What Your Metrics Are Saying About Your Online Business

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How well do you know your online business’ engagement metrics? Do you know which metrics you need keep a close eye on? Are you noticing a strange discrepancy between the amount of clicks you’re getting and the amount of money your business is generating? If the answer is “no”, “I don’t know”, or “stop following me or I’ll call the police”, then you may be guilty of mismanaging your metrics.

Whether you optimize and grow online or crash and burn can hinge on your ability to process and interpret the data your analytics tools provide you with. As in any business, your metrics can be an important indicator of success of failure and using them strategically can either help your business take great leaps forward or allow it to stagnate in a swamp of abject mediocrity.

Metrics and your business

Whether you manage an online store or have a monetized blog, your most meaningful metrics will vary and understanding the most important and meaningful metrics for your business is of paramount importance. For example; a blogger may find time spent on page a fairly useful metric as it can (but doesn’t necessarily) indicate that a user is engaging meaningfully with their content. For an online store, however, it can be a potential red flag because it can indicate that a customer has spent a long time looking at a product without buying, and any online retailer worth their salt want to know why.

Making Metrics More Meaningful

While all metrics are useful to some extent, some are better measures of genuine engagement than others and some are downright unreliable. Here are a list of the worst offenders and how you can gauge user activity far more easily using more telling alternatives:

Reach- Your reach basically means your ‘hit count’, and while it tends to be quite a high number, many online business owners notice quite a large discrepancy between their reach and their income. This isn’t that much of a stretch. After all, reach is really a vanity statistic with no measure for quality of engagement. Unfortunately we live in the area of attention-grabbing clickbait headlines almost always attached to articles of little real substance. Not to mention the unscrupulous use of “click farms” in Turkey and  Asia to manipulate reach statistics. These have somewhat skewed the usefulness of reach as a statistic. Instead, you can convert reach numbers into something more meaningful by creating a compelling call to action, like a newsletter sign up or an opt-in for push notifications. This will facilitate a far more useful metric, conversions.

Time on page- As we’ve discussed earlier, time on page can be useful but it can also be misleading. A user could have spent an hour on one of your blog posts. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing whether they’ve lovingly read all of the content on the page and deemed it so brilliant that they’ve brought the whole family over to read it with them… or if they’ve just kept the window open while they’ve made themselves a boeuf bourguignon. Thus, the page’s scroll depth or consumption rate may be of much more use.

Shares- Seeing that a user has shared your content on social media can be a very encouraging sign of engagement, but unfortunately, this may not be as meaningful as you may think. Sadly, lots of people share content without actually having read it. Not to worry, though, you can still mine useful data from social media shares. Keep an eye out for comments or emojis, which will provide much more useful qualitative data.

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