Web Analytics: What Am I Measuring and Why?

Metrics and organizational focus may vary slightly or vastly across industries or within a single industry. However, there are usually core items that emerge that every organization in a particular industry include as a part of their oversight. These emerging metrics become the industry standards that levels out the differences to enable fair comparison across organizations. The same is true for measuring and monitoring social media efforts.

As it is with the development and implementation of most new programs, it is a little time intensive in the beginning; however, its not rocket science. If you have ever put together a piece of IKEA furniture you can implement a successful system for measuring and monitoring social media efforts. The mechanics are relatively straightforward, and there are several tools that simplify the process. Platforms such as Google Analytics make it easy to capture the data from your social engagement/outreach efforts and to translate the data into meaningful information.  

SEE: Are Your Metrics Meaningful?

Visitors and Unique Visitors
Find out about your repeat customers and the level of new interest your efforts have generated.

Instead of knowing general information, e.g. there were10,000 site visitors last month, you are armed with the exact breakdown: how many are repeat customers, how many are new customers, and how this compares to prior periods. This is a key to measuring the effectiveness of your efforts to reach your target audience, whether it is via content creation, a loyalty program, an ad campaign, etc.  

Bounce Rate
Find out how many visitors land on your site and find it engaging enough to stick around.
This is important because it provides insight into whether or not you are hitting your target market. Are potential customer searching a keyword, finding that your site is not as expected, and leaving or do they find that you are exactly what they were looking for? Analytic tools capture this data: average time spent on your site, the percentage that "bounced", and a comparison against prior periods that enables you to 1) decipher whether or not campaigns for improving site engagement are successful and to 2) re-target as necessary.

SEE: Buying Into Digital Engagement

Find out the key terms that potential customers use and align your organization’s meta data accordingly.

This factor is closely related to SEO and if you have misaligned your meta data, then your keywords are useless. Useless keywords increase the likeliood that you will experience increased bounce rates, which negatively impact your search ranking. Beyond the numbers and percentages, misaligned keywords can frustrate current and potential customers, which may mean reduced positive word-of-mouth and general goodwill.

Find out how many visitors went beyond just visiting or “liking” your page and became an actual customer.  

This provides proof of the value of your social media campaign efforts, assigning a value to each action as it directly relates to the customer’s action and the predefined criteria management assigns to the action. This is particularly helpful with advertising campaigns as it can provide direct correlation between dollar spend and consumer actions, enabling you to determine the degree of success with exacting precision.  

SEE: 5 Keys to An Effective Social Media Program

Traffic Source
Find out the geographic location of your customers and their internet location immediately prior to engaging with your site.

Now you can better target your customers. Here you can identify and track trends to determine action items such as 1) which product line to amplify with internal links, or 2) the region or cities to target on your tour, or 3) the path to offer a specific product coupon, or 4) the path to market a particular angle for your loyalty program, etc. Obviously, the more you know about your customers the better you are enabled to serve them.  

C-Suite Music
Google Analytics is very flexible, assigning you a unique tracking number to use across all platforms of your social media efforts. It also enables management to set daily, weekly, or monthly alerts so that they can be responsive to the positive or negative impacts of any social media communication or campaign action. Google Analytics is not the only platform; however it is free, it is flexible, and it is a good way to maintain lowered overhead for small businesses. The output of analytics platforms provides proof of the value for your outreach and campaign efforts via social media. They also empower the user to better target and align their efforts and to use social media as a driver of organizational growth. The capability, potential benefits, and reasonable price of these analytic tools should make for a harmonious adoption in the C-Suite. 

SEE: 3 Greatest Risks Posed By Social Media

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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