How Many Visits are Enough? 6/4/2012
Many of our B2B clients frequently ask about their site traffic and wonder if this is a good metric for assessing their digital media performance. Unlike a retail site, sales are often not as easily linked to a B2B website. Therefore, the firm is looking for better insights about whether digital media is growing the business. As with most complex questions, the answer is often: “it depends.”
Site visits can be an interesting data point, but should not be used exclusively to determine the success or failure of a website. This number can be influenced by Internet “spiders,” seasonality of the business, or random spikes in a site’s rankings (even for unrelated terms). Some years ago a famous figure announced she was launching a new television program titled, “The SPINdustry.” Our company name was quickly in the mainstream media and as a result, our site traffic spiked as did our bounce rate (percentage of website visitors who view one page, then leave the site).
One simple method for understanding the general performance of your website involves combining three metrics:
Unique site visits
Average bounce rate
Average time on site
Note trends in your unique visitors over a minimum of six month blocks. Look for gradual increases as you improve search engine rankings for relevant terms, and engage your audience more.
Lowering the bounce rate implies that you’re giving your audience a more clear avenue to content they seek. Here is an area you can test. New navigation bars and/or terminology should have some impact on the bounce rate. In 2008, the Obama presidential campaign tested new terminology to recruit volunteers. They had presented “Sign Up” as the key term early on, but were disappointed in results. After testing “Learn More,” “Join Us Now” and “Sign Up Now” they discovered that “Learn More” achieved 18.6 percent more signups than the original “Sign Up.”* The bounce rate would have declined as more users ventured further into the site.
Increasing the average time on the site means your capturing attention and drawing the user into your content. For a basic B2B website with a variety of resources such as “request a quote” or “view our products” you should expect an average-time-on-site number to be between two and three minutes.
Increasing the number of unique visitors, while reducing the number who leave after viewing a single page and keeping them engaged with you for longer periods of time, indicates your website is working better for your company. Whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer, the answer to “enough visitors” is relative to market size and competition. Generally more is good. However, converting visits to leads, sales, contacts, etc. should be the next metric to watch
*Source: May 2012 issue of Wired Magazine.
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