Analysis of performance data
How to measure website performance? What data promotes correct decision-making and what data, on the contrary, misleads you?
The more data the better!
More data means more information and that, in turn, means more accurate decisions, which in turn means that business development will be faster and more successful.
In fact, it's nonsense.
Not all data is useful. Some not only do not facilitate correct decision-making, but on the contrary - hinder.
Because they make us believe that everything is fine with our business, that we have answers to all the most important questions, but in reality - there are no answers and we really don't know what is happening with the business.
There are essentially 2 types of data/metrics:
- Those that make us feel good, for example – the number of visitors to the page increases (but the number of purchases does not);
- Those who help make decisions. In this case – to understand why the number of purchases does not increase and to take actions to correct the situation.
Obviously, it's better to focus on metrics that help you make decisions - then life becomes much simpler.
Data vs. Metrics
As we proceed, it is important to understand the difference between data and metrics.
In digital marketing, data is most often understood as raw numbers obtained from various sources related to the company and customers - website, social media profiles, sales results ... They come in all shapes and sizes, files and formats, but in themselves they are not very useful, because they need context to make the right decisions.
The data must be transformed into a metric – a quantitative measurement of the data that will give you an idea of what you want to measure.
- The number of website visitors is data, and the number of website visitors per hour is a metric;
- Revenue and ad spend are data on their own, while ROAS (Revenue Of Ad Spend) is a metric.
How to determine if a metric matters in measuring business performance
It all just depends on what these metrics are needed for. Do they help you make decisions? Do they help you understand what and/or why is happening? Do they help you understand what you need to do to improve something?
Ask yourself what this metric gives you? If it doesn't help you make a decision, why do you need it?
Let's say that the number of visitors to a website increases rapidly in a few days. Why does this happen? What does it mean? What should you do to increase the number of visitors even more?
Maybe the increase in the number of visitors means absolutely nothing - maybe your website was mentioned in a blog, maybe a reader of your blog posted a reference to it on his Instagram or Facebook account...
Or, perhaps, this effect is created by a marketing campaign, etc.
You have no idea.
How will you find out the causes of this unexpected activity? What conclusions, seeing a sudden increase in the number of visits, can you draw? That everything is fine with your business?
Maybe so, but did and how exactly did this increase in the number of visits contribute to your business?
Let's say that the number of purchases on your website is rapidly decreasing.
This is a serious problem.
And you immediately know that you need to act and find out what happened:
- Whether the review is incorrect for any reason;
- Are people unable to make purchases on your site for some reason?
You check whether your account is still receiving payments - if not, you contact the website developer and find out what happened and make corrections.
There is no ambiguity or uncertainty - you quickly understand what to pay attention to in order to immediately correct the situation.
What did I want to show with this example?
If you use practical metrics - you can evaluate each of your actions. Learn from mistakes, make data-driven decisions and help your business reach the next level (Ps Negative results often provide much more information about how to increase conversion rates than positive ones).
Metrics to help you make decisions
Whenever you start tracking a metric, ask yourself if it helps you take action and make decisions. If not, don't waste your time.
That is, can these metrics help you answer the following questions:
- How do you make or lose money?
- How do you gain or lose customers?
- Why do people visit your website? What are they looking for/finding there?
The main thing here is to track where the money comes from - every time someone pays you. Using, for example, these metrics:
- Buyer lifetime value or the average duration of the subscription (subscription business models);
- Total revenue (monthly, quarterly, annually);
- Net profit;
- Average order value;
- Number of transactions.
Potential buyers and customers
Where do your customers and potential buyers come from? From social media? From Google search results? From paid ads? It needs to be clarified - if only to know which direction definitely needs to be developed and which can be given less attention.
And here you have to understand that customers and potential buyers are only a small part of your website visitors.
Respectively – data on the total visit of the entire website (who visits it, from where, etc.) cannot be used for this purpose.
It should also be taken into account that people interact with your website several times before making a purchase. For example – your website is mentioned on another website, then a person sees your advertisement on a social network, visits your website, etc. And after some time, when he is ready to buy, he enters the name of the product in the Google search engine, clicks on your ad, goes to your website and buys.
In this case, should Google's paid advertising be considered the only thing that got you this purchase? Is it better, however, to study and understand the entire path of the buyer to the purchase and, based on this data, intelligently post "road signs" in the direction of your site/purchases (the right message, at the right place and time)?
Conversion rate (CR)
The overall site conversion rate is a good start, but you can also track the conversion rate for each traffic source (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), keywords and marketing campaigns.
But don't compare yourself to the average conversion rate of the industry or competitors, etc. - what's the point of "average hospital temperature"? Create your own benchmark (based on historical data) and try to beat it. If you succeed, you are on the right track.
If you fail, you don't grow your business, or even worse, you regress.
Remember, everyone who visits your website can potentially become your customer. When he sends you his email address, fills out a contact form, applies for a trial... he is already one step closer to a purchase. Track conversion rates at every step, try to understand why their journey continues or does not continue, and try to make this journey from the first contact to the purchase and then to the repeat purchase as easy and comfortable as possible.
Google analytics – Cohorts
Different customer groups behave completely differently.
Have you heard of The Pareto principle? In terms of sales, it would sound like this – 20% buyers generate 80% sales.
Those 20 percent are your customers who make repeat purchases - they buy once a month, maybe quarterly, once a year...
Do you know what separates these customers from those who buy something once and never return?
Why don't they come back?
In order for you to track trends, you need to divide customers into segments – groups with common characteristics, such as demographics or behavior.
Performance of marketing campaigns
Are your marketing campaigns bringing you profit? If not, you lose money.
Also if you test new ideas - you need to know if they are profitable or not.
Here are some metrics that can help you figure it out:
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – revenue generated compared to the amount spent on advertising;
- Return on Investment (ROI) – net income (money earned) in relation to invested (money spent);
- Buyer lifetime return on ad spend (Lifetime ROAS) – obtained by multiplying the number of new customers by the total LTV and dividing the result by advertising spend.
Or quite simply - subtract the costs of marketing and sold goods/services from the total revenue of the campaign. If the final result is negative - you have a problem.
How to choose site performance metrics?
Most people log into Google Analytics and start tracking metrics like the number of page visitors, number of pages visited during a session, time spent on site, bounce rate, etc.
They choose the reports available in the basic configuration of Google analytic, which are easily accessible, but in reality do not really give you anything.
For example – the already mentioned number of pages visited during the session. If it increases, you may think that everything is fine, because if people visit several pages during one session, then the website seems interesting to them, the content is appropriate and you are on the right track.
But maybe your website structure is just too complicated? Visitors click on the nth page, do not find what they are looking for, leave unsatisfied and never return to your page?
Or is everything fine in this case?
When choosing site performance metrics, start with your business. Don't even look at Google Analytics or any other tool, but first define the performance indicators of your business (not your website) (KPIs).
Then choose analysis tools that can make these measurements as accurately as possible. If the data needs to be exported and further processed in Excel or Google Sheets for optimal results, do it.
Once you have defined how you will assess the health of your business, you can focus on indicators such as:
- A/B test results;
- Cohort reviews;
- Sales funnels…
If your business is web publishing or placing advertisements on your website, such indicators/metrics as the number of page visitors, the number of pages visited during a session, etc., are of course important to you, because they determine your income.
In other cases, look for other metrics to measure performance.
There are only 24 hours in a day, so every minute counts - don't waste your time tracking indicators that don't help you.
Focus on metrics that help you make decisions that help you understand customer behavior.
If you succeed, you will be able to develop your business much faster.
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