Blog Tips: What Do Blog Stats Actually Mean?

1013744_google_analytics

Another little conversation I’ve been having this week with a combination of people including London Beauty Queen, British Beauty Blogger and my hubby (who works in SEO) is about stats. As usual, I’m not claiming to be an expert on the subject, but here’s some of my thoughts on the subject based on experience and observations.

As the number of blogs continues to grow and the market becomes increasingly competitive, I reckon stats are going to become more important when bloggers and brands/PRs are collaborating. I’ve already experienced an increase in PRs asking for stats and I think it’s because PRs and brands are so overwhelmed by the number of bloggers that they are starting to find ways to quantify which ones they should and shouldn’t work with.

However, I’m not entirely convinced that many brands or PRs fully understand the stats that they are asking for, plus, are they also considering over factors that could influence their ROI?

Quantity vs. Quality 

Here’s the first point, what’s more important to a brand, huge stats or a engaged audience? Blogs with really high stats are usually blogs that are well optimised and have been around for a long time, however, just because a site has tons of hits doesn’t mean that their readers are engaged. At the end of the day a brand wants a review which will result in a product sale, so you want a blog with readers who will take recommendations and buy a product based on a bloggers review.

If you’re looking for a more engaged audience, a quality audience rather than a huge one you can look at the types of comments that are received on blogs and the interaction with fans on Facebook and Twitter. Even looking at how many genuine followers a blogger has on Twitter and Facebook is a good start, but ideally you want to be looking for great interaction.

Google Friend Connect- Does it even mean anything?

I think a lot of brands and PRs are relying on the number of GFC subscribers on a blog, it’s the only stats that are easily visible without any extra work. However, do GFC numbers really influence a blogs reach? I think they will contribute to some visits, but we all know the number of blogs that use competitions to increase GFC numbers, so how many of those GFC subscribers have subscribed purely to enter one competition? What are the chances of each of those subscribers being a regular visitor?

In my mind, GFC means very little, you can’t prove that that number is an accurate representation of numbers of readers. If each of those subscribers is subscribed to say 300 blogs, how often, realistically do we think they will read even half of those blogs?

In addition, brands have to remember that GFC is currently exclusive to Blogger hosted blogs, meaning that WordPress blogs, as well as some other platforms do not have this data available.

Google Analytics vs. Other Statistics 

Google Analytics (GA) is the industry standard for website statistics and quite frankly, this will never change, don’t even suggest that it will. I wish that brands and PRs would start requesting GA over any other method. Firstly, GA offers accurate and detailed information, whereas as I have experienced, Blogger hugely over inflates figures, I’ve seen it add a good 25% onto the pageviews figure compared the the GA result.

Pageviews, Uniques and Visits

I’m also finding it interesting that it’s always Pageviews that people request, so I was wondering how much people understood by the different figures that can be pulled from Google Analytics, so I thought I’d give a little overview…

Most of these figures should be common sense, but here’s by view on them each:

Pageviews: This is the one that most people get asked for, it displays how many pages are viewed in a period of time. It tends to be the largest number out of the standard reporting numbers, so it generally looks really impressive. However, realistically it only gives a loose number on how many readers a blog has, it displays how many pages are viewed, so when you’re reporting say 10,000 page views, hypothetically those 10k page views could come from just three people. So really, not that interesting right?

Visits: This is more interesting of a figure as it represents how many times a person has visited or interacted with your site in a period of time. These is a closer representation of numbers of readers.

Unique Visits: As above, except it’s only counting each visit once. This figure is the closest you’re going to get to a number representing how many readers a blog has.

Bounce Rate: This stat is represented as a percentage and counts how many people visit the homepage and then leave pretty quickly, so ideally you want this as low as possible, but from my experience anything between 10-30% is ok.

New Visits vs. Returning Visits: This one is self explanatory, but I think it’s interesting to see how many are returning visitors as this represents how many people are honestly engaged with your content, you want people to be coming back.

So, to conclude I think that stats are important and that both brands, PRs and bloggers need to be more aware of what they actually mean instead of just fishing for the highest number. On the other hand, stats shouldn’t always be the most important thing, there are qualities of bloggers that can’t be measured, think about what you want to gain from working with a blogger and if you want a huge audience to see your product or if you want a smaller audience to see your product and actually react and hopefully buy from the coverage.

Got any questions? Please let me know.

What do you think about all of this?

Comment please, I love hearing from you.

Share and tweet me @JayneJRead

 

You might also like:

Share and Enjoy

6 thoughts on “Blog Tips: What Do Blog Stats Actually Mean?

  1. This is something I find myself trying to hammer home to people all the time. GFC is pretty useless a measure for the points you raise above, whereas engagement is so, so, so important!! I wrote about it myself in my post which was aimed at trying to help bloggers and brands work together http://fashionpearlsofwisdom.co.uk/2012/01/how-to-earn-money-from-fashion-blogging.html. I do think we are gearing towards a better understanding of how blogs and brands can benefit one another but the more we discuss it the better.

    1. I agree, things are still so new, it’s going to take a while for everyone to fully understand the best ways of working. Plus, it’s digital so it’s always going to be changing, brands/PRs need to find some time to keep up to date.

  2. Great article, I really like this – it’s something I’ve believed in for a while ie quality vs quantity.

    I’m very new to blogging and it’s only now I realise how saturated the market is – therefore engagement with my audience is key to my future success

    Fiona

  3. I agree that stats are very important when it comes to working with PR’s. Like you mention, they are after ROI so getting the right blogger for the product is vital to them.
    I also agree that stats shouldn’t be everything. There are some bloggers, that started around the same time as me and they get more hits in one day than I get in a week. Yet the majority of comments against their posts are people leaving “great post here’s my link” comments.
    GFC is a bit of an ego thing for bloggers I think, as you say it’s the one stat that’s easily displayed. Nothing wrong with an ego boost of course, at all, but agree PR’s shouldn’t use it as their only stat.
    I think there seems to be a lot of emphasis on unique visitors though. Surely returning visitors are important too, as you say picking up on the ‘loyal reader’ aspect.
    The other issue for PRs / Bloggers is how do you benchmark? How can you compare apples for apples? A beauty blogger is quite a generic term. Some concentrate on makeup, some skincare, some nails, some all of the above. I’ve mentioned before makeup posts appear to be more popular than skincare so female beauty bloggers who do a lot of makeup posts are going to have more unique visitors / readers than someone writing about skincare only.

  4. This has been a really interesting read, particularly the emphasis on GFC vs unique users.

    My blog’s in a strange place – I get loads of traffic from google, pinterest, twitter, etc, so my unique users are pretty high (for me, at least! Currently sitting at just over 9,000 uniques per month), but I only have 319 GFC followers. I worry sometimes that if a PR glances at my blog they are just going to move onto someone with a higher GFC count (who may actually reach less people than me).

    My blog is just a hobby (and therefore any money or products that come from it is a lovely bonus) so it doesn’t really matter, but I can see how annoying it could be!

    On a different note I did read once that having a high bounce rate on a blog isn’t always terrible, as often people will come in to read one post, rather than go through pages and pages of content.

  5. Thanks for the excellent article! I really appreciate when beauty bloggers take the time to educate each other on the art of beauty blogging rather than just reviewing the latest shade of lipgloss.

    Blog stats are essential understanding for anyone who wants to use their blog to make money and get free products!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *