10 ways to stay afloat in a sea of data
In the digital era, it’s possible to measure almost everything people say and do online. This has led to the rise in a whole range of data buzzwords and trends. It can all be a bit daunting to get things like a measurement strategy or marketing effectiveness report going. But don’t worry, at P+S, we’re here to demystify your data and help you focus on what’s really important when looking at your website analytics.
Terms like bounce rate, new visitors, time on website, cohort analysis and device overlap almost sound like they are designed to confuse you. With such a variety of data on offer, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in the sheer volume of it all. Where do you even start?
Don’t panic. Unless you’re running a specific project or campaign, you can rest easy knowing that most of your day to day information can be found in just 10 key metrics, common across every platform.
Here’s a breakdown of what they are, and what they’ll tell you…
1. Unique page views aggregates views of a particular page by an individual during a single session (see number 6). So if a visitor views the same page multiple times during a single session (including refreshing pages and clicking back in their browser), it would be recorded as one unique page view. This differs from ‘page views’ which records how many times the page has been viewed, regardless of sessions.
2. Bounce rate refers to someone looking at a single page on your website before leaving. If this is your homepage, it’s probably not a good thing. However, if it’s a landing page designed to get people to watch a video or read an article then it may not be so bad. Always view bounce rate in conjunction with time on site (number 8 in this list), to help you determine whether people are really bouncing, or whether they are just behaving in the way the page was designed to work.
3. Average time on page is a measure of how long someone spends on a particular page. You can gauge this yourself simply by timing how long it takes you to read your page – get a few colleagues to do the same and discover an average read time. You can then judge whether people are fully reading your content or just glancing at it.
4. Percentage exit. What percentage of people get to a particular page and then leave the website? This is your percentage exit. If it’s a confirmation page, then it’s working as it should. If it’s a product page, then it’s an indicator that something may not be performing as well as planned. You can use this data to identify any problem pages on your website, or where your sales funnel is breaking down.
5. Users. This refers to how many individuals have looked at your website in a given time frame. It’s important to focus on the total number of people visiting your website to see whether your marketing efforts have been effective. Don’t forget, new versus existing users is only a guide and shouldn’t be taken too literally (for reasons we’ll explain in more detail in part two of the article, coming soon).
6. Sessions. This is how many times someone interacts with your website in a given time frame. Use this in conjunction with the metrics above to get a better idea of the true volume of visits to your website, as well as the repeat visits.
7. Page views. Does what it says on the tin: it’s how many times your pages have been viewed by website visitors. This can help you identify content that’s working really well as well as potential dead ends in your website’s user journey.
8. Time on site. How long have people spent on your website within a particular session? Different websites have different requirements, and the amount of time people spend on your website is a great way to see whether your website is performing how you want it to.
9. Channels. Knowing where people come from is vital to guide and inform your marketing efforts. Increasing traffic usually costs money and/or time, so it’s important to identify the best channels for maximising your return.
10. Referrals. Find the websites that are delivering traffic to your site. Referral domains will provide you with a snapshot into what your website visitors are doing before they arrive on your site. So, it can also inform your SEO strategy and tell you whether your site could benefit from a content refresh.
So, there you have it. The top 10 metrics that will help you better understand your website. It’s data that will tell you straight whether all your hard work is making an impact.
To understand more about your data, and how you can use it to supercharge your marketing, get in touch with us at Proctor + Stevenson, today.