Anyone who runs a website has heard of the importance of analytics. People are told to measure this and that, analyzing everything until it hurts. If you follow all the advice on the subject, you’d never look at anything other than these metrics for your website. What do they really tell you? Recently, site owners have grown to understand that many of the things in these reports are nothing more than vanity metrics that give them a warm and fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, they tell you nothing of what really matters and that is how the audience is interacting with your site. Yes, analytics are important. However, their fundamental relevance is often severely overstated. This can make it hard, especially for new websites, to draw productive conclusions from many of these reports. This ends up being a terrible waste of time and resources. People in the business often throw around terms like vanity metrics and action metrics but many can’t tell you the difference between them. Here is a deeper look into metrics that could be costing your online company valuable time and profits.
Vanity metrics are metrics that look good on paper but don’t really have any actionable or repeatable components. They may make you feel good and let you know that people are interested in your content, but they won’t help you grow your business. Vanity metrics are things like the number of page views or an email open rate. Sure, these things are important, and they do need attention, but they won’t help you make good business decisions going forward. You can look at these types of reports all day long and it won’t do a thing to make your online business any stronger. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you see these reports does absolutely nothing for conversions.
Metrics That Matter
The metrics that really matter for your website will depend on the type of website you have and its stage of growth. For instance, an adolescent e-commerce site should focus primarily on conversion rates and the time each customer spends on the site. However, a more mature site might focus on the cost of goods sold and the revenue amount per customer. This is actionable information that can help you make better decisions for your business. The number of Likes a page has really just doesn’t matter. Another important component is the company goals. The short and long-term goals set for the company or department will dictate the most important metrics. Understanding these components and which metric affect them is a big step towards working efficiently.
One of the most important decisions for a company is where to allocate resources. Streamlining processes helps prevent waste. This is true for marketing, manufacturing and every other business. Understanding which metrics are important, when they are important and how they directly impact the bottom line is a form of streamlining. It makes marketing more efficient. If done properly, it will be more effective as well. Productive company time is time well spent. You can read reports all day long. However, if they don’t tell you how to improve your company, then you are just wasting time. Reading the wrong analytic reports could be costing you valuable time and profits.
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