How well do you know the people who visit your website? Do you know how they find you and what they do when they get there? You might already be measuring web traffic by keeping tabs on how many views you get each day but you could be tracking your user behaviour in far more detail. Website analytics—the measurement and analysis of all your website data—let you do exactly that. However, all factors are not created equal. Below we take you through the important factors to look at, why they matter, and what affects them.
WHAT IT IS: The length of time that a person spends actively interacting with your website on their browser.
WHY IT MATTERS: While having a high number of page views can send your dopamine soaring (seriously, it trips the same pleasure centres as a workout, or a really delicious meal), that’s not really what matters. Ten thousand hits doesn’t mean much if each user only stays for the average 15 seconds. Yes, 15 seconds. That’s how long you have (according to this Time article) to get an investor’s attention before they move on to the next company.
WHAT AFFECTS IT: Engagement hinges greatly on content. Mainly, what type and what subject. People will more likely watch a video than read an article. Newsworthy subjects invite longer engagement than time-honoured topics. Design plays into it too, as user-friendliness will keep a person interested longer. For ideas to increase investor engagement on your site, take a look at our post on the subject.
FACTOR: Bounce rate
WHAT IT IS: The percentage of viewers that only visit one page before leaving a website. So, for this factor, a low rate is a good rate.
WHY IT MATTERS: A high bounce rate translates to a lack of engagement. If a user is engaged enough by the first page they visit, they are more likely to click through to another, and another, and to return in the future. Bouncers drive up your page views but if they aren’t engaging, they aren’t investing.
WHAT AFFECTS IT: Again, we come back to content and design. User experience is always at the top of our list of priorities, as it is important for the majority of viewers. This study asked participants what causes them to leave a website, and why, and found that the majority of reasons fall under two categories: issues that reduce a company’s credibility (like not having contact info), and those that waste a user’s time (such as annoying ads). A website with a low bounce rate will have an intuitive design that guides users naturally to additional pages.
FACTOR: Source of traffic
WHAT IT IS: The channel through which investors land on your website. Direct sources come to your site, well, directly. They do not pass go, they do not collect $200. They type your URL into their browsers and voila. Referred sources come through any external link that the user has clicked on.
WHY IT MATTERS: Different sources have a different level of investment in what you’re offering. A person who finds you through a search on Google is not the same as someone who clicks a link off a Facebook post. The difference here is active vs. passive sources: the Google-searcher has actively sought out information on a specific topic using keywords tailored to what they’re looking for; the Facebook-user, on the other hand, has stumbled across something they found vaguely interesting enough to click on, but wasn’t necessarily looking for. Active sources means engaged users. Passive sources means more bouncers.
WHAT AFFECTS IT: Where viewers are coming from influences how they will interact with your website. In the example above, you can see that organic, search-engine generated referrals yield more engaged viewers than social media sources. Therefore, knowing your sources can help you determine how best to market your website. SEO will be the best way to target search engine sources and the keyword here is (you guessed it), keywords. Adding relevant terms anywhere they fit naturally makes you easier to find by your target audience. Be careful not to overstuff your content with repetitive words, though. Keywords should appear to be hardly working when, in reality, they’re working overtime. We have some SEO basics for you on our blog.
FACTOR: Unique visitors
WHAT IT IS: The percentage of views that are from new visitors.
WHY IT MATTERS: Unique visitors mean new eyes—eyes that belong to new potential investors. Like we said earlier, you need to consider more than just your total number of views when analyzing your website traffic. No matter how many times someone accesses your site, if it’s from the same device, they will only be counted as one visitor. So this metric gives you a sense of the size of your audience. If you’ve only been measuring how many visitors you have, as opposed to the percentage of them that are unique, you likely have an inaccurate idea of how many people you’re reaching.
WHAT AFFECTS IT: The issue of unique visitors is a tricky one—return users means you have reliable, engaged followers, but bringing in new traffic increases your viewership to a larger scope of people. Ask yourself what’s more important: the loyalty of a smaller number of followers, or the mass reach of as many users as possible? There’s no wrong answer, it’s all about what’s best for you and your website.
FACTOR: Mobile vs. desktop
WHAT IT IS: The functionality of a website on mobile devices vs. desktop computers.
WHY IT MATTERS: Everyone is mobile. This study shows that the average person accesses the web through 6 different devices and 12 different sources. These numbers are even higher with millennials. On top of that, users are often plugged in to multiple devices at the same time, making cross-platform usability increasingly important. Mobile optimization is crucial to every aspect of website analytics: the ability to attract a high volume of users, the ability to engage them with your content, the ability to drive them to visit multiple pages, and ultimately, attract them to invest in your company.
WHAT AFFECTS IT: Being mobile friendly affects website traffic in a major way, as 83% of people will leave your site, or switch devices, if it doesn’t function well on mobile. While the above study proves that people (as a whole) use their desktops more than any other device, smartphones are the most-used device among millennials. In order to keep up with the influx of mobile users, your site needs to work across all devices. Users are looking for a seamless, simplified experience. Even a small thing like a phone number that dials automatically when clicked can determine whether an investor will make the call to your company. Take a look at our infographic for a breakdown of the impact of mobile optimization on investor relations.
Web analytics is a cross-modal practice where each factor influences and interacts with the other. Knowing the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of user behaviour gives you insider knowledge that you can use to tweak and refine your marketing strategies. Check out our suggestions for the best resources out there to take your website to the peak of your industry and keep it there.