Oklahoma City small business owners you have been misled. The online advertising industry has been peddling site visitors as a viable success metric for far too long. And I’m here to say that not all website visitors are created equal. Your website is the gateway to your virtual front door. Unlike Amazon and other e-tailers most local small businesses don’t have an actual point of sale on their website. In other words your products and services aren’t actually available for a customer to input their credit card info and buy it right there on the spot. Typically your website is part of the customer’s research process. They’ve determined they need your product or service but they want to find out a little more about you before they actually call you or decide to make the trip to your location. As a small business you’ve likely experimented with a number of digital marketing tactics to get your potential customers through the virtual front door. There’s no shortage of options out there. You may have tried any of the following; Google Ad Words, Ad networks, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SEO, local TV websites, local newspaper websites, and the list goes on and on. No wonder you’re confused. I’m sure glad I’m not a small business…oh wait, I am. Man we have it tough! At the end of each month, if you’re lucky, you’ll receive a monthly recap illustrating how many clicks you’ve received and what your click through rate was. And if you’re lucky you might get around a .10 CTR and everybody jumps for joy. If you’re running heavily on mobile then you might be significantly above that due to fat finger syndrome. How many times have you tried scrolling through a news story only to mistakenly hit that darn banner ad which redirects you on to some annoying website you never intended on visiting? So rather than rely on the number of clicks we get from our digital marketing campaigns, what other metrics can we consider?
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Depending on what type of business you run conversions can take on different forms. In my reference to Amazon above a conversion is very straight-forward. A user navigated to the site either organically or via a paid advertisement and purchased a product. Alternatively, if your business is a service a conversion may be a lead. A site visitor filled out a lead form requesting additional information or possibly a quote. Perhaps they even clicked to call your business. In any of the aforementioned instances you the site visitor was undoubtedly a qualified customer because they performed the desired action which resulted in a sale or a lead. What this allows you to do is actually quantify how much you need to spend on advertising in order to convert a lead or sale.
This refers to the rate at which a visitor lands on your site and proceed to click away immediately without doing anything else on the site. You’ll see this reflected in you site analytics and will also play itself out in low time spent and zero interactions. This can be symptomatic of poorly targeted ad campaigns that are driving low qualified traffic to your site. Or there could be an issue with the relevancy of the landing page and usability of the site. Either issue can lead to potential customers leaving your site abruptly costing you sales. There are a number of ways to reduce bounce rate which every company should consider if there are experiencing issues in this area.
3.Pages Per Session
This refers to how many pages a visitor consumes within one site visit. Whether a user arrives organically, through search, or paid advertising, this metric can provide you with a barometer on how relevant users find your site. It can also speak to the usability of your site. If your content isn’t engaging, relevant, and navigable, you will see that reflect and a low page to session ratio. A good SEO strategy can help you improve in this area through optimizing site speed, creating good quality content, improve site structure, and improving landing pages.
4.Average Duration of Each Session
User engagement can also be gleaned from evaluating the average session duration. Basically this is how much time on average a user spends with your site during one visit. This metric can speak volumes about how good the content of your website is. Typically you’ll also see a high bounce rate in association with this metric. You have a very small window of opportunity to capture a customer’s attention. A visitor to your site has to quickly ascertain what your site is about, is it relevant to me, and what do they want me to do. The average customer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
It’s important to understand where your site traffic is coming from. Understanding what sources are leading to your site can help you better optimize your site which can lead to better results. Traffic can come from a variety of sources including:
- Paid traffic: Visitors that reach your site through paid campaigns by clicking on an ad or link.
- Organic: Visitors reach your site by doing a search query and clicking on your url in the search results.
- Direct: A visitor reaches your site by typing your url into their browser.
- Referral: Site traffic that reaches your website by clicking on a URL on another website.
Admittedly this isn’t a complete list of all the metrics. There is a myriad of metrics that you can track through Google Analytics that will help you better understand how the overall health of your website and how effectively it is at communicating with your customers. But let’s get past usage of click through rate and clicks to determine success of digital marketing tactics. Internet advertising has been around since 1994 and click through rate was the currency back then. With the proliferation of data and analytics our opportunity to understand customers has never been better. Whomever you choose to partner with on your digital marketing should also be held accountable to providing you with more meaningful insights as to the effectiveness of their efforts.