Let’s face it: There are endless key performance indicators (KPIs) you could be tracking for your website and many opinions on which ones you should be tracking. It can get overwhelming and confusing quickly. So, where should you focus?
Here at Intellimize, we know websites and we know marketers. And the truth is, you can gain a deep understanding of how visitors are currently interacting with your website and your main areas for improvement with just a handful of KPIs from Google Analytics.
Let’s take a look at the 5 website KPIs every marketer should track.
Traffic source indicates where a website visit originated. Understanding where your website visitors are coming from allows you to measure the success of your various marketing efforts and optimize them based on your findings.
Three common traffic sources include organic traffic (visitors who clicked a search engine result and landed on your site), paid traffic (visitors who arrived at your site from paid ads), or direct traffic (visitors who entered your URL directly into their browser). Marketers typically use UTM parameters to track traffic from other sources where they’re running campaigns, such as social media and email. Referral traffic is also important to track with UTM parameters so you can understand which content on which third-party or partner website is driving the most traffic for you, so you know where to double down your outside efforts.
How to Optimize It: Generally speaking, you always want to increase the amount of traffic coming to your site, no matter the source. However, organic traffic is typically the biggest source you want to improve, and this is widely impacted by your SEO efforts. There are many SEO techniques you can implement to improve your keyword rankings and gain more organic traffic (like these 12 from Semrush), so try digging into your SEO strategy and seeing which opportunities you have for improvement.
It’s important to look at your total visitors and new visitors to understand how much new and returning traffic you have coming to your site. These two segments have their own unique qualities and intent levels, both of which need to be considered and optimized for in your marketing efforts. For example, a new user may have clicked on your ad and reached your website but knows very little about your product, while a returning user might be a known lead who you have successfully nurtured and has perhaps spent time reading your content or even speaking with your sales team.
This KPI can be helpful in determining if the campaigns you’re spending lots of time and money on are in fact driving new users to your website. And, if they’re not helping increase your net new user count, are they influencing your returning users to become known leads or even sales opportunities? This is just one example of how looking at new vs returning users can help you determine ROI for your marketing campaigns and content.
How to Optimize It: To see how well your website serves both new and returning users, look at any changes in the two audiences’ numbers as well as changes in bounce rate for each audience. If you’re noticing a dip in your new user count (or an increase in bounce rate) you should evaluate your inbound marketing campaigns as well as their landing pages to make sure that users are getting a relevant experience. You can also test your messaging and calls-to-action (CTAs) for these campaigns and landing pages to see what will grab a new user’s attention.
As for any decreases in returning users or increases in bounce rate, consider your content publishing cadence. If a user comes back to read your blog and you’re not consistently publishing or publishing on the same day(s) of the week, they’ll leave disappointed and may not come back. Website personalization is also a beneficial tactic to use for returning visitors, as you likely have some demographic/firmographic and behavioral data for them and can tailor their website experience accordingly, helping them stay on-site longer and find what they need.
Average session duration measures the average time that visitors are spending on your website. In Google Analytics, this is measured by dividing the total duration of all sessions by your total number of sessions. This metric differs from time on page, which measures a user’s time spent on one single page—average session duration accounts for all pages the user visited in their session. It’s important to note that average session duration does not count the last page of a user’s visit (aka exit or bounce pages) so don’t leverage this metric when investigating high-bounce or high-exit pages on your website.
How to Optimize It: Average session duration is a good indicator of 1) how engaging your website content is and 2) how well you use internal links on your site. If your headlines, body copy, and CTAs resonate with your visitor, they’ll want to stay on your site and keep clicking through to other pages to see what else you have to offer. Having lots of well-placed internal links (either in buttons or as hyperlinks) encourages your visitor to do just that.
Bounce rate measures the amount of single-page sessions on your website divided by the total number of sessions. Bounce rate is an important KPI to track because it can help indicate the effectiveness of your overall website messaging and your other marketing efforts.
For example, a user might “bounce,” or not visit any subsequent pages, if they arrive on your site and don’t quite understand what your product is and how it can serve them. Someone might also bounce if they land on your website from another marketing campaign (e.g. an ad or email) and there is no continuity from the campaign to your landing page, which can leave them confused and frustrated.
Unlike the other website metrics listed here, your goal is to lower your bounce rate rather than increase it. According to HubSpot, an average bounce rate is somewhere between 40 and 70%.
How to Optimize It: When looking at your website analytics, be sure to measure your overall website bounce rate and look at your bounce rates for individual pages as well—a high bounce rate (above 70%) on a certain page can indicate that the page is taking too long to load or the page content does not resonate with your audience, causing users to exit. To measure the success of the marketing campaigns driving traffic to your site, look at the UTM parameters for these campaigns to see if they have any noticeable effect on your bounce rate. Again, if any campaigns seem to increase your landing page’s bounce rate, make sure they’re providing a seamless experience from the campaign to the website, meaning the landing page matches the campaign’s overall look and feel and messaging so the visitor knows they’re in the right place.
If you’re planning to implement new messaging or visual elements on your website, test multiple variations of them first to see what resonates most with your target audience. This can help you avoid any spikes in bounce rate if you implement a new look and feel, headline, or CTA that isn’t relevant to the visitor.
Lead generation is a critical KPI. Your lead conversion rate indicates the percentage of visitors that submit their email address through a website form (e.g. to request a demo of your solution, download a piece of content, etc.) to become a known lead—before that, they are simply an anonymous visitor. To track this metric in Google Analytics, you would set up a goal for the desired action you want your website visitors to take (e.g. download an eBook) and then track your goal conversion rate to see how many leads you generated through this action.
How to Optimize It: The key to converting more anonymous visitors into known leads is to continuously optimize your website. From look and feel to messaging to functionality, your website should provide an optimal customer experience that keeps visitors on-site and entices them to take action. Of course, if you have a specific goal in Google Analytics that is lower than you’d like it to be, test your messaging and CTA for that specific page or piece of content to better grab users’ attention.
Taking the time to analyze these 5 website metrics is crucial to understanding your audience’s behavior, optimizing your website accordingly, and driving more conversions. And it’s essential to use the right website optimization solution to effectively boost these KPIs and drive results.
Intellimize’s Continuous Conversion™ solution can help you optimize and personalize your website experience for each unique visitor in real-time, facilitating stronger conversion rates and other increased KPIs. Request your demo today.