Once a week, radio programmers and the appropriate staff members should take some time to review their website statistics. Just as stations that play new music sit down to review charts, sales, and call-out research before adding records and changing rotations, stations should get together and review online data before scheduling the creation of new blogposts, videos, or podcasts. (Here's a webinar that will show you how to run a weekly web meeting.)
Perhaps the most important data source you can look at in that weekly web meeting is Google Analytics. Google Analytics will give a free strip of code that you insert into your radio station's website header. This code allows you to track all sorts of anonymous data about your website visitors. Here's what you should be looking for when you review your Google Analytics data:
1. Total Unique Visitors
How many people are coming to your website? I am often asked by people what a “good number” is for radio stations. There is no chart that compiles this data for all radio station websites, so it's difficult to provide a solid benchmark. So when people ask, “What's a good number of web visitors for a radio station?,” the answer is “More than the week before.”
2. Traffic Sources
Once you figure out how much traffic you have, you will want to know where it's coming from. There are several main channels:
- Direct Traffic: People who are typing your website's URL directly into their browser. For radio stations without a content marketing strategy, this will probably be the number one source of website traffic.
- Organic Search: If people type something into a search engine like Google and your website comes back as a result, it is called “Organic Search.”
- Paid Search: On the other hand, if you are paying to advertise your website in search engines, you may get traffic when people click on one of these paid advertisements.
- Social Media: People who come to your website through a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter.
- Referral: People who come to your website through a link on another website, such as a blog or news site.
Google Analytics will let you dig down into your website even further. For example, once you see how much traffic your are getting from social media, you will probably want to know how much is being delivered by each social networks. Or if you see a spike in referral traffic, you will want to know what website it is coming from.
3. Top Pages and Top Landing Pages
You've figured out how much traffic is coming to your website and where it's coming from; now we want to know why. What website content is attracting clicks? It's important to draw a distinction between your most-viewed page (whichever page gets the most traffic overall) and the most-viewed landing page (the first page of your website that a visitor comes to).
For example, people may come to your site because you wrote an awesome blogpost about Taylor Swift's feud with Katy Perry, but once they're there they may click through to your contest page to win concert tickets. Often, the list of top pages and top landing pages will be very similar. If your station does not have a content marketing strategy in place, your homepage will probably be your station's top page. But if you do have a content marketing strategy in place, you may be surprised by how much of your website traffic doesn't come through the front door.
4. Bounce Rate
Of course, once people get to your website, are they sticking around? When a visitor comes to your website and then leaves without going to any other pages, it is called a “bounce.” The bounce rate tells you what percentage of your visitors are leaving your site without exploring it further. The lower the bounce rate, the better.
Your website's design can have a big impact on its bounce rate. You can perform a website usability test to try and decrease the bounce rate.
Also, pay attention to the bounce rate across particular platforms. If your bounce rate is low among people on desktop computers but high among people on mobile devices, the design of your mobile site (you do have a mobile site, right?) may be a problem.
5. Goal Conversions
Once people come to your website, are they doing what you want them to do? These are your goals. (If you don't know what the goals of your website are, put down your coffee and read this immediately.)
You can set up Google Analytics to track specific goals, such as email list signups, concert ticket purchases, ad clicks, etc. You want to not only measure how many conversions you have for each goal, but where these conversions are coming from. (Are people from Facebook more likely to sign up for your email list? Are your paid search visitors more likely to fill out a form requesting information about advertising?) Ultimately, you are trying to figure out what actions you can take to increase the number and percentage of conversions on your station's website.
Guide to Google Analytics
If you don't already have Google Analytics installed on your website, install it now (it will take your website developer only a few minutes). If you do have Google Analytics installed, make sure that you are reviewing the data on a regular basis.
For a deeper dive into how to use Google Analytics, check out our Guide to Google Analytics for Radio Programmers.
A version of this column originally appeared on SethResler.com.
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