When dealing with digital media consumption of your target market as a business, you want to be able to analyze and break down the data to understand the results of campaigns, compare different channels, device performance, and other various segments. This will inform your digital marketing efforts and tell you what is working and not working as you continue to grow your brand visibility online. As time and money allows, you can develop landing pages for specific campaigns and monitor and A/B test your conversion funnels. Essentially, after you bring new traffic to your website, what is it that you want a user to do? This answer would be different for traffic coming from a paid advertisement channel such as Facebook ads or Google paid search as opposed to a standard blog post that is found in the organic search results. Knowing your intended path for how a user navigates your site is important in driving traffic to the goal, which depending on the product or service is going to be a purchase or a lead generation connection like a phone call or contact form submission. Break down your intention of each effort and observe the results of your offers to get a clear understanding of each one’s effectiveness.
Importance of a Website
The starting point for all of your digital marketing programs is to have a home base, as I like to call it. This is a website that you call your own. James Schramko says to ‘Own the Racecourse’, which essentially means you want to own your products and services and make them available on a website that you own instead of being at the mercy of affiliate marketers or Amazon or other vendors that can determine your fate. You want to be in full control of your work and own as much as you can yourself. Anything outside of this should be added value to you and your business. As a result of this, you want to make sure that all channel metrics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) are being monitored effectively in one place and on your terms. These would be the important metrics and KPI’s that are essential to monitor your website’s effectiveness and how well people on other channels online that you are present on, find you online, and how that translates to their visit on your website. There are different metrics and KPI’s based on the channels that you are active on, and that will be determined by your digital marketing strategy. First, you want to establish your website’s digital marketing KPI’s.
Monitoring And Measuring Website Traffic
If you have not already, you should start by setting up a free Google Analytics account and connecting the universal Google Analytics code to your site. This code needs to be placed in the head section across all of your site’s pages. At this point, then you will start seeing your traffic levels and can review basic engagement metrics. You need to determine what you are trying to measure on your site to establish value and show user intent, as well as track leads. This is the first step in understanding your data on the web and relate them to your business goals. In order to do this, you will want to set up goal conversions in Google Analytics and connect them with specific events and monitor them in relation to the segments that are important for your business. Some examples of segments relevant to all industries:
- What device are they on and how is their experience affected by the device used?
- What source is a visit coming from and which one provides the most user intent and shows interest in our products and services?
- Where are the referrals to my site, i.e. the visit is not coming from a paid effort or from an organic search engine result, and which sites are impacting my KPI’s the most?
These are baseline questions to build an effective digital marketing plan and strategic approach for optimization of your website. If you can find industry benchmarks, those can be helpful. In most cases it’s beneficial to consider them a range or loose estimates and not exact as website metrics and KPI’s are different with each website, their goals, and unique user experiences. The benchmarks will look different depending on whether your website is focused on lead generation or is an e-commerce, sales-based website. Ecommerce industry benchmarks are much easier to identify because the results can be based off of actual dollar transactions. For identifying these benchmarks, I would start with e-Marketer as the most relevant source of digital data and Google trends.
For a lead generation site, digital key performance indicators (KPI’s) on the site can be measuring leads, such as a phone call or a contact form. For an e-commerce site, you will track website sales and leads. Just as important as tracking the leads and sales, is tracking website user intent actions as an indicator of the type of traffic you are getting on your site and if the content on your site is relevant and has good calls to action. Are you attracting the traffic that is most interested in what you have to offer? This question is always important, but even more so if you are advertising and paying to entice users to come to your site. You want to drive the most qualified traffic as possible and compare a few key metrics month to month and year over year to help establish a big picture overview and see trends and seasonality.
The KPI’s you focus on will be dependent on demand and the type of business. For example, in a real estate organization, are occupancy levels of the business nearly full, partially full, or are they empty? Are you selling a brand new product or is it established in its market? Depending on the buying season, the focus might be different as well.
Specific things to track on your website as key performance indicators:
- Buttons and links of value – clicks on a site that show intent or measure more significant engagement than the standard website engagement metrics like bounce rate and time on site. For example, selecting to play a video or clicking an interactive element inside of a web page that show a specific interest in the content above just clicking through different pages. Some links that take you to intentional, strategic pages might also show user intent and you could track them as a goal.
- On site search feature – these can be a large repository of information that can inform by way of words and phrases that content should be created for, knowing what content is most desirable, and new keywords to try for paid search campaigns
- Add a conversion funnel path for any destination page related goals, to understand a clear path of performance. This is most necessary for an ecommerce site with a multi-step checkout process but applies to lead generation initiatives also. Observing this conversion path will allow you to see trends, know which page needs more attention, and and consider A/B and multi-variate tests to continue optimizing the funnel.
- Account creations, logins, sign-ups or subscriptions – anytime you ask someone to set up an account or if it is helpful to know how often someone logs in
- Downloading or printing out particular files or folders
Setting up your events to track your kpi’s can be complicated and will need good communication from the dev team when changes are to be made after they are implemented so that your tracking and reporting stays intact.
In summary, KPI’s and engagement metrics are the lifeblood of your digital marketing strategy and continuing to improve the results. Don’t neglect these important starting points for supporting business growth and learning new insights.