d.Mark consulting LLC | Website ROI - Analytics Required
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Website ROI – Analytics REQUIRED

Thanks to reporting tools – today more than ever – raw data can be mined validating monies are well spent (or not) on digital marketing efforts. The cornerstone of judging and managing digital performance is largely based on analytics and tracking technology. It’s simply impossible to measure digital ROI without that.

Helping businesses get the greatest ROI from their numerous digital investments whether that’s the website, social channels, online advertising, email, mobile, SEO – anything digital – is what certified digital marketing performance agencies, such as d.Mark, provide. A digital performance agency has tools and methods that’s at times vastly different from those used by web development or traditional ad agencies.

On too many occasions I’ve encountered incomplete analytics running on a company’s website and obviously had an ethical obligation to bring this to their attention. Awkward. No one wants to hear what was supposed to be running isn’t. That someone was paid to do something and didn’t do it.  But you don’t walk by an open window when it’s raining and keep walking without closing it because you weren’t the one who opened it in the first place (at least I don’t – my kids do but that’s another story). 

The typical scenario encountered is one or several sections within a website simply don’t have tracking code in place. Most recently I had this conversation with a business running Google Analytics throughout their site but unbeknownst to them no data was captured from blog pages. The tracking code wasn’t injected. Consequently the site owner has no way of knowing if anyone ever visited those site pages. Now it’s safe to assume there were visits at some time or another, in some form or fashion. But the unfortunate reality is there’s no history. No benchmark in relation to the other site pages. No way of knowing the number of people, how often, how long, or where people came from. And when it comes to blogs and newsletters, it’s kind of important to know whether time and money is well spent having dedicated resources create and post new content. If those pages see little to no visits, there’s no ROI and a new strategy should be explored before more time and money is invested.

For this most recent blog situation, I was a little taken aback by the web developer’s response when the analytics gap was brought to their attention:

You only need analytics on the blog pages if you want to track traffic there.

Uhhh – Yep. Know that. Are they suggesting it’s not necessary?

Hhhmm… Guess what?

You NEED IT

You WANT IT

It shouldn’t be a request – but a REQUIREMENT

Partial analytics – fragmented data – is not the foundation for good business decisions. ALL traffic on ALL pages of your site are REQUIRED for the most accurate ROI metrics and true website optimization. The blog pages on my site are THE most visited of all pages. I learn from analytics what topic my audience cares most about and write new content with that in mind. If no one reads what I write I’m kind of wasting my time – and time is money (thanks, by the way, for reading this).

A web developer should know the importance of placing tracking code throughout a site. Accept nothing less. Now I realize that web developers aren’t business analysts or digital marketers, and many aren’t creative designers either. I’ve worked with web developers for nearly 20 years. No one knows this better than me. But analytics are paramount. And best practice. Reporting technology that’s omitted from any site pages – especially blogs and newsletters – is a big web developer OOPS.

Why do I place so much importance on blog and newsletter pages?

The most practical website location to post fresh content is within those sections. People simply expect to find it there. For many businesses these sections are the only place where new information appears. Done correctly – content informs, educates, and entertains thereby attracting new visitors and gaining repeat visits. The more often and longer a visitor’s on your site the greater engagement and likelihood for conversions from visitor to customer.

If content captivates, brand loyalty will follow

If everything stays the same and no new content posts, a visitor is given little motivation to return. Lack of repeat visitors decreases engagement and brand loyalty could falter as a result. Once the initial site content about your business is consumed, there has to be a reason to return or they won’t.

A commitment to new content development should also be a priority SEO best practice for any business. Search engines show preference to sites that post fresh, new content on a regular basis and reward those sites with higher search rankings. The more people that find you on search, the more potential your business has for growth.

Another best practice that web developers should observe relating to accurate analytics is suppressing internal IP addresses. In other words – every computer that accesses the internet has an identifying IP address. Website traffic from your company’s IP address should be noted in Google Analytics (as well as any additional visitor tracking, if used) so internal visits are excluded from reporting.  We want to measure true visitor traffic to assess performance – not yours or fellow employee’s site behavior. If there’s staff working from home it’d be a good idea to confirm those IP addresses as well so they’re also excluded from reporting metrics. The only thing worse than fragmented, incomplete reporting is skewed reporting.

Your website is the company’s greatest marketing asset. It’s the only form of marketing that never sleeps, working 24×7, 365 days a year. Enhancing existing content and creating all together new content comes at much lower cost than changing up messaging related to traditional offline marketing investments. Dedicate time and resources to creating new site content (the same as you’ve done for social content) then manage performance to determine if those pages see increased visits and search traffic. Shift gears when traffic plateaus or drops off. Re-evaluate, test and retest. Your website is out there for prospective customers to learn about what your company has to offer. Write content with them in mind and analyze whether you’re plugged into their needs and interests. That’s how digital pays for itself – how ROI is realized. And, you’ve got the reports to back it up!


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