights the strength of your content or website – this isn’t always the case as a higher rate can be used intentially at time, but generally the lower the better
The term conversion rate refers to the measurement of having a visitor complete a specific action or transaction. This metric is one of the most essential measures when it comes to measuring the profitability of your website. Conversions can include a number of things, depending on the website and organisation but can include things like:
- Completing a form for something like content or a trial
- Purchasing a product or service directly from your website
- Signing up to a programme specifically related to your organisation