9 Online Business Data Points You Need to Track
Just how well is your company doing? While it may appear fine on the surface, data analytics can show us exactly where the cracks are beginning to show. Whatever the size and nature of your business, there is valuable insight to be gained from observing the data it generates each day. Armed with this insight, you can start to make meaningful changes to your business and marketing strategies that will give your business a push in the right direction. It’s all about selecting the metrics that matter. Regardless of industry, here are 9 metrics that are absolutely worth your time.
1. Unique website visitors
Start by analyzing the total amount of traffic to your website. This will help to give you an overview of your digital reach. Uncover whether your latest digital marketing campaign has been successful or not by looking at how many new visitors you’ve had. By tracking unique website visitors, you can also observe whether there are any potential issues with your SEO, advertising, and social engagement.
It’s advisable to start tracking data early, so if you don’t have a robust analytics solution in place, now is the time to rectify that. Google Analytics is the obvious choice, or you could try Snowplow – a popular alternative. For e-commerce business owners using Shopify, its online store marketing features come with detailed reports and tracking capabilities built in.
2. Average time on site
This important metric is a measure of how long visitors are spending on your business website. Naturally, this will vary depending on what type of business you are, and to some extent, whether you provide B2B or B2C services. B2B customers generally spend more time looking through potential supplier’s a website than regular consumers.
Either way, a very short amount of time spent on your website is a bad sign, suggesting the user has either encountered a problem, or found that your website doesn’t meet their expectations. Whatever the reason, uncovering it is crucial.
3. Bounce rate
Linked closely to average time on site, your bounce rate is a measure of the users who left your site immediately after arrival. A high bounce rate indicates that, for whatever reason, many of your visitors discovered your website wasn’t what they were looking for. Alternatively, something about the site could be putting them off – poor design, OTT advertising, or lack of mobile optimization, for example. Among other things, a high bounce rate can have a detrimental impact on your SEO.
4. Click-through rates
If you’re getting a decent amount of traffic through to a piece of content, that in itself is an achievement. But what if visitors aren’t taking the next step? This is where analyzing your click-through rates can help to shed light on the situation.
If you’re not getting many clicks on your CTAs, then something needs to change – perhaps the wording, perhaps the placement, perhaps the strategy as a whole. Your click-through rate can’t tell you exactly what the problem is, but it can point you in the right direction.
5. Repeat vs. first-time actions
There is a key difference between user acquisition and user retention. It’s one thing to acquire a new customer, make a sale, and then never hear from them again – quite another to garner enough loyalty that they will shop with you again and again. In an ideal world, you want to attract both new and existing customers to ensure that your business can maintain steady growth.
6. Cost per lead
This key metric defines your customer acquisition costs for all inbound marketing, including your general overheads, technology, software and manpower costs. Defining your cost per lead allows you to see exactly how cost-effective each of your campaigns has been, as well as to budget effectively for future inbound campaigns.
7. Landing page conversion rates
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your landing pages are, or how much traffic they’re pulling in, if those pages still don’t manage to convert. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to assess the cause. Split-testing will be highly useful here. Trying altering various elements—colour, wording, form length, testimonials, imagery—until you begin to notice an improvement.
8. Referral sources
This vital metric helps you to determine just where your traffic is coming from; it's particularly useful for evaluating the success of various digital marketing efforts. By looking closely at your referral traffic, you can also come to understand audience segmentation from each of these sources, and use this information to drive the marketing efforts that are seeing the best results – and drop or improve those that are lagging behind.
9. Social follower growth rate
It’s easy to start obsessing over the number of likes or followers your business has on social media, but the truth is that the direct impact this has on your business is likely to be small. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on engagement levels and the rate at which your fans grow organically, which is the best yardstick for success on any given platform.
A good plan is to set yourself dates for regular social media reviews, where you can analyze growth trends alongside post frequency, as well as things like paid advertising. If you do invest in paid advertising, be sure to track all metrics to establish the ROI of each campaign. It’s also worth taking note of which social channels appear to offer the best results for your brand – sometimes it pays to focus on one or two channels that perform well, rather than attempting to engage users on all of them.
By keeping a close eye on your data, you give yourself the opportunity to overcome many of the obstacles your business faces online. What’s more, you can use this insight to drive constructive marketing campaigns that bring in revenue and set you up for a more sustainable future. Remember, you only find the answers by asking the right questions. Without the right data to hand, the problem blocking your progress could be staring you in the face, yet you will never see it. Informed decisions lead to profitable results – so what’s stopping you?
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer
I work with online businesses and e-commerce merchants to create high-performing content and marketing strategies. I am always happy to share my expertise, and love discovering new potential collaborators.