You’ve been writing articles, taking photos, sending eNewsletters — how do you know if it’s all working?
Analytics are the answer. Here are some of the metrics you should be tracking to determine the success of your digital marketing efforts.
In eNewsletters: Open Rate And Click-Through Rate
Open and click-through rates are two top metrics for eNewsletters. The open rate is the percentage of eMails that are opened compared to the number that are sent. Mail Chimp reports that the average open rate is 26.06 percent for agriculture and food services and 26.44 percent for the home and garden industry.
If you’re in this range, good job. If you’re slightly below it, the first place to look to improve this number is the subject line of your sends.
There’s no silver bullet that works in every situation when it comes to subject lines, so look into varying the message and see what works best with your audience. A few options are a more static subject line (XYZ Greenhouses eNewsletter, for example) compared to a content-specific subject line telling readers what’s in this send (such as “The Top 5 New Varieties You Should Know”).
Another better-targeted technique is A/B testing — in this case, sending the newsletter to half of your audience with one subject line and to the other half with a different one. This way, you take out all other factors that could affect the performance of the newsletter and truly see head-to-head which subject line performs better.
The click-through rate is the percentage of people who clicked on an item in your newsletter compared to the number of people who opened the eMail. This metric can tell you many things. If your subscribers are opening your eMail but not clicking on anything, you may have great subject lines but need to improve your content. It can also tell you which pieces of content are of real interest to your audience and which aren’t so much.
Poor open and click-through rates can also indicate that your eMail is being sent at a less-than-ideal time or day of the week. Be sure to stay on top of your metrics to discover some facts that may seem counterintuitive to you. For example, Wikipedia reports that Sunday generates higher click-through rates compared to the rest of the week. The only way to know for sure is to test.
On Your Website: Sessions And Pages Per Visit
If you log into Google Analytics (or any other analytics tracker), there’s a real possibility of being completely overwhelmed by numbers. There are a few metrics, however, that can tell you in a quick glimpse if visitors are engaging with your website.
Sessions in Google Analytics are a grouping of actions taken by a user on your website, most likely clicking from page to page. In Google Analytics, a user session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity or at midnight each night. Users is self explanatory: The number of users who viewed or interacted with your content.
Look at the number of sessions/users for your website. Do you think your audience should be bigger? Do you have a high number of users that tapers off during the month? When you see a bump in numbers of users or sessions, you can backtrack to see what drove that traffic to your site.
Another important metric in Google Analytics is Pages Per Visit, the average number of web pages users navigated to while on your site. A higher Pages Per Visit rate shows that you’re attracting an audience that is truly interested in your content and what you do. More Pages Per Visit means you’re providing useful content and more engagement with the audience you want to reach. Too many pages per visit, however, can show that your website is difficult to navigate and users can’t find what they’re looking for.
On Facebook: Reach And Shares
Much like the “You can’t win if you don’t play” mantra of many state lotteries, you can’t earn brand recognition or engagement on Facebook if your followers don’t see your posts. The Reach of any Facebook post is the number of times the Post showed up in a user’s newsfeed. The importance of Reach on Facebook can’t be overestimated, and you can learn more about how to boost Reach in my article, “Is Facebook’s Free Ride For Marketers Over?”
There are quite a few engagement metrics to watch on Facebook — Page and Post Likes, Comments, Clicks and even more when talking Boosted Posts, but the most important today is the Share.
The Share is the ultimate stamp of approval on what you’ve posted on Facebook. It means you’re sharing valuable content with the right tone — the kind of content that your followers not only like, but feel so strongly about that they want to share. They feel confident in saying that your feelings are their feelings. Not only do you build a stronger bond with that follower, but you also get exposure with that follower’s friends. Plus, the more engagement you have on your posts, the more Facebook will serve them in followers’ newsfeeds.
On Twitter: Impressions, Retweets And Replies
Twitter recently rolled out much more in-depth built-in analytics reporting, helping users track successes on the network. The most notable new addition is the reporting of impressions — the number of times followers see your post. This levels the playing field with Facebook, which had been reporting this metric for quite a while, and offers users a much better picture of the reach of Twitter.
Retweets and replies are engagement metrics. When you have strong engagement metrics, you know you’ve found your audience. Retweets bring the same advantages as Facebook Shares: your followers give you visibility, and you know your content is on target. A common complaint about Twitter is that it has evolved from a place for conversations to a place for talking, and not listening. Replies mean your audience wants to talk to you. A good number of Replies means you’re engaging your audience in conversation actively, or you’re posting such relevant content that you’re breaking through the clutter.