Almost every company has some kind of online presence, whether they intend to or not. It could be a few Google Reviews or Yelp Ratings, a simple landing page, or a full-fledged e-commerce website. Every company’s online presence will look different based on the type of company, what the company does, and what the goals of the company are for their online presence. The same is true for companies even in a certain industry, such as B2B.
Every company and every website are different, but as we move deeper into a digital age, the focus on online presence is ever increasing, making it more important for companies to look at what they’re doing online and how they can optimize their online presence through their website.
Whether a company’s website is their primary revenue driver or simply a way to establish credibility in the market, companies should be monitoring their website to make sure they know what’s working and what’s not. Looking at website metrics can get overwhelming quickly, and buzz words begin flying: bounce rates, search engine optimization, organic search, traffic, pages per session, conversion rate, average session duration, google analytics…. The list goes on. Before we dive into some simple metrics that B2B companies should monitor, let’s start with the why.
You can’t monitor your success if you don’t start by measuring. Most often, you’re going to have a goal for your website. Whether it’s a sales conversion, contact us form submission, or simply visitors to your site, it is important to establish goals for your website so you can measure how well the site is performing — and so you can figure out what helps you accomplish your goals. By setting your goals and monitoring them, you can maximize your website’s capabilities and successes.
Once you have your goals set, you have to determine how you will measure them. Rahuology.com points out that the breadth of different metrics for website monitoring can lead to confusion if goals aren’t well established, citing that “the marketing team can claim that the website is doing well based on the number of page views and keyword rankings, while salespeople may claim it as a failure because they aren’t getting enough leads from the website.”
We must get on the same page about what we want success to look like, and how we measure that.
So, what should you measure? There are so many countless things you can measure for B2B website metrics, and many tools that can help you do that. Some are paid and some are free, depending on how in-depth you’d like to get into your monitoring and reporting. Offering some important guidance, SimilarWeb encourages readers to “check B2B website metrics that provide you with actionable insights. Don’t settle for vanity metrics to present to your stakeholders, even though that’s what they may request. Stay a step ahead and work with the metrics that really matter.”
Keeping that in mind, here are four basic key performance metric buckets that are available to all users of the internet through Google Analytics, so whether you are a digital marketing expert managing a B2B website or someone trying to get started in tracking your website’s performance, you can better understand and maximize your website’s performance.
The first thing to look at is how people are getting to your website: Where is the traffic to your site coming from? On B2B websites, we need to understand how visitors arrived on your site: are they coming from your social media, organic searches, paid advertising, or from other sites? There are many ways a user can get to your site, so when you understand where they are coming from you can better help them find their way to you. Most often, a sign of a healthy site is to have a balance of traffic drivers to your site, but that can also vary depending on your goals.
For example, if you notice that you’re only getting traffic from paid search and social media, perhaps you need to look into why that is the case. Maybe you’ve recently increased your media spend in paid advertising and in your social media presence, which could explain the traffic drivers. Or perhaps nothing has changed with media spend, so you need to consider why you’re not getting traffic from organic search? Is your site optimized for organic traffic to find you? Have you reviewed search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and updated your site using relevant keyword research?
Understanding how users get to your site is a simple way to help you understand how your site is found and how you can help optimize the user journey to your site.
One step beyond how they are finding your site is the importance of looking at what kind of device they are using when they are on your site: desktop computer, tablet, or mobile. Perhaps you’ve assumed your visitors are most likely to be using a desktop, but when you actually look at your Google Analytics, you find that many are actually using mobile devices. If your site isn’t responsive for mobile, you may start to understand why your visitors aren’t doing what you’d like to them to do on your site and why your other metrics are at the levels they are.
Once you understand where your traffic is coming from you, it is important to take a look at what users are doing on your site. You can even take this one step further and try to look at subsets of data to determine if certain visitors are doing certain things by, for example, refining your results to just users of mobile devices to see how that affects your metrics.
Some of the key metrics for evaluating on-site activity are:
Average session duration
Average session duration is a measure of how long visitors spent on your site. Having a strong average session duration indicates that users who are visiting your site are engaged. In the B2B space, companies should aim for an average session duration of at least two minutes, according to Hinge Marketing.
If you find you have a low average session duration, you may also want to look at your bounce rate, which is the percentage of single-page visits to your site. A high bounce rate could drive down your overall session duration and indicate that the page you are seeing bounce rates from isn’t doing the job it ought to.
Top landing pages
It’s also important to look at your top landing pages, pages per session, and time on page metrics. Seeing which pages are the most visited and least visited can help you better understand what they’re looking for and lead them to the right places on your site; while pages per session can help you understand not only how long people are staying on your site, but how many pages they are visiting before they leave the site. And, you can look at exit rates to evaluate if adjustments are needed to a particular page that’s experiencing a lot of traffic exiting, especially if the goal of that page is to lead users to a certain action, according to DIVVY HQ.
On a more granular level, looking at time on a particular page can also help you understand how people are interacting with your site. Are people spending large amounts of time on a page you didn’t expect? Maybe there is something on that page that isn’t working well that needs to be addressed that’s causing confusion for visitors, or perhaps there is something on that page, like an interesting visual element, that is generating a lot of interest and could be replicated on other pages.
If you’re looking at all the above-mentioned metrics, you’re moving in the right direction in understanding your B2B site’s visitors and activities. But, when it really comes down to it, if you are actively utilizing your website, then you probably have a goal in mind for your website visits.
You are looking for your visitors to take some sort of action when they’re on your site — in other words, you’re looking for them to convert. For different companies, different types of conversions will hold different values. For example, some companies looking to generate leads might be looking for visitors to fill out a particular form with their contact information, while other companies might consider an e-commerce sale their most valuable conversion. Whatever your goal is, setting up and tracking your conversions “often shows the true value of your B2B website,” according to BOP Design.
Looking at all these key metrics throughout the user journey, from traffic sources to conversion rates, can help you assess the overall usability of your website. HiveHouse digital points out “visitors aren’t going to want to stay on your site long enough to convert into a lead if the user experience is subpar.” If we can understand how users are finding us, what they’re doing on the site, and measure how successful we are in those things, website performance can be optimized to fit the user journey and achieve your goals for your B2B website.
Tracking website performance and understanding what your metrics mean for your site are equally important tasks. To help you do this, there are many different software programs available. BOP Design provides a list of the top B2B website tracking platforms that can help you monitor and understand your website’s data. You can also turn to an agency for help in understanding your B2B website metrics and implementing changes on your site.