User Investment

Avanish Kaushik tweeted a post by Ron Shevlin that I found very interesting titled “Quantipulation“.

In it, Shevlin addresses using numbers to support claims that simply can’t be supported. He acknowledges much can’t be ‘known’ and therefore more transparency needs to be had.

I know people want to report on Return, Value, etc., in very specific numbers – mainly dollars. Dollars are listened to in business, therefore reporting on them is more likely to get attention then reporting on KPI’s.

I’m professionally working to identify what to report on for my company. One of the hardest things to do is put a monetary figure to KPI’s and site traffic (Avanish has given good examples of how to get started on his blog).

What is it worth to have a visitor watch a new product video? Is there a value to an impression/page view? What savings are generated when a customer self-services by downloading an instruction manual instead of calling their rep or customer service?

In my quest to identify value I stumbled across this notion, which I don’t consider quantipulation because I’m being very upfront and transparent with what this is and how I came to it.

The notion is User Investment in the Web site. Time is money, so I asked what is a user’s time worth? Is it worth what they get paid? I’m starting from the answer “Yes.”

  • I happen to know who my audience is: medical professionals, specifically Nurses/Technicians, Non-Medical Professionals (Administrators), and Physicians/Surgeons
  • The Department of Labor provides statistics on median hourly wages, take hourly wage/60 = wage per minute
  • (Number of visits – Single Page Bounces) * average time on site per visit = total minutes users viewed content
  • I can estimate the number of users from each group based on number of forms submitted by each group (though obviously not a direct correlation)
  • (total minutes * audience percentage) * wage per minute = audience investment in our site
  • Add the three audiences up for a total User Investment

$20,000+ was user investment in my Web site in May.

You can then use this number in two ways:

  1. Compare the increase or decrease of investment on a month to month basis
  2. Compare User Investment to Cost of maintaining the site

I like the first because saying more people viewed site pages for a longer period of time isn’t as exciting as saying site visitors invested $25,000 of their time on our site this month compared to $20,000 last month!

And when someone questions the cost or I need to request funds to improve the site, I can say Users are investering x of their time while we are only investing y of ours. Our customers and potential customers deserve better.

To avoid being a quantipulator, I should say that I am drafting an Analytics Playbook that will outline how and why we are measuring all marketing efforts so there is no question how figures were determined.

Would enjoy feedback and thoughts on measuring “User Investment.”


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