These days, online business owners are tasked with running well-oiled, monetizing sites and blogs. If not, hopefully, they’ve hired the right people who know how to turn a profit from digital.
That comes with increasing conversion rates and thus the ROI of a site, which happens when various campaigns and strategies are implemented and analyzed over a particular period.
Owners then gain insights on what elements of their initiatives worked well, proving ROI, and what has not.
Through this data they can improve upon previous campaigns and strategies, hopefully strengthening their impact on the market.
However, the process of leveraging website analytics in hopes of tying all of these things in together is an interesting one.
While it is often referred to as the key to building a better and efficient online business over time, I would argue that most are not using data they’ve gathered the right way.
After all, it is one thing to measure your web analytics, but another to gain actionable insights for implementation.
The Sad Truth
Check out this infographic compiled by the good folks at TruConversion about website analytics:
Some important points mentioned in the infographic that explain why some online businesses fail with their big data:
- 54 percent of marketers consider marketing analytics as a critical and crucial technology for creating a cohesive customer journey.
- 63 percent of organizations refer to website traffic to determine the success of their content marketing campaigns.
- 84 percent of organizations consider brand awareness as their most important content marketing goal.
Moreover, that is all well and great, but:
- 15 percent of organizations do not track the ROI of their content marketing program
- 23 percent of marketers are not tracking mobile analytics while eight percent do not know how
Most website traffic and brand awareness is hard to quantify and substantiate using data analytics, so considering them as primary goals is simply not a comprehensive enough approach.
Related Article: Breaking Down the Beast: How to Understand Google Analytics
The Problem with Prioritizing Traffic as the Main Metric to Track
Let me just make this clear: site traffic is a real factor that will help gauge the success of a website or blog. However, what’s more, important is how that traffic affects your primary business goals.
Remember that is your ROI, and only getting lots of traffic is never going to measure back to success. If thousands of visitors hit a site and don’t do anything from there, you can be sure it does not justify the means of its operation.
Instead, businesses need to be thinking of the exchange made with visitors while on site:
- Did they read an article?
- Did they engage with a video?
- Did they subscribe to a newsletter?
- Did they submit a contact form?
- Did they register for a service?
- Did they purchase a product?
Shall I go on?
How a Business Should Break Down the Metrics
To measure analytics effectively, you need to determine your online goals about profit.
Below are examples of metrics outside of web traffic which scale and provide better insights as to how a site or blog is performing:
- Conversion rate– When running things like email campaigns or E-commerce focused initiatives, you need to find out how many visitors are converting into subscribers or customers. If visitors are not clicking on the right content to help them through the funnel, you may need to dig deeper into your analytics for what could be hindering conversion performance.
- Heat map clicks– If you want to drive traffic to specific landing pages or have designated CTAs on your homepage or E-commerce site, you need to find out which are clicked on the most, as well as the frequency of those clicks with heat mapping tools. Based on testing results, you can then use insights found to optimize the user experience.
- Referral traffic– If you are promoting your site on different online channels, figure out which of those drive the most traffic to your site. From there, refine your messaging and create more engaging ways for users to click through and interact with your site.
- Mobile traffic– Since most visitors browse websites on mobile these days, it is a necessity to track data on this usage. By following the bounce rate and average time on site on these devices, you can better pinpoint why mobile visitors are not staying long enough.
To measure each of these effectively, we must build out the rate of investment or cost for each of the efforts we are tracking.
Like, when monitoring a particular piece of content, calculating how much is spent on its creation, development, and promotion after publishing.
Use this simple breakdown/formula for the rate of investment:
ROI = (Gains – Cost)/Cost
Forcosts, we can include the following factors:
- Content Creation
- Content Promotions
- Additional costs associated with adding value to the factors above
Gainsare dependent on how your cost can convert visitors into a customer or subscriber.
From there, a more realistic figure of ROI is born:
ROI = (Client Payment – [Domain + Hosting + Content Creation + Content Promotions]) / (Domain + Hosting + Content Creation + Content Promotions)
Developing a content marketing strategy with the goal of increasing ROI about the metrics above will be significant.
The goal then becomes finding a way not just to break even but turn a profit. If we can justify a visit by converting visitors, that is when we can give more weight to traffic.
Ways to Effectively Track Scalable Metrics
1. Conversion Rate
For eCommerce sites looking to make good use of incoming traffic, they need to compel visitors to buy their product and services and also subscribe to their email list.
By increasing conversion rates on both fronts, a business can ensure traffic is contributing to overall business goals two-fold!
It all starts with optimizing the landing pages used to sell your goods online through measured results.
Moreover, while a growing email list does not necessarily lead to immediate profits, setting an effective email marketing strategy in place will, by grooming subscribers into buyers, as well as faithful advocates of your site.
Methods to Increase ROI:
Email drip campaigns work.
Jamie Spencer of SetUpaBlogToday.com learned the value of an email list for building a profitable blog after realizing close to 99 percent of his readers were reading a single article and leaving his site:
With an email list comes the ability to filter out interested visitors from the fairweather ones. Once interested visitors subscribe, sending drip campaigns can lead to eventual buying decisions.
Creating assets such as ebooks, whitepapers, and e-courses for those campaigns are an excellent way to monetize expert knowledge about a particular topic to target audiences.
Unlike blog posts, they should contain exclusive content and insight readers cannot find anywhere else. Thus, making them valuable enough for purchase.
Make sure the assets tie in well with your email marketing strategy and you can use the properties as an end goal to your drip campaigns.
If you have an ebook for sale, craft a drip campaign that revolves around the information found in the ebook by creating emails that will serve as teasers to generate interest.
Excellent examples can be seen from HubSpot and TrunkClub:
These businesses have crafted compelling drip campaigns that offer discounts and support, both of which encourage subscribers to purchase their services.
Use them as a template for success and you’ll find that subscribers will be more inclined to take action at the end of a campaign.
Excellent tools can be leveraged via Unbounce and LeadPages:
This roundup of the “35 Beautiful Landing Page Design Examples to Drool Over” will give you a better idea of what to can strive for when creating a landing page.
Additionally, test these 14 data-driven techniques to boost their conversion rates.
Remember, the advantage of a landing page is to maximize the chance of visitors committing to your CTA without distraction.
Develop compelling web copy, provide social proof, strategic opt-in forms, and powerful CTAs to help meet your conversions goals.
How to measure the ROI:
Both of the landing page services above have tools which let you track visitor behavior through A/B testing. By analyzing performance over time, you can choose to lead with your stronger version, or optimize to perfection.
You’ll also want to compare landing page data through your Google Analytics by setting up goals that will track individual actions, like completed payments (eCommerce) or successful sign ups (list building).
2. Heat Map Clicks
Design is all about utility.
If the elements on your site or landing page are not placed for proper usability and user experience, you can expect small visitor interaction.
Tracking with heat maps is crucial if you want to measure how important links and CTAs are performing.
Heatmapping can help you strategically optimize CTAs for maximum clickthrough by tracking user behavior on your page so you can better encourage them to take desired actions.
How to measure the ROI:
If your CTA is not measuring up, you may need to move it to a location on your page that has shown much activity from users, which heat map data can provide.
Methods to increase ROI:
If the problem does not appear to be location, the problem may lie with the button itself. You may be using the wrong colors, shape or size for your CTA, leading to low clickthrough rates.
Consider these important factors from Crazy Egg when building your buttons:
Make sure to keep testing, determining for yourself what combination works best for business.
3. Referral Traffic
As discussed above, while the amount of traffic your site receives is not the be-all-end-all metric, it can be correlative to the success a site will experience.
The more visitors, the greater the opportunity of capturing the attention and commitment of your target audience.
However, to increase that traffic, you need to determine the most efficient channels for bringing new and returning visitors in.
How to measure the ROI:
Look no further than old reliable, Google Analytics, for measuring and utilizing referral traffic data. Of course, you’ll need to look at the quality of those referred visitors for ROI purposes.
If your highest referring site has a 100% bounce rate, they may not provide much value to you.
If you have few visitors from a referral site that went on to become customers or subscribers, you may want to invest more into driving traffic from this channel.
Start by navigating to Goals > Overview and click on the Source / Medium for a breakdown of which domains have led to the most conversions.
Methods to increase ROI:
A more conscientious effort for greater referral traffic might mean ramping up your social media and outreach efforts.
Expert Derek Halpern follows the 20/80 rule, in which he spends 20 percent writing and developing his content and 80% promoting it. So, if he spends two hours writing the content, he will spend eight hours promoting it.
There are lots of channels outside of social media for outreach such as guest blogging (like I am), blog commenting on authority articles across the web, and actively participating in conversations happening in your industry that will benefit your referral initiatives.
4. Mobile Traffic
The use of mobile devices to consume online content is at an all-time high.
According to Mary Meeker’s KCPB mobile technological trends, internet users spend more media time on mobile (51 percent) than on desktop (42 percent).
This, along with the Mobilegeddon algorithm update by Google, is making businesses more accountable for providing users with a better mobile viewing experience.
So, think long and hard about ways you can optimize your site or blog for mobile viewing to increase conversion rates there.
How to measure the ROI:
Again, Google Analytics should be enough to meet your tracking and measuring needs for mobile visitors to your site.
Within the Audience Mobile Devices area, you will get an idea of the types of devices used to access your site and content.
To effectively interpret the data about your mobile visitors about your goals, you may need to focus on the following factors:
- Average time on site
- Bounce rate
- New and returning visitors
For example, iPhone visitors may have a high average time on site while Samsung visitors may not. It is possible to infer that the site might not optimize for Samsung devices.
Therefore, a test would need to be run on how the site appears on Samsung devices with a tool like MobileTest.me.
For testing specific screen resolutions, you can access the developer’s tool on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox by pressing F12, and then adjusting the screen size for mobile view.
- For Google, click on the smartphone icon to access the device feature
- For Firefox, click on the responsive design mode option
Take note of site elements as some may not be optimally shown. Those elements will need to be edited so you can improve presentation all devices.
Related Article: Web Analytics & Beer: What Gives?
Methods to increase ROI:
Make sure to keep mobile site speed in mind when factoring your average time on site, bounce rate, as well as new and returning visitor sessions.
This is what the Mobilegeddon update was trying to ingrain in the minds of webmasters – that by developing a lightweight, mobile version of your site, you have the chance to retain and convert more visitors.
I mean, check out this stat from Google themselves:
Wrapping It All Up
Now that we are all on the same page with traffic, I think we can agree, it should never be the end goal.
It is a means to an end as the above metrics intend to illustrate.
If you want to build a website or blog into an ROI machine, you’ll need to drive the right traffic and capture the right data to those visitors into the subscribers and customers who will help you meet your business goals.