Creating and Defining Metrics 2 - For Internet

In the first article of this series about metrics, I introduced this topic and argued that metrics are vital for businesses and for our personal and professional life. For the second entry I will talk about metrics, this time from the perspective of Internet.

As I mentioned briefly in the previous post, one of the advantages of Internet is that most activities can be measured, in a simple way. In fact, when we deal with technologies, metrics usually come by in a normal and easy way. Plus, many technologies aren’t limit to measuring, but they also analyze the data.

Returning to metrics on the Internet, practically from the get-go, we were able to measure the users activities. It can be said that almost every tool we use on the Internet is measuring us, however not all data is shared with the users.

For the metrics of Internet, I like to divide them in 3 main groups. Other people might argue that there are other groups, which is quite valid. This are my groups and I hope you learn from what I’m sharing with you today.

The first group of metrics are very basic and standard for websites. This group saw the light when the World Wide Web was created. Among many other the basic metrics of this groups include the number of visitors to a website, the pages that are visited, the origin (country) of the visitor and how the visitor entered the site (directly, though and external link, searching on the Web, etc.). Although this metrics are interesting, they don’t tell us much about the business side, for instance, how many sales occur for every 1,000 visitors.

The second group is for advanced web analytics. These are complementary to the first group, but include further details. For instance, we can learn how much time a user spends on our site, what elements of our website are gathering the users attention and which don’t. In this group I also include metrics that are shared with us on Social Networks, including the number of visitors, reach and engagement. With this second set of metrics we gather more information, bur not necessarily actionable metrics about our business.

The third and last group deals with metrics related to our business. If we have an ecommerce site, we include in these metrics how much are we selling online, which is the average sale (or ticket), how much time is require to make a sale and more. But if we don’t have ecommerce or we complement the ecommerce with physical stores, we have to measure how the online efforts have repercussions on the physical world. It would be interesting to know what are the results in physical stores of sending a promotion via email or social networks.

With the 3 sets of data, we must cross data to find patterns and behavior of our clients. For instance, we could measure what happens to sales in stores, when we receive 1,000 visitors to our website and our Facebook followers increase by 50. When we have this type of information, we can make decisions with the confidence of the data and that we’re not navigating in the blind.

I recommend that you work on a daily basis with the metrics obtain on the Internet to make your decisions. This metrics are usually available and easy to find, your job is to analyze them, cross them and put some context into them. With a little work I’m confident you’ll optimize the presence of your company on Internet.

Image taken from Flickr.com

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