Online Marketing Metrics: What to Track and When

Written by Jolene Campbell

Data is king.

aNewDomain — All marketers have tools in their toolbox they rely on to do their jobs and prove their worth. Online marketing metrics are a solid baseline when assessing if a marketing tool — like a website, blog post or an email newsletter — is working effectively. or at all. Deciding what to track can be as overwhelming as the frequency of when to track it. Here are some guidelines for you.

Total Visits, Bounce Rates and Visitor Engagement

To win a seat at the business table, A good website is mandatory. Your company site should be a primary resource for your existing and potential customers and is a wealth of information as to how they are feeling about your brand, product or service. Your website’s total number of visits and unique visitors will give you good idea of how your marketing is doing in driving traffic. If your numbers head south one month, investigate your marketing channels to figure out why. Ideally, your total number of visits should grow steadily.
How your visitors engage on your website is just as important as overall visits and bounce rates. A bounce rate counts visitors who come to your site and immediately leave. If you bounce rate is high (over 40 percent), you may need to revisit your content. Two other areas to monitor are the average number of pages per visit and average time spent on the site. You should also keep track of new and returning/recurring visitors. Your traffic should include a good mixture of both: new visitors finding your homepage directly or through a search and repeat visitors showing your content is creating a loyal following.
If you’re doing a good job of optimizing your content, then you should be seeing a steady stream of traffic coming to your site through various search engines. You can take this data one step further by looking at your traffic’s point of origin. “Direct” visits come to your site without the aid of a search engine, whereas “organic” visitors find you business after performing a search. “Referrals” come from external links on other sites and “social” through social media. These channel-specific metrics provide a good gauge as to what combination — social media, content or traditional marketing — is the magic formula for your business.
For campaigns, a unique landing page that persuades visitors to register for and download content that will hopefully lead to a sale at some point is a great way to measure the total visits relevant to that specific strategy. Make sure your call to action is clear and direct. Identify with your customer by highlighting a problem your company can solve. Have a form on your website for the customer to fill out for you to contact them.
A valuable rule of thumb is to check your visits on a daily basis since a one-day dip could impact your monthly performance. Auditing your visits daily can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue quickly.

Conversion Rates, Social Media Interaction and Inbound Links

A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who take a specific action, such as signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to your blog or sharing or commenting on your post on their social network. A two to three percent conversion rate is considered average. Low conversion numbers could be the result of a poor offering, unclear call to action or overall disinterested visitors.

When it comes to social media interactions, focus on conversations, comments, likes, retweets and shares involving your brand, product or service. Is the chatter good or bad? If it’s bad feedback, how is your company responding to it? Traffic ebbs and flows on social networks, so review your data on a monthly basis.
Also known as backlinks, inbound links are incoming links to a website page. As it pertains to search engine optimization (SEO), the number of inbound links is one indication of a website’s or page’s popularity. The more high-quality inbound links you have, the higher your content will rank on search engines. Check your inbound links on a weekly basis to figure out what content is working for you.

E-mail Marketing Metrics

marketing-metrics-wolf-tracks-wikimedia-commonsOne benefit of e-mail marketing programs is that they come outfitted with a smorgasbord of metrics. Two to keep your eye on are open rate and click-through rate.
Your customers have a 20 second attention span when it comes to convincing them to open and read your newsletter. Craft great subject lines, make your content easy to consume with short paragraphs and include catchy images to attract reader attention. Once your subject line has hooked them, you need to know what to do with them. You need a specific call to action, such as visit a specific landing page, read your latest blog article or like your company on Facebook.
Of the people who opened your e-mails, what is engaging them? In this instance, it’s best to gather data from a multiple of e-mails sent over the course of month to figure out what approaches are home runs and what are strikeouts.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jolene Campbell.

Cover art of wolf tracks: by Unknown (Fish & Wildlife Service employee) (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons