The Most Important Analytics You Must Measure
What’s more valuable to your business? Pageviews or sales?
This is in no way a trick question, and yes the answer is as obvious as it sounds, but if I looked at the vast majorities of businesses data collection strategies, it would seem pageviews and sessions trump dollars and cents. The funny thing is nobody actually values those things more, so why are we tying those metrics back to the success of our website, emails, SEO, or social media efforts? That answer is also somewhat obvious, it’s easy!
Out of the box implementation of tools like Google Analytics are great, and you can get some valuable data that will provide insights into the performance of your digital media efforts. Five minutes of scanning the developer guide, a Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V and data will start flowing into your GA account. The problem with this data is there is no way to tie those metrics you see back to your revenue. We can make judgement calls that because organic search drives 60% of the leads on your site, therefore SEO is worthy of 60% of your time. If we take the time to set up some additional tracking and analyze some revenue data, we might find that while 60% of your leads come from organic, it only makes up 10% of your digital revenue. Now isn’t this a gamechanger? Is SEO still worth 60% of your time? Maybe we see some content optimization opportunities to help get more quality leads from organic search, or maybe we focus on getting more volume from other, more productive channels.
The real gem in my fictional scenario is that whatever the next step is will be an attempt to increase revenue as opposed to traffic and leads. Sure, traffic and leads are mechanisms we try to influence to ladder up to more sales, but we also know simply improving them will not necessarily increase our bottom line. We have seen this time and time again with clients. We have been tasked with SEO and content optimization for clients and seen organic traffic fall, total organic leads fall, but total number of organic closed sales go up. If we were being measured on pageviews, we should be fired. But since we could tie actual sales to the source of the traffic we could optimize the lead-to-sales ratio by driving more relevant organic traffic to their site, ultimately resulting in more sales. Instead of having 100 users come to their site with extremely varied levels of interest in their products, we helped drive 80 users who had a much higher interest in their products. So, what’s more important to your business? pageviews or sales?
While it’s an easy task to find where those sales are coming from, the next step is the hard part. That is where the analytics gets crucial. In my client example, we decided to optimize a struggling channel based on their market factors, competition, and the state of their SEO. If we weren’t looking at sales, we never would have focused on that. Their organic traffic and lead capture was higher than it’s ever been. Now that we are getting higher quality traffic, the focus can become volume and finding more of that quality traffic.
Maybe the data would have led us to recommend optimizing paid search campaigns, or ramping up social media presence. Maybe it would have led to us making changes to their triggered nurture email campaigns or fuel A/B testing ideas on their site. Any of these things could have been the potential bottleneck. The point is that because they answered the question “Sales or pageviews?” correctly we could lock arms and create a Digital Marketing Measurement Model (DMMM) that was sales dollars focused. While having metrics like pageviews and leads are part of the universal picture (and should be included in your DMMM), we should be optimizing sales and revenue above all else.
If you need help proving quality conversions are more valuable than pageviews, we’re happy to help!