Part of IT’s responsibility is giving the rest of the organization access to the information they need to improve their performance. In this guest post, data analyst Kurt Smith describes the data sets marketing teams want from IT.
Not all metrics are important. Some are absolutely worthless – like pageviews and most visitor stats. This probably comes as a shock to you if you’re IT department still focuses on providing you with raw data like “hits.” What you need is data that can actually help you improve sales and profits.
Visitor flow tracks how your visitors move through your website. When users land on your site, a cookie is placed on their computer. That cookie allows you to track which pages users visit and, more importantly, where they enter your site and where they exit.
For example, a user might enter your site through the “about” page and leave on the ordering page. Or, a user might enter through the homepage and leave on the about page without ever looking at your products or service.
The fact that users show up to your site and leave tells you very little – where they show up and where and when they leave tells marketing professionals a lot.
In the first example, exiting the order page without completing the order means that there’s something wrong with your shopping cart, you surprised the user with unexpectedly high shipping costs or sales tax, or the user saw some flaw in the product at the last moment.
If users never look at the sales page, they’ll never get to the order page. There may be nothing wrong with your products. The problem might be with your website layout.
Conversion rate is useful when trying to figure out problems with a sales page. When users don’t buy, the company doesn’t make money. Tracking users through the entire sales process will tell you where the problem is. For example, if users land on your sales page, but don’t buy, the problem is the sales letter or something on that page. If users click “order” but they don’t finish buying (called “shopping cart abandonment”), there may be something wrong with how you have the ordering process set up.
Traffic sources tell marketing where your traffic is coming from. Why is this important? Let’s assume that you’re testing a new ad. It’s a banner advertisement, but there’s no way to track visitors from the banner ad platform. Knowing that your visitors are coming from that banner ad will clue you in to the efficacy of that ad.
Or consider visitors who find your site through other websites. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the types of sites that users are finding you through? If you knew that, you could organize a formal marketing campaign oriented around garnering high-value backlinks from sites similar to the ones that are now sending you boatloads of traffic.
Knowing what keywords people use to find you helps teams design effective ads and landing pages. When people search for specific keywords, they’re expecting to find those keywords (or something related to them) on the page they land on. Knowing what keywords people use can help you better tailor your pages to user expectations.
The bounce rate is the percentage of people that land on your site and then leave without visiting any other pages. In general, a high bounce rate means one of two things: users came to your site and found what they were looking for and left or users came to your site and didn’t find what they were looking for, and left.
Either way, people leaving your site without buying something is bad for business. Knowing bounce rates can help marketing improve on-page content so users stay longer and are encouraged to visit other pages.
About the author: Kurt Smith is a business data analyst. He mainly focuses on using existing business data to refine marketing campaigns. He also enjoys sharing his research online. Visit the NextDayLenses.com to see how they have visually refined their sales funnel online.