Web analytics are key to accurately target your online marketing campaigns. But what data should you pay attention to and what should you ignore?

The sheer amount of online marketing campaign data and website analytics is staggering. These metrics can be powerful tools for helping you understand where your online leads come from. And having a clear picture of your data will give you insight on how to effectively spend advertising dollars.

But analyzing these metrics yourself can be overwhelming. What data is worth paying attention to, and what’s superficial? Here are four points to consider.

1. Total traffic might not be as important as you think.

It may be a common data point, but knowing how many hits your site gets on a given day isn’t all that revealing. 

First, it’s important to get baseline analytics of your average web traffic without any special online advertising campaigns in play.

Next, record your conversion rates: Learn how users landed on your site, what they were seeking, and how they were funneled to a contact or inquiry form. Of those leads, how many are you building relationships with offline? 

Once you know your starting point and understand the conversion process, it’s important to set goals for your traffic before you begin a campaign, says Sam DeBord, managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth.

Always base your goals around an increased conversion rate, not higher overall traffic. It's finding the “right kind of traffic” that's important, DeBord says: “Focus on finding the sources of the best traffic that doesn't bounce [from your site], and converts to a contact.”

If your site’s traffic grows but bounce rates are rising and conversion rates are shrinking, then you’ll know you’re targeting the wrong kind of traffic and it’s time to reevaluate your approach.

2.  Bounce rates are significant, but don’t fixate on them.

It’s a fact of life on the Internet: People are going to land on your real estate website and find that it wasn’t what they were looking for.

Nobu Hata, NAR’s director of digital engagement, says it’s more important to focus your attention on time-on-site and time-on-page measurements. “If you take a look at granular traffic in this manner, you can spot consumer trends in real estate search and then know which content you need to hit people again and again,” says Hata.

Focus on what’s keeping visitors on your site and at what point they fill out that contact form. But don’t ignore bounce rates completely. If you’re noticing significant traffic leaving your site even after they find you through market-specific, long-tail Google searches, there might be a problem. Don’t discount the possibility that people might be leaving due to the design and function of your website.

3. MLS “saves” are underrated.

Assuming your listing has a stellar presentation with professional photos and robust information, Hata says one metric that can illustrate the performance of that listing in real time is whether buyers or agents are saving your MLS listing in their home search. “No saves means it's overpriced,” Hata says.

Combine save rates with hits on this listing on your business website to see if the numbers are matching up, Hata suggests, and once they align you’ll know an offer is imminent. 

4. Social media impressions are not impressive.

Impressions are the number of times your post is displayed, and reach is the number of people who can potentially see your post. These metrics only act as a carrot to keep people spending money on paid marketing, says Hata, because it doesn’t mean much if no one is clicking on or engaging with your post.

“Likes” are also a superficial metric, says marketing expert Marc Gordon: “Liking a Facebook post involves just a single mouse click. The motivating factor behind that click can be virtually anything. That means there's no way to know how relevant your Facebook community really is.”

Instead of worrying about how many likes or the reach you can amass, stay focused on what really matters for your bottom line. Learn how many people are clicking on your ad, post, or website and, of that activity, how many are staying on your site and converting into real leads.


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