Understanding Web Metrics

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Tyler Hurst, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing here at LiveRez.com, and I want to welcome you to this week's edition of Whiteboard Wednesday. Now, some of you are probably wondering, "Why is he wearing a blindfold?" Well, some people have said that marketing without metrics is basically marketing with a blindfold on. So today I want to talk about ways that we can help you can take the blindfold off by using tracking to help increase the ROI of your business.

I started thinking, "What's a good vernacular for that?" It's May. May metrics is what I've come up with. What's interesting is every week, this month in May, and every Wednesday for Whiteboard Wednesday, I want to talk to you about a different segment of tracking. When I start thinking about tracking and metrics, the first one that comes to my mind is web traffic, and how do we track that to help increase ROI and ultimately conversion on your website? Let's look at it. What would we track? What are the metrics that we want to follow? I wrote a short list, there's so much more that you can offer, but a short list would be things that we must track. Let's talk about it.

First of all, quantity. We want to track the quantity of visitors to our website, not only new visitors or unique visitors but recurring visitors, people that keep coming back. Now ultimately we can track this very, very easily, but what do we do with that? Ultimately, tracking visitors can tell us if something's going wrong. Is something in our climate changing that's changing the way people perceive our business? Is it a seasonal change? You can start watching those ebbs and flows and know when you're going to get less in traffic and ultimately probably less bookings or more bookings.

Now, traffic can be very, very helpful to understanding the ebbs and flows of great business cycle. But then again, when you look at tracking of quantity, you have to start thinking where are these leads coming from? Where are these traffic visitors coming from? Well, source matters. Source is a very broad term, though. Because I think of source as, what is the web source? Are they coming in organically? Are they coming through pay per click? What's being successful for you? Is it a LinkedIn ad? Is it a Facebook ad? Is it Twitter? Whatever it is, you may want to find out what's working for you and, of course, do more of it.

Now, when we think about source, we think about what's the source of the traffic, but also, where are people coming from? Let's say there's a common thought that your traffic...let's say you're a vacational manager in Orlando and all of your traffic comes from California. Maybe you believe that. If you go and actually take a look at the analytics, you may realize that most of your traffic could be drive-through traffic. It could be from Georgia, and north Florida, and the Pan Handle, and South Carolina, and Alabama. I don't know. But you can find that information out through watching your source traffic.

Another metric that you want to pay attention to is time on site. How long are people staying with you? If they're going really fast, maybe they're not getting all the content and all the assurities they want to spend a lot of time and really do a lot of shopping on your website. But if they're going too slow, maybe you're not making it easy enough for them to actually convert. So time on site actually matters. We'll talk about that in a second. Another thing and another really important metric is the bounce rate. What is a bounce rate? The bounce rate is really when someone comes to your website and leaves immediately. Certainly, some of your traffic's going to find you through search and not really find what they were looking for. That's going to happen, and that's okay.

Usually, you look for somewhere between 30% to 35% in a bounce rate, up to 40 is probably marginally okay. But once you get past 35% to 40%, you got to start looking at what's actually happening. Ultimately, it really ties into conversion. Now, when you get traffic to your website, how many of those people are converting? What's conversion? It's people ultimately doing what you want, whether it's contacting you, calling you, submitting a web form, or ultimately booking their vacation route.

So when we think about all these metrics and all this tracking, you have to really think, "What is the purpose of my website?" The way that we look at it, the way that I look at it is really, what is a website? Think about all these great websites out there that we use, Ebay, Amazon, all these great websites that we visit all day, every day, what is their goal? Their goal is to get you to convert. So they don't think of it as just a website, they think of it as an engine and a funnel.

Let's look at the vacation route file that your website shared and very likely is. Really, you have all your traffic right here. All the traffic that comes in from all the different sources. But what ends up happening is when they get there, we should make it very simple for someone to search, shop and compare units and vacation rental homes, and then ultimately book and convert. Ultimately, that's the goal of your website. Yes, they may want to take a look at things around you or activities in the are, or the About Us page on your website, but ultimately we found the majority of traffic, when they hit your website, all they want is search availability, they want to search a date range, find what's available, and book the home. If you provide that and make it simple, you will ultimately land yourself to a much higher conversion.

So, does it work? A lot of marketers say that it does. Tracking can make a big difference to your business and your ROI. Let's look. Fun fact is that 40% of marketers surveyed say, "Analytics drive major decision-making process about their business and ultimately about their website and how they place content on their website and drive traffic through their website." That's pretty big, but what's even more interesting is 42% are saying that tracking makes a big differential to their ROI. You're going to want to pay attention to that. Return on investment can be very, very important, especially if you watch your analytics and continue to drive traffic through your website and ultimately understanding your traffic.

Now, next week we're going to talk about other topics that have to deal with tracking. We'll do that throughout the month of May. That's this week's edition of Whiteboard Wednesday. We'll see you next week. Thanks, everybody.