Brands like to boast about their success in online marketing. Oftentimes, the numbers they are talking about - like web traffic - really don't mean much. They're easy to understand, easy to track, and, sometimes, these metrics can be signs of a greater trend.
We tend to like these metrics because they often indicate improvement in our marketing. The problem is that they are not connected to our goals. (Unless you have a goal of increasing web traffic, but, even then, I'm willing to bet you want an increase in quality traffic.)
Here are the top three marketing metrics you shouldn't spend time on and better alternative metrics that will actually help you determine if you're spending your marketing money wisely.
Pageviews measure the number of loads on a Web page. One of the most popular metrics agents use to measure the effectiveness of their insurance agency websites is pageviews. A change in pageviews can tell you whether your SEO efforts are working, and that's great. But it doesn't measure how engaged your visitors are. You need to go deeper. Who is visiting your website? Why? Did your visitors submit a quote request? Your pageviews won't tell you the answers to these questions, just how many pages your visitors loaded.
What to measure instead: unique visitors, time spent on a page, bounce rate, conversion rate (how many quote requests did you get last month?).
2. Open Rate
I get it. The open rate is important because it measures the first action your prospect takes with your email. But it actually measures the effectiveness of your subject line, not your email. We tend to give this metric more weight than it deserves. Yes, you want to get as many opens as you can, but it's a misleading metric. Some emails are counted as opened even if they're only skimmed, and sometimes if images are blocked, the email is not counted as opened even though it was. Plus, there are more important metrics to focus on if you really want to improve your email marketing.
What to measure instead: click-through rate (tells you how many people are engaging with your emails), conversion rate (how many leads did you get from your email?)
3. Social Media Followers
Social media can be one of the hardest marketing channels to measure, so we tend to stick with what is easiest: how many followers we have on social media. Again, like the other metrics, you want to keep your eye on the number of followers you have on social media. But it should not drive your activity or investment. If the point of social media is to engage, the number of followers you have will not tell you how well you're doing to engage with your followers.
What to measure instead: This will depend on the network you use. For Facebook, try clicks, likes, comments and shares. For Twitter, measure replies, mentions, retweets and favorites. For LinkedIn, they actually give you an engagement rate for the updates you make from your business page. You can also see clicks and interactions.
If you're really interested in how your online agency marketing efforts affect your agency, go deeper with your metrics. Find the data that affects your business. These three metrics can be useful as they are indicative of bigger trends, but their value is small because they are not measuring behaviors that are tied to your goals.
The best thing you can do when determining what you're going to measure is take a look at your goals. Do you have a goal of a certain number of leads each month? Measure the conversion rate for each marketing campaign. Do you want to increase awareness of your agency? Track the click-through rate for your marketing emails and/or your mentions on social media. The only essential rule with marketing metrics: Does it give you actionable insight to your agency's bottom line?
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their two daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder