Web Traffic for web traffic’s sake

One of my pet peeve’s with web analytics is the lack of
understanding by most folks that are interested in getting traffic
reports, in that they think as long as they have a chart showing my
page got x amount of traffic, then its all good. Tracking pages for the
purpose of just knowing views, visits etc is pointless unless you have
a measure of what is success.

Invariably I get about
4 or 5 requests a day with someone saying, “my manager wants to know
how this page did.” Essentially, they are asking how many ‘hits’ did
the page gets. This in itself is pointless, as they have no idea what
is a good number is, since they didn’t set any objective to the page.
Is 10 visits good? Is 1,000 good? Is 1 million good? The answer is
maybe, on all of the above. It all goes along with expectations, and
whether it gets you anything, whether it be $, registrations, leads,
etc. Most folks however, just want the #’s to put into a pretty chart
to prove that their page or site did something (whether its meaningful
or not).
Every page or site should have a purpose. A more meaningful
measurement is to find out how that page is performing in regards to
meeting the purpose. Maybe the goal is to get a visitor to another
piece of content or to a shopping cart. But just getting the # of
‘hits’ doesn’t tell the full story of the success of a page.


One thought on “Web Traffic for web traffic’s sake

  1. Also, managing metrics against the strategy of the site is the first imperative. Let’s take one popular metric: page depth, or the number of pages per visit. For a page view model at a media company, where more page views mean more ad impressions – more is good. For a service site or commerce site — less is good (think Amazon one-click). And then there is a hybrid in commerce where the user isn’t buying, but researching. Again, is more better or an indication of being lost?

    User scenarios are important to develop before measuring clickstreams.

    Page performance, on its own, is crucial in a landing page environment and in A/B testing — that’s your ratification of the effectiveness of external drivers (marketing campaign, email drop, banners, buzz, viral, etc.) but on its own. N people saw this page, is useless unless the next desired action is tracked: how many submitted a query, completed a lead gen form, opened a cart, completed a sale, etc.

    Gross tonnage metrics are best for establishing trend lines against a baseline. “We did X last week and this week we did Y because …”

    It’s the “because” that the recepient of the dashboard needs, not the “how much”.

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