June 11th, 2010
Before you can determine if your online marketing campaign is a success, you have to know what you’re looking for in terms of web traffic analytics. Setting baseline statistical goals in important categories is the first step in understanding the quality of traffic coming to your site. These baselines can help determine where you need to improve your site as well. Below are four web traffic metrics that Best Rank places a lot of stock in, as well as the general baseline values that we try to reach within each of those metrics (It is important to note that these baseline values are used to determine traffic value accross all site types, and may vary depending on the specific goals of each client’s site).
Determining a good time on site (TOS) can be difficult because not all sites are created equal. Informational sites (e.g. medical sites) with alot of content will often times have a higher TOS than ecommerce sites. In working with both informational and ecommerce sites, we’ve determined that a good general TOS to shoot for is 2:00. For informational sites, that amount of TOS usually means the visitor is taking the time to read and process a good portion of the content. For ecommerce sites, 2:00 is a pretty good indication visitors are either going through the checkout process or browsing through several products on the site.
A solid number of pages per visit lets you know that visitors are interested in learning more about your business, products, services, etc. From a keyword standpoint, it can help in determining whether the keywords people are finding your site for are actually bringing in good traffic. A low page per visit count may indicate that visitors are not finding what they are looking for from their specific keyword search, which means you may want to consider adjusting the keyword variations you are targeting and optimizing for. A baseline page per visit count that we aim for is 2 pages/ visit. This lets us know that visitors are interested enough to be clicking past the first page. It also leads to a lower bounce rate, which is explained in further detail below.
Bounce rate and pages per visit go hand in hand. The higher your average pages per visit total is sitewide, the lower your overall bounce rate will be. Again, this is a good indicator that visitors are finding what they are looking for when they come to your site. It is also a good measure of how "sticky" your site it. That is, how well your site is able to keep visitors engaged, clicking through, and viewing pages. A "bounce" is counted as any visit that only results in a single pageview. A healthy bounce rate that we strive to maintain for clients is around 30%. According Avinash Kaushik, a Google Analytics specialist, "It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying."
This metric indicates the percentage of your site’s total visitors that have never been to your site before. This statisitc is great for understanding how many new eyes are coming to your site and how many repeat visitors you are getting within a given time period. For this particular metric, there isn’t necessarily a standard percentage we aim for with clients – it’s more of a case by case basis. For example, for a newer website, we would expect to see upwards of 80-90% of the initial traffic to be new visits. However, for an established site or well-known brand, that number can be much lower. When evaluating your percentage of new visits, keep in mind your site’s objectives. Is your goal to increase visiblity and brand awareness? Bring in repeat customers? Are you featuring a new product or entering a new area of business? All of these factors will play a role in how your percentage of new visits equates to online marketing success.
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