Evaluating Results

Analytics tools can certainly provide performance information, but they’re of little use if you don’t regularly review them and share the data with your team.

Evaluating Web Performance

How does your website contribute to return on investment (ROI)? There are many metrics you can use to determine whether your website is contributing to business growth, or whether improvements may be needed.
Some metrics to consider include overall visits to your web site and how long visitors interact with your site. If certain pages have a high “bounce rate” (i.e., users leave the site within a few seconds), that may indicate that you’ve published a confusing or unattractive page – or perhaps one that takes a long time to load. If this is the case, you may want to design and test a new version of your site.
Generally, of course, you want users to visit more pages on your site and stay as long as possible. Analytics reports can tell you which pages are popular and which pages need work. They can also tell you what keywords led visitors to your site, which is valuable information for search engine optimization.
You can also review information on your visitors, such as which websites they come from, their geographical location, and the browser they are using. The more you understand who your visitors are and how they behave, the more you can make necessary improvements to your site’s design and user experience.

Evaluating Social Media

Evaluating your social media results depends on what objectives you’ve set.
Perhaps you want to determine how often your brand is mentioned and in what context. It will take some judgment to determine whether comments are positive, negative, or neutral, but if you’re getting a lot of negative comments, you need to decide whether your product line or product support needs to be changed.
If you’re actually engaged with social media users, you’ll certainly want to take a look at which social media sites you are using and which seem to support your target customers. For example, you may have a presence on Facebook, but if you’re really after a business-to-business audience, your LinkedIn performance may be where you should focus.
Some metrics may not matter much. For example, you may get a lot of comments on Facebook or LinkedIn. But, if your goal is to enhance sales and you’re not getting any new business, you may need to reevaluate what metrics to focus on. Remember that as a business owner, your time is valuable. Don't spend unnecessary time analyzing metrics that don't really matter. Instead, focus on fewer, more concrete, and more telling metrics such as traffic, leads, and sales.
On the other hand, if your goal is to gain a share of the social media conversation – which may help you retain customers – you’ll want to evaluate the number of brand mentions and positive comments you receive.
Social media offers the opportunity to meet many different goals. Just be sure to evaluate the metrics that are most appropriate to your objectives.

Game Plan

For evaluating websites:
  • Don’t let analytics reports pile up. Review them regularly with your team.
  • Evaluate metrics that indicate how users interact with your site, which pages they visit most, which pages they visit least, which pages users exit from, and what keywords generate traffic, among other criteria.
  • Lea this article for details on improving your business’s website and read this article for five common mistakes to avoid when using analytics.
For evaluating social media:
  • As you review data from your analytics tools, be sure to focus on metrics most appropriate to your specific social media objectives.
  • Check out this Forbes article for the basics on measuring social media ROI and review this article to learn which metrics marketing executives use for measuring social media ROI.
  • To learn more on how to measure social media, read the first chapter of this e-book PDF
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