This is the second article in our Digital Marketing Metrics series. To help you have a better understanding of which content works and which doesn’t, we’ll be analysing another very important category: retention metrics. If Consumption Metrics show us how the public interacts and consumes the content we are creating, retention metrics shed some light on how loyal our fans are when it comes to online content.
Retention metrics. How many people are coming back for more of your content?
A. Return Visitor Rate (RVR)
RVR represents the metric that measures the rate of your returning visitors. Basically, it reveals the number of new visitors vs. the number of returning ones. You will probably have a mix of the two types of visitors and you will have to create different content and communication strategies for each of them in order to ensure great results.
To get started with your RVR analysis, sign into your Google Analytics account and select Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning. After you insert the time frame you are good to go. To calculate the return visitor rate, just divide your new visitors to the total unique visitors for the respective time period.
Though there aren’t really comprehensive benchmarks out there on the ideal RVR, the percentage you obtain can be analysed as follows:
- less than 25% – your editorial calendar could probably use some fresh ideas
- around 30% – your content is engaging to your audience
- over 50% – you should probably consider some other medium where to share your content for maximum reach because it’s clearly quality content which might prove useful to those reading it.
Since gaining new visitors is more expensive than turning existing ones into a loyal audience, it’s important to always keep an eye on your RVR. Also, if you constantly have an influx of new people visiting your website and you manage to keep them coming back for more, your online brand equity will increase and you will witness long-term growth.
In order to improve your RVR, you could start by analysing your most popular pages (be careful not to add the paid ad results). Try to understand why these pages were so successful and try to replicate whatever worked for your future content as well as for your other pages.
B. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that left without interacting with any other page than the entrance page. It is calculated by analysing the entry click and the exit click – if both clicks happen on the same page, it’s calculated as a ”bounce.”
First of all, you must have in mind that there are 2 bounce rate metrics: one for your individual web pages and one for your entire website.
Website Bounce Rate = the bounce total for all the pages of your website divided by the total number of website visits (in a specific timeframe).
Web Page Bounce Rate = the number of bounces for a specific page divided by the number of visits for the same page (in a specific timeframe).
These two metrics can prove valuable in helping you discover exactly where your website pages excel, how your visitors behave and where you can invest time and money in order to reach your digital marketing goals.
A couple of factors that could be causing a high bounce rate are mainly website design and visitor behaviour. After you thoroughly analyse both these possibilities, you should try and implement some of the following expert recommended solutions:
Website design advice:
- Your landing pages should satisfy visitor’s query.
- Create landing pages that clearly feature your CTA.
- Fast loading and eye-pleasing landing pages are a must have.
Visitor behaviour advice
- Your landing page should be linked to a relevant CTA.
- The content you create should be easy to read through.
- Create a sense of exploration for your website.
C. Pages Per Visit
If the bounce rate is represented by the people who have not interacted with your content, the pages per visit metric counts exactly the opposite: the visitors who have visited various pages on your website. It’s calculated by dividing the total number of page views by the total number of people who visited them:
Page Views / Visits = Average Page Views per Visit
Pages per visit is important as a metric because it can tell you if your audience is engaged, as well as the level of interacting with your content. One thing you will always have to take into consideration: the relativity of high results. A news website may have users who viewed only 2-3 pages for around 1 minute each and then left; a niche forum, on the other hand, may have visitors clicking on a dozen pages and spending more than 5 minutes reading various threads.
The solutions for obtaining higher pages per visit are basically the same as for resolving bounce rates.
If indeed you do manage to grow the pages per visit metric you will have a community of readers who will be ambassadors for your website, recommending it to others. This, in turn, is an opportunity to grow your income if you are selling advertising on your website, obtaining higher revenue with the same number of visitors.
D. Unsubscribe Rate
First things first, unsubscribers are people who ”opt out”/unsubscribe from your emailing list, as a response to or lack of your latest updates.
The unsubscribe rate is a percentage that represents the number of unsubscribes divided by the number of messages sent to a specific list.
Unsubscribe Rate = number of unsubscribes/ number of messages sent
This metric can be used to measure how engaged the recipients are with the content you are sending them. People will usually unsubscribe from a newsletter when they don’t find the content useful/ relevant or interesting anymore or/ and when they are receiving too many emails and start to treat them like spam.
At Beaglecat, we use MailChimp for most of our email marketing-related campaigns. You can see detailed information on who unsubscribed from each of your email campaign reports, under the Activity tab – Unsubscribes. You will be able to see the contact details, article, and reasons why every user has unsubscribed.
Normally your unsubscribe rate should be below 1% for a single email. You should be careful when analysing this metric because if you have a small list of people, the percentage will clearly skyrocket. This may also occur if you happen to acquire your emailing list from external service providers.
You should monitor this metric both over time (to see what the general trend for why people unsubscribed is and if you should take any action or not) and comparatively (you may see that for some emails the unsubscribe rate has spiked and you should probably do something about it).
After performing a thorough analysis of your unsubscribe rate, use the following tips to reduce that percentage:
- Try to create special categories for the content you are sending. Maybe people only want to unsubscribe from a certain category/ type of article you are sending.
- Try to see exactly what the relationship between your unsubscribe rate and response rate is. If a lot of people are unsubscribing, you can consider reducing the number of emails you are sending in a specific period of time. However, if a lot of people are reacting positively, you should probably let the ones that are less interested unsubscribe.
- Try to see if the information you are sending to your subscribers is still in tune with what you promised to deliver. Always create and send quality content so that your subscribers don’t feel like you are sending them spam.
E. Follower Count
One of the most talked about digital marketing metrics when it comes to social media is the number of followers you have. It basically represents the number of social media users who decided they would like to be up to date with all the content you put out and pressed the ”follow” button. Tracking followers can be done by periodically monitoring them and creating your own reports. Alternatively, you can use these tools created especially for this purpose:
Buffer is a tool that allows you to track and analyse both the number of followers you have for each of the social media platforms you use and their engagement. Currently, Buffer has support for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Pinterest.
Followerwonk is an app developed by the guys at moz.com. In addition to keeping track of all your Twitter followers, you can search bios, compare users, conduct analyses, and sort followers.
The advantage of this metric is that it is very easy to pin down regardless of the social media platform you are using. After you actively track and analyse your follower count comes a more interesting part: interacting with your audience and making sure that they are constantly engaged.
In order to increase your follower count, you will have to use specific social media strategies adapted to each of the platforms you are using. The most important thing is to create context around your Digital Marketing Strategy.
F. Feed Subscribers
If you are constantly putting content out, you should probably consider implementing an RSS-feed for your blog/ website. This way, people who are reading news via feed readers can have easy access to your content. Feed subscribers represent the number of people that have signed up to constantly receive your content.
Squarespace, for example, tracks RSS subscribers using a mix between the number of unique visitors to the RSS feed URLs and any data they receive from feed readers which act as proxies for multiple subscribers. They do warn that the RSS count uses estimates and may contain some inaccuracies.
Another tool you can use to keep an eye on your RSS subscribers is Hubspot. It has the option of tracking active subscribers, not taking into consideration the ones that subscribed to your blog once and then never read anything you put out. As a plus, it also features a quick overview of how your feed has evolved over time.
The only problem with RSS feed subscribers metric is that it tracks all the people who signed up for your content at some point in spacetime. You don’t know exactly how (or if, for that matter) they consume your content. So if they read every article, scan your posts and select only a few or have forgotten about your blog a long time ago, they are still counted as feed subscribers.
Retention metrics are a very important element of your internet marketing strategy and should be taken into consideration very seriously. You should use these digital marketing metrics in order to get an idea of how your content is performing and how your public is interacting with your website. After you have thoroughly analysed the results of your retention metrics, it is time to take action. Depending on your online marketing strategy, you should go ahead and make the necessary efforts in order to improve your retention metrics.