While increasing numbers of businesses collect more data than ever, they often still have no idea how to use it. Are you drowning in data instead of using it to your advantage?
You’re asking the important questions. But where do you begin? What’s important and what’s insignificant? Even more importantly, how do you distill all of this down to find value?
Analytics is the answer your organization is looking for. It is a process of studying past business performance to gain insight and help drive future initiatives.
Analytics lets you know about activity on your website. It tells you how many people visited the website and what they did when they got there. Analytics can spotlight the content the readers spend the most time on, and help direct your attention to areas you need to work on.
This generates questions such as:
- Which pages did they linger on?
- How long did they stay on each page?
- Which pages did they visually scan and which did they move on to?
- What path did they take through the site?
- Which page was the last one before they “X” out.
We look to analytics to tell us if our content is building our base of customers, increasing leads, and eventually, sales. Some metrics you should focus on include:
1. Bounce rate
Bounce rate measures how effective a website is at retaining visitors. It is normally expressed as a percentage and is derived from the proportion of visitors that end their journey on the first page of the website they land on.
Bounce rate equals “Total number of visits viewing one page” divided by the “Total number of visits greater than or equal to the average variable page load speed”.
So, what’s a good bounce rate? According to a study done by Rocket Fuel – “As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but may not be cause for alarm depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc.”
Sometimes, they received an important phone call or had a visitor step into their office, causing them to close out the site. However, if you have too high of a bounce rate, you may want to reexamine your website and think about making some of the following changes:
- Make pages more welcoming with clear directions for navigating further into the site
- Give readers suggestions for other content on your site
- Ditch popups
- Configure the site to be viewed on mobile devices
When you decrease your bounce rate, you increase how easily users can engage.
2. Time on the site
This is an indicator of how invested the visitor was and how interested they were in your content and your brand in general. It is a measure of the total time a visitor spent perusing your website. The longer a visitor remains on the site, the more engaged they are.
There is no definitive answer for determining what a good time on site statistic will be. What is a “good” amount of time on one site might be too little or too much for another.
Another thing to keep in mind is that stats like “time on page” and “time on site” are measured by each time a user hits a new page on your website. If they move from one page to a different website, Google Analytics won’t know how long they were actually on your page.
As a result, your time on page will appear lower than it actually is, especially if your bounce rate is high.
That’s why you need to set up Google Analytics and start tracking your own metrics. From there, learn your website’s baseline and attempt to improve from there.
3. Number of page views per visit
This is another indicator of interest level.
The total number of page views per visit can be calculated by dividing the number of pages viewed by the total number of visits during the same timeframe. A number of page views per visit shows that your visitors are viewing a lot of pages on the website.
That means your user engagement is good across the board. However, keep in mind that a high number of page views resulting in a low number of inquiries of leads generated could also mean that viewers are having a difficult time navigating your site.
4. Number of Email and Blog Subscribers
This number will tell you how many active followers you have and is a good indicator of how well your reader word-of-mouth advertising is going.
A simple strategy for improving this number is to invite your readers to share your content with others. Followers with more sway will spread your content to more interested parties.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to make this invitation a regular part feature on all of your content posts and all of your channels.
5. Engagement Rate
This is the number of responses and comments that your content or blog receives from your readers. The greater the engagement, the more successful your content is in stimulating conversation. A healthy number of responses shows that you are engaging your audience. A low number indicates that you are either missing the mark or your posts.
One way to determine this is to check your metrics for the number of times your post was read. If that number is low, then your problem is not the effectiveness of your creative abilities. It is a sign that you need to recruit more readers and followers. If the number is decently high and no one is commenting or sharing your material, then you should look at ways to better engage readers.
This information hopefully will lead you to better manage your content marketing campaigns. In this age of personalization, analytics will help you understand your customers much better. Information is power, especially in the digital level.
This post was originally written by the late Gerry Nason in November 2017. It has been updated and republished in his memory in June 2021.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” ― Peter Drucker