Like most businesses today, you’ve probably invested a lot of time and money into the development of your website and the promotion of your services online.
You may have an agency building new websites for you, managing your SEO strategy, delivering epic content and advertising on Google. Maybe your guides are out in the field sharing content in real-time and taking photos of your guests too.
All of the above are important steps to getting the most out of your online strategy, so if you’re doing these – well done! The next step is to analyse key performance indicators (KPIs) on your website and continue making improvements in order to maximize your ROI.
However, with so much data available thanks to powerful tools like Google Analytics, it can be overwhelming to crunch the numbers and know where to concentrate your efforts. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the sea of metrics and determine the success of your digital marketing campaigns.
Let’s start with traffic sources:
Measuring the number of visitors that reach your website each month allows you to determine if there are any patterns occurring and if your monthly visits are increasing, or decreasing. It’s important to pay attention to the why & the how of significant drops in visitor levels, months where there is no change, and months where visits appear to spike. Understanding each change will make it easier to concentrate your advertising budget into times where it can deliver the greatest impact.
Furthermore, if you understand what channels your visitors are coming from, you can strategise for how to further advance this. For example, if the majority of your traffic is coming from social media efforts then you may want to focus more of your time and budget on growing this audience. However, if a high number of visitors are coming from search engine results, then you may want to invest in an SEO campaign and/or a PPC campaign in order to attract even more visitors from Google.
Focus on your strengths, find out what’s working and maximise this first!
What about time spent on site?
How long a visitor stays on your website has always been considered a key success indicator – the theory being that the longer someone spends on your site the more likely it is that they’re reading/watching/listening to your content and inching closer to conversion.
But is it that simple?
Time on site or visit duration can be an indication of the level of interest or involvement that a visitor has with the website. It is also a good indicator of the success of a campaign or other promotional activity that brings visitors to your website. However, in some cases it can also show that visitors are getting lost within the content and pages of your site, and having a harder time finding what they need before converting.
So how do I change this?
Time spent should be monitored along with bounce rate and pages per visit — knowing where users are spending more time and where they’re bouncing means you can make real-time tweaks to optimize engagement. Bounce rate can identify landing pages that are severely under-performing and need improvement, and time spent gives you that additional angle whereby you can analyse how long they spend browsing your site once you’ve managed to engage them. If they hang around too long, maybe they can’t find what they’re looking for.
Have a serious think about the goal of different pages on your website and where they fit into the consumer journey. Design each page to speak to a different consumer mindset – dream, plan, book. If the consumer is entering your site in the dream stage then keep them reading, engaged and learning about your business. If they’re hitting your booking pages then you need to focus on reducing their time on site. You don’t need them to hang around; you need them to discover what the desired action is on the page and BOOK!
Don’t forget about conversion rate:
There are two ways you will grow your tourism business online: 1) drive more traffic to your website and 2) turn that traffic into paying customers! Conversion rate tells us about the actions visitors are taking on your website – whether that is signing up to your newsletter, completing a registration form or making a direct booking. These ‘conversion’ points or goals are determined by you; based on what is most important to your business. They show you where the site is succeeding, and where you have room for improvement.
If you are spending $1,000 a month on advertising to drive 500 visitors to your site, by doubling your conversion rate you essentially double the value of your ad spend. You can then cut back on your ad spend and get the same benefit as you were getting before, or invest the additional revenue into new campaign activity.
The beauty of this is that improving your conversion rate means doing a better job at turning your existing visitors into paying customers, rather than paying more to get new visitors to your site in the first place. It’s more cost-effective than blowing money to increase traffic and allows you to get the most out of your current investments.
How do you actually improve your conversion rate?
The process of identifying your conversion goals, calculating conversion rates, and optimising your site to improve conversion rates is known as conversion rate optimisation (CRO). CRO is done by formulating hypotheses or completing user testing for why visitors aren’t converting on your landing pages, coming up with smart new ideas for how to change this, then testing your ideas through a process of A/B testing – to see which versions of a page performs better.
Experiment with the layout and style of your landing pages
Landing pages do three things:
- They inform the user what your company has to offer.
- They interest you in an offer, often by explaining what makes the company different to its competitors
- They make it easy for the consumer to follow through on the offer“buy now”, “register here” etc.
In other words, landing pages give users enough information to motivate them to convert. Test your landing pages to see if they help the user do this. Experiment with the position of page elements. Does it work better if my Call to Action is at the top or bottom of the page? Vary your text and images. Do a greater percentage of users convert if my page has a lot of text or not much text? What if key elements on the page are designed or coloured differently? It’s a process of trial and error that feels amazing once you crack it!
Test different Calls to Action
Could your grandma figure out how to buy from your site within a minute or two? Are your calls to action clear? On every page you should tell your users what to do next and guide them towards conversion. Test different “buy now” or “book here” buttons – how do they perform on different pages? What language style suits your audience best?
Measuring this stuff in Google Analytics
The best way to gather data is by diving into your Google Analytics account and studying conversion reports to see how people are moving through your site. Once you understand this you can set conversion goals and start your process of optimisation.
In Google Analytics, goals are used to measure how visitors complete a certain task and navigate your website. An example of a goal could be a newsletter subscription, an email enquiry, a booking or purchase. Again, it all boils down to the metrics that are important to your business and the ideal conversion path you mapped out for your visitors.
There are many Google Analytics videos on YouTube that can help you set up goals. Try this one from Google for a step-by-step guide top setting up your goals in Analytics.
Determining what your goals should be and then setting them up is part of our Digital Strategy for Tourism service.