Published May 2, 2017, updated Jun, 12 2019
Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media often says, "If your website were a city, there would be a highway of visitors flowing through it." But while many digital marketing teams are great at directing visitors on their highway to a landing page, they often fail to listen to the stories those landing pages are trying to tell them about the people it's met.
Us digital marketers have more analytics tools at our disposal than ever before, which can make it quite easy to put on the data blinders and forget about the human experience behind the landing pages we're building.
In one of the most popular pieces of 2017 over at Inbound.org, Jonathan Taylor wrote about the true cost of a high-converting landing page he'd built:
"...we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions... Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off."
Metrics are like magnets to data-driven marketers. They provide marketers with a numbered goal to drive toward and a result to point to so they can show their worth to the company. Both of these aspects are vitally important.
"When marketers base strategic decisions on satisfying particular metrics, they may fail to take the overall company into account."
This is where marketers must strike that difficult balance between being driven, not magnetized, by metrics and remaining capable of listening to the larger stories unfolding below the surface.
Landing page metrics offer us a perfect opportunity to practice. Using five of our new HubSpot metrics Klips as examples, here are a few important landing page metrics followed by the stories they often tell:
Landing page views
Few marketers have the luxury of saying, "Yes, my landing page views are exactly where I want them." Which means that most of us are constantly working to drive more of the right people onto these pages.
On the surface, this appears to be a fundamental highway problem—your team simply hasn't optimized how it is directing people. While this can certainly be the case, and removing those big shiny social icons from your top nav may indeed help, the bigger story here involves this question: Why are people coming to your highway in the first place?
Ruling out that they may have taken a wrong turn or been click-bait tricked, it's because you've created a destination that may be valuable to them. Your goal is to understand why. The lesson for marketers:
Landing page submissions over time
We all want to see up-and-to-the-right with this one, but sitting back and seeing rather than observing can make this a vanity metric of the first degree.
While such positive progress can arise from a variety of factors—including increased overall site traffic—the story to unravel here has to do with understanding the impact of your "tweaks."
Us marketers can be obsessive tinkerers, changing fonts and buttons, split testing this and that. But the story of submissions over time is that it allows us, if we take proper notes, to see exactly which tweaks changed the way people interacted with our landing page. The lesson for marketers:
Landing page submissions by sources
Full disclosure: I've been that single-metric-obsessed marketer who has watched submissions and sign-ups come in but not taken the next step of figuring out where they were coming from.
Truth to be told, when times are good, it's easy to simply kick back and watch what you've built convert just as you hoped it would.
The story here, however, is actually to dig deeper into the data. When you find out the "where" you will likely stumble on some unexpected insights.
What happens when your company that prides itself on its Twitter engagement learns that Twitter is actually its worst source for submissions, and that Stumbleupon (what!?) is actually driving more of them? The lesson for marketers:
Landing page leads
At some point in your digital marketing career this will likely be the number that keeps you up at night, that you shy away from mentioning in slow times and want to scream from the rooftop in the best of times.
But the hard truth is that a lead can be a story, to quote from Macbeth, "full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
Let's take a lesson from Romeo and Juliet:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other word would smell as sweet."
"Lead," with all its positive connotations, may make us feel great, but let's think of it instead as "interested person." This is far more humbling and helps ensure us marketers do not, as per Robert Glazer's afforementioned quote, "fail to take the overall company into account."
The lesson for marketers is to always keep this question at the forefront:
Landing page generated customers
All of this naturally leads us to the customers generated through our landing pages. At some point they have traveled through our highways—even if they crossed the bridges that are our social media channels—and they not only converted but they're now a paying customer.
Pat yourself on the back, but only briefly, because you now have the full trajectory of a story on your hands.
The best way to understand it is through a landing page postmortem, where you work with your team to discuss all aspects of how you built it out, what challenges you faced along the way, what tweaks worked, where your conversions came from, and ultimately why visitors converted and why those that converted became customers.
From there you can develop a smoother process for building out your landing page and make sure you're tracking the right metrics on your next campaign that align with your organization's KPIs.
The final lesson for marketers: