by Meghan Lockwood, Senior Research Analyst
Chart title: Key homepage metrics marketers track when testingQ. What was the key metric for each test you conducted in 2010?Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart
The homepage can be a difficult page to optimize as it typically has multiple objectives to accomplish. As a result, bounce and exit rates (alongside clickthrough rates) are prominent key metrics, telling the marketer how well the homepage kept the visitor engaged, while moving her/him deeper into the website.
Conversion or revenue figures alone may not be useful as objective key metrics. If a treatment reduced a homepage’s bounce rate substantially, but also reduced overall website conversion rate, it may be better to identify the next leak in the funnel and optimize it in a separate test, rather than discard the lower-bounce-rate homepage treatment.
A critical issue lies in the quality
of the traffic the homepage directs deeper into the website. The quality of the traffic is broadly defined by the degree of match between the visitor and the offer -- in other words, the visitors’ predisposition to convert. Bounce rate may be a short-sighted key metric if the additional visitors who click through are not visitors who would be interested in becoming customers.
For example, dedicating significant page real estate to a $10 gift card offer can explode the clickthrough rate (and conversely, minimize bounces), but it may turn away visitors exploring a multimillion dollar RFP.
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Useful links related to this research2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report Homepage Optimization: No single metric will doOnline Marketing: Website redesign leads to 476% increase in page views and 64% lower bounce ratePage Tests Cut Mobile Bounces 22%: 3 Steps to Improve Experience for Mobile Visitors