50k Pageviews and Other Misguided Ecommerce Goals

Focusing on the wrong ecommerce goals removes opportunity

“Management wants us to get the site to 50,000 page views in the next two months.”
—Brand Ecommerce Director

That sounds like a goal, right? It is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Strategies and tactics could be tested to achieve it. The only problem is it is pointless. There is no quantifiable value to the business if it is achieved.

Goals like these (including Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and other near meaningless ecommerce goal metrics) are extremely common in the world of ecommerce. Often they are either handed down from a brand’s marketing management, or chosen because they’re easy to track and appear important. This is completely backward.

Brands that truly want to increase online revenue and help their customers easily research and purchase products from the brand site must consider the following:

Don’t Get Stuck Watching Your Conversion Rate

It’s true, what gets measured gets improved. But if your goal is to grow ecommerce sales, improving conversions means measuring the right things.

The easiest metrics to grab from Google Analytics are not always the most helpful. Even conversion rate is too simplistic (and often misleading) a measure to be useful. It is too far down the chain of customer-driven events to indicate how to improve it.

For example, let’s say your conversion rate went up from 0.9% to 1.2% – that’s great! Why did it go up? Did you change something? Were you testing a new product detail page layout or navigation structure? Is it currently the holiday season?

Instead of focusing on the end result like conversion rate and page views, track and assess the causes for those increases. Looking at lagging indicators like the conversion rate will only continue to set up roadblocks to success rather than smoothing road to increased revenue.

From Roadblocks to Speedbumps

Removing the roadblocks in your site requires a willingness to put down the brand story flag for a minute and focus on the actual experience your customers are having while they experience your brand.

Seriously, take five minutes and force yourself to watch what it’s like for someone to use your site. There’s a good chance the roadblocks will be glaringly obvious (and perhaps make that new microsite seem less important).

Driving more traffic to a site that is inadvertently set up to slow customers down in the name of branding isn’t an efficient way to spend your digital budget. Once you’ve addressed all the major roadblocks preventing your customers from easily making a confident purchase on your site, you can focus on the speed bumps like dialing in a landing page, and A/B testing your way to the best call to action for an email sign up form.

Focus on 98%

Conventional wisdom states that the holy grail of conversion rates is one north of 2%, but even a site with a 2% conversion rate has a 98% failure rate. Is that acceptable?

While working towards a 2% conversion rate may seem like a better goal than achieving 50,000 page views this month, don’t lose focus on the 98% failure rate occurring, in real time, on your site. That 2% conversion panacea is actually a lagging indicator.

Focusing on the leading indicators (user flows, drop off rates, etc.) is where the real opportunities lie for brands that want to turn an unacceptable failure rate into unprecedented opportunities.

About the Author

Shaun Tinney