9 Key Metrics Every Online Business Should Be Tracking

October 17, 2016

Online businesses have a distinct advantage over the traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises. The ability to track metrics at a deep level is simply not as accessible for traditional businesses, whereas their online counterparts can uncover precise data about traffic, sales, conversions, and more.

Many online businesses do not give an adequate amount of time to these metrics, though, and their systems and processes are not optimized to the level they could be. With the amount of data available, working out where to start sometimes causes inaction. So what are the main metrics a business should be tracking?

Conversion Rate

Whether you earn income from advertising, products, or services, you can track your conversion rate. Improving conversions is a broad topic as there are many elements you can test, largely dependent on your sales method. However, altering ad placements, improving your sales funnel, and working on your USP are some areas to start.

Traffic Volume

Traffic volume should ideally be increasing over time, but you might notice dips in your tracking results. A fall in volume could be related to the time of year, particularly if you are in a seasonal niche and get traffic from the search engines. A more serious issue could occur from a search engine penalty or advertising network issue, but tracking results helps you react quickly.

Traffic Sources

Ideally, you should be getting traffic from a number of sources. Tracking these sources will help you decide where to dedicate your resources, with a rise in search engine traffic, for example, suggesting you should analyze opportunities for additional promotion.

Certain pages on your site will usually receive a large proportion of the traffic. These pages, however, might not be the ones you were anticipating.

You could find an article is recommended on a popular blog or starts to rank for a quality keyword. If you know what pages are getting results, you can focus more attention on them with additional promotion.

Cost Per Acquisition

Cost per acquisition will tell you how much it is costing to make someone a customer. Without knowledge of these costs, understanding how much you can afford to spend on marketing becomes impossible. If, for example, you are acquiring customers for less than anticipated, you might choose to spend more on advertising or start an additional traffic stream.

Converting Keywords

Most niches will have a variety of keywords available to target, but not every one will result in sales. Understanding the keywords that convert allows you to optimize an advertising campaign, reducing ad spend from search terms that don’t get results. You can also start to target the converting keywords through SEO, removing the guesswork from the process.

Cart Abandonment Rate

Cart abandonment is a problem for retailers, but there are steps you can take to reduce the issue. Abandonment rates can vary, but collected data analyzed by Baymard Institute found an average rate of 68.81%. By tracking your statistics, you can first find out if you have a real problem, before deciding how much time you need to dedicate to improving the abandonment rate.

Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate indicates visitors are leaving without viewing any additional pages. A high bounce rate can cause SEO problems, but it also tends to indicate that visitors are not engaging with your site.

Monitoring the bounce rate can help you stay on top of engagement problems, allowing you to test different page layouts, above the fold content, and media elements.

Site Speed

Site speed is often overlooked, but a slow loading site can lead to serious problems. Conversions rates can drop dramatically when your site takes an extended time to load. Visitors are also less likely to return, reporting a poor user experience based solely on the load times. Slow loading times are also part of the search engine algorithms, so you could also face problems ranking.

Track your metrics

Tracking these metrics should give an incredible insight into your business operations. Any immediate problems can be quickly dealt with, while other factors can be tested for any margins of improvement.

There are, of course, various other metrics you could consider, but you want to avoid getting stuck on every last detail. Ultimately, the data is there to help you run the business, allowing you to focus on producing the best product for your customers.