I made this point at the bottom of a previous post, but I've been thinking about it more and more. It's a recurring theme in my work - people wondering why they aren't getting any value from web analytics when they don't even know what they're measuring. So I'm going to make the point again, in bold type.
You can't manage what you don't measure.
You can't measure what you don't define.
Here's an excerpt from an email conversation I had with a colleague earlier today that illustrates the point more clearly (I think):
- It's not just about more traffic. You need to start defining what VALUABLE traffic is. What do people who are valuable do? Do they come to the site more often? Do they stay longer? Do they click on ads? Do they buy things? Whatever it is, you need to be able to define what value is to you. Once you can define it then you can measure it and correlate valuable traffic to the sources of that traffic and start to optimize your marketing efforts to drive more of your valuable traffic, and less of your valueless traffic. The goal should be do drive more valuable traffic with less marketing money over time.