Metrics for earnings: Five indicators of content success
31 March 2017
By Lorena Reyes
Content is king — it should embody your corporate story, and values — but operating with full knowledge of how it’s performing is crucial to securing an engaged audience of current and potential investors. Looking at your pageviews, bounce rate, exit rate, top downloads, and referrals will give you the insight you need to amplify content that’s doing well and revise content that’s not.
We’ve chosen these five metrics to help you prepare your online communications strategy this earnings season.
According to Google, “a pageview is an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.”
During high traffic periods such as earnings, it’s important to monitor which pages on your site are seeing the most traffic. For example, how many pageviews did your landing page receive versus your quarterly reports or your earnings release?
Alongside pageview metrics, you should also monitor interactions per session, i.e. the “flow” or path users follow on your site. Where do they land and/or exit? Which links are they clicking? How long do they spend on each page?
For earnings, it’s essential that investors are able to locate all earnings-related documents as quickly and efficiently as possible — no more than two clicks away. A typical user journey on earnings day takes the user from the landing page, to the quarterly reports page, which should be the gateway to your earnings release, presentation, financial reports, and other related pages on your site. If users are not successfully completing the “flow” or journey you’ve set them on, you may need to shuffle some widgets around.
Building on the the concept of “flow” is bounce rate. You ideally want users to view an average of two to three pages per session, but this is also where we need to factor in bounce rate. By Google’s definition, “a bounce is a single-page session on your site, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”
A good bounce rate is between zero and 35 percent, and a “bad” bounce rate is anything above 50 percent. In IR, these numbers shuffle a bit because investors usually visit your site with a singular goal in mind; for example, they want to read your latest earnings release and then exit out.
Keep in mind that a “bad” bounce rate is subjective to the type of site you have; if your goal is to drive users to one page on your site, then a higher bounce rate may not be such a bad thing. As mentioned, your earnings release may carry a higher bounce rate, as it provides your audience with exactly what they need when they searched for your release. Your landing page, on the other hand, will likely have a lower bounce rate, as it’s the gateway to the rest of your website.
When analyzing your website activity, bounce rate is an indicator of possible issues with content placement and/or search engine optimization. If people search for your company and the first page they land on doesn’t link to the content they need, this will cause your bounce rate to skyrocket as they exit your site right away.
Keep your bounce rate in check by first doing a site audit: make sure that all links work and that search engines are correctly indexing your website. If any issues are found, contact your website manager to make adjustments to your metadata and fix any broken links. Particularly for earnings, you want to ensure investors are able to access your information. Part of this has to do with ensuring they are no more than that golden two clicks away from the information they need.
Not to be confused with bounce rate, the exit rate is the percentage of users who are clicking out of your website from a particular page. Exit rate can help you understand how users navigate your site. Perhaps your top exit page is a broken link or doesn’t lead the user anywhere else once they consume the content on the page. You want to avoid having pages that do not link to other content.
Create a “flow” that will keep users on your website. When analyzing your exit rate alongside pageviews and bounce rate, also consider average session duration — that is, how much time users are actively spending on your site. Sometimes the top exit page makes sense if the user has followed a logical flow. For example, a top exit page may be the post-conversion page, such as a purchase confirmation page. In IR, this depends on what activity is most valuable to your company, for example looking through your events page, registering for your earnings webcast and then exiting.
Top downloads and clicks
After earnings, the first thing you will want to know is how many people downloaded your earnings-related materials such as your financial statements, or how many users clicked on a video link or presentation. These type of “events” will help you understand whether your users prefer to download and save or consume content on your site. It also illustrates which content did well this quarter and how you can better leverage that content for the next quarter.
Referrals tell you where your website visitors are coming from. If you link to your content from social media, or partner websites backlink to your website, you will be able to see those referrals in your analytics.
Tracking referral sources will help direct the way you disseminate information on channels that are the most appropriate for your sector. If you are seeing that a sizable portion of your traffic is from social media, it may be time to invest in developing content that is geared specifically for those channels.
Start measuring these metrics and you’ll begin to gain insight into how investors are flowing through your site, engaging with your content — and what may not be resonating with the street as much as you think. Ahead of your next earnings quarter, schedule some time to run through these metrics to improve your communications strategy.