The Hostway Blog

Establishing Internet Objectives

Your objectives represent the projected impact your Web site project will have on customer behavior and perception. These objectives identify how you plan to use the Internet to support or achieve some of the specific communication goals and marketing efforts you've identified.

For example, say your overall marketing goal is to create awareness among the target market of 18 to 25 percent. You should create a related objective identifying a percentage of the target market that will visit your Web site.

Objectives for your Web site should be based on your overall communication, marketing and sales goals. Such objectives might include:

  • the number/percentage of site visitors that subscribe to your eNewsletter
  • the number/percentage of site visitors that request additional information about your products or services
  • the number of customers who successfully resolve customer service needs online
  • the projected volume of products and services sold online, or transactions originating from Internet visits
  • the number of new monthly visitors and repeat monthly visitors to your Web site

Setting quantifiable objectives for your Web site that relate to your overall marketing and communication goals is critical. Equally important is the ability to effectively measure whether objectives are met.

Web statistics are a useful tool for measuring site usage. For example, using Web statistics, you can calculate a number of useful marketing-relevant indicators:

  • Penetration = [unique visitors to home page] / [unique visitors]—Penetration reflects the percentage of site visitors that go beyond your organization's home page. It's not uncommon for Web sites to lose 50 percent or more of its visitors before the home page finishes loading.
  • Conversion = [unique visitors taking desired action] / [unique visitors]—Conversion reflects the percentage of site visitors that take a desired action. You can measure the conversion for several actions simultaneously. For example, the percentage of site visitors that purchase online and the percentage of site visitors that subscribe to your organization's electronic newsletter.
  • Connection = [referral click-thrus] / [desired page views]—Connection refers to the number of site visitors to your site from an external location, such as another Web site or online advertisement, that view desired content. Online promotions with a high connection rate are more effective.
  • Migration = [visits to content area] / [site exits from the content area]—Migration refers to the number of site visitors that leave your site from a specific content area. Content areas with the highest migration are typically less effective than areas with lower migration.
  • Clicks to action = [average number of clicks from home page to desired action]—CTA reflects the number of clicks it takes from the home page to reach a desired action. For example, reducing the CTA to complete an order should result in a measurable increase of customer conversion for online orders.
  • Intro skip factor = [number of visitors to Intro page] / [visitors that bypass intro]—This indicator reflects the number of visitors that view your site's intro page, if applicable. If a large percentage of site visitors bypass the intro, it can indicate an ineffective intro, or a high percentage of return visitors.

Since Web statistics are not collected with marketing, communication or sales objectives in mind, other methods of measuring objectives are also required. Data for measuring the success of Internet objectives can be incorporated within the processes used to determine the success of communication, marketing, and sales goals overall.

By establishing objectives prior to setting Web site strategies, it may also be possible to integrate objective specific reporting features. In the same way site visits collect information for Web statistics, information can be collected for measuring objectives.