Ask any inbound marketer what their primary objectives are. I can almost guarantee that one of the first few that they mention will be to bring more traffic to their website. It’s pretty simple - more visitors to your website means more exposure to your brand, which will increase the chances of acquiring more customers.
What if I were to tell you that traffic isn’t as important as you think? Or, what if you’re wasting your time just focusing on bringing more people to your site? Sounds crazy, huh? Before you call the marketing police on me, consider this: There are other metrics for you to measure that are far more beneficial than site traffic.
Quality vs. Quantity
Even though inbound marketers agree that quality is important, many continue to get caught up in the numbers game and focus primarily on site traffic. While it’s important to get people on your website, there’s a gold mine of untapped insight with respect to the quality of this traffic. You need to focus less on how many people are coming and instead think more in terms of who is coming. Even if the metric that you are looking at is a predominantly quantitative measurement, try and make sure that it is actionable in terms of providing data that can be used to market more effectively.
A great way to measure this is to speak directly with your sales team. Ask if they’re receiving good quality leads. If they’re thrilled and can barely keep up with all the amazing contacts that are coming in, then you’re doing something right!
Think Destination, Not Traffic
Let’s pretend for a second that you’re an art curator for a museum. Would you spend most of your time thinking of how to bring people to your awesome exhibit and forget about them once they’re there? Of course not! You’d keep a close eye on your visitors to see how well your pieces are resonating and use this insight to make your work even better.
Marketers are in many ways like curators for brands. We create amazing experiences for our audience to enjoy themselves in and learn more about our companies. We owe it to ourselves as well as our visitors to better understand how people are engaging with our content in order to refine the experience that we are offering and make it the best that it can be. There’s no use sending people to your site if they’re not going to enjoy it. (Shameless plug: This is exactly what we’ve set out to solve at Uberflip. Click here to learn more.)
What to Look For
If you’ve decided to expand your focus beyond just site traffic, the question is then which metrics should you focus on. Below are some great metrics to get started with. Note that these measurements overlap with site traffic, and that’s fine: Remember, the key is to start thinking quality, not quantity.
This again speaks to the difference in thought between outbound and inbound marketing. Average time/visit will give you a better idea of how engaged the visitors that arrive at your site are. Get even more thorough with this metric by breaking it up into time on overall site, time/section of your site, and time/item (e.g. an article, video, etc.). By taking a look at which content your audience spends the most time on, you’ll know exactly what is keeping people interested. This will then guide you in the right direction when deciding which content to focus on moving forward.
Events on Page
Once people are on your site, what are they clicking on? Are people clicking links to your pricing page? Other articles? Sources for your articles? Determine which links have the most clicks and make sure they’re sending people to the right places. Also pay close attention to where these links are located in order to plan out where to place links in your future content.
Beyond links, keep track of what other enhancements are being interacted with. Are videos being watched? Songs being listened to? Slides being flipped? You’ll need to ensure that whatever service you’re using to host your content (e.g. Wistia for video hosting) can provide you with meaningful analytics into viewer engagement, but I promise it’s well worth the effort.
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to set yourself up with a marketing automation program. At Uberflip, we have integrations with HubSpot, Eloqua and Marketo - 3 of the best - which let you monitor how unique visitors interact with your content. You’ll then be able to leverage this data to create highly targeted campaigns that ensure you are reaching the right people with the right content. Once we brought our content into a Hub and integrated with marketing automation, we noticed an 800% increase in leads!
Call-To-Action Click Throughs
This is similar to links clicked, but focuses specifically on the CTAs that you have placed throughout your site. Since an important goal of many marketers is to create leads for their businesses, this is one of the most important links to keep an eye on. Which CTAs are having the most success? What is their messaging? Where are they located? What do they look like? Be sure to note what’s working so you can get even more strategic with your CTAs and drive up conversion rates.
Which of your content has been shared the most times? Which social networks have the most activity? Social shares is one of the best indicators of which content your audience actually enjoys. Furthermore, this will also give you a great idea of where your visitors can be found online, opening up the door for even more ways to reach new people.
What Do You Think?
Am I way off? Is site traffic the most important metric to watch? Have any other must-have metrics that weren’t included? Let us know in the comments below!