Most marketers and analyst are too concerned about the best metrics to focus on to get actionable insights. Obsession for metrics does not always guarantee results. It is equally important to exclude the worst metrics from your analysis. Yes, you heard it right, these metrics can suck your time and lead you nowhere.
The first one is one of the most talked about metric: “Unique Visitors”. Unique visitor has been called by various names in different analytics package. Some call it absolute unique visitor and others like to call it hourly/daily/yearly/decade/centuries unique visitors (see below you guessed it right :). Quite honestly, it does not matter what you call it by definition a unique visitor is a “statistic describing a unit of traffic to a Web site, counting each visitor only once in the time frame of the report.” (courtesy: wikipedia.com)
This metric helps building rapport with your field sales team (because it is so common 🙂 no kidding).
The second benefit is it allows building cool reports like hourly/daily/weekly visitors that you might rarely use.
Third benefit is your websites unique visitor number could change if you change the date range. You will have a different unique visitor value for day/week/month/yearly unique visitor. What is the point of using a metric that creates confusion instead of providing insights?
My advice is to use visits metric report with new and returning visitor segment instead. This will provide you more information than any form of unique visitor report can.
Overall bounce rate report
Bounce rate can be the coolest metric only when you apply it to the right report. Overall site bounce rate report is total waste of time because it will not give you any directional data. It might be a good metric to tweet about if you have nothing else to say.
You could be getting a low bounce on your worst performing pages / campaigns and high bounce on the high converting pages.
Bounce rate can be super charged if you apply it to the right reports. Most Google Analytics reports have bounce rate as one of the default metric.
Apply bounce rate to get most actionable data from the following reports-
1. Keywords report – Keywords report provide insights on what keywords are driving targeted traffic to your website. Our goal is to identify the keywords with higher conversion and high bounce rate (40% or more). The default view of the keywords report in Google Analytics will not provide both the bounce rate and the goal conversion rate metric in the same screen. The trick is to export the excel version of the keywords report. This report will provide the conversion and the bounce rate data side by side. Find out the landing pages for these keywords and test multiple landing pages.
2. Top Landing page – The top landing pages report can be segmented into paid vs non paid search traffic. High bounce paid search landing pages are low hanging fruits. Find out all the high bounce pages for paid search campaign and divert the traffic to more relevant pages after successful split testing. Similarly, identify the organic search landing pages with high bounce rate and add relevant content.
Time on Page
Time on page metric could have been the best metric to measure content effectiveness only if the time on page calculation was done correctly. The time on page can only be calculated if the web site visitor navigates to another page on the same website. What this means is you will never be able to figure out how much time a web visitor spent on the last page of the website.
So, what should be the most productive and insightful way to measure time on site related data? Quite honestly, just stop being obsessive about the time on page metric and focus on the conversions instead.
Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself –
1. Does this page have a high bounce / exit rate?
Identify the paid search keywords with high bounce and divert this traffic more relevant pages.
2. Is the page a key driver to the path to conversion?
Great. Drive more traffic to this page.
Identify the paid search traffic landing on this page and divert it to better performing pages. Optimize the page by addding relevant content to this page. Drive relevant paid search traffic to this page.
3. Is the page located at the right place in the site architecture?
Move it to a better location on the website and 301 the old url to the new page.
Do you agree that these three reports / metrics are the worst metric? Please share your thoughts, insights and comments below.
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