One of the best tips I ever picked up for goal-setting and progress-making was from my Marketing Over Coffee co-host John Wall: do quarterly evaluations of your goals and networks, even if you’re just doing marketing or social media on a casual basis.
Here’s what my very simple evaluation looks like:
Let’s tackle the green box first, which is absolute values, or raw data.
The first line is simple: Absolute Unique Visitors to my website. Absolute Unique Visitors (from Google Analytics) is the baseline on which I measure, because I want to know how many actual human beings saw what I publish.
The next four lines are the individual social networks and how many absolute unique visitors they each drive to my website. These are driven by custom traffic segments in Google Analytics. Note that this gives me an apples-to-apples comparison of the performance of the different networks as a function of driving traffic to my website. It doesn’t matter how many followers I have on Twitter if no one ever stops by, much in the same way that it doesn’t matter how many people see your restaurant billboard if no one comes to eat at your place.
The fifth line, EmAUV, is the performance of my email marketing program in terms of traffic.
The yellow box represents variances. I show changes between quarters and year over year to see what’s changing on a quarterly basis and on a yearly basis. The year over year column is important to get a sense of perspective. You might think, for example, looking at LinkedIn, that taking a 79% traffic loss in Q4 was devastating, but the reality is, year over year, LinkedIn is up 209%.
The blue box represents share of audience. Of the traffic that comes to my website, what does each network represent? At the beginning of last year, Twitter was almost 11% of my audience. That’s declined to just under 9%, while LinkedIn has picked up and more than doubled in a year.
The orange box, of course, shows variances in the share of audience to see what’s changed about share of audience. Again, LinkedIn’s share has gone up, as has email, while Twitter and Facebook have declined.
From all this data, we have to pull out insights and actions. Let’s look at the basics. Is my website growing? Yes. It’s up 31% year over year. Where is the greatest growth potential? LinkedIn. It’s not only shown the greatest year over year change, but it’s also got the smallest share of audience, so growth potential is highest there.
Conversely, it’s important for me to investigate why Twitter’s growth has slowed to 7.45% year over year, especially when the number of people who follow me has almost doubled in that time. More investigation needs to happen there. The same is true of Facebook, though I recently blogged about my change in strategy there.
As always, premium members of my newsletter will get a copy of this spreadsheet in the next issue if you want to wait and just have a download to use for yourself.
Obviously, you can extend this kind of analysis as far down the funnel as you have reliable data for. You could, for example, create lines for lead generation, for leads generated per social network, for multi-channel data, etc. all the way down to sales and recurring revenue if you so chose. For example, if you are an author selling Kindle books, you could put your monthly and quarterly sales data and then see how your sales change in relation to your site traffic.
This basic framework should give you at least a head start to check in quarterly and see what’s been changing in your world and what you might need to adjust or ask more questions about.
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