Web Analytics 101: The Only Metric that Matters

So often in Web Analytics, marketers get lost in a sea of metrics (unique visitors, average time on site, bounce rate, etc.) and quickly become overwhelmed and then, ultimately, walk way. However, with a bit of strategy, Web Analytics can be fairly easy to understand.

The questions we often hear:

Is X number of visitors high enough?

How long should each visitor spend on the site?

My bounce rate declined X percent – that’s good, right?

The answer to all of the questions above is twofold. And, unfortunately, the first answer is that it depends. It depends on what the goals of the site are and what you’re expecting to happen. If your marketing goals depend on a certain number of people visiting the site, then the number of unique visitors does, in that sense, matter.

But two, in a broader sense, no, they don’t matter. And here’s why.

The only metric that matters in Web analytics is outcomes, and that’s a metric you set for yourself.

In other words, why does your Website exist?

Is it to generate leads?

If, so, then you need a way to track leads. Even if you have the most rudimentary site on the Web, if you have a contact form, then there is an outcome you can measure.

Is it to extend your referral network?

Again, you need a way to measure success. When a user visits your site and gives you her email address (whether to sign up for your e-newsletter or register for an event), that’s a desired outcome.

When you are in the Web development process, ask yourself how you could be interacting with people online in a way that drives your business. Define ‘outcomes’ that constitute success.

They are the only things worth measuring.