Start with the basics: marketing planning by numbers

Start with the basics: marketing planning by numbers
Numbers, numbers, analytics and more numbers.  These are the foundations of your marketing planning
Seems to be all the big marketing and agencies can talk about these days. What are your analytics saying? What is your engagement rate? What was the CTR of your latest IM campaign? “My WHAT of my WHAT?” – a confused small business owner. You don’t have the time to dive deep into numbers, let alone take the time out to understand all the intricacies of what they mean, do and what they are worth. In this article, we give an idea of the numbers that matter in digital marketing, where to find them and what to do with them.

Website traffic

Website traffic is pretty important stuff. This is especially the case when you run an ecommerce business where the majority of your sales are made through your website…in fact in this case, website traffic is THE number that matters when it comes to marketing. Web ‘traffic’ simply refers to the amount of people passing through your website, having a browse and maybe doing something like reading a blog or buying a product. If you think of your website as a shop on the highstreet, then the traffic is the number of people who walk into the shop and take a look around. You can find this information in Google Analytics – if this isn’t set up for your website, ask your developer to drop the code in and set you up…easy. There is loads of really useful data on your Google Analytics, the key metrics you will want to look at is Traffic (called Pageviews), Bounce Rate and Avg. Session Duration. These can all be found under the ‘Audience’ tab. 

Bounce rate

This metric tells you how many people are coming to your website and not interacting in any way before clicking off. This is important as it tells you how well your website is performing at grabbing peoples’ attention. If your bounce rate is very high then it is unlikely that your visitors will be making the moves you want them to, for example buying a product of clicking to contact you.  Avg. session duration This number tells you (on average) how long people are staying on your website before clicking off. Although this number is arguably not as useful as traffic and bounce rate, it is still a very powerful marketing tool. This is so useful as it tells you how engaged your visitors are with the content of your website. If the duration is very low then people aren’t finding anything interesting on your sit to engage with, however for those where the duration is high it means that people are finding some interesting….and interesting things can convert.


If you sell via your website, conversions are the lifeblood of your business. However, even if your website is simply a source of information, then conversion can get interested individuals to contact you about buying from or working with you. Simply a conversion, also known as a goal, is an act that you want someone to do. On e-commerce sites the most common conversion may be somebody visiting the “thank you for purchasing” page, indicating that someone has made a purchase. Alternatively, a valuable conversion for you might be somebody hitting the ‘send now’ on your contact form, indicating that your website is converting visitors into potential customers. You can set up conversions or goals on Google Analytics under the ‘Conversions’ tab. This can show you exactly how well your website is performing in actually helping you reach your marketing and business goals. In this article, we have covered some of the most important numbers to consider when it comes to digital marketing. We can see that important metrics like traffic, bounce rate and avg. session duration can all be used to achieve the ultimate goal of conversions. In the wider business context conversion should indicate sales and ultimately sales mean a healthy and growing business. If you like this and want to read more check out our series of blog post in our Introductory Guide to marketing your small business.  Or download the whole email series as a PDF ebook
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