Visitor Actions: A Case for Enhanced Tracking

  1. Every website gets visitors
  2. Most websites collect Google Analytics data.
  3. Very few firms use that data to improve results.

Your website results won’t improve until you track the actions of your website visitors. Just tracking their visits tells you nothing.

Is More Traffic The Answer To Every Marketing Problem?

Most business owners look at their Google Analytics stats every now and then and they know roughly how much traffic is coming to their website each month.

Almost all marketing efforts are designed to bring more traffic to a website. While there is nothing wrong with adding more traffic to a website, it is a one-size-fits-all solution to any problem a website might have.

If you are asking people to take an action on your website – fill out a form, call, buy something, register for an e-book for example, more traffic is going to mean more actions.

If 1 out of 100 people were to take the action you want them to take on your website, then doubling the traffic is going to get you twice as many people taking that action.

No matter what problem your website might have, adding more traffic will generally solve that problem.

There Is a Better Way.

Bringing more traffic to an ineffective website is a waste of time and money.

We recently started working with a business that wanted to increase the traffic to their site. They were already getting around 30,000 visits per month.

More traffic is not always the best solution.

The first thing we did was look into their website statistics. That website had a 96% bounce rate. That means 96% of their website visitors were leaving the site from the page they arrived on. They were not looking at a second page, they were not clicking on a video. The only action they took was to leave the site.

Bounce rate is not the only metric to consider when trying to determine a website’s health, and it’s never going to be 0%, but when it’s 96% it is definitely a red flag!

Bringing more traffic to a site that is losing most of the traffic it already gets is not going to solve the real problem. They could increase their results by multiples if they just solved the real, underlying problem. Increasing the traffic by the same multiples would be incredibly difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

Actions Provide Context

People visit your website. You want them to take some sort of action. Why not track the action you want them to take? Most websites are not set up to track any sort of action, only visits.

Measure the action(s) you want people to take. Call that a conversion and work toward improving that number.

Most businesses owners don’t know their website’s current conversion rate!

Google Analytics offers other interesting tidbits of information like demographics, geographical distribution, the type of browser people use, or what sort of device.

Track Action

Supplemental information can be important bits of data, but only if they are put into a context. The context is the actions people take and then things that were only mildly interesting now have meaning.

For example, if you want people to fill out a form, then record the number of people that fill out and send in a form. If you want to track the number of people that click on your video, or buy a product, or scroll to the bottom of the page, then track those actions.

At that point, things like geographical distribution, or device usage might be important. If you found out that 59% of your sales were from people in Equador using a mobile device, that would be useful information. Much more useful than knowing that 28% of your visitors were from Equador and that 52% of your visitors used a mobile device.

If you found out that most of your sales leads were from people over 65 after 8 PM, that would be much more useful than knowing 37% of website visitors to your site were over 65 and that 18% of your traffic was after 8 PM.

If you can’t put data into an actionable context, it’s just mildly interesting information.

3 Actions You Are Probably Already Tracking

A good place to start improving your site is to examine three actions you are already tracking if you are using Google Analytics.

They are commonly referred to as “Engagement Statistics” and consist of Pages Per Session, Average Session Duration, and the Bounce Rate. Those are measurement of actions your visitors take!

There are benchmarks for each industry, but generally, if your bounce rate is over 40%, that seems high. It’s saying that what people expect to find on your site and what is actually on your site are not consistent.

An average session duration of 2:30 (m:s) or higher is generally good. If the average session is only a few seconds, then your content is not compelling. You need to get content that people will stop and read.

Pages per session should be about 2.5 or greater. If it is lower than that, then, again it’s a content issue. People are not interested in seeing much more of your site, or don’t know how to find the information they are seeking.

These benchmarks may not apply to your industry, and the underlying problems are just the most common problems we have encountered and may not apply to your situation.

What is important is that these statistics exist and you can take action that would improve them, and that’s going to improve your conversion rate.