6 Metrics You Might Think are Important But Really Aren’t (And What to Track Instead)

You know all of those metrics you track?

They’re probably worthless.

I’m not saying they have absolutely no value, of course. I’m just saying they’re doing nothing for your bottom line most of the time.

These are the things that you think matter, but don’t.

In other words, you can track them, but don’t rely on them for real dollar value.

The trick is knowing which ones are valuable and which aren’t.

Here’s why some of those “important” metrics don’t really matter. Along with a few actionable ones you should worry about instead.

1. Clicks + Pageviews

We’ve heard it all before. The questions, the egos, the bragging.

How do I drive 100,000 visitors in a month? I need traffic fast!

Here’s how I drove 4,000 visitors a day, you can too with these simple tricks!

*sigh*

It sounds too good to be true, because it is.

Unless you’re getting paid for the pageview, and you want people to bounce instantly and never return, then go for it. Spam your link on Pinterest, forums and Reddit.

But, if you want to be realistic with yourself, clicks on your ads and page views on your content mean nothing if people aren’t either:

  1. Sticking around and reading more on your site
  2. Converting / buying a product or service / signing up for something
  3. Fulfilling the goal you have set on that page for visitors

So, if your clicks went through the roof yesterday like this:

But, your conversions were like this:

And your pageviews were like this:

But your goal completions were like this:

Then what.is.the.point?

Clicks and pageviews are worthless if they don’t lead to conversions.

2. CTR

CTR. The glorified metric that drives everyone from PPC to SERP “growth hackers” crazy.

Look at me, I’ve got a 66% CTR!

Oh cool, how many conversions did that get you? Two out of 4,000 clicks? Make it rain baby!

Ok, on a more serious note, here’s why CTR don’t mean $ #!* in the real world:

Take a look at that AdWords table.

The highest converting, highest traffic keyword/ad group has the lowest CTR (by far).

YET… also the highest conversions (by far).

Paying a low bid on the keyword and spending less money = lower positions = more competition = lower CTR.

But, conversions are still sky-high.

The whole account has an average total CTR of 3.49%. That’s “not good.”

Except, the average Cost per Conversion is 5x lower than the average sale revenue.

I’ll take that deal any day of the week.

CTR ain’t the gold standard. I don’t care what your CTR is if it doesn’t bring in conversions.

3. Impressions

Let’s say you own a brick and mortar store. You sell shoes.

It’s launch day and you get 40,000 people to walk in and out of your store that day.

Those ads must be working!

You’re checking ‘the books’ and you see the following sales numbers: $ 500. Total.

Now do you get it?

Impressions are cool and all.

“Hey, (insertbossesname), our product was seen by 100,000 people today!”

But at the end of the day, they don’t matter if (can you guess what’s next?) they don’t lead to sales, conversions, or goal completions.

4. Total Backlinks

Backlinks are good. They help with ranking metrics and credibility.

But total backlink quantity is over-emphasized.

Constantly we see people worrying about how many links they can get, however they can.

*Queue Oprah Gif: You get a link! You get a link! And you get a link!

If your backlink profile is spammy:

… then those links don’t mean anything.

URL’s with low DA’s that are known for spamming or giving links like it’s candy on Halloween aren’t going to get you to the top of Google (anymore).

Ideally, you want a nice backlink profile from relevant, editorially-based sources that don’t just hand over easy links willy nilly.

kissmetrics backlinks

5. Rankings

Rankings can be awesome. Who doesn’t love being #1 on Google?

We’ve all seen this graph before:

traffic drop-off after first page on google

Image Source

Sounds peachy, doesn’t it?

We simply grind our content to the top ten positions and get the lion’s share of clicks.

But, it’s BS. Just ask Wil Reynolds.

Google is constantly changing. Personalizing their methods, learning about real people, and real human interaction with their service.

SEO rankings are more related to user search history now.

There’s more importance being placed on things like first impressions and brand loyalty in today’s world than there is on keywords and content.

So doing all those little SEO tricks to get you to the #1 spot isn’t going to be as helpful as you think.

AND, #1 on the SERPs doesn’t translate into conversions.

You need a funnel. Not a ranking.

6. A/B Test Results

Most A/B tests fail to provide meaningful insights.

Why?

Because you’re testing your own opinions and assumptions, allowing that pesky biases to ravage your results.

That’s not the only problem, though.

Peep Laja from CXL tested tons of data and experiments and found that A/B testing is worthless if you have less than 1000 conversions. Per month. Minimum.

Welp, that’s disheartening. Unless you’re getting over 1k (minimum) conversions per month, forget A/B testing and the results you got.

They don’t mean anything.

They might look nice at first. But most likely, they’ll regress back to the mean eventually.

Here’s what you should be tracking, instead

Don’t drown in all this negativity just yet. There’s good news, too.

Here are a few metrics to focus on to help make the cash register ring.

1. Funnel Report Data

We just talked about how A/B testing was a waste of time unless you have 1,000 minimum conversions per month.

BUT, you can figure out your conversion trouble spots much faster using funnel report data (courtesy of Kissmetrics).

Funnel reports show you how users actually move through your website.

You can see who performed certain actions, who didn’t perform a desired action, and who skipped certain steps in your funnel (for good or for ill).

You can also track certain steps in your funnel:

So if someone visited, then signed up for a newsletter, then viewed a video, you’d know.

You can then use this data to do things like:

  1. Identify conversion bottlenecks preventing people from joining, signing up, opting-in, or signing on the dotted line
  2. Segment your audience into cohorts to further analyze your funnel
  3. Zoom in on your acquisition funnel to see exactly where and when customers activate

Basically, you can determine how to increase conversions. Reliably. Consistently. Without running a single A/B test.

2. Backlink Quality

High quality backlinks can be hard to get.

You can’t fake ‘em.

They’re a leading indicator, sure. But the best kind.

It’s a measure of performance, telling you (1) how efficient those promotional activities are and (2) if you can expect to see increased traffic in the near future as a result.

For example, here’s what a good backlink profile should look like:

moz open site explorer

#humblebrag

It’s diverse.

We aren’t getting hundreds of links from the same site over and over, as the link quality wouldn’t be as strong or meaningful.

And there are links from other high-quality sites in our industry. Relevance for the win!

But building high-quality backlinks takes an investment.

One survey by Moz found that roughly 37% of business owners spend between $ 10,000 and $ 50,000 per month on external link building.

That’s a lot.

We’re not saying you have to invest that much. There is a lot you can do to get better backlinks without dropping that kind of dough.

The point isn’t to just build links. That poor-house mindset is how you end up with the junk.

The point is to look at how you’re getting those links. The campaigns and activities and efforts bringing them in.

Change the strategy, change the end result.

3. ROI

Good old ROI. The gold standard metric.

That no one ever talks about online.

You see all the other stuff here. You might see revenue numbers and customer counts.

However, rarely do you see blog posts diving into the bottom-line numbers that actually count.

Let’s say you get four impressions and one click (and one pageview), with a 0.25%CTR and 0.25% conversion rate.

BUT, you only spend $ 5 and the buyer converts for 10x your cost per acquisition.

See what I mean? Who gives a crap about any other metric in the end besides ROI.

Now, I’m not saying you should completely ignore optimizing for conversions. Definitely not. Those are extremely important.

Just keep in mind that data lies. High conversion rates aren’t always as promising as they look.

Look at historical data, pinpoint trends, figure out what ROI means for you.

Ask: How does this specific measurement help our company’s growth?

And by growth, we don’t mean impressions, rankings, etc.

Knowing the number of leads each ad campaign is driving is fine. But it’s not good. You can’t stop until you see how much revenue each attributes.

Conclusion

Some metrics matter more than others.

Traffic, clicks, page views, CTR, and… don’t matter as much in the long run. Vanity metrics like these sound amazing on press releases and blog posts and webinars and Growth Hackers and weekly stand-up meetings.

But they don’t help so much when it comes time to run the annual numbers.

You want to think big picture.

Look at your overall funnel. Where are people coming in? What are they doing? Where are they going?

Look at your backlinks to see which drive signups. Links, by themselves, are fine. But the important part is to first identify the ones driving real business actions. And then reverse-engineer which activities are driving the ‘winners’ vs. the ‘losers.’

And focus on the one metric that matters: Money. Moolah. The Big Bucks.

Track fewer, better metrics. The ones that count.

So you can learn faster, iterate faster, and eventually, profit faster.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Podcasts: Your Next Great Marketing Channel, Or Just a Fad?

When it comes to reaching engaged, relevant audiences, which marketing channels truly shine? Social media? Email? Webinars?

How about podcasts?

“Podcasts?” I can hear you thinking, “you mean those radio shows that were popular in the early 2000s?” Sure, podcasts may have hit critical mass thanks to Apple iTunes and the iPod back in 2004, but new research is showing that small businesses and brands alike are taking another look at the podcast as a formidable marketing tool.

Of course the question is — why podcasts? And why has this technology suddenly re-ignited? Let’s take a closer look:

Podcasts’ Surge in Popularity

According to a recent report from Infinite Dial, 40% of respondents reported listening to a podcast at least once, with 24% doing so monthly, and 15% doing so weekly. Year over year, online radio and podcasts in particular, have shown a growth that simply can’t be ignored. What’s more, according to a separate study from Triton Digital and Edison Research, Americans tuning in to podcasts on a weekly basis has almost doubled since 2013:

Image Source

Listeners Are More Receptive to Products and Services

People are tuning in — and so are advertisers. There’s a lot for advertisers to like about podcasts, since almost two-thirds of listeners are more willing to consider products and services they learned about on a podcast. Over half of them believed that the hosts of the podcasts they listen to regularly are users of the products and services they mention on their respective shows. And those respondents reacted much more positively to products and services mentioned on the shows from the host themselves rather than a pre-recorded ad from a company or sponsor.

Just look at what actions listeners took after hearing about a product or service in a podcast:

Image Source

In addition to high levels of receptiveness, relevancy and engagement, the kinds of people listening to podcasts are the very users many advertisers want to reach: relatively young, high income and high education levels, according to a survey from Nielsen:

Image Source

Now the question becomes — how can brands and companies leverage this audience attraction?

Which Brands are Seeing Success with Podcasts?

One of the biggest points to keep in mind is that no one is going to tune in to a 20 minute commercial about your business. Take eBay, for example. Earlier this summer, Brooklyn-based audio company Gimlet Creative completed a branded podcast series for the auction company called Open for Business. It became the number one business podcast in iTunes when it released in June and talks to create a second season are already underway.

On the surface, it looks like Open for Business has very little in common with eBay itself. Topics include details on how to build a business from the ground up, including: how to hire, how an immigrant can start a business in the U.S., and so on.

Mentions of eBay itself are handled in a very light-touch manner. The podcast does, however, circle back by sharing the true story of a small business owner that found success on eBay. The last episode of the first series focused on the gig economy, which includes getting short term jobs and getting paid from gig-style platforms like Uber, Taskrabbit, Airbnb…and eBay.

The series was a hit — generating an average rating of 4.5 on iTunes and hitting 200% of its download goal.

And it’s not just how-to or curriculum-style podcasts that are getting noticed. GE leverages branded content by using its own sound technology in part of a sci-fi series known as The Message, where cryptographers attempt to decipher an alien message. GE itself isn’t mentioned anywhere in the podcast, but its technology is an integrated part of the storyline.

As part of their digital marketing, General Electric has started a podcast that works well with the audio format.

The Message currently has 5 million subscribers.

You can read more about General Electric’s foray into the digital marketing sphere in our post.

But before you get too excited about the potential of podcasts, it’s worth noting a few downsides.

Measuring Reach: Still In Its Infancy

Currently, the best way to measure how much reach a podcast has is the number of downloads and the number of subscribers to a given channel. Podcasts do not yet have the ability to tell you things like how long people listened or, for example, if someone played a podcast in their car with a group of friends.

What’s more, podcasts don’t correlate the number of downloads to the number of subscribers, so hosts don’t know what percentage of their listeners tune in on a weekly basis, or download an episode. How many people listen one time and then never listen again? No one knows.

Even Apple’s podcast app doesn’t provide statistics or analytics that show what kind of reach the podcast has. So, keep this in mind if you’re looking for measurable marketing gains with podcasts — the information you get is fairly shallow compared to the deep, insightful analytics you get with other marketing channels.

Podcasts Set a Higher Bar for Quality

If you’re looking at starting your own podcast, you can see from the examples above, as well as the top podcasts for your particular industry, that there’s a much higher bar set in terms of quality and consistency than with creating other types of content. Articles like this one may take just a few minutes to read, but with a podcast, you’re asking people to tune in for roughly 20 minutes or so per week – the approximate length and schedule for podcasts in general.

That means you have to commit to a standard of quality and a publishing schedule that’s both dedicated and deeply involved. It’s quite the challenge, to be sure, and many companies — even large ones — simply cannot afford that kind of time investment with so many other digital irons in the fire.

Small and medium-sized businesses, however, can look at podcasts as an opportunity to map out a higher grade of content that not only enthralls and engages listeners, but leaves them wanting more. And although the bar for quality is higher, the receptiveness of the audience and their eagerness to take the actions you want them to take after learning about your product or service is definitely worth it.

And although podcasts have risen and waned in popularity throughout the years, the proliferation of online radio, smartphones and home devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa have made tuning into podcasts even more accessible than in a the past. If all indications are showing increasing growth and user adoption, it’s safe to say that podcasting isn’t just a fad — but like all marketing initiatives, the sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits rather than falling behind and being looked at as an “also-ran” by your potential customers.

Do you use podcasts in your own marketing campaigns? What have your results been so far? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and let us know what tips you have for fellow podcasters who are looking to get started! We can’t wait to hear from you!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

What Facebook Watch Will Mean for Marketers

It was only a matter of time.

Just like Amazon, YouTube, and Netflix before it, Facebook has officially entered the video streaming game.

What is Facebook Watch, and what does it mean for you your marketing strategy?

What is Facebook Watch?

Launched in August 2017 to select users in the U.S. via mobile, desktop and TV apps, Facebook Watch is the company’s entrée into episodic streaming video. Videos range from mini documentaries to live sporting events, courtesy of partnerships with Major League Baseball. There is a set group of publishers at launch, but the company plans to open it up to more creators soon.

How will Facebook Watch make money?

Facebook Watch is monetized through ad breaks. The producing partners earn 55% of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45%.

Facebook Watch is the company’s entrée into episodic streaming video. (Image Source)

What makes Facebook Watch different from other streaming services?

The streaming video space is undeniably crowded, so Facebook had to find a way to make Facebook Watch stand out. There are three main ways Facebook Watch is different, all of which bode well for its staying power.

  1. Original video content, which can be viewed through a new tab called “Watch,” is exclusive to Facebook Watch and can’t be seen anywhere else (with the exception of the live content available through deals like the one with Major League Baseball).
  2. Because it’s monetized through ad breaks, Facebook Watch is totally free for the viewing audience. All they have to do is be logged in to their Facebook account.
  3. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook Watch is hyper-personalized in a way no streaming platform has been before.

The New “Social Viewing” Trend

Facebook Watch’s personalization takes advantage of everything users already love about the platform – it’s personal, and it’s social. People love getting recommendations for the things they love, and they love sharing those things with friends.

  • Facebook Watch provides personalized recommendations in its Discover tab, using fun, Facebook-esque categories like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching.”
  • Subscribing to a show instantly connects Facebook users with fellow fans through show-linked Groups.
  • During a show, Facebook users get access to a live comment section where they can chat with other viewers and friends in real-time.

All these features indicate a strong focus on social viewing. While the social viewing trend is new, we have seen it before.

For example, in April of this year, Tumblr launched its video chat service Cabana. The app functions like a Tumblr/FaceTime hybrid, where users can watch their friends’ reactions in real time as they all watch a video together.

cabana video app

Tumblr’s Cabana app brings friends together to watch and react to videos in real time. (Image Source)

Social viewing veteran YouTube has been making some changes, too. Also in August, YouTube added in-app chat to its Android and iOS apps. Previously, users could only share videos out to other apps, such as Twitter or text message, but now conversations can also happen natively within YouTube. The interface is similar to Google Hangouts and appears to be YouTube’s answer to the messaging functionality offered by Instagram and Snapchat.

YouTube has recently launched in-app chat, keeping users chatting natively with their friends. (Image Source)

When multiple social media platforms follow suit, it’s a sure sign a new trend is here to stay. Social viewing is not going away, so how can marketers take advantage of it?

What Facebook Watch means for marketers

Facebook has 1.32 billion users who check in on a daily basis. For anyone who’s wondering, their monthly active users just hit 2 billion.

Either number means Watch is a major initiative at Facebook that marketers should not ignore. Facebook plans to integrate Watch episodes into the News Feed, and the company has a track record of using the News Feed to drive new features to success.

Here are four ways Facebook Watch will change the game for marketers.

1. Ad break ads will likely become more important for Facebook advertisers

In an increasingly internet-marketing-savvy world, people are getting better at tuning ads out. Just last year, Google gave up on its right sidebar ads and removed them.

Fortunately for advertisers, Facebook Watch promises great things. There’s a lot of noise in a Facebook user’s News Feed, so it’s not always easy for your ad to grab attention. But with video, you have a captive audience who is stuck watching your ad. They can’t simply scroll down their feed to get away from it.

Longer videos will only increase the effectiveness of ad break mid roll ads. And if Facebook adds social engagement functionality within the ads themselves, such as reactions and sharing, they’ll perform even better.

Traditional television has been on a downward trend for years. Facebook Watch will only accelerate the ongoing shift of ad dollars from TV to digital and mobile.

2. Facebook Watch gives influencers and social creators a powerful new channel

As promising as the ad breaks are, it’s notable that Facebook Watch publishers can opt out of them entirely. Instead, they can make money through product placement, as long as they tag the sponsor for transparency. One can imagine the implications this has for budding videographers, actors, singers, and documentarians who hope to fund their growth via influencer partnerships.

The rise of the influencer owes much of its success in large part to YouTube. But Facebook Watch could prove to be even more fruitful for influencers.

For instance, Facebook Watch will open up new viewing patterns that are less search-oriented than YouTube. Users who watch or subscribe to programs will see those appear in their News Feed along with the other daily updates from friends, rather than having to go to YouTube to check for the latest uploads. This gives influencers a huge opportunity to increase engagement through video, as fan affinity with influencers will become even more important.

3. Facebook Live may become even more important for brands.

Facebook Live, along with Instagram Live, has been gaining popularity with brands ever since it came out two years ago.

Facebook Live allows brands to humanize themselves and connect with fans in real-time. The live shows and events on Facebook Watch will do the same.

It’s inevitable that one day Facebook will let brands join in on the fun as Facebook opens up Facebook Watch to more publishers. (Those who are interested can apply via this page on Facebook help.) Brands can start practicing now by focusing on Facebook Live.

What resonates with your fans? Do they prefer a structured video format, or something more casual? How often do they want to watch? Daily shows in particular could be a goldmine for brands. The frequency keeps users coming back, ensuring a lucrative return for product placement or ad breaks. That consistent association with their favorite show could make consumers fall in love with your brand.

4. Ultimately, Facebook Watch changes the game for video content marketers

Facebook heavily emphasized the community aspect of Facebook Watch in their official announcement:

“Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation and foster community,” said Daniel Danker, Facebook’s product director. “On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together.”

Three of the four bullet points in the release mentioned connection and bringing people together. Even the few seed shows Facebook funded are touted as “community-oriented” video series.

It makes sense: The sense of community is what led people to fall in love with the platform in the first place.

Because of this, Facebook Watch will likely see much higher sharing and social engagement than other platforms.

The current list of Facebook Watch programming focuses on reality shows, mini-documentaries, and sports coverage – aligning it more with YouTube than the heavy dramas and comedies of other streaming networks. But while YouTube optimized for how-to and short-form content, Facebook Watch will likely expand opportunities to longer-form videos as well as pure entertainment and more passively consumed content.

Video content marketers should start planning now for how they can create content that fits into those categories and fosters real-time community discussion. Perhaps for the first time, content should be created with the platform in mind first and foremost. Successful videos on Facebook Watch will encourage and facilitate real-time conversations.

Facebook Watch: An Exciting Moment for Marketers

So far, everything about Facebook Watch looks good for marketers. The people on the paid team will enjoy seeing more eyeballs on their ads, and the organic folks will get more “authentic” opportunities to align themselves with influencers. More and more, brands are trying to be seen as friends, not corporations. Facebook Watch will let them do just that.

About the Author: Michael Quoc is the founder and CEO of Dealspotr, an open social platform connecting emerging brands, lifestyle influencers, and trend-seeking shoppers in exciting new ways. He was previously the Director of Product Management for Yahoo’s media lab, where he spearheaded the launch of several innovative services in the live video and mobile social networking areas. Michael has been awarded nine patents relating to mobile and social network applications and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

How to Build a Lead Magnet Into Your Product to Fuel Growth

If you’re looking for new ways to prospect new business for your product or service, a lead magnet could be a valuable investment. A lead magnet is essentially a gateway drug or a bribe to coax your target audience into your marketing or sales funnel. You ‘bribe’ a prospect with a specific piece of value in exchange for their contact information that you can then use to nurture a relationship that hopefully leads to a sale.

The value-offer of lead magnets are often pieces of content like:

  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • White Papers
  • Exclusive videos

But they can also be:

  • Discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Free trials
  • Free tools
  • Tickets to an event

I’m sure all of these types of lead magnets have been successful for many businesses at some point in time, but at Proposify, we’ve found that a lead magnet that’s built directly into our SaaS product is the most effective way to attract qualified users who then convert to paying customers.

A lead magnet that’s part of your product is different from the examples listed above because it’s usually specific to your product and service. Done right, this type of lead magnet should demonstrate the value and benefit you can provide to your prospect if they choose to pay for your product or service.

Using our experience at Proposify, along with other examples, I’ll outline six steps to building a successful lead magnet into your product.

1. Be Extremely Specific

At Proposify, we use business proposal templates as a lead magnet to drive free trials of our online proposal software.

Proposal templates are free, but they can only be used within our product, so the user has to sign up for a free 14-day trial of Proposify.

The templates then act both as a top of funnel acquisition tool, and they help new users onboard faster.

We offer a document (proposal template) that is specifically related to our product (online proposal software), and specific to an industry (accounting, marketing, architecture, etc). Combined with some SEO work, we end up ranking quite high on Google search results for keywords our target audience is searching for in their time of need.

Someone who is banging their head on their desk trying to write a marketing proposal for a new client is likely to search for “marketing proposal template,” and may find us via our paid or organic search results. This is a key aspect of an effective lead magnet: you need to be visible during your ideal prospect’s time of need and provide a specific piece of value to help them in that moment.

Another example of this is SEOptimer. They rank first for the keyword “free SEO audit” with their free SEO Audit Tool. Someone who is not an SEO expert may struggle with where to start when tackling their site’s SEO performance. Many websites make it easy for those people to get a high-level view of their site’s performance with a free SEO/website audit/grader of some sort.

Technically, it’s just a fancy website scraper and checklist, but for someone who doesn’t know much about SEO, or who’s looking for a quick, high-level view, this tool can be extremely valuable. This lead magnet is part of SEOptimer’s product that they give away solely for the purpose of generating leads.

This tactic likely drives a lot of top of funnel traffic for SEOptimer, but could stumble when trying to contact leads, since they don’t ask for your email. They could do retargeting, or domain matching to emails, but I can’t confirm. The sixth step gets more into developing the relationship, an area where SEOptimer could improve.

2. Offer High Value

It sounds like a no brainer, but your lead magnet needs to be valuable to your lead. Content marketing is exploding, and competition for your audience’s attention online has likely never been tougher than it is today.

The only way to break through all of the noise is to create something of value that attracts your audience, holds their interest, and is valuable enough that ideally, they share it with their network. We like to think that if someone would be willing to pay for your lead magnet, but you’re giving it away at no monetary cost, then it offers value.

Our templates save time, money, and sanity. Coming up with designs and copy can be a huge time suck when you’re trying to get a proposal out the door to a potential client quickly, so our free templates are a high-value offer.

HubSpot is another great example of a company that gives a lot of value away for free; in fact, they give away an entire CRM for free. HubSpot has tons of content on lead magnets, and they certainly practice what they preach. As part of HubSpot’s marketing, they’re challenged with selling the concept of inbound marketing as well as their complementary inbound marketing products. What better way to get people into inbound marketing and the HubSpot ecosystem than to give away parts of it for free?

3. Make it Easy

You need to remove any barriers that might make it difficult for your target audience to recognize the value of your lead magnet. A common mistake is adding too many fields in your lead generation form, which results in a lower conversion rate. You need to find a way to pull as much data as you can from your lead, without turning them off from submitting.

Building a lead magnet into your product should also have the added benefit of making it easier for a user to get into your product. Our proposal templates help attract new users, but they also help speed up our customer onboarding process by making it simpler for users to send proposals faster.

The aforementioned SEOptimer makes it extremely easy to get value from their free Website Review SEO Audit Tool. All you have to do is enter your domain and go; no long forms to fill out or extra information to provide. HubSpot’s free CRM mentions right in the support documentation that they are, “Confident that you can get set up in less than 10 minutes”, making it an uncomplicated decision for the user to get started right away.

4. Provide Instant Gratification

After you’ve made it as easy as possible for your lead to get to the meat of your lead magnet, you need to provide some instant gratification. If the user doesn’t find value quickly, they’ll be less likely to continue to engage with your lead magnet, and certainly less likely to pay attention to any future lead nurturing or conversion tactics you may deploy.

Part of the reason we have proposal templates is to shorten the process between when a user starts a free trial, and when they send out their first proposal. The templates reduce the arduous task of spending hours on a design or layout and instead gets the user closer to the gratification of sending out a proposal and winning new business, an area of great satisfaction for our customers, and a leading metric of success for the adoption rate of Proposify.

With SEOptimer’s audit tool, seconds after you enter your domain they deliver a free, high-level website audit with an easy-to-understand grading system. They make it easy to learn how they break down their grading system, in addition to identifying the most necessary improvements for your domain.

Providing a high-quality, and visually appealing report like this in a matter of seconds is a great example of providing instant gratification for a lead magnet. It is something you can easily understand, get value from, and take action with right away.

5. Demonstrate Your Value

While this is a list of six things you should do when building a lead magnet into your product (and you should do them all!), this one is the most important step.

Building a lead magnet into your product should communicate your true value proposition. A lead magnet that’s part of your product helps the user understand what you can do for them, and demonstrates the potential value before they pay for it. This is the precise reason that free product trials exist.

A lead magnet that clearly demonstrates your value proposition is the holy grail, whether it’s built into your product or not. Someone who is experiencing a problem that you can solve and finds your lead magnet is a very qualified lead and will be much more likely to investigate your product or service further.

We’ve seen this with our proposal templates. Once a user signs up for Proposify’s free trial and uses a template to send a proposal, they also experience our other valuable features such as proposal metrics, digital signatures, variables, and content library.

Another great example of this is ChartMogul, a SaaS subscription reporting, analytics, and metrics tool. Although they don’t rank organically on the first page of Google for “LTV calculator,” they have a great example of a free tool that demonstrates the value of their product.

Having an LTV (lifetime value) calculator is great for a one-off calculation, and much easier than manually doing it. But, it’s very likely that if you’re someone looking to find out what your LTV is once, you’re going to want to track that on a more frequent basis, with, say, a dashboard. That’s exactly what ChartMogul does, and they have a handy call-to-action right below the calculator to let you know.

Similar to how SEOptimer’s audit tool identifies areas of improvement in your website, the company WordStream offers a tool that grades your Google AdWords account.

After using their product to grade your AdWords account, they are betting on the fact that they will find areas of improvement, and that their PPC software will be more attractive. The tool could also help WordStream segment their audience and identify accounts that spend a lot on AdWords, and could easily find a positive ROI from their software.

6. Nurture the Relationship

Finally, your lead magnet may be valuable to your user, but it’s not valuable to your business unless you nurture the relationship, bringing the prospect closer to the point of purchase.

Examples of nurturing the relationship are varied depending on where the prospect is in your marketing or sales funnel. Typically in B2B, it might include an automated email drip campaign; qualifying information such as industry, company size, or job title; following the brand’s social profile; or booking a call with a salesperson.

Users of our templates must sign up for a free trial with their name and email, and this enters them into our onboarding drip sequence. Once users enter this sequence, they can be further qualified based on their activity, like number of sessions, proposals sent, and users added.

If you’ve ever downloaded a HubSpot lead magnet, then I’m sure you’ve experienced being ‘nurtured’. I won’t go into best practices for nurturing sales leads, but HubSpot has tested more than a few different tactics. I found this one interesting: a colleague and I entered HubSpot’s CRM at different times, but by linking our company information, this “Product Specialist” was alerted and reached out to me:

SEOptimer includes two calls-to-action in their email; one for connecting you with SEO services, and another for white-labeling their lead magnet as your own. Essentially this means that their main lead magnet is not just built into their product, it IS their product, making it about the most meta example of building a lead magnet into your product that you can find!

However, SEOptimer could improve their ability to develop the relationship after you use their lead magnet. I have not once been contacted or retargeted about white-labeling their SEO audit tool. That being said, I don’t work at an agency pitching SEO services, so perhaps they’re doing a good job at weeding out unqualified leads.

WordStream does a better job of moving the user to the next stage of their funnel, as they require you to enter your email before actually using their free tools.

Lead Magnet Success Metrics

After you create your lead magnet, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best probably isn’t the best course of action. Make sure you’re tracking each stage of your prospect’s lead magnet journey with a tool like Kissmetrics.

How much traffic is the lead magnet driving? What’s the conversion rate for a new user who visits your landing page and ends up using your lead magnet? What’s the conversion rate of people who use your lead magnet and then become a paying customer?

Building a lead magnet into our product has delivered amazing results. More than half of our new website traffic is via a landing page, and those that view a proposal template are 2.5 times more likely to sign up for a trial than those that don’t.

If you’re thinking about building a lead magnet into your product or perhaps leveraging something you already have, I hope the six steps above help to guide you to success.

  • Have you built, or are you building a lead magnet into your product?
  • Do you have any learning lessons to share?
  • I’d love to hear your comments and hear about your experiences!

About the Author: As Chief Marketing Officer at Proposify, Patrick Edmonds gets his kicks from measurable results. He loves to get his hands dirty digging deep into data (especially on lead magnet business proposal templates) to discover new ways to convert more customers to the Proposify way of life.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

How to Map Behavioral Metrics Into Your Key Business Drivers

Analytics is a blessing to marketers because of the wealth of data it provides.

It’s “the most measurable medium.”

Online marketers can analyze and dissect innumerable elements to gain a deeper understanding of the habits and preferences of their customers.

As a result, they can effectively put themselves in their customers’ shoes and optimize the entire experience. This allows them to fine-tune even the most minute aspects of their campaign, thereby improving customer satisfaction and increasing sales.

But this also creates of a quandary. With such an abundance of data points available, it can be a little perplexing deciding which behavioral metrics to focus on.

So, what do you do?

In this article, I attempt to answer the question by suggesting seven of the most important behavioral metrics that drive business.

What Behavioral Metrics Should Marketers Focus On?

Sometimes, the sheer volume of behavioral metrics can feel paralyzing. Just look at this list of examples provided by Scott Roever of CompUSA:

And here’s some more:

See what I mean?

Things can get murky in a hurry. So which behavioral metrics most demand your attention?

Obviously, it can definitely vary from company to company, but it all boils down to answering a single crucial question — what behavioral metrics impact your key business drivers?

For most businesses, there are three key business drivers in play:

  1. Revenue
  2. Active users (for SaaS companies)
  3. Customer loyalty (for Ecommerce companies)

Here’s how to go about mapping behavioral metrics into these key business drivers.

Revenue

There are two behavioral metrics that heavily impact revenue.

Conversion rate and churn.

Conversion rate influences your ROI and overall bottom line.

It’s also what allows you to benchmark your website month-to-month and year-to-year to track long-term progress.

Therefore, it’s arguably the most important metric to examine pound-for-pound.

One of the simplest tools for determining how your conversion rate directly impacts your revenue is this one from Foremost Media:

It’s pretty straightforward.

Enter the average number of visitors to your website each month, the percentage of visitors that convert and the average value of a conversion.

Here’s an example:

In this case, website revenue would be $ 150,000.

But you can take it one step further.

If you’re wondering how much your revenue would increase by increasing traffic, increasing your conversion rate or both, you can do it with ease.

Just type in the increase in percentage of traffic and/or increase in conversion rate.

Let’s say, I’m able to increase traffic by 15 percent and increase conversions by 0.5 percent.

Here’s what I get:

This tells me that these improvements would take my website revenue from $ 150,000 to $ 173,650 – an increase of $ 23,650.

By following this simple formula, you can see exactly how your conversion rate is affecting revenue.

As for calculating churn, it can get pretty complicated and depends on a myriad of factors like how you count customers, time frame, customer segments and so on.

ProfitWell even goes so far as to say that there are 43 different ways to calculate SaaS churn.

But when broken down in its simplest form, the formula looks like this:

It’s important to note that churn is inevitable and is bound to occur in nearly every business.

What’s important is that you have an acceptable churn rate.

So…what’s considered “acceptable?”

Hate to say it, but it just depends.

I like the answer that David Mytton of Server Density wrote on Quora:

You can’t just pick a number and say “this is what churn should be” because it depends entirely on your customer segment.

This is a guy who knows that segmentation is crucial. Any churn rate that excludes customer segmentation from the equation is most likely misguided.

Mytton does, however, admit that it’s helpful to have benchmarks. He provides these:

Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures suggests than an acceptable churn rate is in the 5-7% range annually or 0.42 – 0.58 percent monthly. According to Murphy, “Companies with acceptable churn only lose about 1 out of every 200 customers (or dollars) per month.”

In my experience, this sets the standard way too high.

Churn happens, regardless of how amazing your customer service, how flawless your product, or how perfect your price point is.

But there are holes that should be plugged. If left unchecked, an exorbitant churn rate will erode your revenue.

If you’re staring at an alarming churn rate — whatever that might be for your vertical and segment — start taking action immediately.

Active Users (SaaS)

When it comes to SaaS companies, they’ll want to keep a close eye on their number of active users at any given time.

This is perhaps the best indicator of engagement and shows how many users are actually using their product on a consistent basis.

Of course, the term “active” is inherently nebulous and can be defined in a variety of ways.

Pipz Automation even calls active users a vanity metric saying that it’s too black and white to identify a user as active or inactive with nothing in between.

Although it’s an interesting argument, and determining “activeness” can depend on a variety of factors as well as the industry in question, I feel there are some concrete ways to identify active users.

So let’s get right down to it.

Logins

Perhaps the most obvious and universal is logins.

Facebook has a super simple way of defining active users, which primarily hinges upon logging in. You don’t need to Like, Comment, or use any feature to be counted as active. Just login.

We define a daily active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through our website or a mobile device, or used our Messenger application (and is also a registered Facebook user), on a given day.

If a user doesn’t do this within a 30 day period, they’re marked as inactive.

This is a means of identifying users that pretty much any SaaS company can do with ease.

Pipz Automation makes another interesting point by saying, “For all you know, ‘inactive users’ could be on vacation, or their business could be passing through a slow sales season, so they don’t have the need to login on your product for a while.”

While this is definitely food for thought, I still think that examining logins is one of the most straightforward ways to gauge active users.

Session Duration

Another factor to take into account is how long a user is logged in.

Having someone logged in for 10 minutes would be favorable to someone only being logged in for 2 minutes.

Although anyone who logs in would be considered as an active user, you would assign more value to someone who stays logged in for longer.

The longer your average session duration is, the better.

Using Features

This is the second metric that Facebook (and many companies) use after logins.

Of course the specific type of features used can vary widely, seeing that a user is accessing key features is obviously a sign that they’re active.

For instance, Ahrefs might take a look at which specific features users were accessing most frequently from their dashboard.

You’ll probably also want to classify some features as being more important than others.

For example, you might assign more value to someone taking the time to fill out their profile rather than checking for notifications.

This would show that they’re engrossed in your software, which is a good sign.

Creating a CEI

A customer engagement index (CEI) is a way to gain even more comprehensive insights into user activity. It is sometimes also known as customer engagement score.

It involves assigning different values to a user’s actions, which ultimately gives you a snapshot of overall user engagement.

This ends up being quite helpful for determining just how active your users are on the whole.

Customer Loyalty (Ecommerce)

Finally there’s the matter of customer loyalty.

This affects everything from revenue and brand equity to the long-term sustainability of your business and how competitive you are in your industry.

You’ve probably heard something like, “It can cost five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones.”

This is a good quote that shows why companies are so concerned with customer loyalty.

But here are some other interesting statistics that demonstrate the full impact of having loyal customers.

  • 61 percent of SMBs report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new business.”
  • “On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase.”
  • “A five percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent.”

When it comes to using behavioral metrics to determine customer loyalty, looking at repurchases is usually your best bet.

If a customer is compelled to purchase multiple products from your company, it indicates at least a base level of loyalty.

They like your brand enough and have had at a pleasant enough experience to buy from you again.

The more purchases a single customer makes correlates into stronger loyalty.

When it comes to a repeat purchase rate formula, it’s really quite simple.

So if out of 100 customers,15 have shopped with you previously, you would have a repeat rate of 15 percent.

Calculating your retention rate is one of the most effective ways to gauge the collective loyalty of your customers and determine if any adjustments need to be made.

Conclusion

The key business drivers I mentioned – revenue, active users and customer loyalty – contribute most heavily to your company’s bottom line.

There are of course a multitude of factors to take into account, but I feel that these three are most pertinent in the grand scheme of things.

Diagnosing the health of these key business drivers revolves around identifying which behavioral metrics impact them the most.

To recap it’s these:

  • Conversion rate and churn for revenue
  • Logins, session duration and using features for active users
  • Repeat purchases for customer loyalty

By analyzing these elements, you should be able to determine both your strengths and weaknesses so you can ultimately take measures to optimize your site and ultimately improve your bottom line.

What do you think is the number one most important business driver?

About the Author: Daniel Threlfall is an Internet entrepreneur and content marketing strategist. As a writer and marketing strategist, Daniel has helped brands including Merck, Fiji Water, Little Tikes, and MGA Entertainment. Daniel is co-founding Your Success Rocket, a resource for Internet entrepreneurs. He and his wife Keren have four children, and occasionally enjoy adventures in remote corners of the globe (kids included). You can follow Daniel on Twitter or see pictures of his adventures on Instagram.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Why Segmentation is Vital to Your Marketing Success

When I say “segmentation” with regards to marketing, what comes to mind for you?

Chances are, you immediately think of email segmentation. Segmenting your emails is crucial to improving your customer engagement and conversion rate.

But although emails are the most widely talked about segmentation type, there are countless others. Unfortunately, it’s a process that’s little-used beyond the realm of email marketing. Let’s take a closer look at the various marketing channels that can (and should) be segmented for better results and why segmenting as a whole is so important.

Email Segmentation – Where It All Began

Email is one of the oldest and most-used marketing methods, so it’s understandable that companies have collected and analyzed a great deal of data regarding their subscribers.

These days, segmenting your emails — by customer group, purchase history and other actions your subscribers did or did not take, is a no-brainer. A study by Mailchimp and MarketingCharts even looked at the data to determine just how much of an impact list segmentation has:

Image Source

From opens to clicks to abuse reports and unsubscribes, rates across the board were improved for segmented versus non-segmented. Of course, this should come as no surprise to seasoned marketers — still, having the numbers is better than pure guesswork.

But what about segmentation in other areas — beyond email?

Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you could also segment other parts of your marketing, you’d get results that are just as solid? Let’s take a closer look:

What to Look For With Segmentation

Just like with email list segmentation, segmenting your other marketing techniques should be rooted in the data you’re collecting. Don’t just skim over your analytics reports. Dig deeper and look at the big picture as well as the individual pieces. Chances are, there are some small but highly engaged groups that may stand out. Here are some common areas that may stand out:

  • Geography – You can use this demographic for multiple areas of your marketing. Are more users from a certain country converting at a higher percentage than others? Is the paid traffic from Indonesia converting? Segment your paid traffic and organic traffic to see which markets are outperforming and cut off funding to countries that don’t convert.
  • Device type – Many marketers may be looking at their overall conversion rate without segmenting by device type. Do significantly more conversions happen on desktop than mobile? That may be a signal that your mobile site needs work.
  • Product category – E-commerce companies may want to dig through the data on their first-time purchasers. Is there a particular item that they like to order? If one stands out, you may want to use that in your paid marketing to see if those ads outperform others.
  • Signup type – SaaS companies frequently have a couple different ways to convert visitors to prospects – they either signup or request a demo. Build a funnel through the buyer journey – from first visit to paying – and see if you get more paying customers from either signups or purchases. If one significantly wins over the other, you may want to make that your only signup method.
  • Marketing channel – Think about all the different channels that are sending traffic your way. You have paid channel (and multiple channels within that – facebook ads, adwords, etc), organic search, referral traffic (backlinks), email, social, and more. Breakdown your site traffic and conversions by channel.

By the way, you can do all of this in Kissmetrics.

What Else Can You Segment?

The real question is — what can’t you segment? With the right analytics foundation, you can split test, monitor, track and analyze almost anything. Every attribute a person has – what city they’re visiting from, what browser they’re using, what time they visit, gender, etc can be segmented. The key, however is that you find the key segments that matter so you avoid analysis paralysis.

Beyond email marketing, you can (and should) create segments for your funnels and even your revenue to see which groups are engaging with which test, how far along they are in the funnel and what they’re buying.

But when it comes to segmenting these other things, it’s easier said than done, right?

The good news is that Kissmetrics allows you to segment and analyze nearly any data you can collect. There are a few Kissmetrics reports that can help you with identifying the key segments in your business.

1. Funnel Report

The Funnel Report is used to identify the roadblocks that are preventing visitors from converting. Part of the power of the Funnel Report is the segmentation. In the image above, we’re segmenting by the marketing channel the visitor came from. With this level of segmentation, we’ll find the key groups of visitors that are dropping off, or performing well throughout the funnel.

Each table below the funnel shows the actual segmentation. At a glance, you can easily monitor and judge performance based on your own segmentation criteria.

2. Cohort Report

The Cohort Report lets you see how user behavior changes over time. This is particularly helpful for seasonal businesses, but can still be used even if you don’t focus much on seasonality. See how user behavior changes week after week – including purchases, signups and other criteria. This gives you at-a-glance insights into your next steps to ensure you target the right segments at the right time with the right offer.

3. Activity Report

You can think of this as the “Segmentation Report”. You pick an event, then segment it. Then drill down further to truly understand what’s driving each action.

4. Populations

With this feature, you’ll identify the KPIs in your business and track their performance overtime. For example, if you’re a SaaS company, you can view the number of people that have logged in in the last week. E-commerce companies may want to view the number of first-time purchasers in the last week. Put that criteria in, then track it with Populations.

Getting Started with Segmentation

As you can see, the benefits from properly segmenting your customers don’t just stop at email, although that is by far the most popular and widespread use of the strategy. It may seem like a painstaking undertaking to segment so many small groups, but using the right platform and zeroing-in on the right behaviors can make all the difference, and even open up some heretofore unknown profit streams that you can nurture and grow until they become a thriving addition to your bottom line.

Are you using segmentation in your own business beyond email? Share your thoughts and success stories with us in the comments and let us know how it has helped you in your marketing campaigns!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

5 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your Analytics (And How to Fix It)

Consulting data is good.

But being a slave to data is not.

There is such a thing as being too data-obsessed. Confirmation bias pops up. And you miss the good, albeit, intangible stuff that comes along with your efforts.

The solution is to uncover those biases and misunderstandings that lead you astray.

It’s not easy. Or even intuitive. But it’s the only way to avoid these five analytics blinders.

Here’s how it strikes when you least expect it.

Here’s why you fall for it.

And here’s how to avoid it by bringing in other types of feedback and analysis.

Lie #1. Your “Conversions” Are Flawless

You’ve got three AdWords campaigns.

  • The first brings in zero leads on $ 78 bucks spent.
  • The second brings in one at a cost of $ 135.31.
  • The third brings in two at $ 143.28 per lead.

Nine times out of ten, the campaign with more “conversions” is declared the winner.

But what do you really, truly, know about this scenario?

Which campaign is actually performing the best? Which is putting the most money back into your pocket?

There’s simply no way to tell at this point.

First and foremost, these “conversions” are leads — not closed customers.

Second, they might be for different products or services. So different average order values or LTVs come into play.

Third, this is nowhere close to statistical significance. For example, the third campaign has the most leads because you’ve spent the most money on it.

Not because it’s “better.”

What if you simply spend the same amount on the first two? What if you let them both get to around the same ~$ 150/per mark?

See what I mean?

Too many “what ifs” for my taste.

Yet this is exactly what happens inside any marketing department. The same end result pops up after each client or superior meeting.

Everyone points to the third campaign. It gets the adulation. It gets the increased budget. It gets the additional staff and resources.

So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One solution to figure all this out is closed loop analysis.

Ideally, your goal is to match up the customer’s information (name, email, phone, credit card) to the lead data you’re seeing inside Google Analytics.

Haha — just kidding.

That would mean you were gathering Personally Identifiable Information, which is a big no-no in Google Analytics.

Do it and they’ll delete your account right away.

The simplest alternative is to just use a tool that gives you this power, without jeopardizing your data. Hint, hint.

Lie #2. Your “Top” Traffic Sources

What are your top sources of traffic?

A quick glance inside Google Analytics usually tells you (1) organic search and (2) direct. Maybe a little (3) referrals thrown in for good measure if you got some press last month.

Here’s the problem.

Two of those three are legit. The other is not.

The problem is that your direct traffic isn’t, in reality, all that “direct.”

Technically, this should be the number of people typing in your website URL to the address bar and hitting “Enter.”

Instead, it’s a healthy mix of email, social media, and good ol’ organic search.

The bigger the site, the bigger this problem usually is.

For example, The Atlantic couldn’t account for or explain how 25% of their visitors came to their site.

One of the biggest publishers in the world. One of the most respected. Who gets paid based on the number of visitors and page views they get. Has no idea how a quarter of their traffic is getting to their site.

That ain’t good.

But how can you really tell where people are coming from, if most analytics programs can’t tell you with any degree of accuracy?

For instance, let’s say your new, fantastic-looking email campaign is about to go out.

It’s been given the green light. “Legal” gives you the A-OK.

But wait! You didn’t tag the promo links correctly.

Now, you’ve spent all that time on a campaign that won’t have anything to show for it, because the traffic you get will now end up in the dumpster pile officially known as “Direct traffic.”

This isn’t just an email. It affects each and every social message, press mention, and blog post referral, too.

It can even affect your organic search traffic.

Groupon found this out the hard way. Literally. By completely de-indexing themselves for a few hours.

What did those crazy couponers find? That nearly 60% of their direct traffic was actually coming from organic search.

Sixty-freaking-percent.

But don’t freak out just yet. There are solutions here.

First, you can use Google’s UTM builder to make sure you are properly tagging your links. This means any and everything you have control over.

Manually tag them before they head out the door, or copy & paste into a lightweight app like Terminus.

If you’ve got long, cumbersome URL, you can be pretty sure that any traffic to that page didn’t come from Direct traffic.

People aren’t going to remember it. Which means they aren’t going to just spontaneously type it in.

Instead, these peeps probably came from another place, like an organic search or email.

However, in the same breath, you can probably consider homepage traffic to be legitimate Direct.

So create a segment based on these URLs and traffic sources to pinpoint “Dark Traffic” in its tracks. And prevent it from ruining your data in the future.

Lie #3. Top of the Funnel Performance = Results

Yes, we want traffic.

Yes, we want pageviews.

They make us feel all warm and fuzzy and proud. Like our hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

But they should not be the end-all, be-all.

Use them to see how you’re doing over last month. But don’t misunderstand numbers to be the Holy Grail, either.

Like this, for instance:

Looking at only this, you walk away feeling like a boss for all the numbers you’ve racked up. Seriously, I can’t even count that high.

But what about when you consider the bounce and exit rates for each of those pages? Are people staying? No? Color you embarrassed.

Are you still so excited by your thousands of pageviews if most of them left immediately?

Bounce rates are real. And you’ve gotta consider them when you are looking at your metrics.

They mean that people haven’t had the chance to interact with your soft micro conversions. They haven’t had a chance to activate.

So take a look at the big picture.

Are your blog posts and site pulling people in, but not making them stay?

This isn’t a horrible problem to have, because it’s a problem you can pinpoint.

The traffic is there. They just don’t really like what they are seeing once they get to your site. Which you can fix.

First, set up some events to get a better idea of what’s happening on your pages. Then, make sure you have actionable goals that will allow for movement you can track.

Or use the Kissmetrics’ Customer Engagement Automation tool to analyze what people are actually doing on your site and with your products. Then, you can interact with behavior-based messaging to keep them around longer. Or keep them coming back for more.

That way, you can increase conversions, engagement, and retention without the guesswork.

kissmetrics populations

Just always remember that numbers don’t tell the whole story. Use them with a grain of salt and a little bit of context.

Lie #4. Deceptive A/B “Wins”

I’m just going to be honest with you. Those A/B testing “wins” you just got? Don’t always have the best track record.

I’m sorry to be so harsh right off the bat. Sometimes the truth hurts.

What’s even more worrisome? Oftentimes, tests will look like they have succeeded. But that’s not always the case (or at least, not the whole picture).

Start with Google Analytics content experiments, instead.

You can use it to contrast your varying pages to see if there are any sizeable adjustments that cause positive changes.

Instead, it allows you to compare different page variations to see which ‘bigger’ changes result in improvements. Maybe this works a little better because it adds an extra letter– it’s an A/B/N test.

content-experiment-step-one

The problem with this test is when you get a little too grab-happy.

You can quickly and easily remove fields to get better results, for instance. A simple reduction of three fields will increase your conversions by 11%.

Or, you can take away specific conversion-busters like the need to add a credit card for a non-paying trial. Sure, this will up your “conversions.”

But remember how far that got you a few lies ago?

That credit card field you took away? It was a huge indicator for which of your customers will eventually buy. 50% of people who put in their credit card will end up converting. While only 15% will of those who don’t enter a credit card will.

And we’re talkin’, conversions-conversions here. Like, bottom-of-the-funnel, paying customer conversions.

Context is key when you are looking at analytics.

Don’t test landing pages or simple changes to fields while only evaluating the top of the funnel. Make sure you dig in to see how the changes affect the rest of the customer experience and journey.

To do that, use the Funnel Report so you can see exactly how top-of-the-funnel changes are impacting bottom-of-the-funnel sales.

Lie #5. Your Channel Source Attribution

A Forrester Research study years ago found that 33% of all transactions of all transactions happened after new customers had gone through more than one touchpoint.

That number jumps to 48% when considering repeat customers.

The same report showed that paid search is the highest source of conversions.

Is it, though?

Or is it just the last point most commonly used before a sale?

Just because it’s the last one, doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

What other marketing tactics are working to increase growth? Forrester went on to declare that while email works for repeat conversions, social media brings in less than 1% of sales.

Ok. Then how do you explain SpearmintLOVE?

You know, the freaking baby blog that boosted their revenue by 991% in year using Facebook and Instagram.

The only reason I know about them? Because my wife has bought clothes from them. After discovering them on Facebook and Instagram.

One, simple Google graph puts this myth to bed. Fast.

If you look at the left side, or “assist interactions,” you’ll see that social channels will put new products in front of people.

As you move toward the middle, customers get more information about products and options using search. At the end, they’re on their way to the website.

Notice all the possible interaction options here. It’s not just the last-touch that brought the customer to the website. They can take many steps to get there.

Google Analytics has a few different attribution options built-in to help you change how conversions are assigned.

Image Source

These include:

  • Last Non-Direct Click: This will overlook Direct clicks and go to the channel used right before.
  • First Interaction: This uses the social or advertisement that got them to the website.
  • Linear: Here, each channel that a customer used before purchasing will get equal attribution.
  • Time Decay: This will consider the channel that was used immediately before conversion, rather than channels used in the past day/week/month.
  • Position: This model gives priority to the first and last channel used before conversion. Anything in the middle gets less attribution.

The depressing part, though?

There’s no right answer here. The attribution model you pick largely depends on your sales cycle, your customers, and even what specific objective you’re trying to figure out.

For example, if you’re spending a ton on ads, you might want to see how the First Interaction looks. Especially when using social ads that often bring people into your ecosystem for the very first time.

In other cases? It would be a terrible choice.

The trick is to know what you’re solving for, first. Then working backwards.

Conclusion

Data is important. It’s huge.

YOOGE.

But, be careful.

Google Analytics is a marvelous, cost effective, game-changing tool.

However, it’s been known to lie a little from time-to-time. (Yes, we’re still talking about Google Analytics here.)

Remember that conversion results aren’t always spot on. Direct traffic data might not be correct. Vanity metrics aren’t everything. A/B results can fire off false positives. And last touch isn’t everything.

Uncovering biases is never fun.

But it’s the key to creating campaigns that actually achieve results.

Without just blowing a lot of hot air.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.


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