How to measure the success of a home page has challenged many marketers and site owners as the home page serves multiple purposes: to inform, to transition, and to convert. When there is a discrete landing page for a campaign, or a product page with the single CTA, then it’s more obvious how to measure success.
The home page is all about real estate to provide navigation as well as inform the customer that comes to the site about initiatives that are relevant to the company. A typical home page has both persistent links like navigation, as well as campaign, product and story links that showcase specific editorial messages. Editorial links may be on specific images, text or video.
There are typically multiple owners of the traffic data obtained from the home page. The two primary owners are the individual responsible for the home page, what I’ll call the home page owner, and the marketer(s) whose message is featured on the home page.
First, let’s define the home page owner. This person is responsible for scheduling promotional and editorial content, controlling the persistent links on the home page, and directing or influencing the layout and design of the home page.
As the gate-keeper, the home page owner is responsible to ensure the overall performance of the page, which for many is the first experience a prospective customer has of the company. If a link is not clicked or receives low clicks, then it’s the responsibility of the home page owner to evaluate why, coordinate with the marketer or other stakeholders, if needed, and make the needed changes.
The marketer, is the individual who manages the campaign, product, or story to be featured on the home page. The marketer is responsible for the performance of the featured content, and the effectiveness of the placement.
In many companies, there are multiple marketers vying to have their content featured on the home page. It’s up to the home page owner, based on the company initiatives, to decide whether the content submitted is appropriate for the home page.
The Home Page Owner
For the home page owner, the most important component to success is the click-through from the home page to the destination.
- Did a link receive a click?
You’re probably asking what about conversion? Shouldn’t conversion be the most important for the home page owner? The simple answer is “No”. That is unless the home page owner created the campaign or is responsible for the product or story featured, which is typically the exception.
In addition to specific link performance, it’s important to look at the combined total of click-throughs on the home page, and segment the clicks by the sections of the page: header navigation, footer, search, promotional space, etc.
- How do the links perform based on the sum of the clicks by the sections on the page? There will be sections of the Home page that receive more clicks than others.
- Are these the sections that are of importance of your company? If there is a placement either navigation, promotional or editorial that falls below a defined threshold for that specific space, then regroup, and make changes.
Page Views and Impressions
A component of home page success is also page views and impressions. Page views are easy to define, it is the number of instances a customer views the home page. Impressions enter the picture when the content on the home page is not persistent.
For example, if there are sections on the home page like an image slider, then measuring how many customers view this content would be measured by impressions. If page views are used, then views on this content are either overstated or understated as the customer may not view all images.
A good way to think about this type of content is like banner advertising. Banner advertising measures the number of impressions (views) of a specific banner as well as the click-through on the specific banner. This provides advertisers with their banner click-through rate (CTR). The same method of measurement is applied to image sliders when the content is rotated or any other type of content that changes.
Using Apple’s home page as an example, the predominate image for iPhone 6s is within an image slider with five additional featured images. The four boxes beneath the image slider feature products. While the four boxes don’t rotate products, what is featured in the four boxes does change.
The measurement of the image slider as well the promotion content boxes would be based on impressions as well as click-throughs.
Share of Voice and Share of Clicks
Sections of the home page that feature editorial or promotional content can be segmented by call-to-action (e.g. download, buy, try, etc.), by targeted audience, and more, to measure coverage (opportunity) and performance (clicks).
Next apply the classic marketing share of voice equation to the segmented data. However, instead of looking at total costs for a specific segment, although this could be insightful too, replace costs with impressions or days that the featured content is available.
Share of Voice: a measure that weights the performance of a specific segment by impressions, by the total available within the segment.
Share of Clicks: a measure that weights the performance of a specific segment by clicks, divided by the total clicks received within the segment.
A strategy when comparing Share of Voice to Share of Clicks is to have each comparative segment relatively equal. When there are significant differences, then adjustments in the programming for the content should be done to better align the Share of Voice to Share of Clicks.
Here’s an example of how Share of Voice and Share of Clicks are tracked in a spreadsheet.
Share of Voice and Share of Clicks provide an easy comparison into how the home page is programmed by the segments you’ve defined as compared to the click-throughs generated.
The marketer whose campaign, product or story is featured on the home page is focused on its performance. Its success is measured not only by page views or impressions, depending on the type of link, but also click-thoughs as well as on the conversions from this placement.
Stating the obvious, the first as the question to ask is who is the target audience for the featured content? If the target audience for the content isn’t coming to the home page, then it’s not the right placement.
Ultimately, the performance of the placement on the home page is defined by the campaign objective. Most placements will have a conversation objective (e.g. download, register, buy, etc.). With a conversion objective, then it becomes a matter of copy, creative performance, and optimization with the goal to increase conversions.
- Are the right words used in the headline or supporting copy? Test to identify the words or phrases that resonate with the audience for the placement.
- Are the color changes that need to be changed to provide contrast against the background of the home page?
- Is the best image used for the featured content? Test to identify what image types work best for the home page placement.
- Is the landing page optimized for the conversion objective? For example, if the campaign or product featured on the home page has a buy objective, is the “buy” an obvious step on the landing page?
Bring it Together
By defining the roles and responsibilities for the data collected on the home page, the focus can be on improving the overall performance (content that is relevant to the customer), as well as improve the overall conversions from the various call-to-actions.