When the owner of a site reviews their site’s progress they generally look at the numbers for registered users, pageviews, file downloads, page likes, and page shares. Looking at these numbers is satisfying because they offer a tangible, easy to access number that can be tracked month over month. The problem is that these types of metrics are unreliable as they don’t necessarily relate to the statistics that truly matter when measuring growth.
When it comes down to it, any metric can be a vanity metric. Vanity metrics are defined as a shallow number that isn’t tied to any real value in a business. Percentages, pageviews, video plays, and page shares are all website stats that offer a quick probe into the functionality of a site and how popular it is. These are a great way to reference what your audience finds of interest, yet these metrics are easily influenced by many things—from the season of the year to what’s trending on Twitter. Keep in mind that the point of a website is to generate revenue for the owner. Looking at just the number of pageviews often will not tell you how many of your users will convert into leads or sales.
The metric that site owners should be watching is the Conversion Rate. This metric displays a percentage that represents the total number of users that either submit their contact information or in some other way interact with the website. Within Google Analytics this metric is calculated by totaling the number of completed Goals. Goals are often used to track submissions, subscription sign-ups, file downloads. Email Marketing platforms display a Conversion Rate as split into two metrics: the number of Opens and the number of Clicks on links contained within the email. In both SEO and Email Marketing the Conversion Rate is the last point of the Acquisition Funnel.
A typical Email Marketing funnel consists of # of Emails Sent># of Emails Opened># of Links Clicked>Place Order/Submit Information. The typical site owner looks at only the number of Emails Sent versus the Emails Opened, yet they’re only looking at the beginning of the funnel. The number that truly matters is how many users are completing an order on the site. While raising the number of emails sent in the first place will theoretically raise the number of orders completed, this is an inefficient way to increase conversions. The reason for this is that the Conversion Rate will likely remain the same or decrease, which means that you’ll need to add an exceptionally high amount of emails to the list to increase the conversion. For example, if you have an email list of 1,000 addresses and you had a 2% Conversion Rate you’d need to add 50 addresses just to get one more conversion. An aggressive hygiene campaign would allow you to maintain the same number of emails on a list but increase the Conversion Rate. This has been proven to be true by many of our clients. For one in particular, we were able to increase their monthly profits by 160% over the course of just two years by keeping an eye on the Conversion Rate, meanwhile their list size is still at the same number as when they brought it to us.
As you can see, just because a number is bigger than when you started doesn’t always mean it’s better for your business. If you’re curious how to go about increasing your site’s conversion rate, feel free to contact us via our website or by phone at (800) 978-3417.