Due to a few successful social media efforts, content posts and paid advertising campaigns, the traffic to your website starts flooding in and with it, a sharp rise in the number of targeted leads. You begin to get more and more sales, and everything indicates your numbers have nowhere to go but up.

You get up one morning to check your sales. To your unpleasant dismay, there’s nothing.  Zero sales, a handful of unqualified leads and your social media engagement levels reach a to a point of being virtually nonexistent.

So what happened, and what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again?

In short, you forgot to crunch the numbers.

Looking at analytics and metrics is an imperative part of succeeding in digital marketing. And while analytics and metrics are nowhere near considered to be a glamorous topic, its underlying importance can not be overstated.

As with anything in life, it’s often the small, finer details that contribute to a company’s success, and digital marketing is no different.

Data is the foundation from which you can create, refine, and implement a digital marketing strategy that works best for your brand and customers. Without knowing website analytics and metrics, you essentially set off for sea without raising your anchor or bringing a GPS.

So what important website analytics and metrics should your business look at?

Here are four crucial metrics and how monitoring them can improve your company’s online presence.

1. Traffic

The first and most obvious metric site owners should be monitoring is traffic. Looking at a website’s traffic numbers, specifically, the number of unique users visiting each month is an easy way to gather a quick snapshot of a site’s underlying health.

Web traffic lets you know if your business is growing, declining, or stagnating to the point of break even. Traffic is also excellent for tracking the effectiveness of specific marketing efforts.

For example, if your site sees a significant increase in traffic after publishing a series of well-crafted how-to blog post’s, then this a reliable indicator that you should continue to do the same. On the flip-side, if your website traffic is in the middle of a long-term downtrend, then it becomes clear that current marketing tactics are not working (or no longer working) and it’s time to try something new.

When looking at the total number of monthly visits, take notice of unique and repeat visits. Unique visits let you know how well your brand is attracting new people, while repeat visits tell you how efficient you are at retaining visitors.

2. Bounce Rate

Another crucial metric you should be monitoring is your site’s bounce rate. Bounce rate is displayed as a percentage on most analytical platforms like Google Analytics.

In short, bounce rate is the measure of the number of visitors who visit your website and then immediately leave without clicking on anything else.

In short, visitors who contribute to higher bounce rates are visitors who:

  • Leave a website by clicking on an external link.
  • Use their browser to go back to the page they were just on (i.e. their search engine.)
  • Use their web browser to go to a different URL.
  • Close the current tab or browser window.
  • Do not interact with the website in any way.
  • Stay on the page but becomes stagnant which results in a timing out of their current session.

A multitude of things impact bounce rate, so the average bounce rate for a single page blog will differ significantly from the bounce rates of landing pages or large eCommerce stores.

A few key things that affect bounce rate, of which you have control over, are:

  • Painfully slow page loading times.
  • Broken website.
  • Difficult design navigation or choppy site layout.
  • Incorrect keywords targeting.
  • Low-value content that fails to help visitors.

With this said, it’s easy to see why Google is beginning to correlate search engine optimization so heavily with a site’s specific bounce rate metric.

If your website is lagging, broken, and doesn’t help the visitor in any way, then why should people browse the rest of your website? And if people aren’t scanning the website to see what you have to offer, then not only will you lose leads, but you’ll get a penalty from Google for providing a poor user experience.

3. Conversion Rate

A website’s conversion rate is a top-level metric that can mean the difference between a business that profits and one that loses money. Conversion rates, not to be confused with overall conversion numbers, gauges how effectively you get web traffic to take a specific action.

This specific action can be anything, and since every brand and its business model is different, a specific conversion rate is defined by the goal of a campaign. Conversion rates can also be measured by the number of new sales acquire through a landing page, number of leads generated through a social media marketing push, newsletter subscribers, social shares, etc.

While vitally important, conversion rates are also conveniently simple to calculate.

Here’s the formula for calculating a conversion rate: Unique visitors / conversions.

High campaign conversion rates tell you you’re on the right path, while poor conversion rates mean you might be targeting the wrong customers, your landing page or call to actions need tweaking, your sales copy is weak and more.

Because even the slightest adjustment of conversion rates can have dramatic impacts on the bottom line, it’s important to continually monitor conversion rates, identify your most important conversion metrics, understand where your conversion problems stem from, and optimize campaigns accordingly.

4. Customer’s Lifetime Value

Using this metric is an excellent way to forecast growth and determine marketing budgets. Most online businesses will have a rough estimate of the average purchase size their customers make, and while it’s good to know this metric, it fails to take into account the fact that many of these customers will become repeat buyers.

This is where knowing a customer’s lifetime value comes into play. A customer’s lifetime value is composed of not only the purchases they’ve made in the past, but also anticipates the purchases they may make in the future.

For example, a business operating under a monthly subscription model will know that, if the membership costs $50 a month, and the average customer continues to pay their membership fee for three months, then each customer is worth an average of $150 for that business.

Knowing your customer’s lifetime value allows you to budget more effectively by knowing how much monetary resources you should allocate to each marketing channel. Companies that have higher customer lifetime values know that they can afford to allocate more resources to their most effective marketing channels.

Even if you’ve never looked at website metrics or considered analytical data as a way to improve your online business, it doesn’t have to be particularly difficult. While metrics might seem complex, they’re really just straightforward ways to measure simple user behaviors that can help you help your customers.

Not sure you’re looking at the analytics and metrics that are right for your business? Need some guidance? Feel free to contact us today for more information.