When I started my agency I realized that if I was going to be able to acquire new customers, I needed to be able to “prove” that my process delivered results. But how? Not all clients need to see the same data, but I needed to be prepared to explain how the actions we took, were producing results for them. This was when I began to explore the power of data.
While my original intent for learning more about data was to “prove” myself, I quickly began to see how measuring and tracking my work lead me to make smarter decisions. Today we have access to so much data that knowing what to track and measure can feel overwhelming. In order to make smarter decisions, you have to measure the right metrics.
Below are 15 metrics that all digital marketers should track in order to get a clear understand of where they rank and what they can improve.
Sessions are the number of people who visited your site during a particular period of time. This counts repeated visitors and new visitors. When sharing with your team or clients on the number of people who went to a site, this is the metric you want to use.
Users are similar to sessions, but if you look at any analytics account, you’ll notice this number is always a little less. That is because this metric tracks the number of “unique users” who visited your site during a particular time frame. Google does this by attaching a unique identifier cookie to a site visitor when they come to your site.
This metric is helpful to show the range of sessions to a site. If you have a lot of sessions, but few users, this means your traffic is coming from repeat visitors.
Having someone visit your website is only half the battle. The goal should be to have the user engage with you after they visit. Bounce rate can help you see if you are engaging your visitors or not. A bounce is recorded when a user visits your site and takes no action. Your bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave without an interaction.
If you have a high bounce rate, which differs based on site, industry, target segment, etc., you’ll need to look at your content, site structure, and design to find out why people aren’t engaging. Low user engagement can hurt your marketing efforts and organic visibility.
Visit to contact ratio looks at the number of visits coming to your site compared with the number of contacts you are generating. On average, we are looking for this number to be around 2% for our clients. If the number is lower than that, we know we need to optimize the site for conversions.
Tracking this metric will help you understand if you have the right offers to generate leads. If your site is not converting, that is an indication to review your content, messaging, and types of offers.
Setting up goals in Google Analytics help you better understand if your traffic is taking the desired actions on your site. Similar to bounce rate and visits to contacts, this metric is all about user engagement.
You can set goals around page views, time on the site, events, or other actions. Mapping out what steps you want your users to take and then setting up goals will help you measure the effectiveness of your site.
Knowing where your site sits in the organic ranking for certain keywords is still important. As someone that has been in SEO for years, this is a metric clients always want to see. While ranking will fluctuate, the key here is to look at overall trends and the share of voice you get for a particular keyword.
We use Accuranker to track and measure our keywords, because of the ‘share of voice’ metric. That tells us the amount of expected traffic we should receive as a result of our rank. Tracking rank will help you know if you are heading in the right (or wrong) direction.
Impressions are the number of people who were shown your URL in the search results. This includes those who didn’t click on your link. Impressions can help us see the overall reach and visibility of your site in search.
From a branding perspective, getting more exposure is never a bad thing. Tracking impressions will help you see if your work is leading to greater exposure.
Clicks are the actual number of clicks you’ve received from the search engines. This is important because it shows how many people took action when they saw your link.
CTR or click-through-rate is the percentage of people who clicked through in the search results. The goal here is to have as high of a CTR as possible. While impressions are good, if you are not getting interaction, then changes are needed.
If you notice your CTR is low, a great first step to fixing the issue is updating your Title & Descriptions. Using keywords and action based language, you can entice users to click your link.
Page Trust and Authority can tell you how strong your site is. While this is not a universal metric, there are a number of tools that can give you an idea of these numbers. A few we use are, Majestic, Serpstat, and Ahrefs. For the most part, this metric is trying to mimic Google’s Page Rank, which is something where visible access is nolonger available.
Tracking this metric helps you understand the overall health of your domain and helps greatly when building links. You want to work on getting links from sites with more authority and trust to improve your site's score
Backlinks are the number of pages that link to your site. As you may know, this is one of the most important metrics for SEO. But, you want to track more than just the number of links to your site. You also want to track the quality of those links. When it comes to link building, quality always beats quantity.
Referring domains looks at the number of websites that link to you. In reality, this gives you a better idea on your sites link health. You want to have a variety of referring domains pointing to your site, and they need to be in the same or related industry as you.
For example, if you have 1000 backlinks from 1 referring domain, you’re not going to fool Google into thinking you have 1000 good links. You want your links spread out from a number of good referring domains.
Source and medium help you understand where your website traffic is coming from. The Source references the place users location before seeing your content, such as a search engine or another website. The Medium shows how users arrived at your content. Values for Medium include "organic" for unpaid search traffic and "none" for direct traffic.
This helps you understand which channels are producing results. For instance, if you look at all the traffic in the “organic” medium, you’ll see Google, Bing, and Yahoo as sources. If you notice 90% of your traffic is coming from Google, you can focus more on marketing there.
Cohort analysis tracks the behavior of certain groups over time. While this metric is a little more complicated, it can uncover some amazing trends. In Google Analytics, cohorts are grouped by the date they visited by default. You can then track how a group of users engaged over time.
This helps you understand your visitors at a community level. Instead of looking at a one-to-one relationship, cohorts lets you see how your messages are impacting a larger group.
Demographics tell you more about the people who engage with your website by giving you ages and gender. This is helpful when you are looking to understand if you are attracting the right user base to your site.
For example, if you own a beauty shop, and are marketing to young women, but notice that most of your website traffic consists of older women, you may want to pivot to search that segment or change your message.
As you can see, there is a ton of value in tracking and measuring. While we all have access to data, knowing how to use it is the key. According to one study, 59% of marketers said that data collection and centralization is their biggest challenge, and 46% struggle to gain actionable insight from their reports. Using the 15 metrics I shared above, and the tips on how to leverage them will help you get actionable insight from your data and set you apart from the rest!
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