As management and business owners put more and more emphasis on ROI, as analysts it falls on us to provide input that will affect the performance of the company’s marketing efforts. The first step is to look at the correct data points which actually provide you an effective road map.
WHAT ARE CAVEMAN ANALYTICS?
In the infancy of Online Marketing, statistics were provided by the IT department. While these limited data points did provide a base understanding of website usage in terms of resources used and accessed, there was limited information there to improve the online experience.
These core data points were:
- Hits – This told us how many times the server was called for file retrieval. As a single web page could contain dozens of files, this number quickly became only useful for making sure that you had the necessary bandwidth allocated to serve your traffic level.
- Page Views – A little better, but still limited in its ability to tell us what was happening. This is just a raw number that represents how many pages on your website were accessed in a set time frame.
- Visits – Once again, we’re moving up on the scale of usefulness, but in reality this only gives us a global overview of our site traffic. What are those visitors doing?
These numbers are good to let you know that something is happening, but there are not enough points of reference to paint the picture you need to make adjustments to your marketing efforts.
MOVING OUT OF THE DARK AGES
At GSM, we utilize a marketing automation tool and Google Analytics to dig deeper into your traffic patterns to see what your site visitors are doing on your website.
Google Analytics is a great tool (which is free) that, when properly set up, will allow you to look at your audience’s experience with your website in a global nature. Customizable reports will allow you to compare two or more metrics which allows you to segment your audience by a number of criteria. Some of common items we look at are:
Bounce Rate by Channel – This report allows us to compare bounce rate by where that traffic originates. A bounce is when a person visits one page and then leaves the site. There can be many reasons for this, which we will discuss in another article. What you are looking for is a change in the pattern between channels. If one source of traffic, let’s say Twitter for example, has a larger than normal bounce rate, then we will start evaluating our Twitter posting strategy and make adjustments.
Goal Conversion by Channel – How good is that traffic source? At the end of the day, what really counts is if our business goals are being accomplished. This goal can be a form fill, a request for proposal, a purchase, a download, or even just a set number of pages visited. We are able to drill down and find out the conversion rate of our site visitors based on where they are coming from. We can then re-prioritize which of these traffic sources we want focus on to increase visitor traffic.
Site Behavior by Landing Page – Why are people not converting (taking the desired action)? By looking at how people are moving through the website with an emphasis on landing pages, we can highlight those pages on the website that are working and those that need to be rethought. For example, are we losing people in the shopping cart? If so, then our product offerings are engaging enough to get interest, but our shopping system is too complex to complete a sale.
These are just a few samples of the types of reports we delve into as we analyze the website visitor experience. With this insight we can adjust our online strategies in regards to social media, email marketing and website design to improve the user’s experience.
One of the key things marketing automation allows us to do is follow a visitor after they have converted and become a lead. This technology allows us to monitor and evaluate the online sales process as it happens, and program the system to adjust our messages in real time. We’ll dig deeper into marketing automation and what it means for your business in a future article.