Ecommerce businesses tend to measure key events.
How many people added an item to the cart?
How many people added an item from the “suggested items” on the cart page?
Which items/categories in the “suggested items” section got added to the cart the most?
How many people moved from cart to checkout page?
How many people completed the checkout process?
Everything is measured. Big businesses measure a lot more than just these few, but every single one of them measure some key events. These help them understand their customers better, their product catalog better, and identify leaks in the process much better and faster enabling them to take action to plug these leaks.
Measurement is important, and a good measurement plan starts with having clarity on what you are measuring, how would you be measuring it, and why are you measuring them.
But measurement is not a tool that’s critical exclusively to ecommerce businesses. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter whether have a travel aggregator, a blog or a job portal, in order to grow it, you need to have a measurement strategy in place.
Why is measurement important for any business
Simply put, it helps you grow. It gives you insights into who your ideal customers are, what motivates them, and which assets are the most valuable to you.
Let’s take the example of an ecommerce business I was once a part of. We had tens of thousands of products, and off those products, we had a segment that just wasn’t selling. No matter what the business did, it won’t sell. Discounts had been applied on the products, fresh product shoots had been done, exciting offers had been put up on them. They just refused to move. So. When all else fails, trust the data.
We looked at the numbers. Lots of different kinds of numbers. Numbers that weren’t a part of the slew of daily reports we used to get every morning. Numbers we didn’t even know we needed to look at. And what we found was quite interesting. If we were to map the amount of visibility a product was getting in the listing page, almost every single one of these items were in the bottom ten percentile. They just weren’t getting discovered by the customers. So, no matter what offer you pasted on them, it was all an exercise in futility because if they aren’t discovered, neither are the promotions. Their conversion numbers weren’t bad, whether you look at listing page to product page conversions, or overall transactional conversion. The conversion numbers on all fronts were more or less aligned with the rest of our catalogue. But they needed to be found to give conversions, and that just wasn’t happening. They were lost in the crowd of all the other fancy products they had been clubbed with, and they were at the bottom of the pile collecting dust.
So, what did we do? We ran an experiment. No promotions, very little discount, and a few targeted landing pages containing a small number of products. Landing pages that conformed to a theme, and a story. And then we just went ahead and promoted these landing pages. The result was as expected. As these products started getting visibility, they started moving off our shelves and into the delivery chain. None of it would have happened had we not measured and analyzed their performance data. But what can (or should) a non-ecommerce business measure? And why?
Well, let’s take an example.
Lets assume you are a job portal. So you have a few different unique pages on your website.
There is the homepage, there is a job listing page (maybe for each category, location etc.), there is the individual job page, and then there is the application page. So, there are a few distinct steps in the process.
If you measure the performance of each individual step of the process you will have a better idea of what’s going wrong, and what’s happening that’s right. Let us look at them one by one.
Step 1. Homepage to all job listing page
This is the first step in your users’ journey. Whether or not a user completes this step would give you an indication of the quality of your homepage. Are you able to communicate the value of your product well? Are the assets on the homepage enticing enough for the user to consider taking this step? These are all important questions, which you can find answers to once you start measuring these numbers. If out of every 100 users on your homepage, only ten move on to the job listing page, then in all probability, the jobs, the categories and the companies you have on the homepage aren’t enough of a motivator. Or, at the very least you have your target audience wrong. So while these assets may have performed well with another subset of your audience, this particular audience base just doesn’t care enough about the jobs you currently have on there.
These numbers help you get in the mind of the users. Ideally the user coming onto your homepage is someone who is looking for a job. The quality of opportunities and their perception of the companies listed on your homepage is the first thing they will see, so if they are not impactful enough, you will have drop offs. Measure the inflow and the outflow. If the numbers are low, you would now know the areas you need to improve on.
Step 2. Job listing page to individual job page
Imagine browsing through your Medium feed, or scrolling through a news publication’s website. What makes you stop and go ahead to read an article in full?
This particular case is no different. Is the headline informative enough? Is there any difference in the headlines of the jobs that do go through this step and the ones that don’t get clicked? The more you analyze these differences, the better you would be able to improve the conversion of this step.
In this particular example, you may think that the headline of the job isn’t really something you can control. After all, the company posting the job would be putting up the headlines. Well, you are half right. While the company may be putting up the jobs, analysis of this step’s performance will help you guide your customers (the companies) into creating better headlines. On the form where they create the job, you could put up prompts as to what a good headline looks like. You would not be able to do that unless you have been measuring and analysing this step.
Step 3. Individual Job Page to Application start
Is the job description detailed enough? Does it mention compensation and benefit? Work location? Skills required?
This step, just like every single one of them, is a plethora of information and insights. Take work location for example. There is a possibility that a job seeker isn’t taking this step because the job is in a location not conducive or preferable to him. If that’s the case, maybe your system would do better if you added a location filter (or at least displayed job location) earlier in the process.
Step 4. Application start to Application submission
Measuring the performance of this step will help you understand how easy or difficult the basic application process is. Are you asking for a lot of details? Does it take a lot of time? Do job seekers start the application process, but are leaving midway?
Every single one of them is important, and gives you a clear direction you need to take. Half filled applications? You probably need a ‘save application’ or ‘finish it later’ button.
Smaller goals convert better
As we said at the beginning, every business tracks its goals. A blog tracks the number of subscribers it is adding every week and month, a job portal would be tracking the number of job applications being filled.
Having the right set of goals is not a problem, we all know what we want to achieve. The challenge is figuring out how to break down those goals into smaller, manageable goals and doing so in such a way that it helps us achieve our broader goals better, faster.
You could be measuring the number of applications being processed by your job portal every week and month, and noticing it going up and down. But unless you are isolating the different steps involved, and measuring them for their own individual performance, you would always face the challenge of trying to improve it with extremely limited information, if any.
On the other hand, if you have the Steps mapped out for you, an improvement at any step of the process helps improve your overall conversion. And, a small improvement at each step of the process helps improve your overall conversion by a lot!
So how do you do it?
Most analytics tools will give you the framework to set up your goals. We do too. You can set up goals for any website you have on Benne Analytics. Just set up the kind of goal you are trying to measure, break it down in simpler pieces and set it up. The system takes care of the rest. Now, every single time you look at your dashboard, you will have an extremely clear idea of how the different steps of your business goal are working, what is working in your favor and what isn’t, and what should you be doing to improve the performance.
If you have any questions on how to set up goals with Benne, or measuring performance in general, we are just a tweet away!
That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.
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