A common question if you run a website is “how much traffic does your website get?”. We want to thank DaSouth.com for taking the a step in the right direction of providing transparency in regards to web analytics. Their article ‘How much traffic does DaSouth.com get globally? Take a look!‘ really put into motion something that we have always talked about and wanted to do, which was be transparent with our website analytics. DaSouth’s article talks about how they nearly have the entire globe covered with regards to traffic. While they offer a visual via a screen shot from their Google Analytics showing their reach (shades of green) across the globe, it also displays where they are not currently receiving traffic from (tan), which is great!
There are several reasons 99.99% of websites do not publish their website analytics. One main reason would be, to charge more for advertising than their website traffic justifies. I think this mainly comes from ignorance with regard to how CPM and/or CPC advertising works by both the website and advertiser, especially within Christian Hip Hop (we are working on a crash course on CPM & CPC advertising for you).
Other reasons for not publishing this info is strategic for the website in their sales approach. In Christian Hip Hop, being the niche of a niche that it is, the CPM/CPC can be, justifiably increased because your advertisers are practically reaching their targeted demographic. Also, within this niche of a niche, branding and exposure is as valuable as making sales from your ad.
Decreasing in importance in the last few years, is the number of page views a website gets. With the introduction of Facebook and similar sites/services/plugins, the value of the amount of page views does not accurately reflect the engagement of a user. This is because users can retweet, play an embedded video, vote on a poll, and more all on one page view. So as a website, publishing the number of page views could deter advertisers that don’t understand this yet. So not disclosing statistics such as page views gives the website ad salesperson the chance to sell the space at its real value based on supporting data, versus its perceived value based on the traditional statistics.
Additionally, with websites having a presence on social networks and mobile applications, the reach of a website can be greatly increased outside of their website which increases the various advertising/partnership opportunities between an artist/label/company and a website. For example Rapzilla currently has the only iPhone application in Christian Hip Hop (currently at 14,000 installs). The stats that we see in the application’s back end are impressive and even surprising in some cases. Yes this has nothing to do with traffic or page views per se, but this data is extremely valuable to both a website and potential advertiser.
So with this growth into “web 2.0” and beyond, we feel the importance of website statistics as they are traditionally known and utilized is greatly diminished. What everyone should be looking at now, in addition to traditional website analytics are Funnel Analysis, Engagement Tracking, and Visitor Retention.
Funnel Analysis measures conversion rates (more on this with our CPM/CPC crash course). For example, we did an album listening feature for DJ Official’s recent album ‘EnterMission’ on the Rapzilla iPhone app, and we can view and report the number of plays per song, clicks on the ‘Buy’ button for each song, and the number of purchases after that click which give us the conversion rate. This data is important, and even more important if the only reason you are advertising is for sales.
Engagement Tracking is tracking what the user actually does. There are websites/blogs that are almost solely one page so you will not see many page views, and this is perfectly fine. What is important is knowing what people do on the web page, and as an advertiser you want to inject yourself or your brand where the action is.
Visitor Retention is a stat that will show you how many visitors are first time visitors and how many are returning visitors. Depending on the website (I would think the aim of most sites would be) the ideal scenario would be a site with a more returning visitors as those are the type of users that will be engaged with the site and end up donating or spending money.
So with all of that said, Rapzilla is committed to gathering as much data on our web and mobile properties as possible and publicly offering that data to highlight the value in advertising/partnering with Rapzilla. We also hope this encourages others with web property, that are Christian, to provide their data openly as well. Let’s be transparent and use this to hold ourselves accountable, motivate us to offer the best content we can, and to help grow Christians trying to do business and further Christ in the world. We are excited to hear your comments and questions! =)