More and more, operators are moving away from emphasizing website-only metrics like page views and unique visitors to measure their site’s performance. For many, conversion metrics are being thrown into the mix.
As Lauren Drell of Mashable explains, “Conversions don’t always indicate a sale, but the metric does indicate a person took some action that pushes them a bit further down the purchase funnel.”
For college and university campus recreation, conversions could include desired actions by students or community members such as signing up for the email list or downloading your app, filling out a lead-capture form for personal training, buying a membership online, or downloading an educational PDF from your site.
This is the challenge of measuring site performance through conversions: Knowing exactly what to measure. According to Megan Radogna of Parse.ly, “The flexibility of what constitutes a conversion simultaneously lends an advantage and presents complications … Defining what constitutes a conversion in the context of goals is key.”
So, before you start emphasizing conversions in your web metrics arsenal, you first must define what actions you’d like site visitors to take that ultimately support the overall goals of your campus rec center.
But remember, conversions are only a small piece of the web analytics puzzle, and shouldn’t be the only thing considered when evaluating your site’s performance.
“Conversion rates don’t measure time spent or pages per visit or how much a user is engaged with your site, and those are three very important behaviors that develop brand affinity, boost brand sentiment and could lead to conversion down the road,” said Drell. “You need to understand that conversion rates vary widely by referral channel, and you can tweak your approach for each channel to optimize the experience and tip the scales toward a conversion for many different kinds of users.”
Dan Barker of Smart Insights also advised breaking conversions down into specific tasks. “If your site has several key tasks – eg. sales, customer support enquiries, leads, account top up – treat those as separate conversion tasks,” he said. “Work to increase their rates individually.”
With this in mind as you continue evaluating your site, consider adding conversions as a metric to monitor and track continuously, alongside other metrics you’ve determined are important key performance indicators.