The importance of monitoring your online properties is not understated. By monitoring, you learn where your ad dollars are going and can see exactly how you’re improving.
However, figuring out what to report on can be just as difficult. Most tools at your disposal have more than you could ever need, and determining what those metrics actually measure can be complicated.
Ineffective reporting is almost as bad as no reporting. When you don’t know what’s going on, you make choices based on incomplete information. Here are three questions to ask about your metrics before writing a report:
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1- What Does This Mean?
The single most basic question is often the most important. Even industry professionals ask the exact parameters for every tool they’re working with, on every single campaign.
Each tool measures slightly different things, and they often update their guidelines to reflect changes in the Internet. As a result, this should be the absolute first thing you ask about your monitoring tools.
You can’t have any effective report unless you know exactly what you’re reporting on, and what surprisingly vague word such as “visits” or “unique visitors” are actually measuring. For example, a visit could simply be clicking the page, or it could be when somebody has spent three minutes on the site. You could also have control over the definition, meaning it needs to be set before you get solid numbers.
Once you know what your metrics mean, you can begin to grasp your campaign performance.
2- Why Do I Need It?
Another important question, this one to keep your reports down to a manageable length. There are hundreds of metrics available for your website, and if you implement every single one, you’ll be drowning in data.
Sticking to a few key metrics means you can really drill down on how to improve them. What you monitor should tie in to the goals for your online strategy, with everything else simply being a distraction. If you’re only interested in increasing the number of prospects that visit your site, the number of shares your blog post got is less important than the percentage of new unique visitors.
Asking why you’re measuring something means you only get relevant data, allowing you to spend as little time reading reports as possible, and more time working on your company.
3- How Do I Use It?
In order to get the most out of your metrics, it’s important to know how to get the most out of it. Sometimes each page you’re monitoring needs a tracking cookie, while others automatically gather data. You could need to configure settings for what to include and exclude, to keep out non human users in your data.
Getting at least a basic understanding of what your tools can do is important for knowing what their limits are and what you can expect from reports. It also makes sure you’re maximizing your investments in analytics.
While nobody can tell you exactly what to report, keeping these three questions in mind when you set up analytics helps you get the most out of it. SharpSpring offers quality, simple to use analytics tools that make it easy to spend more time working on your business.