Track the Whole Not the Parts

Most site owners are beginning to see the value in tracking their results.  It’s really the only objective way to analyze results and make improvements based on data.  Unfortunately, there is still a majority of folks that gather the data but never look at it, or use it as validation for their own prejudices rather than for gradual improvement.  One common mistake is measuring each part of the data rather than the data as a whole.

Remember, the real value in tracking data is seeing how visitors interact with your online marketing campaigns and the website.  Understanding how your conversion funnel is performing is an extremely valuable piece of information to improve sales or leads.  However, it’s only valuable if it’s truthful.

Here’s a common example of segmenting tracking data.  People love to review open rates and click through rates on an email campaign.  The higher the better right?  For the email campaign that’s likely true but for overall performance that’s incorrect.  If every single recipient clicks through to a landing page and no one converts then it’s not time to congratulate ourselves on how well the email did. 

Don’t fall into focusing on the metrics you’re comfortable with.  All end analysis should be weighed on Return on Investment, either through leads or direct sales.  That’s the number that really drives the process.  Furthermore, once ROI is calculated then those numbers can be broken down into all online marketing activity to understand what the most valuable activities are and test ways of improving the process.

Certainly we want to celebrate victories but not at the cost of ignoring areas in need of improvement.  Think of the process as a rising seesaw.  Each time the balance goes back and forth the seesaw rises.  If email metrics are on target but conversions are low, do some testing and improve conversion performance.  Perhaps after completeing landing page conversion, email metrics will need to get even better.  So the focus can return to the email campaigns.  More likely you’ll notice that something like organic search rates could use a bump and will want to bring those up to par before putting more effort into landing page or email optimization.

The point is that online marketing is the sum of many parts.  When all those parts are analyzed and optimized, the whole is greater than the parts.

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