One of the challenges of online marketing, and all advertising in general, is finding ways to track and measure success. We live in a world of data and analytics, but they're useless if you don't know what they mean. Marketing platforms love to throw numbers at business owners, but rarely provide benchmarks to let them know how good or bad they are actually doing.

There have been a few studies over the past few weeks with information that can help business owners rate the effectiveness of their online campaigns. One such study came from Wolfgang Digital, which launched a Benchmark KPI report for e-commerce, based on analysis of 87 million website sessions. Using data from the Wolfgang E-commerce KPI Study 2016, here are nine statistics business owners can use to benchmark and improve their online marketing campaigns.

  1. There are a lot of way to promote content online, but Google should still be a key part of your strategy. Google delivers over two-thirds of website traffic (69 percent) and website revenue (67 percent).
  2. Despite accounting for 38 percent of digital marketers' budgets, display failed to register as a top 10 traffic source. Though display ads don't lead to as much direct traffic as many would expect, one has to remember the effect of exposure and brand awareness. Which is probably why so many marketers still devote so much of their budgets to it.
  3. Bounce rate has zero correlation with conversion rate. This shows that the obsession with bounce rates may be counter productive. Though it's clearly still valuable to grab the interest of visitors before they quickly leave the site, the people who bounce from a site were probably unlikely to buy in the first place. Otherwise, they would have stayed longer to examine the site's offerings.
  4. The importance of Facebook for marketing is growing. In two years Facebook-driven traffic has risen from 1.3 percent to 5 percent.
  5. They study also showed that mobile marketing is going to be the primary way many people finding information online, but people are still hesitant to buy through their phones. Mobile is now the largest traffic source of all devices, but its 42 percent share of traffic accounts for only a 21 percent share of revenue.
  6. Mobile has the lowest average conversion rate and Average Order Values (AOV), however websites with a larger than average proportion of mobile traffic benefited from larger than average conversion rates.
  7. For every 0.2 of a second a website can shave off its server response time, it can expect an 8 percent improvement in conversion rate. Website owners can increase their response rates by using speed optimization techniques in their site design.
  8. As a good benchmark for online campaigns, the average conversion rate for e-commerce is 1.5 percent. This varies based on the industry the site is for. To illustrate, travel websites averaged 2 percent, retail websites averaged 1.4%. Pureplays converted almost twice as well as their multi-channel counterparts.
  9. Email delivers as much traffic as all social channels combined. When deciding which tactics to use for your marketing campaign, it's important to consider all channels and the goals of the campaign. If you have a email list that you aren't using, it may be a better means to increase traffic than standard social media marketing.

Wolfgang Digital explained how they viewed the significance of these findings in public statements to the media.

"Google is maintaining its grip as our gateway to the web," explained Wolfgang Digital founder and CEO, Alan Coleman, who authored the report. "And as the starting point for online purchases, it is the make or break success factor for eCommerce websites. Facebook's mooted move into search is the most likely threat to Google's traffic monopoly right now.

"Because digital marketers now have so much data, they often waste time on irrelevant metrics. Our study found that the much-hyped bounce rate has zero correlation with conversion rate, while site speed--being both be a strong conversion factor and a noted SEO factor--can offer an enviable 'multiplier effect on the bottom line.

For more information from this study, check out this infographic they created with some of the key findings from the study. And for more recent marketing studies, read this article on the best way to thank your customers in the digital age.

Published on: Sep 12, 2016