Audane Leger is associate director of analytics at Velir.
Finding out what your members want and need by analyzing how they interact with your website helps increase value, guide content, and create a more responsive experience for members. Here are a few metrics to track to help you reach your digital goals.
Now more than ever, associations must demonstrate value to retain their members. One of the keys to accomplishing this is to streamline website content and navigation to create optimized user experiences. However, data is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to making decisions so you can best serve your members and deliver the content they need at the right time.
To generate the type of data needed to guide your decision making, look at several factors in your audience behavior. By identifying the most effective metrics, performing routine data analyses, and consolidating this information into regular reports, you gain insights to help accomplish your association’s digital goals.
You can learn to analyze your audience’s behavior by asking these questions and understanding the following benchmarks:
Where do your site visitors come from? Understanding the sources of traffic to your website can help determine which channels are performing well and which ones need to be optimized. You can find this information in your marketing channel reports to see exactly how your audience is finding your website. Popular channels include paid search from Google advertising, organic traffic from search engines like google.com, referral traffic from other website that link to you, and direct traffic from users who directly visit your website from their browser. Closely track these channels to better understand what you need to do to drive membership signups and renewals.
How many visitors are new and how many are returning? This metric gives you a sense of how loyal your audience is. While it is normal for many websites to have more new visitors than returning ones, especially from marketing channels such as paid search, it is important to convert new visitors into returning visitors by creating engaging content that encourages them to come back. This is critical for cultivating brand loyalty and will boost your overall website engagement metrics.
How long are members staying on your website? Tracking session duration and pages per session will provide insight into whether your content resonates with your audience. Benchmark: If average session duration on your website is more than two minutes, and if visitors view three pages or more per session, your site is showing strong performance.
Data is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to making decisions so you can best serve your members and deliver the content they need at the right time.
What causes members to leave quickly? Bounce rate tracks how quickly visitors leave your website. If your bounce rate is over 60 percent—that is, 60 percent of visitors leave after viewing only one page—try to find ways to cross-promote pages with links in your content so visitors move around the site and consume more content during their visit. Benchmark: A 40 to 60 percent bounce rate is ideal.
Are your members converting? Email signups and downloads are common conversions on association websites. Track these actions in your analytics tools to gain visibility into how users are converting. The more conversions you have, the more engaged your members are. Benchmark: A 2 percent conversion rate is very good.
What can I do to improve member signup and retention? Optimize channels that are key drivers of site traffic and boost lower-performing channels. Craft engaging content and clear calls to actions for conversions. Address any breakpoints on the site, such as a page where a high number of users drop off. By focusing on addressing these areas, you can create an optimal user experience for your audience and achieve your digital goals.
Asking yourself these questions and getting familiar with industry benchmarks is an important start to analyzing user behavior on your website. (Keep this infographic handy for future reference.) By following this process and revisiting these questions and benchmarks, your association can better understand its members to provide them with more meaningful content, while also getting your organization closer to meeting your business goals.