What The Heck Are You Measuring?

by, Lesa Seibert, CEO, Mightily & Xstreme Media

As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” And, as a digital strategist, I understand your desire to improve your website’s performance and I understand your need for massive amounts of data so you can make those improvements — but what the heck are you measuring now? The number of visits? Time on site? Bounce rate? You’re going to measure yourself silly if you’re not careful. And by the way, I am drawing a line in the sand when it comes to measuring your inseam.

An Unexamined Life

Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” And, I guess you can say an unmeasured business isn’t worth running, too. However, someone also said, “The over-examined life isn’t living.” So, we’ll go ahead and make the bold claim that an over-measured business isn’t manageable.

Measure Once. Cut Twice.

The problem with over-measuring or measuring the wrong things is that it has a direct correlation with over-adjusting, overreaction, and going overboard. When we focus on daily, weekly, and monthly reports that measure too many variables, we tend to lose site of the big picture. We can’t see the forest through the trees. We’re lost in a sea of numbers, desperately searching for something solid to stand on. This can all lead to poor decisions, mounting frustrations, and unnecessary extra work.

A Measured Approach to Measuring

Okay, so you’ve been measuring the number of pages people visit on your site and perhaps you’ve even decided to measure your average session duration of new visits versus the average session duration of repeat visits. Stop! How long do you expect people to spend on your site? What if they’re just looking you up to get your phone number? They will only be on your site for five or 10 seconds, but you will probably get a call and make a sale anyway. But you’re still going to stubbornly waste time putting video of kittens on your site so people will stay on there longer, even though it won’t have any effect on your leads or sales. Keep reading to see what you should be paying attention to and measuring.

Five Things You Should Be Measuring

  • Conversions

A conversion is when a site visitor takes and action that you ultimately want them to take. Calls, contacts, quote requests, and information requests are where the rubber meets the road as far as your measurements are concerned. You’ll want to know how many conversions you get and where they’re coming from. Are they coming from social media, organic searches, referrals, or pay per click? And how much does each conversion cost by channel?

  • Keyword Performance

If you find the keywords people are searching that lead to conversions, invest in them. They’ll be useful for site messaging, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising. Avoid keywords that generate a lot of useless traffic and focus on keywords that lead to conversions.

  • Ad Performance

This is important for pay-per-click advertising, whether it’s Google AdWords, Bing, or Facebook ads. If your ad is generating a poor click-through rate, then you’re likely missing out on conversions. If they don’t visit your site, you can’t convert them.

  • Site Messaging

Talking about your products and services in the right way, whether it’s headlines, calls-to-action, or benefits and features can make or break a site. Test each one of these elements independently to try and get better conversion rates. If you run out of ideas to test, feel free to contact Mightily.

  • Technology

It’s becoming more and more important to know whether your customers are visiting from mobile phones, tablets, or desktop devices. You can often see one that converts better than the others. It might be hard to put your finger on why that is, but if you do a little user testing on each device, you’ll likely find that something is lacking on a mobile screen or perhaps there might even be too much clutter on a desktop screen. Either way, you’ll want to keep track and make sure that you’re providing a good user experience to all your site visitors.

Of course there are plenty of other valid things you could be measuring, but you’ll want to start with the basics and branch out from there in a very deliberate way. The main thing is to keep an eye on the prize — conversions.

For most small or medium businesses this will be enough, because they’re not in a position where a 0.1% increase in your conversion rates will mean an extra $50,000 in revenue. There are definitely diminishing returns on the effort and money you put into digital advertising, and the smaller you are, generally speaking, the faster those returns will diminish.