Leaving 'Base Camp' and Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone
This post shares years of our marketing data from Google Analytics.
We've made a commitment on this journey to focus on our new guidelines. Not to focus obsessively on data or traffic stats. We want traffic and sign-ups to be a byproduct of creating great marketing. This does not mean we'll be ignoring data.
We'll be keeping an eye on how our efforts impact data in Google Analytics, like we always have. The big difference now is that we'll be sharing the ups and downs along the way to an audience of savvy digital marketers, our readers. People who work with this type of data everyday.
It's scary for us to put our marketing data out there. We've made mistakes and bad decisions with where to invest our energy. That's clear from this data.
Our mistakes will be especially clear to our readers who are trained to make sense of this data for a living. But, that also means our readers are uniquely positioned to learn from our transparency. That's why we are sharing despite our fears. Maybe there are some insights buried in the data that can help you.
Our Data Baselines
In May 2015, we began adding to our team of 3. We also switched from a free to a paid product. Before that, we've been actively trying to drive people to our website since 2014. But, a lot changes when you go from totally free to charging after a 31 day trial. Looking at data starting from that change in May 2015 we believe will make for the most relevant comparisons for our website.
Our blog has gone through some changes and has less historical data. But as you'll see, we are almost starting from scratch building an audience with this blog.
The KPIs that we'll be revisiting during our marketing journey are:
- new visits to our website/blog
- pageviews and total visitors to our blog
- sign-ups for our free trial
Here are the baselines for those metrics, followed by a gallery of screenshots from Google Analytics to provide more context.
New Visitors to Our Website and Blog
We have stalled out at ~1,000 new visitors a month coming to our website and blog combined.
We haven't had too many major peaks or valleys along the way. No channel has spiked other than last summer when we were featured on Product Hunt.
Pageviews and Total Visitors to Our Blog
Baseline engagement with our blog falls into the 'scary to share' metrics category. Here is what an average month of pageviews looks like, Dec 2016,
Most days our blog sees fewer than 10 pageviews and less than 3 total visitors. (This post will probably only get 5-10 pageviews in the next week, even after we promote it through social channels.)
Sign-Ups and Conversion Rates
We hope that this conversion data will be encouraging for anyone looking to start an enterprise software company. Over the last two years, we've been able to raise seed funding, grow to a team of 5 and reach cash flow positive by averaging about 1 sign-up a day.
Conversion data from the last 7 months of 2016 echoes what we have seen historically,
Conversion rate hasn't gone above 1.2% during any month. Seems lower than it should be, especially for a B2B product. We haven't found any definitive reason we can put our finger on as to why. We've done testing with our homepage's design through the years. Problem is it's hard to draw many conclusions from the little traffic we have through A/B testing. The low conversion rate is also confusing because metrics for new users like bounce rate, pages/session and session duration have all improved over that time span (see gallery below).
Recently, we added demo videos to our homepage. We need to continue to work on ways we can clearly communicate how our product changes a digital marketers workday for the better.
Gallery of Screenshots from Google Analytics
Here's more context on how new visitors find our site today and what they do when they get there.
- 86% of new visitors are on their computer, 11% are using a phone.
- 50% of our new visitors are from the United States.
- Traffic is down on weekends because people aren't at work.
- Bounce rate, pages/session and avg session duration are all trending in the right direction since May 2015 for new visitors.
- Google believes our audience is 75% male, 25% female
- Google believe 49% of our audience is between the ages of 25-34
We'll be doing our best to conquer our fears and provide updates for all to see at blog.shape.io/our-journey/.
Coming up in a future post is a detailed breakdown of our PPC advertising spend and performance.
If you are interested in any data not covered here reach out on twitter or send us an email at email@example.com.