Choosing a Success Metric
In order to TMT your website, it is imperative to have a measurable ‘success metric’ or ‘signal’; an objective measure that you can use to know whether you’ve made something better or worse.
The success metric that you will use depends on what area of your website you are specifically wanting to TMT. A list of common success metrics are outlined below.
Visits are the number of views on your website (or an individual page) over a certain period of time. They are often further broken down into visits from New Visitors (Those visiting your site for the first time) and Returning Visitors (Those who have been to your site before). As getting visitors to your site is your frst step, it is often a popular success metric for measruing the effectiveness of a promotional campaign. The more visits generated by the campaign the more effective it is considered to have been. However, using site or page visits as your sole metric comes with a few caveats:
- Where your visits come from is also as crucial. Should you notice spikes in traffic followed by a sudden drop, you’ll need to know the source and why it’s happening fast.
- Visits often need to be combined with Conversion Rate to truly determine the overall effectiveness of the promotional campaign. Some campaigns can generate large numbers of visitors but very few actual results, as the campaign might be geared towards the wrong target, thus generating poor quality visits, or worse, bounce rates.
Bounce rates are visitors who leave your page after 10-15 seconds. They are either:
- Visitors who leave your site by clicking the back button, type in another URL on the web browser, close the browser window or tab, or click an external link on the web page, or;
- Visitors who don’t interact with the page for a long time and goes to a “session timeout”
While bounce rates are not an indicator of your website’s success (far from it actually), monitoring it can help you find out what needs to be improved on your website, and focus on sources that send you quality traffic that could guarantee a higher rate of conversion.
Conversion Rate (CR)
The conversion rate is the most popular and most common of all success metrics. It is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of unique visits and multiplying the result by 100.
Conversions / Unique Visits x 100 = CR
This s a great way of measuring the persuasiveness (or effectiveness) of a single web page (usually on the conversion pathway), or even an entire website. It is very important when calculating this that you understand what constitutes a ‘conversion’ – which depends on what you are currently trying measure. If it is the conversion of the entire website then your conversion will be your macro-conversion objective. For some websites that might be an order, a visitor submitting an enquiry form, registering for a free tool or signing up to the company e-zine. For others, it could be the number of visitors clicking on the ‘Contact Us’ page to locate the contact details for a company. However, if you are doing in-depth TMT you most likely will be trying to measure the conversion at a page level (or micro-action level) – i.e. you will want to measure what percentages of your visitors respond to individual calls to action. Your micro-action might be ‘Add Product to Cart’, ‘Click here to find out more’ and any number of other things.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The CTR success metric is usually associated with online advertising. It is used to measure both the effectiveness of your online promotions (pay-per-click ads, banner advertisements, text ads, directory listings, email promotions and so on) and the effectiveness of any promotions placed on your site by other advertisers. The CTR is calculated by dividing the total clicks on an item by the total visits to the page(s) that the promotion features on and multiplying the result by 100.
Number of clicks / Total number of visits x 100 = CTR
Page Views Per Visit
This is often to used to test the effectiveness of your website content. It outlines how many pages an average visitor views before leaving your website. It is often a good measure of the effectiveness of your pre-sales content and the overall value of your website to your visitors. The Page Views Per Visit success metric is calculated by dividing the total number of page views by the total number of visits.
Total Page Views / Total number of Visits = Page Views per Visit
Revenue Per Visitor (RPV)
The RPV is used by e-commerce websites to measure how effective the website is at getting orders from its visitors. The higher the RPV the more effective the site is at generating revenue. The RPV is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total number of visitors.
Total Revenue / Visitors = RPV
The conversion rate is often the easiest and best success metric to use within your TMT cycles. But, depending on what you are trying to achieve, other success metrics are sometimes more appropriate. It is important that you choose the right success metric (or combination) for the job.