With all those digital marketing metrics out there it could sometimes be difficult (if not near impossible) to know exactly which measures what, why they are important and what actions you should take in order to grow your online performance.
As a content marketing agency primarily working with clients in the tech area, we oftentimes struggle to answer the following questions:
“What can we expect after a few articles published?”
“How fast will we start seeing some results?”
“What will those results look like?”
Since everyone wants their leads to kick in effective yesterday, we had to come up with a way of showing our customers that what we’re doing actually pays off. In many ways other than the number of likes on a Facebook page.
We’ve therefore structured potential results into 5 different categories (as coined by Huffington Post in a very illustrative infographic), which we will be approaching in 5 separate articles discussing consumption metrics, retention metrics, sharing/engagement metrics, sales/leads metrics, production/cost metrics.
Consumption metrics. How many people have viewed and interacted with your content?
A. The number of form completions/asset downloads
Other metrics, such as the number of pageviews or the email open rate for your newsletter subscribers may also be important. However, the people who have downloaded your whitepaper/eBook or have completed a form for getting to it are actually the most relevant leads. Whereas some are simply interested in reading a guide that helps them better understand what their problems are, others can actually have an acute need for your services. It all depends on the phase of the buyer’s journey that they are in when stumbling upon your website.
Some of the people downloading a whitepaper can be regular readers. Which is all the better, because they also count.
In order for us to avoid confusion, we structured them into
– qualified leads: these are the people who have started a product trial or have directly expressed the wish to do so in the near future. They are the ones filling forms with their contact information. They can become constant readers of your blog and even brand evangelists.
– unqualified leads: we usually name an “unqualified lead” everyone downloading our whitepaper/report/eBook or signing up to our weekly newsletter.
B. Average time on page
This is another useful metric, as it shows how involved people were with the content they read. Google Analytics provides a very useful insight into how much time people spent on a specific page.
However, we have an additional tool we use, that’s correlated with the time spent on page. And that is the content depth, assessed with the help of Scroll Depth, the “Google Analytics plugin for measuring website scrolling”. The fact that you know how many of your readers actually took the time to read an article to the very end can give you an idea on the attributes of content that sticks. So that you can reproduce it as often as possible.
C. Pageviews (also called Impressions)
When a visitor enters a certain page on your website he will trigger a Pageview for that specific page. Repeat views also count as Pageviews. This metric helps you identify traffic patterns and what pages are the most visited on your website. It is also useful in helping you improve your least visited pages.
Pageviews are useful because they help you compare the actual user journey with what you had previously planned and see if the two overlap or if you need more strategizing. It’s important to have a clear view on which pages you need to target with CTAs, where to frequently post content updates and where to create visitor funnels.
D. Unique Visitors
Although we are tempted to look into how many total visits an article or website has had, it’s always good to know how many of them were actually unique visitors. You wouldn’t like to lie to yourself, would you?
Aside from this, the percentage of “New” versus “Returning” visitors can indicate how many loyal readers you’ve managed to attract. Reputable websites will always have a higher percentage of returning visitors than of new ones.
Unique visitors are important because they offer an overview of your audience’s size and scope. The importance of this metric is defined by the objectives that your business has set for its online marketing strategy. For example, if your business provides a niche service, you may want to have a smaller audience which is loyal and engaged by accessing a lot of pages on your website (lots of Pageviews). On the other hand, if you are an international product brand, you may want to get as many visits as possible in order to gain brand equity, with little regard for how in-depth the visitors read through your content.
E. Email open rate
Any marketing automation tool (Hubspot, Active Campaign) will give you a report on how many of the emails you sent were actually opened. A low email open rate can indicate two things: either the email presented little interest to the reader, or it landed in their SPAM folder, case in which they probably didn’t even see it.
Track your email open rate from one sales/marketing campaign to the other, so you know what works and what doesn’t.
At Beaglecat, we use Yesware for our sales campaigns and MailChimp for our marketing ones. Both of them do a fine job at reporting how many people actually saw the messages.
Yesware relies on tracking a pixel embedded at the end of your email. This offers the advantage of telling salespeople exactly when, where and on what device the prospect has opened the email.
A really interesting feature is attachment tracking, which enables you to see if your possible future client has opened the documents/presentations you sent him via email. Yesware can even track the links you insert in the body of the email and also the presentation formats you attach.
MailChimp uses an email open tracking beacon to offer you information on how many emails have been opened for a certain campaign. There is a unique beacon registered to every campaign which facilitates you to analyse the Open rate and Click rate of each email.
A very useful feature of MailChimp is the option to analyse your public by the reactions they had to your email campaign(s): Opened, Clicked, Didn’t Open, Bounced, Unsubscried, Complained.
F. Email clicks
The email open rate can give an idea of the global reach of your campaign and the number of clicks will show what particular resource in your email actually triggered the most interest.
The click rate reveals general trends, but isn’t particularly detailed. Open rate tracking, on the other hand, relies on images so it isn’t 100% accurate. If one of your subscribers has images turned off, the tracking image won’t load, and their campaign won’t register as opened. MailChimp (for example) will consider clicks on the links inside emails as opens even if the tracking image didn’t load.
If the email open rate is important because they demonstrate if your subject lines resonate with your audience, Email Clicks provide insight into the relevance of the content that is being sent to your recipients.
All of the digital marketing metrics presented in this article are very insightful for any business that has an online presence. Each one of them has a utility that is correlated with the online marketing objectives of the specific business. Some of them may be crucial for your strategic plan, others may be purely informative. It all depends on how you can use the information to grow your business.