Below are three of the most important metrics to track in Google Analytics to help your community achieve its goals:
For today’s post, we’re using the metrics above as examples and taking your community through each stage of the resident’s journey, with crucial touchpoints and insights along the way. You’ll learn:
What do we know about website visitors as they first gather information about a community? First, this is a major decision for the senior and ACI. Meaning, they’re taking their time. Second, because their intent is to learn during this stage in the journey, they’re reading multiple sources of information to guide the move-in decision. Usually, these site visitors will find your blog content valuable when gathering information at the top of the funnel.
Take that rough blueprint and fill in the gaps with your quality Google metrics.
Bounce Rate – Highest – Top of funnel traffic reads multiple sources of information, giving it a propensity to bounce to other sites. Thus, your team should expect to track higher bounce rates in its Google Analytics metrics. A prospective resident may read through just one piece of content you’ve created before bouncing to another website.
At this stage, not only is that acceptable, it’s also expected. Bounce rates for top of the funnel blog content can be 80% or higher, depending on the channel that drove the visit. And that content is successful! Since the level of commitment and loyalty traffic has at this stage is low at best.
Pages Per Session – Moderate – Given the lack of loyalty to your community’s brand when gathering information, visitors aren’t as inclined to visit multiple pages in a single session. In this case, your community should expect its pages per session to be lower in the top of the funnel. That said, if your content is compelling enough, it could pique curiosity for site visitors to click to additional pages during an information-gathering session.
Average Time on Site – Moderate – Measurement and tracking can be tricky for time on site in the top of the funnel. Your community could find itself with varying scenarios depending on how it slices and analyzes its Google metrics. To mitigate this potential problem, your community should isolate specific pages to gain proper top of funnel, average time on site insights.
Note: Average time on site is only calculated for non-bounced sessions, which aren’t as prevalent with top of funnel pages. If a visitor spent 10 minutes reading a piece of content who then proceeded to bounce from your site, that session wouldn’t be counted toward time on site in Google Analytics.
Average time on site for blog content should be higher (a minute-and-a-half or more depending on the content), while time on site for pages deeper in the funnel like ‘contact us’ pages would be lower. Pages predominantly comprised of bulleted lists or a set of links would also expectedly produce a lower average time on site during sessions, especially for top of funnel visitors.
Prospective residents and ACIs in the middle of the funnel are now familiar with your community. It’s assumed in this stage of the resident journey that they’ve read through several pieces of content, have likely begun following your community on social media, and found pieces of content valuable enough to warrant return visits. Now, the focus is to nurture these visitors while they’re narrowing down options for the ideal community.
Bounce Rate – Moderate – Your senior living marketing team should still expect visitors to bounce from your site in the middle of the funnel. However; when tracking bounce rates for this stage, you’ll notice a smaller percentage compared to pages in the top of the funnel. FAQ pages and pages that provide photo galleries of your community are considered middle of funnel pages that visitors find helpful. If bounce rates are high on those pages, revisit the copy and make improvements and/or optimizations where needed.
Pages Per Session – Highest – Due to the familiarity prospective residents and ACIs now have with your community, it shouldn’t shock your team to track increased pages per session in the middle of the funnel. Comparatively speaking, pages per session will be at their highest during this stage in the resident journey. Site visitors are reading more of your curated content and clicking through to multiple pages to learn about your unique offerings. Prospective residents and ACIs will likely visit multiple pages during an unspecified number of sessions. This provides an opportunity to reinforce a consistent message or theme to strengthen trust with site visitors.
Average Time on Site – Highest – Since your website is nurturing prospective residents at this stage, it should expect average time on site Google metrics to be the highest in the resident journey. The average resident takes between six months to three years (depending on the level of care) before deciding on a community.
During this process, prospective residents are taking their time to read through your site’s valuable content crafted to answer various considerations. They could spend part of a session fixated on your blog, and the latter part of the session perusing through a photo gallery.
In any case, your team can use the average time on site to determine which pages are keeping the always-fragmented attention of your visitors for a sustained period of time. This insight can help your team encourage visitors to continue clicking to pages deeper in the funnel to convert.
Your senior living marketing team provided quality content while site visitors are gathering information, nurtured trust during a lengthy period of consideration and now, the time has come. Converting site visitors into a qualified lead and eventual call, tour, or a move-in for your community. Calls to action (CTAs), forms, and copy must reflect the intrinsic and lifestyle benefits prospective residents can expect to receive after living at your community.
In the bottom of the funnel, your pages are designed to capture meaningful action from site traffic, which will be reflected in the quality metrics your team has been tracking to this leg in the resident’s journey.
Bounce Rate – Lowest – The progression from initial research to final action should culminate with your team tracking the lowest bounce rates in the resident journey. Site visitors in this stage are intent-oriented and ready to convert on your site’s landing pages. If for whatever reason your community notices that bounce rates are higher than anticipated, revisit specific bottom of the funnel pages to ensure they are providing everything site visitors in this stage expect to see. If they aren’t, then that traffic likely went elsewhere to convert.
Pages Per Session – Lowest – Due to the intent visitors have at the bottom of the funnel, your team will likely track fewer pages per session. You can use the insights from pages per session reports to determine the specific pages assisting the conversion process. By doing so, your team will obtain valuable insight into the pages that impact the conversion process for prospective residents and ACIs.
Average Time on Site – Lowest – At the bottom of the funnel, your prospective residents have a handle on your site’s navigation, having visited it several times during their journey. Your community should expect time on site to be shorter compared to top and middle of funnel traffic. A lower time on site at the bottom of the funnel indicates that your community is providing a seamless experience for visitors to convert. Your community has nurtured its leads already. Now is the time for them to take swift, decisive action.
Your website’s traffic interacts with your community various ways throughout each unique stage of the resident’s journey. If your team can use its carefully-tracked metrics to understand quality visits and interactions, it will be one step closer to having a website that meets prospective residents’ needs during each of these stages.
When your senior living marketing team gets stuck and needs help optimizing site copy, improving its content marketing efforts, or CRO and UX optimizations to grow quality site traffic, we can help. Call us, and we’ll help determine the Google metrics that will help your community accomplish its goals.