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The Power of Metrics and How to Harness It

– Contributed content –

7 July 2017. Whether you’re a small to medium sized enterprise that uses content marketing to engage and create a lasting relationship with your customers or whether you’re an online store for whom e-commerce is the lifeblood that keeps your operation going, the metrics of your website and how your visitors interact with it is a factor that you ignore at your peril.

They have the power to grow your business and send your conversion rates through the roof, especially when combined with an automated marketing platform like Visual Visitor. They can help to identify areas of strength and weakness and aid your strategy in the pursuit of growth.

Web sites and services illustration

(FreeGreatPicture.com)

Knowing which metrics matter to you

Whatever the nature of your business and website, you need to identify and understand your key metrics. It sounds simple until you realize that your key metrics may be very different depending on the intended function of your web site and how it will grow your business, although all businesses will have some metrics in common.

Time spent on page, for example is useful for a professional blogger because it gives them an indication that someone is reading and engaging with their content. If you run an online store, however, it indicates only that a customer is spending an awfully long time looking at a product without buying. Sales kryptonite!

Metrics worth considering

Reach. Your reach is simply the number of people who see your site and on its own, it’s pretty meaningless. Even if your hit count is astronomical, it’s really no indication of quality engagement with your visitors. In an era where hits are boosted through underhanded methods like clickbait style headlines and outsourcing to “click farms” in Asia, reach is not as valuable a metric as it once was.

That said, one thing that it is useful for is an indication of website traffic which could be a useful, if harsh, insight into where your business is going wrong if your reach far exceeds your conversion rate. By creating a compelling call to action (such as a newsletter sign up for exclusive content) you can gauge genuine interest within your reach and convert it into a far more useful metric… Conversions!

Time on page. We’re back to this one. As I’ve said previously, the usefulness of time on page as a metric will depend on the nature of your business and website. Having said that, if you are a blogger or content strategist then it can be easy to be misled by time spent on a page.

A visitor may spend four and a half hours on a single page reading, absorbing and loving every word, image and link on there. It could be the best thing they’ve ever read. They could have gathered everyone in their department around to pore over its every detail for hours… Or they could have just gone out for a few hours and left the computer on. Unfortunately, you’ll never know the difference. Hence, scroll depth may be of more use.

Shares. Social media shares can be a great metric as they imply that someone has read your content and it has resonated with them enough to want to share it with their friends, family and colleagues. Once again, there are caveats. Lots of people share content based on the headline and / or featured image alone without even reading it so it may need some supplementation.

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