What Is Metric Mythology?
No, this isn’t about how metrics are useless, wrong, or meaningless. Metric mythology is a set of stories about a situation that can be exaggerated or fictitious. They can be misleading.
It’s easy to forget what metrics measure and what they don’t. Here’s a quick guide to some metric mythology to keep you from misinterpreting your metrics and drawing false conclusions about your content marketing campaign.
Low Click Thru Rate, Bad Content
Click thru rate (CTR) means nothing if your audience doesn’t land or stick to your content. Why would that happen? One of the most common and ignored problems is load time. If your content page load time is more than a second, there is a good chance that your prospective reader is going to navigate away by second 2. And, that means your click-through rate is meaningless. You may be falsely concluding that your content is of no interest as a result, which will lead to another metric gone wrong.
CTR also doesn’t measure the effectiveness of your promotion strategy and content marketing campaign. Remember, if your audience doesn’t know your content is there, it’s not.
Low Conversions, Bad Content
Presumably, you set the conversion to measure when your prospect hit the ”Thank you for signing up” to download your content, or to measure the download itself. However, if the load time was too long, the click got captured, but no conversion occurred. Again, this could make you think that your content is of no interest when it is. One of the culprits could be that your load time varies based on device. Make sure you check that it loads well for mobile and laptop/desktop. And, the reminder about checking out your promotion strategy from above still stands.
High Page Views, Great Content
Google Analytics Help defines page views as “A pageview (or pageview hit, page tracking hit) is an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.” This is not to be confused with unique page views, which “aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session. A unique pageview represents the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times.” So multiple page views can occur for the same user. This data is used by Google Analytics to identify a unique visitor (based on IP address). That gives you a good idea about traffic, but not a great idea about the impact of your content.
For this, it is useful to look at page depth (the number of pages users visit on your website) and exit pages (the page from which a user leaves your website). For example, do your users enter on your content page but exit from a page that is linked to your content? A great way to drive this, and gauge interest in your content, is to take a cue from the way developers like to read documentation and other technical material.
According to Evans Data Corporation, developers prefer to consume technical content organized in easy to scan, high level bullet points. Then, if they see something they’d like to learn more about, they want to be able to click on links that lead them to more detailed information.
For The Road
When you are constructing content, create a content family that supports a higher-level piece that points your audience to deeper, more detailed content as it applies to their particular interest or need. Make sure to stay on top of how well each piece of content performs from a technical performance standpoint. You don’t want to lose readers on a slow load.