Determining your ROI Part 2: Measuring Returns

In Part 1 of this series I asked you to take a look at what each person in your church brought to the table. I then asked that you compare that to what you spend on getting new members through the door. The greater the difference, the better your return on investment is. One piece I left out was how to measure that gap. Using an analytics tool, you can easily see how users are behaving on your website, and what sources (i.e. your ads) brought them there.

Configure Analytics

I do not want to go into the technical details of how to set up and use an analytics package. I will however, recommend Google Analytics. This tool is free, easy to set up, and offers many features, including great integration with Google AdWord campaigns. I will also add a caveat and say that although Google is the largest search engine, do not ignore the others. Bing and Yahoo! do a fair amount of business as well and should not be ignored.

Focus on traffic sources

Once you have an analytics package set up on your site, you will begin collecting data that can be analyzed. At first you will be amazed at what you can see; how many people access your site, how long they stay there, what they are clicking on, and even their general geographic location. More importantly from a marketing perspective, you can see how they are finding your website.

How are your ads working?

Since Google developed both Analytics and AdWords, they easily integrate to show what slice of your traffic is coming from your ads. Separate those users and compare their behavior on your site versus those who come naturally. Is there a higher bounce rate (users that hit the home page and immediately leave) or do they click through to other parts of the site? If they immediately leave, then perhaps the people you are bringing to the site are not your target market. You might want to refine your ad, the content on your landing page, or the key words you are buying. Conversely, these statistics may prove that the money you are spending is indeed doing the trick; and perhaps you might want to increase your budget.

Action Item

Learn about further analyzing your analytics data, either by online tutorials, reading books, or listening to podcasts. The subject is far too vast to cover in a single blog post; but I hope this introduction shows that you can demonstrate what your online ad budget is doing for your church.

Photo courtesy of Alfonso Diaz

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.

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