When it comes to measuring the success of your digital strategy, there are inevitably a few numbers – or metrics – in need of crunching.
“The amazing thing that is possible in digital media that was not really possible in traditional media is how thoroughly you can measure everything,” states Doug Lacombe, Communicatto’s president and founder. “That can also be overwhelming.”
Google Analytics, a free tracking service offered by Google, states that,
“The best marketers set themselves up for success by identifying clear metrics they want to affect before launching a campaign.”
But which numbers make a lasting impact on your business?
To help you narrow them down, here are five metrics that really matter:
- Are you reaching anyone? Let’s start with the obvious: If your content isn’t reaching your audience, then it can’t work. The key here is to find out which social media channels your audience actually uses and then post your content there. Research and demographics will help you “understand where your audience mostly hangs out so you can concentrate your media and engagement on those channels,” Lacombe advises.
- Are they consuming your content? The goal is to share content that interests your audience – but how can you track something as subjective as interest? As Lacombe says, “You’re looking for patterns of content consumption by actual reader behaviour to give you clues as to what content is appealing and what is not.” When interpreting patterns of your audience’s behaviour, views, clicks, pages per session and bounce rates are great metrics to start with – these are excellent indicators of just how interested your viewers really are.
- Are they taking “social action” on your content? Likes, shares and comments are all-important forms of social action. By looking at how willing – or unwilling –viewers are to interact with your content, you’ll be able to see whether or not you’ve struck a chord. Lacombe explains, “the trick is, you have to ensure the content ‘speaks to them’ and is not just a corporate statement of what you want to broadcast.”
- Does the content draw them (further) into your site? When it comes to designing websites, the “customer journey” is critical. Ideally, you can guide your viewers through your site with conversion mechanisms such as call-to-action buttons, content teasers, photos and even videos. Displaying recent headlines might also keep them glued to your site, if they like what they see. For ideas on how to make your site even more engaging, track which features draw the most attention and expand on them.
- Do they “convert” in a way that helps your business? According to Google Analytics “with advances in analytics, it’s possible to better align your metrics with your core business goals.” Getting your content out to your community is a great place to start, but your end game is conversion. In other words, your audience needs to complete actions that help you meet your business goals – email subscriptions, content shares, sales inquiries or purchases are a few common ones. By utilizing a landing page that meets your viewers’ expectations, you’ll make the conversion process much simpler.
“All of this gives you a deep understanding of customer behavior, which is what it’s all about,” concludes Kissmetrics, a funnel management platform. “When we truly understand our customer, we can delight them at every step and build our business faster than we could have imagined.”
Metrics, in essence, express just how balanced your connection with your audience is – are you giving them what they’re looking for? Are they helping you build your business in return? By analyzing the numbers, you open up tons of opportunities to strengthen this connection and create an even stronger digital strategy.