This blog post is part of our series called “pretty useless”. In this series we explore why having a pretty website isn’t always the best choice for reaching your overall goal – maximising conversion.
When you first start out on your conversion rate optimisation journey, it’s hard to tell which numbers are vanity metrics (the ones that make you ‘look good’) and which metrics will actually have an impact on your end goal. With the sheer number of stats in Google Analytics, it’s easy to get a bit lost. If you are new to conversion rate optimisation here’s where you should start and what you should know.
1. Traffic sources instead of traffic volume
It’s not all about the traffic volume of your site. It can be more important to understand where your traffic is coming from and how each group reacts to your site. Filtering by traffic sources can give you an indication of the quality of your traffic and how much a conversion rate actually says about your site. If the majority of your visitors don’t match your personas, it is normal to have a lower conversion rate. Luxury hotels, for example, tend to have an aspirational element to them. Many people will browse the site but won’t be able to afford to purchase. If that’s the case for you, don’t be alarmed if your conversion rate isn’t as high as the industry average.
There are four types of traffic:
- Direct visitors come to your site directly by typing in the URL or using a bookmark they have previously set
- Search visitors find you through organic results in a search engine, like Google
- Campaign traffic describes any users who have clicked on your digital advert
- Referral traffic is visitors that have come through other websites or social media
In order to fully understand your user’s motivations and behaviours, dig deeper into your website’s analytics. Find out which type of traffic converts best (and worst!) and why. For example, if traffic from social media has a high bounce rate it might have to do with the messaging of your ad or the quality of your landing page. Unclear messaging or confusing landing pages have a negative impact on your overall efforts. Find out more about successful landing pages here.
Need help understanding your traffic?
The team at Umi are happy to help.
2. Focus on new visitors
As much as we like our loyal return visitors, filtering out those that already know your site quite well can give you a powerful insight into your website’s performance. New visitors don’t know your site yet and are most likely not familiar with your business. Therefore, they are great at teaching you about the usability of your site and many other important factors. How long do they stay on your site (duration)? What pages do they visit? Where do you lose them (exit pages)?
There is a lot you can learn from new visitors and using additional tools like FullStory or HotJar will help you shed light on what they are actually doing on each page.
In combination with Google’s event tracking, FullStory and HotJar are also handy to analyse and understand micro-conversions. It’s not all about that final conversion, you know? If your visitors don’t even make it down the funnel, it might be worth starting with the steps way before the final conversion. Are visitors watching your videos? Do they download brochures? If they don’t engage with our content and show interest in your business, we can’t expect them to convert.
4. Cost per conversion (CPC)
This metric keeps in mind that even though a conversion has value, there might also be a cost to it. If you spend too much money on getting people to convert, you might not make much or any money from it at all. Calculate what you can afford to spend on each conversion and try to stay well below that while trying to increase conversion rates. This is not to say you shouldn’t invest in conversions but make sure you’re not flying blind when you do so. Come up with a strategy first and test it. Let us know if you need any strategic support for your hotel or hospitality business.
5. Bounce rate
Put simply, the bounce rate is the percentage of people that immediately click away from your site without spending time on or interacting with it.
If they leave instantly, have they come to the wrong place (relevancy)? Or did the site simply not load fast enough, or perhaps the navigation didn’t work? They might have also come to a section of your site that isn’t where they expected to go, e.g. landed on a page that is too far down the funnel (specific product page) or because the link was set incorrectly. There are many factors that may result in a high bounce rate but luckily most of them can be fixed quite easily. Get in touch if you need any support improving your bounce rate.
6. Exit pages
Another important puzzle piece to understanding how you can optimise conversions is by analysing the exit pages. Where are you losing your visitors? How far down the funnel are these pages? Are people moving down the funnel as intended or running around in circles? Which are the key pages you should focus on?
If you are seeing high abandonment rates on checkout pages of your booking engine, for example, then it is possible that either the process is too complicated or there were surprise costs or new information that keep them from converting. Put yourself in the users’ shoes to understand what is preventing them from booking that room or buying that voucher.
Now more than ever, every conversion counts. By focussing on improving these 6 metrics you are establishing a solid foundation, which will allow your conversion rate to increase. While the priority of these metrics might be different for each business – depending on your unique situation and business goals – we need to acknowledge their overall importance and focus less on vanity metrics.
We understand that going through your website analytics might seem a bit daunting, so we’re here to help.