Monitor Bounces: Email

Like websites, there’s a temptation to look at the positive metrics rather than improving negative ones.  Bounces from email is a great indicator of list health.

An email campaign that has a low bounce rate (under 10%) is often a well built list that is regularly maintained.  The benefit of this is that it usually reflects audience engagement.  Poorly built lists can see bounce rates approach 50%.  This is typically a sign of poorly compiled lists or a build up of bad addresses over an extended period.

Monitoring your bounce rate has a few benefits:

  • It let’s you know if your list quality is acceptable (going over 20% bounce rates is a sign of trouble).
  • It makes maintenance a recurring task so that bad email addresses can be removed.  This often saves money on your email list provider as the list or emails sent gets smaller.
  • It gives an idea of true audience so if your list begins to shrink then efforts to boost subscribers can be launched.

Don’t just focus on the positive metrics like opens and clicks.  Keeping an eye on who isn’t getting your email communications can be as informative as knowing who does.

Define Success: Website

Website metrics are often simplified to website metric, visitors. While the number of visitors is certainly important as we need traffic, many other metrics are a better measure of success on a website.

There are several web metrics that can be used to define success based on the company objective:

  • Bounce rate – This serves as a reverse goal, meaning a low rate is better.  Bounce rate designates how many people land on a page and then move away from the site.  It’s a great way to see if your content is delivering what visitors expect.
  • Time on Page – With a little analyzing you can see if people are using your webpages as you intend.  For example if it’s an article and they only stay a few seconds, then it’s unlikely that your content is engaging.  Conversely if it’s a directory and the time on page is low (and bounce rate isn’t high) it confirms that people understand the navigation easily and are finding the link to information they want.
  • Conversion – This takes some set up in the metric system but there should be clearly defined conversions for every site.  These are typically landing pages and a measure of how many people took advantage of a landing pages offer like newsletter sign ups, contact form, or event registration.

Truly valuable information comes from mixing these metric and analyzing the story it tells.  For instance viewing visitors to a conversion page and see how many people fulfilled the conversion is a powerful way of gauging offer and page layout effectiveness.

Don’t simplify website metrics into visitors only.  After all if people only visit the site and without taking any action, it’s unlikely that the website has fulfilled its real purpose.