Making the Numbers Work
- search engine keywords you're targeting through paid search and search engine optimization efforts;
- sites that link to you;
- banner ads placed on other sites;
- all the way through the actions site visitors take.
Finally, there's the connection between points—how visitors proceed from one step to the next. If visitors come through search engine ads, are they satisfied with the landing page? If they put items in their shopping cart, do they proceed to checkout? Metrics tracking will tell you.
How Do You Track?
If tracking is about creating a full-site visitor picture, then tracking involves recording every relevant aspect of a visitor's movement, or a potential visitor's movement. This involves four key aspects:
Source tracking. Track ISPs of users and place cookies on visitor machines to determine vital visitor information, such as who is a first-time visitor and who is returning, and how many times they've been to your site.
Clickpath tracking. Track the complete path of site visitors, not just from their offsite origins, but all the way through your site. This includes where conversions happened; what types of navigation a site visitor needed to go through to achieve that navigation; where a site visitor converted or dropped off; and how many conversions the visitor made.
Search engine source tracking. Track the keyword(s), and in the case of paid search, the ad that led the visitor to your site. This is similar to standard source tracking. When running a search engine marketing campaign, it isn't enough to know from which Web site visitors came to your site; you need to know which keywords are most effective at driving Web traffic.
A/B testing and coupling. Test which elements of your online creative, and which combinations of those elements, work the best using A/B testing. Here, metrics tracking helps determine which options work best, which need to be reworked, and which need to be dropped entirely.