Typically, site analysis must be customized to individual marketing objectives. But there are a few common key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be applied across the board. Here are four KPIs every marketer or site owner can leverage to identify opportunities and improve results. Best part is, these are easy ratios to create using any Web analytics tool and Microsoft Excel. Some can be automatically set up within your existing analytics tool.
Landing-Page Exit Ratio
If you run campaigns or have partner sites that link or refer traffic to your site, your landing page’s effectiveness can make or break a campaign or partnership. Instead of just dropping people on the site home page, savvy marketers create custom landing pages. This tends to increase the campaign’s effectiveness considerably, since the landing page’s message can be tuned to the campaign. But don’t stop there; you must also understand landing pages’ performance and tune them over time.
Unfortunately, it’s very common for landing pages to record very high exit ratios. When looking at a landing page, compare landing-page traffic to site exits from that page:
Landing-page exit ratio = site exits from landing page/landing-page visits
Often, a significant amount of money is spent on campaigns to drive site traffic and on landing-page creation to catch that traffic. Given this expense, visitors must move past the landing page. When introducing this metric to clients, we often find surprisingly high landing-page exit ratios. The good news is landing pages are often fairly easy to test and tune, and those numbers can be reduced fairly quickly. On rare occasions, just getting people to the landing is considered a success, but typically a landing page should move visitors deeper into the site.
It’s fairly typical to have most of site traffic come in through the home page, so it’s important the home page works. We created the home-page-effectiveness index by looking at the percentage of home-page-entry visits that take the intended path (or paths) from the home page based on the top site goals. This can be calculated based on a primary goal or on the top three site goals together or individually, depending on the situation:
Home-page-effectiveness index = home-page-entry visits/visits that proceed down the path toward a defined goal
If you consider more than one goal or path when calculating this index, make sure you don’t double-count the visit if the visitor explores more than one path or goal while on the site. This metric will help you understand how effectively you move people toward your top goals. More than anything, it will help you evaluate optimization efforts on your home page.
Thank-You-Page Abandonment Rate
Do you know what percentage of people who buy a product or submit a form through your site immediately leave after receiving the thank-you or order confirmation page? Most likely you don’t, and your first reaction to this metric is likely, “Why should I focus on people after they submitted a form or purchased a product?”
Most sites have more than one thing they want people to do, and thank-you pages are often ignored. A visitor looks around an average e-commerce site, buys a pair of shoes, and immediately leaves after getting the order confirmation page, for example. But, the confirmation page provides marketers an opportunity to drive visitors to sign up for a newsletter or present another offer for a future purchase. To calculate the abandonment rate:
Thank-you-page abandonment rate = site exits from thank-you page/thank-you-page visits
Your order confirmation page may have a 98 percent exit rate, and you may never get it anywhere close to zero. Yet consider the opportunities. If you could reduce exits by just 5 percent, you could have that many more people sign up for a newsletter, participate in a survey, sample complimentary products, viewing branding content, and so on.
Measure and Segment
When you get serious about Web analytics, one of the first things you must do is understand the conversion rates of your key site behaviors and the supporting information for those goals and behaviors. But don’t stop there. Once you understand those metrics for everyone, break your audience down into different segments. Many of our clients have had a lot of success segmenting their audiences and conversion rates by new versus returning visitors.
You’ll often find very different conversion rates for these two segments. It’s important to be aware of the different conversion rates, but even more important understand why they are different. Often, you’ll be able to identify a few opportunities to improve the experience for each segment. Through optimization for each, you’ll improve the overall conversion rate.
I’m not saying these are the four KPIs you should be focusing on and trying to move. What I am suggesting is depending on your business, site type, and brand position, you may want to look at and understand these metrics for your site.
If you need help tracking or optimizing these KPIs’ performance, drop me an email, and I can share some methods.
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