2015 is over and, among a lot of things, we saw the rise of Adblockers and integrations of adblocking software across devices. People are fed up with poorly thought through ads that is all up in their faces, instead of drawing attention to products and services with creative designs and copy. But in my world, blocking ads are a mean thing to do. Even though I’m seeing really bad ads on a daily basis.
Before I start ranting on about Adblockers, this is only one thing – but the main thing – for websites to track in 2016. Do bare in mind that I don’t work with ads or paid media. My angle here is for the good of the Internet. For the people creating content, trying to make a living on it. And this is my list of must-track website metrics for 2016. Let’s get at it.
This article was written and published for State of Digital.
Adblockers – a must-track metrics in 2016
For websites that serve ads and make a living out of them, tracking Adblockers is a must. If the bigger portion of your visitors are blocking ads, maybe it is time to put content behind a paywall?
A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription. There are both “hard” and “soft” paywalls in use. “Hard” paywalls allow minimal to no access to content without subscription, while “soft” paywalls allow more flexibility in what users can view without subscribing, such as selective free content and/or a limited number of articles per month, or the sampling of several pages of a book or paragraphs of an article. – Wikipedia
My way of looking at things is fairly straight forward. If you’re not willing to see ads (and who looks at them or even notice them, these days?) you should support the authors in a different way. Why not pennies per article or answering a survey before accessing all the content on a specific website? Otherwise its just content piracy when you want everything for free, but you’re not that likely to read something really good and then buy the article in print. Because this is not a movie, a book or an album. Still, creators needs to be fed to be able and create more.
Julien Coquet wrote a really good how-to on measuring the impact of adblocking with Google Analytics and GTM (Google Tag Manager) that you need to read and follow. Implement Juliens solution and start measuring the impact of adblocking within minutes.
Printed pages – a must-track metric in 2016
Stop laughing and take this seriously. People still print pages and without you tracking if and what – you’re in the dark. A printed page almost always comes with big rooms for improvement. Are you selling a product – add the address, opening hours and phone number on the print version. Are you selling a service – add pricing, unique selling points, contact information and why not a few quotes from happy existing customers? Just because it is happing offline, doesn’t mean we can’t optimise it for conversions.
But we need to see if our visitors print or not. It all starts with your tracking, which David Vallejo wrote about: print intent tracking.
Social sharing – a must-track (or remove) metric in 2016
Remove? Remove social sharing in 2016 – are you still feeling that egg nod? No, I’m thinking about user engagement. We’re so aimed to please all visitors that we give them options to share and comment our content and products on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, via e-mail and more – when we should be focusing on keeping their attention on our website. Do we use comments; make it easier for visitors to comment, instead of trying to get our awesome visitors to leave our website and start engaging with our brand over at some social network. I can’t see the point, when we already have them in on our website. And Nadav Shoval over at The Next Web kind of agrees with me (I think).
At the same time we need to actually start measuring social sharing, like the professionals we claim to be. And this all comes down to campaign tracking (I hear Yehoshua Coren across the galaxy, muttering that people should already know this – and yes, they should). Master campaign tracking and make it part of your daily life. Don’t populate other channels with inaccurate data just because it is easier to hit that tweet button or copy that URL and hit send. If you’re taking social seriously, you need to measure it – seriously.
Visitors, not sessions – a must-track metric in 2016
Let’s face it – we’re all over the place. On our laptop at home, on our mobile phone during on our morning commute, on our laptop at work, on our tablet in the evening after dinner. Instead of looking at sessions and seeing 5 visits to our website, we should work with User Identification (if you’re using Google Analytics) and see that it is that same Swede again, coming back to read our posts or buy more products.
And there you have it. The must-track website metrics for 2016. Do you agree with me?