He does have a point that most of the time, measurement online is based on techniques that we have learned over a long period of time and not necessarily on the numbers that actually tell you something useful. As case in point, here are a few of the wrong metrics that you might be using, as well as some suggestions for alternative metrics you may want to consider to get a better idea of what is actually happening online:
Wrong Metric: Time spent – Often we look at the amount of time that someone spends on our site or any given page and congratulate ourselves for a higher number. The problem is that sometimes if your time spent on your homepage is higher, it actually means that the page is completely unusable and people have to spend too long trying to figure out where to go next.
Alternative Metric: # of Pages Visited - Instead of time spent, try looking at the number of pages that an average visitor to your site visits. The more pages they visit, the deeper their level of engagement. And if they just visit the homepage and stay for three minutes before leaving, it means they visited the site, couldn’t find anything, and left.
Wrong Metric: Site Referrers – When you look at the sites that are referring you traffic,, usually you’ll see a search engine like Google appearing highly on the list. The problem is just knowing someone is coming from a search engine or another site doesn’t tell you much. What you really want to know is why.
Alternative Metric: Entry & Exit Pages – Rather than just referring sites, you can look at your entry and exit pages. These are the pages on your site that someone first got to your site from. The interesting point this will raise is that not everyone who visits your site comes from the homepage. Just knowing that helps you to rethink your web experience.
Wrong Metric: Conversions – There is only a limited amount of information you can get from an analytical point of view by looking at your successful conversions. Someone may have come to your site already planning to buy something, for example. Of course, we all want as many conversions as possible, but unless you’re doing significant surveying of these conversions, you probably won’t learn much.
Alternative Metric: Abandonment – The flip side is looking at the people who abandon a shopping cart midway through their purchasing process online. Or someone who clicks to download a PDF, but leaves as soon as you ask them for an email address. Those are the situations where you can learn something. So run multiple steps or alternate your offers and see if you can spot where people abandon, and fix it.
Those are just a few alternatives you may want to try. Of course, you can always pick up Avinash’s book for lots more advice as well.
Rohit is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy, one of the largest agencies in the world. He is author of the best selling new marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide for small business on how to be more authentic, keep your customers and inspire your employees, which has been published globally in 8 languages.