John Wanamaker famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker, who ran a successful department store in the 19th century, may have been singing a different tune if he were alive today. From Wanamaker’s time until recently, marketing performance was largely educated guesswork. You could survey customers about how they found your business or track advertising budget and revenue, but largely businesses were flying blind in assessing the performance of any campaign.
The internet has allowed for marketing to evolve into as much science as art. Marketing analytics allow you to track the performance of paid advertisements, website views, and social media posts. While this information is helpful, it can also be overwhelming to many business owners. With so much data at your fingertips, it is often difficult to see the forest through the trees. Website views and Facebook likes don’t mean much if they don’t result in increased sales. The desired outcome of any marketing effort is a strong return on investment.
Here are 5 Marketing Analytics numbers that matter to your business:
1. Click-Through Rate
Click-through rate is the ratio of views to clicks for any link. This can measure:
Social media advertisements
Google Adwords advertisements
Content in an email newsletter
Links in a blog post
A click-through rate is a good indicator of how appealing the text is for the link. Those words can make or break an advertisement, or whether anyone sees your valuable content. A good rule of thumb is to be descriptive instead of vague, and be sure to include vital information.
Ask yourself, which ad would you be more likely to click on?
It is also shown that a button results in a significantly higher click-through rate than a hyperlink. Taking advantage of buttons when designing websites, emails and advertisements will result in higher click-through rates than just showing a link.
A conversion is the accomplishment of your objective with each visitor, and is the goal for any marketing effort. A conversion can be several different actions depending on your website:
Download of content offer
Filling out contact form
By setting up goals in Google Analytics, you can track the percentage of website visitors that result in conversion. A conversion is either already a paying customer (if they made a purchase), or a potential customer (if they downloaded content or filled out contact form). A higher conversion rate will result in more sales.
One way to improve conversions to improve the user-experience of your website. Is a contact form easily accessible? Is the checkout seamless and user-friendly? By removing hurdles to conversion, your website can covert more visitors into sales.
When looking at the best content for your website, many people immediately jump to page views. While page views is important, the time-on-page may be a better indicator of top content. If visitors are spending an average of 2 minutes reading a blog post, that post is certainly catching their interest. On the flip-side, if a web page is getting many views, but a short time-on-page, that may indicate that visitors are not getting the content they are searching for.
Looking at time-on-page can inform decisions about which content to revise, and which content to promote. If visitors are finding value in your content, it is a good idea to promote that content.
4. Facebook Engagement
Many people focus on reach with Facebook posts. Reach is the number of screens that your content appeared on. While that is important, the real driver of social media is engagement. That is likes, shares, comments, clicks and
views. Simply stated, a person saw your content and interacted with it in some way.
Engagement is how you grow your organic reach, as each person who engages with your post will increase the visibility of it to their network.
A lack of engagement can be tough to identify. The text, picture, or audience could all affect what type of engagement you receive with a social ad. One way to test for this is through A/B testing. When creating a Facebook ad, do two smaller budget tests. Make one change: a different tag line, a different image, or a different audience. Test to see which ad performs best, and then allocate a larger budget to the better performing ad.
5. Search Terms
Knowing which search terms visitors are using is very important in optimizing your search performance, and knowing what content to include on your website. There are two different search categories to focus on:
Search queries that led to your site
Internal website searches
The first category is very important. If you know which search terms people are using, you can optimize your site to highlight those terms. You can also explore paid advertisements to generate even more search traffic. For search terms, the more specific is better. If you run an insurance company, you don’t want to just optimize search “home owners’ insurance” or “auto insurance.”
Instead you may want to capture people who are more specific such as “is my jewelry covered by homeowners’ insurance.” Or “Is an SUV more expensive to insure than a sedan” Someone searching for something very specific is likely further along in the purchase process than more general search terms.
The second category tells you what website visitors are searching for on your site. Are they finding the content they are looking for? Are their search terms bringing them to relevant information? If a visitor does not find what they are looking for quickly on your site, they will move on.
On a related note, if visitors are frequently searching for services you don’t offer, you may need to consider how they are landing at your website. For example, an insurance company that offers home and auto insurance, may notice searches for health insurance. By addressing how they are generating that traffic, they can limit those searches through negative terms, and increase traffic of relevant visitors.
Both search queries and internal search results can inform your decisions about which content to produce and promote. Once you know what information visitors are interested in, you can provide that content and capture more conversions from your website.
So What Does This All Mean?
There are so many analytics and numbers available, and it can be difficult to separate the metrics that matter to your revenue versus those that don’t. The goal of your website, and all digital marketing efforts should be increase sales for your business. By keeping your focus on providing relevant content, and promoting that content to the right audience you will see your analytics numbers improve.
Mr. Wanamaker never had the ability to precisely track the performance of his marketing efforts. Technology today has allowed businesses of all sizes to receive invaluable information to better inform their decisions. It is important to take advantage of what your visitors are telling you, and ensure relevant content is getting to your intended audience. The payoff will be a better allocation of your marketing resources, and a higher return on investment.