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Web Metrics 101

By Home Furnishings Business in on May 1, 2013

Just about every retailer has a Web site, and most are getting into the social media game.

In addition to expanding your store€™s reach, your online presence€”home page, Facebook page, etc.€”offer a wealth of information you can tap to learn more about your customers and, in turn, get them to do more business with you.

Per Impact Consulting€™s retail effectiveness analyses, 14 percent of
furniture purchases last year were made on the Internet. And that€™s €œreal€ furniture€”sofas, dining, etc., not accessories.

€œYears ago, it was more home office, but now it€™s sofas, dining room, across the board,€ said Impact CEO Bob George said. €œWayfair, for example, has started running major ad campaigns in Atlanta.€

Web analytics start with Web page visits. George noted that with 76 percent of all consumers go to the Internet to pre-shop before going to the stores, you need to get your share unique visitors and get a sense of how you€™re stacking up in your market.

€œIf you aren€™t getting the (Web) visitors, you€™re already behind the eight ball,€ he said.

Retailers also need to track how many pages potential customers visit on the Web site and how long they stay; mine potential data from social media; and analyze actual inquiries on their Web site.

TRAFFIC PATTERNS/METRICS
Instead of looking at all Web traffic in one bucket, Paul Fastner, Web development consultant with Furnituredealer.net suggests breaking it apart to look at mobile traffic separately.

Retailers in Furnituredealer.net€™s network have seen traffic from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets go from less than 10 percent of the total a couple of years ago to 32 percent today.

€œIt wouldn€™t surprise me if at the end of another two years that figure is above 50 percent,€ he said. €œIn general, a lot of mobile visitors are in a hurry€”they€™re looking for directions to the store or a phone number. Nowadays though, phones and tablets are so good that a lot of people use them as they would their computer.
€œThe one thing that doesn€™t work is having a Web site that doesn€™t work on a smart phone. In the past year, we€™ve rolled out mobile-friendly Web sites for all our clients.€
To evaluate your site€™s effectiveness, key mobile metrics to examine include bounce rate€”when a visitor to your sits views one page and leaves.
€œIt usually means they didn€™t like whatever they came to the page for,€ Fastner said. €œIt might have been to slow, or it was too hard to browse on a phone.€
How much time to visitors spend on the site, and how many pages do they visit?
€œThese are measures of visitor engagement,€ Fastner noted.
In your Web analytics, remember that not all traffic is equal.
€œInstead of looking at all their (Web) traffic, retailers should look at the traffic that matters,€ Fastner said. €œWe work with local retailers, and for them that means traffic in their market area. We separate that traffic into segments.€
Those segments include people who are trying to find your store€”they typed in the store€™s url, or conducted a search using the store€™s name.
An extremely important traffic segment comprises People who weren€™t looking for you but got sent to your Web site after a search. What€™s key here are organic search hits, not those generated by paid positioning on a search results page.
€œThat€™s one of the primary methods we use to measure SEO effectiveness,€ Fastner said. €œDo you come up when someone€™s not searching specifically for you?€

SEO EFFECTIVENESS
Fastner said that when it comes to increasing the effectiveness of your search engine optimization, nothing beats unique, high-quality content on your Web site.
€œYou can€™t cheat Google€”if you do, you can€™t do it for long,€ he pointed out. €œGoogle€™s watching that bounce rate, so it sees if someone comes right back to the search results page.€
The €œGoogle Places€ geographical location function is very important these days, and something retailers should monitor.
€œSay you search €˜furniture stores Miami,€™€ Fastner said. €œGoogle will pull up local businesses with actual addresses, phone and Web site listed. Make sure that information is correct, because we€™ve seen errors.€
For example, the pointer on the map might be in the wrong place.
€œGoogle can let you fix that. You also can add images and other things to enhance that listing,€ Faster explained. Another really important element of Google Places is reviews.€
Make sure to take the opportunity to respond to those reviews, or deal with a situation they might describe.
Number of customer inquiries creates opportunities for sale, especially if you€™re using something such as Google Ad Words.
€œWe want to look at how many leads this is driving,€ Fastner noted. €œThis goes back to €¦ combining data. If you get an inquiry and your matching that with sales data, you know how many leads you€™re closing.
€œIt€™s an important thing to look at, especially for retailers with multiple stores, is how many of these online leads you are closing. If in one store you€™re closing 10 percent, and in another you€™re getting five percent, there€™s probably something you€™re doing differently in those stores.€

SOCIAL SETTING
According to €œLeveraging Big Social Data,€ a report from online marketing platform Offerpop, social media remain a largely untapped information resource for most companies.
According to Offerpop, 1.4 billion consumers spent 22 percent of their online time in 2012 on social platforms. Since social media are constantly refreshing content, marketers can gain real-time access to what€™s going on in potential consumers€™ lives; and social platforms offer up consumer information about age, gender, place of residence and e-mail addresses. (See accompanying boxes in this article for key metrics to consider in social media.)
Facebook, in particular, is a potential treasure trove of information, according to Kevin Doran, vice president and co-owner of R&A Marketing.
€œThe reason I focus on Facebook is because of the analytics it provides,€ he said. €œThe others like Twitter and Pinterest aren€™t there yet, but Facebook gives you news you can use for your other marketing materials.€
Facebook€™s demographic information, for instance, can give you the percentage of females that like your page and, importantly, the city where they live.
€œThat can help you do a targeted direct mail piece,€ Doran pointed out. €œAnd think of the friends of your friends you could reach.
€œIf you€™re the Facebook administrator, you can now promote your posts through the €˜increase your reach function.€™ Twitter and Pinterest are great, but they don€™t give you as much information.€
REACHING OUT
When beginning to analyze their Facebook presence, a lot of companies get caught up in how many €˜likes€™ they have. The real thing to consider, according to Doran, is €˜reach.€™
€œWhen you say how many €˜likes€™ you have, that€™s how you€™re perceived outside,€ he said.
€œLikes€ are not a true measure of how many potential customers you can reach on Facebook, Doran said.
With Facebook, consider how many people you€™re actually reaching. The potential reach is the chance you have to turn people into customers.
€œ€˜Reach€™ means the people you reach through your €˜likes€™€” look at how many friends your fans have,€ Doran explained. €œRadio doesn€™t work that way, television doesn€™t work that way. With social media you have a 100 percent chance for that to happen. Those people reached through your likes actively see your brand name€”that€™s the social nature of the beast.€
He mentioned one client with 441 €œlikes€ but still has the potential to reach more than 200,000 people, those fans€™ friends.
Facebook, Doran added, is based on its newsfeed, and the medium€™s algorithm€”its brain function as it were€”makes it hard for a brand to show up without user opt in.
€œYou can see what times are the best for posts€”what you are posting and how you are integrating social media into all your other marketing,€ he said. €œIt€™s about having a social media campaign linked with everything you€™re doing from a traditional marketing standpoint to create a traditional promotion.€
For instance, Mrs. Jones might €˜like€™ you on Facebook but not do anything else with you, such sign up for e-mail. Let Mrs. Jones know wherever she interacts with you what€™s going on at the store.
€œSo what if they didn€™t €˜like€™ something or comment on it? They still saw it. You have potential customers,€ Doran said. €œIf you stay consistent with your social media presence, you€™ll see a consistent analytical return.
€œOffer design tips, ideas. Share fun things like an employee€™s birthday, doing something funny to the boss. Show them you€™re a real company, and that you€™re socially aware. It€™s one piece of the pie, and if you don€™t have a social media connection in your marketing, you don€™t have a complete promotion.€ HFB



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