ROI on your website – What you should be monitoring
A little while ago, I had a very interesting chat with my CIO and GM about the effectiveness of a website as a digital asset in achieving a company’s overall objectives. Some of the very interesting things we discussed were bounce rates, dwell times and returning visitors. And that discussion leads me to ask all of you something:
Does your target audience stay long enough on your website to be converted into a client/lead? Does it stay long enough to read through the information you have to offer? How about the frequency of visits of your audience? Do people usually visit once or do they keep on coming back for more?
All these things are tracked by the different analytical tools, but many companies hardly focus on them. They feel that the increase in the total number of visits to their sites is proof enough that their formidable website spending has brought the desired results. That is the easiest thing for the so-called “web optimization” agencies to sell to clients who don’t know better. That’s also the easiest way for employees to show to their managers that they did a job well done.
Companies must realize that this isn’t the whole truth. While the number of visitors to your site does increase your chances of getting more of your target audience on the site, it doesn’t mean that it proportionately increases the chances of the target audience staying on your site for as long as you want them to. It also doesn’t mean that they’ll come back.
That is why, while assessing the effectiveness of your website as a strong digital channel you must consider the average time people spend on your site. You should know better than anyone how long the audience should be there to carry out a required action. And if they don’t stay there for that long, it should be a clear indication of them not being converted into your lead/consumer. Its also a clear indication of something not being right. That something could be design, complexity, boring content or a little bit of everything. But now at least you can fix these “somethings” and see what brings about the most positive change.
The same goes for returning visitors. Most sites don’t really benefit from visitors who visit only once. And if that’s the case with you must see what you can offer to keep visitors coming back and stay engaged with you.
These 2 aspects are really important and yet I see many people overlooking them. Rest assured you cant say you have a successful web presence until you monitor these things.
So whats the yardstick against which you should measure your metrics?
Well these metrics will be different for different industries. For e.g. the average time spent on a site will be really high for a video viewing site and could be as low as a minute or 2 for social bookmarking sites. Similarly a site that sells a specialized long lasting product may not have many returning visitors as a site that sells fast moving consumer goods. So the best way to measure is to first of all determine the times you think the consumers need to spend on your sites to become a valued customer. The second thing to do is to try to figure out the same metrics for the leading brands in your segments. The Google Ad Planner tool is something that can help you with this.
Armed with this information you can effectively monitor the ROI on your website spend. This is what you are eventually after and calculating ROI using the above information will tell you if the spend was worth it. Maybe you see that your website is not really your strongest channel and you need to divert that spending onto facebook. Maybe you see that its so effective that you need to put more in. Maybe you see there were important factors missing from your web presence that’s stopping you from reaching your true potential. There are so many “maybes” many of which will be answered by simply monitoring the above.