Metrics for Measuring Online Success

How do you measure success? Engagement on Facebook? Number of new Twitter followers? Number of “+1’s” on Google?

Just as there are a variety of social networking sites, there are a similar number of ways to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan, and ALL OF IT COUNTS.

Don’t rely on the ‘one metric fits all’ mentality.

There is no perfect fit for measuring success for any business. Rather, you need to look at your key performance indicators (KPI) to help you figure out what it is you need to be focused on.

Example. A car wash business may look at the percentage of income that stems from the number of return visitors each month as its KPI.

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Take advantage of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

Hiring a professional PPC expert may help you better understand online advertising. With PPC, one of the neat things is that everything is quantifiable. Want to know how many people clicked on your ad? Interested to know the click-through-rate on ads that actually led to the acquisition of a new customer or client? PPC can help. It’s also incredibly effective.

Know what metrics you are measuring.

In her book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help no Hype, Heidi Cohoen breaks online marketing metrics into the following four categories:

  1. Content Marketing Metrics – answers the question: Did your content generate revenue?
  2. Consumption Metrics – answers the question: How many page views, time spent on pages, bounce rates, etc.?
  3. Lead Generation Metrics – answers the question: What are the conversion rates?
  4. Sales Metrics – answers the question: Did the produced content result in any ROI or sales leads?

Know the original conversion source.

Too often, we focus on the final metrics for conversion versus paying attention to where the customer came from originally. Statistically, conversions don’t usually happen on the first try. Rather, it may take someone landing on your site three or more times before they finally take the plunge; and at that stage of the game, they are often typing your website’s URL directly into the browser. So, you’re trying to then answer the question: “How did you hear about me in the first place?!”

Don’t get too caught up in the numbers game.

Metrics are all about making sure that the numbers add up. However, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers game. For example, having 1,000 Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily equate to $1,000 sales (even though that would be awesome). There are a number of ways to measure social engagement and whether your online audience is being reached. A great example can be seen  from Kit Hickey of Ministry Supply. They came up with a ‘Facebook Engagement Ratio’ whereby the number of people talking about a particular brand is divided by the number of ‘likes’.

Track leads and conversions on individual content pages.

Today, there are tons of automated marketing solutions that will allow you to input tracking codes on individual content landing pages. The idea is to help you figure out how useful your content is in attracting people to stay on your website as well as eventually convert into sales.

While it is important not to place ALL of your attention on the numbers, it is still critical to track your results. This will help you make any adjustments to your content and/or social game plan, which will eventually lead to more ROI.