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Web Marketing Metrics

Posted on Mar 7th, 2006
Written by Lee Odden
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    Measuring success of your online marketing efforts is a critical, but often underutilized in many web marketing initiatives. Recently I took a survey for Jupiter Research and one of the questions got me thinking about the different metrics that companies use:

    • Brand impact (i.e., increased brand awareness, intent or favorability)
    • Number of impressions
    • Position of paid listing
    • Number of clicks
    • Ratio of new to returning visitors
    • Amount of increased website traffic
    • Duration of website visits
    • Amount of increased traffic to physical store
    • Amount of increased volume to call center
    • Number of leads generated for products sold online
    • Number of leads generated for products sold offline
    • Number of immediate sales generated for products sold online

    One metric used by many SEOs is the position of organic listings, which is missing from the Jupiter survey. I would estimate 9 out 10 SEOs still use ranking reports. That includes my SEO firm.

    Why use ranking reports when it’s traffic and sales that matter most? Ranking reports are one of the few measurable activities you can engage in without relying on access to client data. As long as you comply with search engine guidelines for running them, use an API for example, then they can be a useful but elementary indicator of a site’s online visibility. Ranking is a logical precursor to traffic and can be a good indicator for the effect of search engine optimization efforts. However, it is not the objective as I often find myself reminding prospective clients.

    A few other organic ranking metrics that are not included in the Jupiter list include:

    • Number of pages indexed
    • Number of overall inbound links
    • Authoritative citations/links
    • Referring traffic sources
    • Referring search engines
    • Top keyword referrals
    • Top keywords by revenue
    • And many more items found in good analytics packages

    If blog optimization and marketing is part of the mix then you can also add the same analytics as a web site plus:

    • Number of RSS feed subscribers
    • Number of RSS to Email subscribers
    • Top posts
    • Top feed readers/aggregators

    Online Public Relations also brings another set of metrics to the table:

    • PRWeb stats: impressions, media reads, blog links
    • Number of release mentions
    • Referring traffic from release to landing page or site
    • Conversions from release
    • Position of release on Yahoo and Google News
    • Number of new inbound links
    • Number of editorial pickups (articles)

    Many of these are for internal reporting and some are for client reporting. Not all are appropriate and I am missing several – these lists are by no means comprehensive. I am curious what metrics you find most useful?