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Metrics-Based Modeling For Powerful Web Marketing
Main Page - Table Of Contents
First written August 2008

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Non 2Cooleys customers please note! This traffic reporting Web site is intended for use only by 2Cooleys customers. The metrics used herein pertain only to Twin Lakes Area tourism marketing.

Update Nov 2013 - Much of what is in these pages is still true today, and will be for years to come. While total counts for each metric will change, the percentages will not.

How Metrics-based Modeling & Traffic Reporting Work Together

Metrics-based versus Search-based Models - When most people think of promoting their web site all they understand is search engines and maybe some banner ads and inbound links. That is an extremely small viewpoint. Focusing on just search engines ignores some 60 percent of your total available site visits. 2Cooleys has held numerous Number One organic search engine ranks since 1995. Despite this most coveted position, the one every web master wants, fully 60 to 70 percent of all our site visits come from non-search. So who is more qualified to make this claim than someone who has held multiple Number One organic search ranks for over 18 years?

It's All About One Simple Relationship - All the metrics-based model does is take an unknown number and compares it to a known number. This same statistical process is used in many ways in the entire business world - for many things other than web sites. It is used in quality control and many other management models.

Definitions
Metric - a numerical measurement, a definition assigned to give numbers useful meaning. The term metric is used in many areas of business management, not just the web.

Base - Base, or baseline, is a group or set of known target metrics. These base metrics are the goal. This base is what traffic report numbers are compared to for determining how well any report metric is performing.

Model - Just another word for system, program, or formula where a set of ideal conditions come together to produce the ideal end result, an example of what is most sought.

Traffic Report - The term "traffic report" was used by web masters many years before Google even existed. The word "analytics" was coined by Google to promote their traffic reporting means brand-named Google Analytics. Now most agencies promoting traffic reporting use the term Analytics instead of Traffic Reporting. They are the same thing. There is log-based reporting and page-based reporting. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of the method used, all a traffic report does is record every click any visitor makes in a web site. How the visitor found the web site (called finding methods) is also recorded. Several metrics are gathered into a log format. These logs are huge. To extract any meaningful data from them a log analyzer must be used. The process of analyzing all that data is called "running a traffic report".

Accuracy - Traffic reporting data, regardless of the method used, is not precise. However, it comes close enough to be extremely useful. This is why percentages are far more useful than total number counts here. Traffic reporting software must be properly configured to render useful meaningful numbers. Further, each industry needs its own special set of configurations. While both tourism and retail will have certain metrics in common - like total site visitors - they will also have industry-specific metrics.

Learn To Do It Right!
The key to accurate and useful traffic reporting is knowing what metrics are really needed, and how to best configure the traffic reporting software. This requires training from people who know what they are doing, and it takes some study. I got all my training from the Web Trends Corporation. I paid good money for it, and it took me a year just to learn the basics. That was back in 1995 - 1996.  Things have changed considerably since then, so each year I would have to update.

How It Works
1. Establish The Baseline - The first step is establishing the base metrics, which I have done for you. These are used as the model numbers, the goals to shoot for per each metric. For the purposes of Twin Lakes Tourism analysis I use a total of 19 different base metrics, all of which are listed below with links to their precise definitions. My base defines a desired percentage, or percentage range, for each of those 19 metrics. These are the target metrics. This base comes from years of real-world experience, which I explain in Origin of Twin Lakes Area Traffic Metrics and What The Heck Is A Metrics-based  Model?

2. Run Traffic Reports - Next, you run a traffic report. Which software you use, or which reporting means you use, is up to you. Just know there is a lot of debate about what is best to use, even among experts. The most important point to keep in mind is listen only people who have a proven track record of success with reporting. I have seen tremendous damage done by those who think they know and in fact don't. Because you know nothing or very little about all of this, you will be easy to impress, and that is what those who don't know much themselves will count on - your ignorance and need. The only answer is to do your homework, and do it well.

3. Deviation Analysis - It does absolutely no good to run a traffic report and just look at the numbers. For example, you run your report and see you had 10,000 site visits - not site visitors but site visits. So what? Is that good or bad? You have no way of knowing unless you know what is normal within your business sector. Is 10,000 site visits low, normal, or very good for a small tourism business in your area? You go to meetings, listen to gossip and claims. Is that accurate? Do those you listen to know? Do they know what they are talking about?

This is why you need a known base. Do your numbers deviate from the base? If so by how much? Any deviation on any particular metric means that metric may need work. Too high and something else is not high enough. Too low and you either are not using it enough, or you are using something else too much. Don't worry, I explain deviations. The point is, the deviation analysis is what makes the metrics-based model so much more powerful than a search-based model.

4. Practical, Useful Data - In today's world all your advertising - regardless of what media or form it is in - should lead to your web site. The goal then is to fine-tune your advertising so that you can clearly see what advertising is working, what is not, and what to adjust. A well promoted web site does NOT rely on just search, or just links, or just banners, or any other one or two elements. It takes a well-rounded promotion.

Key Your Ads - In learning traffic reporting you will see how to key all of your ads so that you can tell just how much traffic each media, and each ad, is sending to your site. Do it right and billboards, radio ads, print ads, banners, links, TV spots, videos, or anything else will show up in your reports. This is why it is just plumb foolish NOT to learn how to run your own traffic reports.

Doing The Math
First run your traffic report. Use the total Visits count as your denominator for all report metrics. Divide all other report totals into the total Visits. This then shows you the percentage of total Visits each report category (metric) your site generated.

Sometimes it is more useful to use total site Visitors than total site Visits. While I personally prefer to use total site Visitors, the industry standard is total site Visits. The difference being that for this area's tourism I have found it's more useful to know the total number of people coming to our sites than how many times they came to it. One person can visit many times. Those who advocate using the total number of times a person visits (total site visits) have different needs.

If you have 10,000 Visits, and 6,000 of those visits came from the Direct Entry metric in your report, then 60% of your total Visits came from Direct Entries. Now look at the percentage I give for Direct Entries. You'll see that if you do get 60% of your Visits from Direct Entries, you are doing well for this area's tourism industry. If very much below that 60 percent, you need to work more on your Direct Entries. If much above 65% you need to work on other areas to bring that high Direct Entries down. If Direct Entries are too high, not enough of your readership is coming from search, or back links, etc. If too low then too much is coming from search or some other source.

I know, how can you ever have too much from search? No, it's not that search is working too good. It is that something else is not working enough. It is the percentage relationships and how to balance them that is the secret. I explain all of this in this site.

The Problem With This Program Is The Real Opportunity
The main problem with the metrics-based model is that most don't want to spend the time it takes to learn to do it right. Everyone wants that fast, easy solution. That's just human nature. However, when you look at any success story in business anywhere in the entire world, somebody in that business worked their butts off to grow it. If you want to get ahead you have to do the work. There are no short-cuts.

You want to pull ahead of your competition, this is how you do it. This is why we have out-produced our competition by a very wide margin ever since 1995. We are, and always have been, the ones to beat. And the Metrics-based model is why. It's all here, for both you and our competition. But rest assured, it takes more time than most are willing to invest. And that is your opportunity!

Links

The numbers used are for an 18 month reporting period of January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008. Current numbers may be up or down.

Customer Traffic Reports
60 customer traffic reports ranked from the most to the least total site Visitors. Also use this table for percentage analysis to see the strong points and weak points in your advertising efforts.

Conversions Is What This Is All About
If you read nothing else please read this one!

2Cooleys Sites Traffic Reports
2Cooleys domains shows 868,184 visitors for the reporting period.

How Customer Reports Are Ranked
Explains the ranking method

Definitions
Traffic report terminology definitions - short explanations with links to more details.

Report Table Metrics Explained
Short explanations for the table metrics with ideal values for each. Includes links to detailed explanations. Details the percentage ranges that indicate your advertising strong and weak points.

What You Need To Know About Top Search Placements
It is not all about "smart" keywords, titles, domains, and meta tags. Those days are lone gone. While those items help, they are not how the search game is won.

Metrics-Based Model Information
The real power behind traffic reporting is how the resulting metrics are applied to advertising. A metrics-based model goes far beyond what just search optimization can produce.

What The Heck Is A Metrics-based  Model?
The 2Cooleys metric-based model for generating Twin Lakes Area tourism Web site readership is explained.

Origin of Twin Lakes Area Traffic Metrics
Explains how report metrics and percentages were developed for the Twin Lakes tourism market.

Metrics Not Shown But Available
The traffic reports shown are just summaries. This list shows other metrics we use in our own traffic reports.

Why We Don't Show "Hits" In Our Reports
Anyone who values traffic reporting needs to know what hits really are, and why those familiar with traffic reporting don't talk about hits.

What It Costs If I Do It For You
Yuck! you say to all of this techno-babble. Okay, here is my consulting fee.

General Traffic Reporting Information

What Is A Traffic Report?
Details in non-technical language what a traffic report is, and how it works.

What Good Does A Traffic Report Provide?
Explains why you need traffic reporting

Experts Say Statistics Pages Over-Report Ad Clicks
Explains why those password protected site statistics for the sites you buy banners and links in are over-reporting your click counts. This is a fine example of why traffic reporting must be done right.

Should You Have Reciprocal Links?
"You link to me and I'll link back to you." Good idea or not? It depends.

Metrics Explanations
These are the same metrics links seen in the report tables. They are listed here for fast reference.

Column Header Visit Sources

Row 1  Direct Entries

Row 2  Search Engines

Row 3  2Cooleys Inbound Links

Rows 4 & 5  OMR and Inbound P&T Links

Rows 6, 7, 8, & 9 Inbound Chamber Links

Row 10  Resorts & Lodges & Big National Sites

Row 11  Inbound Ozark Vacations Links

Rows 12 & 13  Inbound Miscellaneous and Niche Site Links

Rows 14 & 15  Visitors and Visits

Row 16 Page Views

Row 17  Average Visit Time

Row 18  Spyder Visits

Row 19  Use Of  Top 5 Keywords

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Metrics Values | 1 thru 10 | 11 thru 20 | 21 thru 30 | 31 thru 40 | 41 thru 50 | 51 thru 60 | Main Traffic Page