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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 stores reach, your online presencehome 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 Consultings retail effectiveness analyses, 14 percent of
furniture purchases last year were made on the Internet. And thats real furnituresofas, dining, etc., not accessories.
Years ago, it was more home office, but now its sofas, dining room, across the board, said Impact CEO Bob George said. Wayfair, 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 youre stacking up in your market.
If you arent getting the (Web) visitors, youre 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.
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.nets 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.
It wouldnt surprise me if at the end of another two years that figure is above 50 percent, he said. In general, a lot of mobile visitors are in a hurrytheyre 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.
The one thing that doesnt work is having a Web site that doesnt work on a smart phone. In the past year, weve rolled out mobile-friendly Web sites for all our clients.
To evaluate your sites effectiveness, key mobile metrics to examine include bounce ratewhen a visitor to your sits views one page and leaves.
It usually means they didnt like whatever they came to the page for, Fastner said. It 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?
These are measures of visitor engagement, Fastner noted.
In your Web analytics, remember that not all traffic is equal.
Instead of looking at all their (Web) traffic, retailers should look at the traffic that matters, Fastner said. We 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 storethey typed in the stores url, or conducted a search using the stores name.
An extremely important traffic segment comprises People who werent looking for you but got sent to your Web site after a search. Whats key here are organic search hits, not those generated by paid positioning on a search results page.
Thats one of the primary methods we use to measure SEO effectiveness, Fastner said. Do you come up when someones not searching specifically for you?
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.
You cant cheat Googleif you do, you cant do it for long, he pointed out. Googles watching that bounce rate, so it sees if someone comes right back to the search results page.
The Google Places geographical location function is very important these days, and something retailers should monitor.
Say you search furniture stores Miami, Fastner said. Google will pull up local businesses with actual addresses, phone and Web site listed. Make sure that information is correct, because weve seen errors.
For example, the pointer on the map might be in the wrong place.
Google 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 youre using something such as Google Ad Words.
We want to look at how many leads this is driving, Fastner noted. This goes back to ¦ combining data. If you get an inquiry and your matching that with sales data, you know how many leads youre closing.
Its 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 youre closing 10 percent, and in another youre getting five percent, theres probably something youre doing differently in those stores.
According to Leveraging 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 whats 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.
The reason I focus on Facebook is because of the analytics it provides, he said. The others like Twitter and Pinterest arent there yet, but Facebook gives you news you can use for your other marketing materials.
Facebooks demographic information, for instance, can give you the percentage of females that like your page and, importantly, the city where they live.
That can help you do a targeted direct mail piece, Doran pointed out. And think of the friends of your friends you could reach.
If youre the Facebook administrator, you can now promote your posts through the increase your reach function. Twitter and Pinterest are great, but they dont give you as much information.
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.
When you say how many likes you have, thats how youre perceived outside, he said.
Likes are not a true measure of how many potential customers you can reach on Facebook, Doran said.
With Facebook, consider how many people youre actually reaching. The potential reach is the chance you have to turn people into customers.
Reach means the people you reach through your likes look at how many friends your fans have, Doran explained. Radio doesnt work that way, television doesnt 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 namethats the social nature of the beast.
He mentioned one client with 441 likes 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 mediums algorithmits brain function as it weremakes it hard for a brand to show up without user opt in.
You can see what times are the best for postswhat you are posting and how you are integrating social media into all your other marketing, he said. Its about having a social media campaign linked with everything youre 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 whats going on at the store.
So what if they didnt like something or comment on it? They still saw it. You have potential customers, Doran said. If you stay consistent with your social media presence, youll see a consistent analytical return.
Offer design tips, ideas. Share fun things like an employees birthday, doing something funny to the boss. Show them youre a real company, and that youre socially aware. Its one piece of the pie, and if you dont have a social media connection in your marketing, you dont have a complete promotion. HFB