Why just following metrics is a bad thing (and what you should be following)

Every company and resume these days say they are data or metrics driven.  We take data for granted at this point and assume you are a metrics/data based decision maker if you work online.  I’m reading Web Analytics 2.0 and loving it!  There are a couple of key take-aways that we metrics followers have to identify before we say we’re truly data driven.  If you aren’t doing these things – you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

– What are you trying to measure and why?
You have to get to the why? Why are you trying to increase visits? Why are trying to increase time spent? What are the goals?  Without knowing the why, your metrics (the ‘what’ of your site) don’t mean a hill of beans.

– Segment, segment segment!
Some web sites get a ton of visitors.  Traditional top level metrics measure them as equal. A visit is a visit but this is not helpful.  Segmenting you audience is the first step into finding out about the different behaviors and different types of visitors you have. Think about it? You’d want to know how new visitor uses your site verses a returning visitor? Or how search referrals act towards your content verses Facebook referrals?  Without segmenting you are viewing all your visitors as the same.

– Focus on visitor actions.
Just counting visits doesn’t mean anything.  Counting visits is like knowing how to count – everyone can do it, but numbers don’t mean or do much without the math.  Focus on what your visitors do to inform your actions. Do they bounce off your site? Do they come back after a day? Do they leave half-way through the shopping cart? Without figuring out the outcomes of visits, the visits mean nothing.

Follow actions of visitors. Define what actions you want your visitors to follow, measure that action and tweak along the way.

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By Laurent Courtines

I'm here and I am ready to go. Been doing my homework and I have things to say.

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