Website Marketing Program Success: Web Metrics

Measuring and understanding your Website’s marketing performance is a process that is sometimes placed permanently on the “back burner.” Knowing how and why your Website marketing programs perform the way they do, however, can lead to greater success. In Part 1,
Planning and Evaluating Internet Marketing Programs, we looked at how to improving Website marketing success through marketing planning and project evaluation. Here, we’ll look at several Web metrics, ways to measure and improve your Website marketing by understanding the data. The specific data you collect and analyze will depend on your Website goals and resources available to you. Here are just a few of the measures to consider, along with ideas for making related Website marketing programs a success:

Shopping Cart Abandonment Affects Marketing Program Results

A shopping cart is often abandoned before the sale is complete. The reason is not always negative. Sometimes people are simply browsing or using the shopping cart to help research a future purchase. Many times, however, something is wrong. The shopper is confused by navigation, for example, or frustrated by the number or complexity of steps required at checkout. She may also have discovered information (such as undisclosed shipping charges) that changed her mind or she may have security concerns. Understanding why and where your visitors abandon their orders can lead directly to marketing program improvements and increase conversion rates. Also, comparing profiles and order content of “abandoners” versus “completers” may lead to additional marketing insights.

Successful Marketing Programs Increase Conversion Rates

Conversion rates tell what percent of people respond to your call to action. (Place an order, sign up for your newsletter, etc.) There are numerous factors — both Website marketing related and visitor related — that can affect your conversion rate. The checkout process, navigation, and Website content (sales copy, link text, graphics, etc.) all play a part. Visitor involvement, such as interest level and customer’s place in the buying process, also affect conversion rates. Website metrics that may uncover opportunities to improve conversion rate include page views, time spent on the Website, number of previous visits, and click rate on links leading to critical pages.

Average Order Size Can Indicate Website Marketing Program Success

An increase (or decrease) in average order size can serve as a metric for marketing success when upsell methods are used. Customer demographics and order content can identify effective (as well as ineffective) techniques. Upsell programs can include suggesting items complementary to those ordered (ink refills for a pen, for example) or offering products or services at checkout that have general appeal to demographically similar customers. You can also offer related add-on items — such as a free newsletter or product/service sample — at checkout. This further opens the door for future business.

Measuring Marketing Program Success Through Search Engine Results

Search engines and directories can be a large source of Website traffic. Measure results from this traffic and identify ways to improve Website design to increase search engine results. You can measure results by search engine and by keyword. The former can lead to improving your site structure, resulting in more effective listings on specific search engines. The latter can help you refine Website copy to emphasize more effective keywords and phrases. There are numerous search engine measurements. A few that can lead to improving site success are inbound traffic analysis, clickpath analysis, and visitor satisfaction levels.

Web Metrics / Analysis Resources

Condensing Web metrics into a single article is like writing “Rocket Science in Three Easy Steps” — impossible. You can get a better understanding of Web metrics by reading books written by the experts and conducting a search on the phrase “Website metrics.” To learn more about the technical issues surrounding Web analysis, read Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business, by Eric Peterson. Web Metrics: Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success, by Jim Sterne includes case studies and discussions that explain how to use Web metrics to improve Website marketing program success.