Senior Marketers Need to Know Best Performance Metrics

most-interesting-metrics-senior-marketersA survey made by Emarketer showed that the general trend from senior marketers worldwide is leaning towards “shallow” performance metrics when asked to evaluate which ones they are interested in measuring.

The survey referenced survey result sources from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) in its 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook posted January 19, 2010. Marketers were asked which engagement metric was the most important among 1) Time on Site 2) Unique Page Views 3) Click-through rates 4) Page Views 5) CPM (Cost per Mille) and 6) Other (cost per click, conversion, ROI).

As it turned out, time on site was rated as most important, followed by an order similar to the listing of metrics above. While digital spending benefited from the cutback in traditional ad spending, but if the trend of picking these punchless metrics continues, there will only be thin blur line that divides mainstream advertising with this overrated alternative.

Maybe part of the flaw in this response is that based on the selections, Emarketer did not consider ROI as a major option and instead classified it as just part of a minority (as indicated in the “Other” notation). But it should not be an excuse for this important metric to achieve very low marks.

Why time on site is not the best metric to measure?
Amount of time spent on a website can hardly tell success or failure, unless you own Facebook. Visitors may spend more time on your site because they like found its content interesting and therefore stayed there (again, Facebook) OR they stayed longer than they are supposed to be, simply because visitors are unable to find the right buttons to click and content to find as a testament to an awful user experience.

Why unique page views is not the best metric to measure?
Obviously one would be happy to find out that there are many unique visitors coming to his website. That could be because he did an amazing job advertising it at the right channels, provide unique content that people link back to it and subsequently gathered interested visitors, or did an awesome optimization job to enable the website to rank well on search engines. But what now? The website may have large unique page view numbers and still suck. That happens when the website fails to integrate proper call-to-action such as invite users to sign up for e-newsletter, download a white paper or inquire about or buy the product or service and those are what I call real engagement metrics.

Why click-through rate is not the best metric to measure?

A high click-through rate (CTR) is a good pay-per-click advertiser indicator. But when it’s a half-baked performance metrics especially when you consider advertising that requires payment for every click by a visitor. A high click-through rate does not automatically generate high conversion rate. If you manage an e-commerce site and advertise in Google AdWords with high CTR, you don’t expect that you’ll automatically get more sales leads.

Why a high page views is not the best metric to measure?
High page views may be a good visitor engagement indicator but it’s not the best one to consider simply because it is still open to other factors. For example, we can visit a website and enjoy its content that we spend a lot of time jumping from one page to another. But on the other hand, we can visit a website and find it difficult the right information we are looking for. As a result, we also spend a lot of time jumping from one page to another.

Why a Cost per Mille (CPM) is not the best metric to measure?

CPM is simply a measurement of cost per thousand impressions and there is nothing really valuable engagement factor. So if I pay US$1 for a thousand ad impressions and yet nobody who sees the ads click on it, the one dollar I pay just goes down the drain (almost: except that I get some degree of brand awareness).