By Siong Eng
User Experience Architect
While it might not be the most glamorous of subjects, website metrics are front of mind for most business owners and marketers today. There is a growing general awareness of the value of a website’s analytical data and its capacity for providing an advantage over competition. As a result, investment in resources that track these metrics is also on the rise.
Focusing on the 'wrong' metrics is the quickest way to burn a hole in your marketing budget. So, how can we be smarter with our metrics investment?
1. Proper preparation prevents poor performance
It is simple but so often overlooked: define your goals and identify possible constraints from the very beginning! This will go a long way to ensuring you consistently extract targeted, useful information and do so with maximum efficiency.
So ask yourself: what do I want to achieve? And what could possibly prove difficult in achieving this? Always refer back to your goals and constraints throughout your metrics engagement to keep on track.
2. Show me the money
It is a simple rule: if ever in doubt, track the metrics that make the money.
What are the paths that result in profit? This is where you should spend time exploring metrics and user behaviours.
For example, if form submissions (leads) are your primary touch point toward profit, you should be focusing on the metrics that affect it. Let's say your website's primary objective is to generate leads that are in turn passed on to the sales team.
If you are able to work out the average conversion rate of the sales, you can compare that to the total number of leads generated from the website to get the average value of each lead.
From here you can start tracking form submissions (leads) and identify the users who abandon the form before submitting it and or the users who don’t even reach the form in the first place; and make the necessary corrections that'll get users back on the right track.
3. The more you know: identify 'bottlenecks'
One of the most valuable things metrics can do for you is help identify your website’s issues or 'bottlenecks'. After all, knowledge is power!
Continuing from the form/leads generation example, identifying the constraints of your form submissions (eg. user abandoning form before submit or user not reaching form) you can then then drill down deeper to things such as: which fields the majority of users are dropping out on? Are they inputting the form incorrectly and getting frustrated? Knowing these micro details will allow you to make informed decisions to optimise your form.
At the end of the day it is about ensuring your metrics budget is generating the biggest and most targeted bang for your buck.
4. Get creative and empower users
Creative strategy can often help alleviate bottlenecks and improve conversion rates quickly and quite dramatically.
You can’t expect all users to go from browsing to check out unassisted. The idea of creative strategy is to help them get there by giving them something useful that enhances the user experience each step of their journey through your site.
It is all about implementing strategies that nurture a relationship with users where they are empowered toward specific behaviours or outcomes, not shouting them into submission with aggressive calls to action ("SIGN UP NOW!" etc).
For example: if you find a large number of users are bailing out at the start of the form, it could be due to the length/formatting of your form.
A solution is to break the form up into various steps to make it more easily digestible; or alternatively draw users in from the outset by offering a smaller form and gradually expand on your relationship once with freebies or useful info, guiding them toward desired outcomes.
Seemingly minor adjustments like this can have a profound affect on user experience!
5. Traffic value
Concentrating on the 'right' metrics can be particularly useful in guiding marketing budget allocation.
Metrics such as your 'Cost Per Acquisition' (how much it cost to get a lead) and 'Average Lead Value' (how much each lead is worth to your business on average) can help you make an informed decision around where to best direct your time and money.
A little known insider tip: the source that provides the most traffic might not be the most valuable.
You might spend $5,000 on a Facebook campaign for 10,000 leads, but only 100 of those leads convert to a sale. Whereas in a separate email campaign with a spend of $2,500 might only generate 500 leads, however, 250 of those leads converted to a sale. It's clear where your marketing dollars should be spent!
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