In an age where just about every action online is trackable, digital marketers can easily fall into reporting on some very shallow metrics. These common metrics are littered across the web and might appear valuable at first glance. However, prying them open and taking a deeper look, these metrics fully reveal their lackluster value.
Every marketer wants their ad to get clicked but does an ad click equal a visit or conversion? What’s the value of a click? I covered this exact issue a while back and my investigation revealed that an ad click doesn’t always equal a site visit. In an environment where bots and click farms exist, it’s imperative that if you go down the “clicks” path you’ll need subsequent data to provide value. Whether it’s site visits or, more importantly, conversions, your report should be more robust than just “clicks.”
In the same vein of clicks, “likes” are a very deceptive and bloated metric that we all seem to get caught up in. We all want our clients to have these massive Facebook followings but when the majority of your likes are coming from the developing world, you might want to take a deeper look at the reality of that “like.” When buying likes, you can turn to Facebook Advertising or services like Boost Likes. Whether your approach of getting likes is legitimate or illegitimate, both methods are flawed as the above video explains. When it comes to Facebook, the important metric to focus on is engagement. Your brand could have a billion fans, but if no one is engaging with your content, what’s the point?
Bounce rate refers to how many people visited your site – didn’t interact with the page and then left the site (watch video for more bounce rate info, but I can’t fully agree with the enthusiasm for this metric). Typically, high bounce rates are thought to be a poor indicator of design and user experience and it seems like everyone is trying to lower their bounce rate – and rightfully so – but to validate the effort and strategy needed to lower bounce rate, you probably need some context as a high or low bounce rate could be in alignment with the site goals and content.
For example, on a page that is very search-friendly, a user might simply be looking for information. They reach the page from a Google search, consume the information they sought out and then leave the site. Your site might have provided a strong value to the visitor and they might have been on the site for several minutes, but without a second page view or interaction this will count as a bounce. In this example the site is doing what’s intended, but if you’re using bounce rate to measure the site’s performance, it would be somewhat of a false metric as bounces would be really high.
Time on Site (Session Duration)
Similar to bounce rate, a second interaction on a website needs to occur in order for any sort of time metric to be relevant. Google starts a timer when a visitor reaches a website and based on engagements with the website, they are able to calculate how long a user interacts with a site’s content. If we go back to the previous example where users are seeking out specific information, a second interaction may not occur even though they spent several minutes reading an article. All in all, time on site and bounce rates are good information but may not be too insightful based on the website’s content, goals and structure.