The ABC of understanding your statistics
Impressions, engagement, clicks and reach…
What a mess, right? How many times do we come across these terms and are not very sure of what they mean…? Haven’t you seen at the left corner of a tweet a tiny thing that says “reach: 654” and thought, “How is it possible if it has only two retweets?”
Let me break it down for you, it’s in essence, very simple.
Impressions (AKA view-through) are the number of “digital views” on a piece of content, post, link, image or ad.
Why are they important? When you get a decent amount of impressions, you can get paid on online advertising for X number of impressions. It also gives you an exact idea of the most and less popular content on your website or platforms.
Watch out though, don’t mistake them for actual clicks on a link or the term “engagement”. Impressions are how many “eyes” that piece of content has potentially had during a specific period of time. That’s why you get paid for them, it’s like a TV commercial. The more watchers the channel has, the more expensive is to play an ad in them.
Nevertheless, you need to know that the efficacy of measuring impressions is under debate since some marketers have the opinion that if a person is just wandering about a website, can come across the same ad several times, which makes the impressions inaccurate to calculate the conversion rate of potential clients.
Cost Per Mille (CPM) is the way we mostly measure impressions. One mile are 1K impressions.
At the same time, you might have come across the term OCPM (Optimized Cost Per Mille). This term is used by Facebook, whose algorithm tracks the targeted audience for your impressions and clicks, instead of showing it to the first 1K people who come across the ad.
The efficacy of CPM versus OCPM is about test and error. CPM is cheaper but less successful, while OCPM is more expensive and studies show the conversion rate is greatly higher. The only controversy is the fact that you need to trust Facebook to do the work, and still, some are not willing to.
You can have an impression without a click, but not a click without an impression.
Let’s read that again.
Clicks on your piece of content are trackable and an accurate measure of your conversion rate of potential clients, audiences or buyers. The paid advertisement over clicks is measured in Cost Per Click (CPC).
Engagement is an effect or interaction in any shape or form the audience has with any kind of content. Engagement is inherently attached to the experience the user or visitor has with your brand or company.
There is no established way of describing engagement since it’s the way your audience connects or has a relation with your content. While on Twitter will be RT, likes and quotes, on Instagram will be likes and comments. Facebook will track shares, comments and reactions.
Depending on your marketing goals, you’ll focus on getting one kind or another.
Reach is how many people have seen your piece of content. But… wait, weren’t those the impressions? Not exactly. The impressions are the number of times that the content is displayed, which can be several times for each person.
Let me tell you an example.
If three people come across a displayed ad two times each:
Reach can also be called “visitors” on your website. So we can say you can calculate the reach by dividing the impressions per frequency.
Although if you’re not familiar with these terms, it can seem a bit tricky at the beginning, it’s important that you start experimenting and testing with these data. They’re very important to report the success of your promotional efforts, even if it’s to bring readers to a blog post or an ad you’re running for your business.
Let’s get to work:
- Make sure you download your weekly or monthly reports from your website or social media platforms and start getting comfortable with them.
- Observe what worked, and what didn’t.
- If you see a spike in your stats, think about what happened that day or period that made people engage more with you. Was that a post on social media? Was it a backlink from a website?
- Repeat what worked in that spike. This time, being aware of what you are doing and observe the specific results.
- Did it work again?
- Yes: great! You just got your first successful strategy you can run again and again to bring new audience in.
- No: Alright, now you have two interesting kinds of data. Doing the same, one time worked, and the other didn’t. Write down what were the conditions the first time, and the second.
It’s time to add a new concept: posting time. Have you explored which days a week and times of the day are more prone to bring people in?
- Try again, this time, in two different time frames. What happened?
- Create a spreadsheet and write down all your data. Do this for 4 consecutive weeks, and take the time to analyze your newly collected information.
- Want to get professional? Create a spreadsheet with one page for each of your social media platforms and website/s.
It sounds tedious, I know, but success is not measured by how many beds of roses you enjoy a year, is it? Statistics and analysis are mostly not fun, but fundamental (hey, I just created a cool tagline there, I need to use that more often…).
It will be a big effort at the beginning, but once you have the system, you only need to update the information and take a specific time a week to report and take decisions. Give it a try and see the efficacy of your website and content increase greatly in a short period of time.
Do you need more help or are SUPER excited about learning more? Check out this post about mastering your SEO: