SEO & User Experience: Reviewing Zappos

On-Site SEO is essential for ecommerce websites because products need to rank higher than competitors and display clearly so consumers can find the products in search engine results. Optimizing an ecommerce website can result in increased organic traffic to a business’s website, which can mean more conversions. About 38% of ecommerce traffic comes from organic search, the second highest source of traffic after direct traffic at 49.3% (Kalyadina, 2020). User experience is also important and because consumers conduct purchase decision research on desktop and mobile devices, product pages must be optimized for both (Kalyadina, 2020). While some ecommerce websites overlook the potential of on-site SEO and user experience, implementing these strategies is good for business.

The first on-site SEO technique is optimizing the page titles, or title tags, which are the blue clickable titles on a search engine results page (Kalyadina, 2020). These pages can impact the click-through rate because they inform users and search engines about what the page is about. Ideally the title should be between 55 to 60 characters, descriptive, and use chosen keywords (Kalyadina, 2020). Many ecommerce sites choose to add a company name to the end of the page title, but it should not be first because it does not reinforce users’ search intent (Kalyadina, 2020). For example, Zappo’s homepage title is “Running Shoes + Free Shipping |” (Zappos, n.d.).

Ecommerce websites should utilize header tags (such as h1, h2, and h3) because search engines use them to understand a page’s content that sets the tone and purpose for the page (Tietbohl, 2021). Header tags help support the overall theme or purpose of a page, and header tags are often used to define sections on the page (Tietbohl, 2021). Appropriate short and long keywords should be inserted into header tags because as search engines crawl the site, they will recognize the headers and keywords (Kalyadina, 2020).

Right underneath the page title on a search engine results page is the meta description, which also plays an important role for click-throughs and ultimately conversions. To optimize the meta description, one should ensure its length is about 150 characters, each description should be personalized to the webpage, each meta description should be accurate about what the page contains, and they should explain why a consumer should visit the website (Kalyadina, 2020) or they can give an answer to a question (Crowe, 2016). Below you can see that Zappos’ meta description is listed, along with the header tags, and each has a unique description (Google, 2021).

Some ecommerce websites feature perks and discounts in their meta description to attract attention, such as “free shipping” or “buy one, get one free”. Some examples of action words brands are using in their meta title include decide, shop, free, limited time, win, exclusive, and sale (Crowe, 2016). While meta description may not improve search rankings alone, it will earn a website more clicks when optimized correctly (Crowe, 2016). Above you can see that Zappos uses terms like “free shipping and returns” and “1000s of styles” to get click-throughs (Google, 2021).

Surprisingly, a whopping 10.1% of all Google traffic is for; and daily pageviews of Google Images are over one billion (and that number is seven years old) (Patel, n.d.)! Google Image search is another way of generating website traffic, and optimizing images are like optimizing webpages. Images rank in search just like websites do, and the having first image in the search is like being the first position on the search engine results page (Patel, n.d.).

To optimize a website’s images for search, edit the file names so they are user-friendly and reflect the image contents (Patel, n.d.). Then, modify the image’s alt tags (which help visually impaired users) to be short and descriptive (Patel, n.d.), and include the product name and relevant keywords where appropriate (Kalyadina, 2020). And finally, the images should be high-quality but small in file size (under 1 to 2MB) so that they do not slow down page loading speed (which impacts user experience and bounce rates), and this task can be achieved through file compression (Patel, n.d.).

Further, using original images for a website is always preferred because they are more likely to grab peoples’ attention (Patel, n.d.). While Zappos does use original images for its products, there is room for improvement with file names (Zappos, n.d.). The Brooks Canopy Jacket image included in the screenshot is titled “71TftAbTByL._AC_SR700,525_” (Zappos, n.d.).

Next, adding markup will help Google understand a site’s content and help potential visitors navigate the site (Kalyadina, 2020). It can also result in a higher click-through rate of up to 30%, resulting in further sales (Kalyadina, 2020). Some of the most common schema properties include reviews and rating schema, product schema, breadcrumb markup, business details including contact, product availability schema, and FAQs (which can generate a lot of traffic if a site gets a Featured Snippet) (Kalyadina, 2020).

Website content is another form of on-page SEO that draws in consumers from the search engine results page. Each webpage in a site should have unique content, which can be time-consuming if the ecommerce website has thousands of products (Kalyadina, 2020). The written content on a page allows search engines to understand what the page is about and rank it accordingly based on a user’s search intent (Kalyadina, 2020). Every webpage should have at least 250 to 500 words that differ from all other webpages, including each product or topic page (Kalyadina, 2020). Product descriptions with 3 to 5 chosen keywords, product features, awards won by the product, technical specs, utilize customer reviews, comparison to other products, and a frequently asked questions section (and answering consumer questions) can all beef up a product page (Kalyadina, 2020). Zappos’ includes all these on-page SEO tactics on its product pages, including breadcrumb navigation at the top and social media share buttons (Zappos, n.d.).

Internal linking on ecommerce product pages is also necessary for on-page SEO. Strategically linking from high authority pages to high priority product pages will increase the likelihood of ranking in the search results for these products. A few options for links on product pages include breadcrumbs navigation, related products, and related categories (Crowe, 2016). Zappos uses breadcrumbs, “wear it with”, “customers who viewed this item also viewed”, and “you may also like” links on each product page (Zappos, n.d.). Internal linking should add value for users and provide an intuitive structure that prioritizes the content that is more relevant to the user (Crowe, 2016). Internal linking will boost SEO because one can choose their own anchor text, helping a website to rank for chosen keywords, as well as improve user experience by suggesting related pages (Kalyadina, 2020).

Tied closely to internal links is the having an on-site search engine, which is critical if an ecommerce site is large and has several tiers of content (Tietbohl, 2021). Zappos has a huge inventory, and it places its search bar at the top of its main page for ease of access (Zappos, n.d.). While on-site search engines may not directly impact search engine results page rankings, it does provide a better user experience and can provide useful consumer data in Google Analytics (Tietbohl, 2021). Around 30% of users are likely to use a website’s search engine when it is available and those who search are twice as likely to convert (Tietbohl, 2021).

While social media share buttons on a website does not impact search engine rankings, it provides the potential of free promotion (Crowe, 2016). Millennial shoppers are twice as likely to buy a product that was personally shared on social media (Crowe, 2016). Similarly, while product videos will not directly impact search engine rankings, it will increase engagement and time on-site, which increased the chances of a product page ranking higher (Crowe, 2016). About 73% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or sign up for a service after watching a branded video that explains the product, and 52% of consumers say watching videos makes them more confident about a purchase (Crowe, 2016).

Videos also give ecommerce websites the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition (Crowe, 2016) and improve visitor engagement, which can be tracked in Google Analytics. Videos are one of several ways to keep potential customers surfing an ecommerce website. Zappos’ embeds a video right at the top of its website to keep customers on the page (Zappos, n.d.).

Keeping users on a website longer increases the consumer’s likelihood of buying something and increases the likelihood the consumer will remember and trust the brand/company (Mohrman, 2017). A poorly designed website can cause the time spent on-page to be low and the bounce rate to be high (The Daily Egg, 2020), therefore user experience is important for ecommerce websites. Increasing visitors’ time spent on a website means optimizing a website’s design and content (The Daily Egg, 2020).

For example, the website should have intuitive navigation, easily scanned pages, links set to open in new tabs, valuable original content, and include calls to action on every page (Mohrman, 2017). The Daily Egg (2020) makes the point that most pages are scanned by visitors instead of being read in their entirety, which makes the words not always as important as the format and visuals. Better content, such as graphics, videos, and photos can increase a consumer’s duration on the page (The Daily Egg, 2020).

Finally, ecommerce websites that want to improve on-site SEO must ensure that product pages have a key-word rich, simple, and unique structure (Crowe, 2016). Guidelines for page URL include using lower case letters, using hyphens instead of spaces or underscores, and removing special characters (Crowe, 2016). While search engines do have the ability to remove special characters in an URL, a consumer viewing a complicated URL may lose confidence in purchasing from that website and move on (Crowe, 2016). The goal with a simple URL is to improve user experience and increase search result rankings that way (Crowe, 2016). This is another area where Zappos has room for improvement, as the first screenshot shared has a URL of, which is descriptive but also has many superfluous numbers (Zappos, n.d.).

Crowe, A. (2016, May 10). SEO for Ecommerce Websites: A Step-By-Step Guide. Retrieved from:
Google Search. (2021, March 1). Zappos. Retrieved from:
Kalyadina, M. (2020, May 27). The Definitive Guide to Ecommerce SEO for 2021. Retrieved from:
Mohrman, E. (2017, November 8). 12 Ways to Keep Users on Your Website Longer. Retrieved from:
Patel, N. (n.d.) How to Drive More Traffic Using Google Image Search. Retrieved from:
Tietbohl, M. (2021). Week 5 Lesson: SEO – On-page Optimization and Technical SEO, Introduction to SEMrush [Online]. Retrieved from
The Daily Egg. (2020, May 14). The 15 Second Rule: 3 Reasons Why Users Leave a Website. Retrieved from:
Zappos. (n.d.) Running Shoes + Free Shipping | Retrieved from:

SEMrush Projects: Starting with a Site Audit

Why do you need SEO? For starters, SEO strategies improve user experience, help the right audience find the right website, boosts a business’s credibility and authority, does not require paying for ads, and allows businesses to stay ahead of the competition. SEMrush is one product on the market that provides a suite of tools for improving online visibility and researching marketing data. The website provides tools and reports for marketers in SEO, PPC, SMM, keyword research, competitive research, marketing campaign management, public relations, content marketing, marketing insights (SEMrush, n.d.-b).

SEMrush Projects allows users to find marketing data outside of the SEMrush database, while Domain Analytics and Keyword Analytics use internal databases (SEMrush, n.d.-a). The Project sharing feature gives marketers the option of sharing information and collaborating among agency staff (SEMrush, n.d.-a).

The screenshot of the Projects dashboard below shows some of the tools already set up for, and those not yet selected. These are the eleven tools available in Projects and their purpose (Tietbohl, 2021):
• Site Audit: The health score of a Project’s latest audit.
• Position Tracking: The visibility percentage that a main domain has for the target keywords in a Project.
• On Page SEO Checker: Suggestions that be implemented to help improve landing pages to rank for keywords in a Project.
• Social Media Tracker: Provides an overview of a Project’s social media audience and activity.
• Social Media Poster: Allows for posts and posts scheduling to social media accounts.
• Brand Monitoring: Provides a count of how many times set keywords are found across the internet for brand monitoring.
• Backlink Audit: The number of toxic domains that are sending backlinks to a Project domain.
• Link Building: Identifies pages that have the potential to be part of a link-building campaign.
• PPC Keyword Tool: Overview of the number of campaigns and keywords.
• Organic Traffic Insights: Google Analytics data about visits over the past month.
• Content Analyzer: Tracks website content on external websites.

Tietbohl (2021) recommends beginning a project with a Site Audit to analyze the health of a business’s website. SEMrush’s Site Audit provides users with a list of issues with a website that, when fixed, will improve the SEO of the website (SEMrush, n.d.-a). Site Audit is also a good place to start since it provides over 120 on-page and technical SEO checks, including duplicate content, broken links, indexability, and more (SEMrush, n.d.-a).

The Site Audit Overview Report provides an estimate of a website’s health with a Site Health Score, top issues, errors, warnings, notices, crawlability, HTTPS, international SEO, core web vitals (beta), markup (new), site performance, crawled pages, robots.txt updates, and internal linking (SEMrush, 2021). The Site Health Score is represented as a percentage between 0 and 100 and is generated based on the number of errors and warnings found throughout the website in relation to the number of checks that have been run (SEMrush, n.d.-a). The higher the Site Health Score the better and addressing the flagged errors and warnings will improve the website’s score (SEMrush, n.d.-a). The Site Audit also provides “notices” which are not as severe as errors or warnings and do not impact a Site Health Score (SEMrush, n.d.-a).

The thematic reports in the Site Audit Overview Report provides direction as to where issues are commonly found on a website (SEMrush, n.d.-a). SEMrush (n.d.-a) defines its seven thematic reports in the following ways:
• Crawlability relates to how easy it is for search engines to find what they are looking for on a site.
• HTTPS diagnoses issues related to a website’s transition from HTTP.
• International SEO covers best practices for global websites.
• Site performance evaluates a site’s speed and performance.
• Internal linking which looks at how well a site links between its webpages.
• Core web vitals, which is in beta, gives a website a rating based on the largest contentful paint (quick loading time), total blocking time (time homepage is unavailable for data input), and cumulative layout shift (homepage content shifts).
• Markup provides information on webpages that use microdata and provides a markup score.

Below is a screenshot of the Site Audit Overview Report for Yelda Media received a Site Health Score of 88%, had 6 errors, 73 warnings, and 217 notices (SEMrush, 2021). SEMrush also provides an average Site Health Score for specific industries and the top 10% of websites (SEMrush, 2021). A total of 39 pages were crawled on the Yelda Media website, though 30 of these pages were listed as “have issues” (SEMrush, 2021).

Top issues identified with the Site Audit include two pages having returned 4XX status codes, two broken internal links, and two pages with duplicate meta descriptions (SEMrush, 2021). Tietbohl (2021) explains that 4xx errors are a common code for situations where the client has made a mistake. Tietbohl (2021) also suggests that errors be addressed, warnings be strongly considered, and notices ideally be fixed.

If significant changes have been made to a website, when a Site Audit is re-run, a new Site Health Score will be provided, as well as a differing number of issues (SEMrush, n.d.-a). SEMrush Projects also provide the option to email, schedule, or brand reports with a logo (SEMrush, n.d.-a). The My Reports feature allows for the creation of custom reports that incorporate the Site Audit and other research (SEMrush, n.d.-a). Over time, the Site Audit will update itself and the increases/decreases in website health can be tracked (SEMrush, n.d.-a).

Like Google Analytics, there is a lot of different types of data and insights available from SEMrush. Also, like Google Analytics, the data discovered should ultimately result in changes that improve website performance, drive traffic, and increase conversions. Tietbohl (2021) states that “most activities in digital will involve three steps: measuring, improving, and reporting. SEMrush can assist with all of these.”

Through utilizing the SEMrush Projects tools, problem areas for will be identified, the recommended changes will be made, and the SEO improvement will be monitored over time. The Site Audit is just the tip of the iceberg for tools available in the Projects dashboard and lessons will continue to be learned along the way. Ultimately, no matter what type of website, it is essential to keep it organized and maintain its health for the sake of SEO.

SEMrush. (2021, February 22). Dashboard: Yelda Media. Retrieved from:
SEMrush. (n.d.-a) Knowledge Base: SEMrush Toolkits. Retrieved from:
SEMrush. (n.d.-b) Knowledge Base: What is SEMrush? Retrieved from:
Tietbohl, M. (2021). Week 5 Lesson: SEO – On-page Optimization and Technical SEO, Introduction to SEMrush [Online]. Retrieved from

Choosing the Right Social Media Channel

Social media is an effective method for reaching people all over the globe, with an average user spending 2 hours and 29 minutes on social media each day (Olafson & Tran, 2021). Social media use is also on the rise. From 2019 to 2020, active social media users increased 6% in the Americas (We Are Social, 2020). Just on Instagram alone, every month one billion people across the world log on and 110 million (11%) of those users live in the United States (We Are Social, 2020).

Social media can move a consumer from brand awareness to conversion because of exposure and experiences. It is obvious that social media cannot be ignored, but how should a marketer decide which channel or channels are best to use? There are a lot to choose from, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit – just to name a few! The decision takes consideration and should be based on multiple factors.

Techsoup (2017) suggests choosing channels based on organizational capacity, resources, and goals. As explained in the graphic below, social media channels have alternate benefits, compliment different goals, support different types of content, and have additional considerations such as capacity and cost (Techsoup, 2017). A marketer should not over-commit to social media by signing up for every channel that exists. Capacity and resources must be taken into consideration, such as available staff time to maintain the account, advertising budget, etc. As Buzan (2020a) points out, a social media marketing plan would not be complete without also considering content and audience.

The platform that is chosen by a business should compliment the content that will be produced (Buzan, 2020a). For example, if an author wants to promote her new book with a series of 20-minute writing tutorials, YouTube might be the right fit. Not only is YouTube great for tutorials, but also for original shows, vlogging, music videos, demonstrations, and live streaming features (Quesenberry, 2018). According to the We Are Social (2020) report, YouTube has 2 billion logged in users each month, and the share of the global population aged 13 and over that log in each month is 33%.  That is a lot of people that marketers can potentially be reaching with their content.

When creating content, specifications, like video and image size, must be followed so that the content can be uploaded to the social media channel or channels. Importantly, Buzan (2020a) states that “the new model for content creation and marketing on social media has shifted from just pushing content for the sake of promoting yourself to become more personalized, interactive, and focused on storytelling rather than self-promotion.”

Content matters just as much as conversation. Social media is a place where consumers and marketers jointly enter a conversation that may or may not necessarily be about a product or service (Buzan, 2020a). Social media allows consumers to feel heard; and is meant to be a discussion between like-minded participants that results in referrals, recommendations, and brand loyalty (Buzan, 2020a). Social media listening is the process of continuous and immediate discovery of conversations with the purpose of learning, engaging, helping, and collaborating (Buzan, 2020b).

Marketers must always consider the target audience when thinking about where and how to reach consumers, and social media is no different. The more targeting that can be done, the more a business can make messages most relevant and use their limited resources wisely (Buzan, 2020a). Some social media channels are more effective for reaching certain demographics of consumers. For example, 1/3 of Instagram’s users are ages 25 to 34 and is the most-used social media platform among U.S. teenagers (Olafson & Tran, 2021).

The varying social media channels attract different types of users, including differing age brackets and gender. Using data from We Are Social (2020), below is a comparison of the potential reach and age/gender demographics of six popular social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.


  • Number of people that can be reached with advertisements: 1.95 billion.
  • Share of global population aged 13+ that marketers can reach with Facebook ads: 32%.
  • Percentage of Facebook ad audience that is female: 44%.
  • Percentage of Facebook ad audience that is female: 56%.
  • Age range of Facebook ad audience: 13-17: 4.6%, 18-24: 24%, 25-34: 32%, 35-44: 17.1%, 45-54: 10.4%, 55-64: 6.1%, and 65+: 4.4%.


  • Number of people that can be reach with advertisements: 928.5 million.
  • Share of global population aged 13+ that marketers can reach with Instagram ads: 15%
  • Percentage of Instagram ad audience that is female: 50.9%.
  • Percentage of Instagram ad audience that is male: 49.1%.
  • Age range of Instagram ad audience: 13-17: 6.1% 18-24: 30%, 25-34: 35%, 18-24: 30%, 35-44: 16.5%, 45-54: 7.8%, 55-64: 3.2%, and 65+: 1.9%.


  • Number of people that can be reached with advertisements: 663.3 million.
  • Share of the global population aged 18+ that marketers can reach with LinkedIn ads: 12%.
  • Percentage of LinkedIn ad audience that is female: 43%.
  • Percentage of LinkedIn ad audience that is male: 57%.
  • Age range of LinkedIn ad audience: 18-24: 19.1%, 25-34: 61%, 35-54: 16.7%, and 55+: 3.3%.


  • Number of people that can be reached with advertisements: 381.5 million.
  • Share of the global population aged 13+ that marketers can reach with Snapchat ads: 6.3%.
  • Percentage of Snapchat ad audience that is female: 61%.
  • Percentage of Snapchat ad audience that is male: 38%.
  • Age range of Snapchat ad audience:13-17: 18.7%, 18-20: 21.2%, 21-24: 17.8%, 25-34: 22.6%, and 35+: 17.9%.


  • Number of people that can be reached with advertisements: 339.6 million.
  • Share of the global population aged 13+ that marketers can reach with Twitter ads: 5.6%.
  • Percentage of Twitter ad audience that is female: 38%.
  • Percentage of Twitter ad audience that is male: 62%.
  • Age range of Twitter ad audience: 13-17: 9.6%, 18-24: 24%, 25-34: 29%, 35-49: 23%, and 50+: 15%.


  • Number of people that can be reached with advertisements: 169 million.
  • Share of global population aged 13+ that marketers can reach with Pinterest ads: 2.8%.
  • Percentage of Pinterest ad audience that is female: 72%.
  • Percentage of Pinterest ad audience that is male: 20%.
  • Age range of Pinterest ad audience: 18-24: 14.8%, 25-34: 41%, 35-44: 22.7%, 45-49: 5.5%, 50-54: 4%, 55-64: 9%, and 65+: 2.8%.

Marketers must first research a social media channel to determine which is best for reaching the target audience. Based on the information above, Snapchat would best complement a social media marketing plan with the target audience of women and girls aged 34 or younger. Which social media channel listed above would one use to reach men aged 25-34?

Additionally, many social media channels offer psychographic traits to further segment the audiences seeing paid ads. Facebook advertising has the option of targeting potential customers based on traits related to interests, values, personality, and hobbies (Tietbohl, 2021). Facebook also allows for advertising that targets specific zip codes and neighborhoods, thus providing a marketing method for local businesses trying to attract new customers.

There may also be other lifestyle factors to consider before choosing the right social media channel. For example, if a marketer is trying to fundraise for a progressive nonprofit, LinkedIn may be the place to do so. Smith & Anderson (2018) found that 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75,000 per year (which is above the national median) and that 50% of LinkedIn users are college graduates.

In conclusion, choosing the right channels depends on everything from capacity and resources to demographics and interests. Even without utilizing paid advertising, social media accounts with strong content and a two-way dialogue are more likely to succeed in elevating a brand.


Buzan, K. (2020a). Week 1 Lesson: Introduction to Social Media [Online]. Retrieved from

Buzan, K. (2020b). Week 4 Lesson: Understanding Social Media Channels [Online]. Retrieved from

Olafson, K. & Tran, T. (2021, January 27). 100+ Social Media Demographics that Matter to Marketers in 2021. Retrieved from:

Smith, A. & Anderson, M. (2018, March 1). Social Media Use in 2018. Retrieved from:

Techsoup. A Nonprofit Social Media Starter Kit. (2017). Retrieved from:

Tietbohl, M. (2021). Week 4 Lesson: Social Media Analytics & Advertising Channels [Online]. Retrieved from

Quesenberry, K. (2018, May 23). 2018 Social Media Update: Top Social Media Channels By Category. Retrieved from:

We Are Social. (n.d.). Digital Report 2020. Retrieved from:

Google Analytics & Mailchimp Integration

Introduction to Integrations

Businesses and marketers have a wide range of Google Analytics integrations to choose from, including those that measure sales calls, paid ads, and email campaigns. Abbamonte (2019) interviewed forty-three marketers and identified twenty integrations that they rely on, one of which was Mailchimp. Why integrate Google Analytics with Mailchimp email marketing? As one marketer states, “You’ll be able to more accurately measure sales and other key conversion metrics that came directly from your Mailchimp email marketing. With that additional information, you can determine your exact email marketing return on investment, budgeting, sales projections, and other key numbers integral to your overall profit margins.” (Abbamonte, 2019)

Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel (Vision6, n.d.), and if one is thinking about investing money in this channel, it is worth tracking data over time to make improvements. Mailchimp is one of many email marketing services on the market, but it is a good one because it offers an inexpensive way to stay in touch with customers and manage email campaigns. Mailchimp has also grown to offer landing page creation, user segmentation, A/B testing, digital ads tracking, content studio, domain hosting, and much more (InsightWhale, n.d.). Integrating Mailchimp with Google Analytics will allow one to better leverage the multiple functions offered by Mailchimp, and view website and email data with ease between Google Analytics and analytics provided by Mailchimp (InsightWhale, n.d.).

Get Ready for the Deluge: Set Goals First

Google Analytics integration with Mailchimp will undoubtedly result in more data, which is difficult to interpret unless there are email marketing goals for which to compare them. Before sending an email in Mailchimp, determine what the goal is for that email. This could be growing a subscriber database, generating leads, or increasing conversions. These goals will help to determine what metrics to track as to not be overwhelmed by the soon-to-come deluge of information.

Businesses and marketers must first set goals to be able to track progress against them. Kolowich Cox (n.d.) encourages regular close tracking of email marketing metrics to be able to analyze how one is trending towards their goal(s) month to month. Kolowich Cox (n.d.) suggests these ways of aligning goals with metrics:

  • Subscriber List Growth Rate: Email campaigns always include calls-to-action, such as “Subscribe to Our Blog” or “Sign-Up for the Monthly List,” and these should be centered around goals. If one’s goal is to attract more visitors to a website, grow the number of website downloads, and so on, then subscriber list growth rate is the correct metric.
  • Unengaged Subscribers: Tracking unengaged subscribers is just as important as tracking engaged subscribers. Sending emails to unengaged recipients can hurt the deliverability of one’s marketing emails and can lead to emails getting sent straight to junk folders.
  • Number of New or Total Leads Generated: Email marketing can be utilized for lead generation, and to gather data toward this goal, a lead capture form is needed. For example, if an owner of a craft supply store creates a download-able craft kit for parents, there should be a web form to capture information prior. Leads can be tracked every day, every week, or every month depending on priorities.
  • Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate: This metric should be tracked if the business goal is to convert more existing leads into customers. Calls-to-action in emails might urge readers to start a free trial, schedule a consultation, or get a product demo as marketing emails provide content related to a product or service.

Focusing on the right metrics will help to guide, analyze, and improve marketing campaigns over time. Fernandez (2019) suggests at least nine metrics to track to get an overall view of list health: open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, complaint rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, forward/share rate, campaign return on investment, and list growth rate. Fernandez (2019) also suggests five steps for benchmarking email marketing effectiveness: chart past broadcasts, establish averages, identify outliers, identify patterns, and set baselines and goals.

Tracking and benchmarking data will provide valuable insight into the best times to send email campaigns, what topics and subject lines are most popular, and what linked text is most attractive to readers (Fernandez, 2019). Email marketing is about more than just having the right layout and content in an email, it is also about achieving tangible goals and objectives. The email campaign is not done once the “send” button is pressed, instead that is when it begins.

Beyond Mailchimp Metrics

Integrating Google Analytics with Mailchimp provides additional data to help determine what is working and what needs to be improved. Mailchimp tracks several metrics that do not require Google Analytics, such as open rate and click through rate – but email conversions should be the end goal (Brui, 2018). A conversion for an email campaign is going to depend on macro and micro business or organizational goals. For example, an email conversion be defined as how many leads were generated, how many sales were made on the website, or the number of new accounts created because of an email. Beyond just click tracking, Google Analytics coupled with email marketing allows for a better overview of the journey that customers, or potential customers, take once they arrive on a website (Brui, 2018).

By integrating Google Analytics with Mailchimp, businesses and marketers will be able to better understand how email campaigns drive website traffic and visitors’ behavior once they arrive on a website (McCartney, 2019). For example, one could determine how an email campaign impacted the number of pages visited by each visitor, the order of pages visited, length on the website, which pages they exited on, and if they made a purchase (McCartney, 2019). Similarly, one could add Google Analytics tracking to Mailchimp email campaigns to pass Google data back to Mailchimp’s reports (Mailchimp, n.d.-b). Mailchimp can also store a Google Analytics ID to track visits to campaign pages and hosted campaign archives, showing traffic to these pages in a Google Analytics account (Mailchimp, n.d.-b).

Mailchimp integration with Google Analytics can provide insights about website visitors and contacts to see who is visiting, in order to send more targeted messages (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Google Analytics can also be connected to Mailchimp’s A/B testing to understand what pieces of an email campaign resonate and messages that might need altering (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Landing pages, a service offered by Mailchimp, can also be optimized using Google Analytics code embedding (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Adding the code will allow for data collection directly in Mailchimp on page views, demographic data, and behavior on the website (Mailchimp, n.d.-a). Integrating Mailchimp with Google Analytics can be done in a matter of steps, and several of the links in the “References” section provide a step-by-step guide.

In conclusion, connecting Google Analytics to Mailchimp allows for the tracking of campaign performance, creates a bettering understanding of who is visiting a website, and provides deeper user insights to send more targeted campaigns. To get the most out of email marketing, whether it is Mailchimp or another popular service, Google Analytics’ integration is recommended. Google Analytics provides a wealth of data that provides a more holistic view of audience behaviors and email conversions for the businesses and organizations that want to make better informed decisions about future email campaigns.


Abbamonte, K. (2019, November 14). 20 Must-Have Google Analytics Integrations That Marketers Rely On. Retrieved from:

Brui, A. (2018, November 11). Google Analytics Email Tracking for Your Marketing Success. Retrieved from:

Coquet, Julien. (2019, March 11). Integrate Google Analytics tracking with Mailchimp. Retrieved from:

Fernandez, M. (2019, November 22). How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Email Campaigns. Retrieved from:

InsightWhale. (n.d.). How to Integrate Google Analytics tracking with Mailchimp? Retrieved from:

Kolowich Cox, L. (n.d.). Email Analytics: The 8 Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs You Should Be Tracking. Retrieved from:

Mailchimp. (n.d.-a). Google Analytics Integration. Retrieved from:

Mailchimp. (n.d.-b). Integrate Google Analytics with Mailchimp. Retrieved from:

McCartney, K. (2019, April 1). How to Connect Mailchimp to Google Analytics. Retrieved from:

Vision6. (n.d.). Everything you wanted to know about tracking Email in Google Analytics (but were too afraid to ask). Retrieved from:

Google Analytics: Understanding Engagement Metrics

Google Analytics can benefit businesses and marketers who recognize the importance of web traffic and internet marketing tools, but who do not have the proper instruments to calculate return on investment (Tietbohl, 2021). Engagement metrics offered by Google Analytics provide insight into how often users visit a website and how many pages they are visiting. For example, marketers who don’t see a lot of follow-through on their ad campaign may use engagement metrics to determine where customers are exiting the website.

These are four Google Analytics metrics related to engagement, as defined by Tietbohl (2021):

  • A Page Exit Ratio is calculated as the number of exits / number of page views for a page.
  • Bounces are single page visits to a website.
  • A page’s Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave the website after viewing only that page.
  • Pages Per Session is the number of pages visited on average by users.

The Page Exit Ratio indicates how often visitors exit the site after visiting any number of pages on the website (Hotjar, 2020). By monitoring exits, businesses can come to understand the performance of specific pages or groups of pages (Hotjar, 2020). A high Page Exit Ratio may signal a need for improvements on a page, such as better navigation, (Hotjar, 2020), or it could simply mean that visitors are finding what they came for quickly.

A Google Analytics Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a website after viewing just one page (Willson, 2020). A high bounce rate may not necessarily be a negative thing and can even happen when a user idles for more than half an hour (Willson, 2020). Depending on website and business goals, a high Bounce Rate may be positive, a low Bounce Rate negative, or vice versa. Typically, a Bounce Rate of 25% or lower could signal a broken webpage or feature, while a Bounce Rate of 70% or higher could also signal something is broken (Willson, 2020). The average Bounce Rate for a website is between 26% and 70%, with the average at 41-55% (Willson, 2020).

Pages Per Session is a metric calculated by dividing the number of page views by the total number of sessions (Malnik, 2020). This metric is especially helpful to marketers that want to increase profits by getting more eyes and more time spent on a website (Malnik, 2020). To dig further into Pages Per Session, Google Analytics provides a breakdown to see which traffic source is bringing in the most engaged users (Malnik, 2020), such as search, social media, or an affiliate link. Malnik (2020) recommends that Pages Per Session be tracked on a line graph to show daily fluctuations in comparison to business milestones, such as sending an email promotion, website redesign, or an influencer retweet.

A number of technical and user experience optimization steps exist that can reduce a bounce rate and increase the number of pages per session (Malnik, 2020). But as Malnik (2020) states: “at the core of bounce rate and low page per session rates is the relevancy (or irrelevancy) of content that you are serving visitors.”


Hotjar. (2020, November 20). Exits and exit rate in Google Analytics. Retrieved from:

Malnik, J. (2020, June 23) What is ‘Pages Per Session’ in Google Analytics & How Do I Increase It? Retrieved from:

Tietbohl, M. (2021). Intro to web analytics and the basics of web analytics [Online]. Retrieved from

Willson, A. (2020, November 14). 13 Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate. Retrieved from:

Google Analytics: Understanding Foundational Metrics

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides reports to better understand website traffic and the effectiveness of marketing (Tietbohl, 2021). Google Analytics provides so much data that it may seem overwhelming to beginners. However, coming to understand even some of the foundational metrics will allow for better informed website and business decisions. Google Analytics also provides measurement to calculate return on investment for marketers (Tietbohl, 2021).

These are five foundational Google Analytics metrics, as defined by Tietbohl (2021):

  • A Page as a single unit of content, such as one webpage.
  • A Page View refers to the number of times a page was viewed, even repeatedly by one user.
  • User or Unique Visitors are the number of individual people that visited a site within a given time frame.
  • A Session, sometimes called a Visit, is the set of web requests (clicks, sign-ups, etc.), made within a given time frame by a single user visiting a website.
  • An Event is defined as any recorded website action with a specific date and time.

Google Analytics tracks data for each individual web page, or Page, that exists within a larger website. Page Views are not to be confused with the number of unique visitors that viewed a website. Instead, Page Views are the number of loads and reloads of the same page, from the same user, during a session (Chris, n.d.). In Google Analytics, Page Views will always be higher than the number of unique site visitors (Chris, n.d.).

Page Views, especially combined with other data, can help a business to better understand website use and visitor behavior (Chris, n.d.). For example, Google Analytics can be used to create a Segment that splits Page Views between Desktop and Mobile users (Chris, n.d.). If the number of mobile Page Views are higher than the number of desktop Page Views, a business may want to consider investing in a mobile version of their website.

Google Analytics defines Users as “unique visitors,” and the metric was called just that until 2014 (Malnik, 2020). Once a user visits a website, they will not be counted again unless they have cleared their cookies or visit from a different device (Malnik, 2020). A marketer can utilize the User metric over time to see if an ad campaign is increasing new customer traffic. Users and Session are different, as one user can have multiple website sessions (Malnik, 2020).

Another foundational metric, Sessions, can inform marketers of how attractive their website is to visitors. The Honey Baked Ham Company uses Sessions to “track the overall flow to a site from specific channels as the first indicator of its effectiveness to lead top of the funnel traffic into a site and users to understand which channels are effectively engaging those visitors.” (Malnik, 2020).

Events are defined as user interactions with content and can include downloads, form submissions, video plays, and link clicks (Google, n.d.). An Event “hit” includes four parts: category, action, label (optional), and value (optional) (Google, n.d.). For example, a business owner might track the success of a promotional video by setting up a “play” button that records a hit every time these values are met: Category: Videos, Action: Play, and Label: Promo Video.

Whether you choose to track Page Views, Users, Sessions, Events, or all the above, the metrics chosen should align with overall business goals. Stay tuned for the next blog in which readers will be introduced to Google Analytics engagement metrics!


Chris, A. (n.d.) What are Google Analytics Page Views? (Complete Guide). Retrieved from:

Google. n.d. About Events. Retrieved from:

Malnik, J. (2020, June 2). Sessions vs. Users vs. Pageviews in Google Analytics: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from:

Tietbohl, M. (2021). Intro to web analytics and the basics of web analytics [Online]. Retrieved from

How Organizations Are Getting Creative During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed everything, maybe not forever, but for long enough that organizations are adapting programming and communications to continue toward their mission.

As the world is stuck at home to flatten the COVID-19 curve, we’re seeing organizations innovate in order to meet the needs of their clients, supporters, and customers. Organizations that offer direct services (food and clothing distribution, etc.), in-person activities (nature walks, movie night, etc.), or educational programming (lectures, teach-ins, etc.) have found these options nearly impossible due to required physical distancing.

COVID-19 has changed everything, maybe not forever, but for long enough that organizations are adapting programming and communications to continue toward their mission. Your organization doesn’t have to start from scratch. Here are some tips from inspiring organizations who have adapted rapidly and successfully:

  • Stay uplifting: There’s a lot on everyone’s plates (virus, pandemic, and toilet paper – oh my!) so focus on the positive. Keep it light on social media, in letters-to-the-editor, or anywhere else you’re communicating with your audience. Consider sharing articles on social media and in e-newsletters about stress-busting, discovering new hobbies at home, or mindfulness – even if these topics are out of your usual purview. Media outlets are searching for uplifting news pitches at the moment, as well.
  • Utilize the web: It’s important to continue to communicate with your members, supporters, or fans during this pandemic. Take advantage of technology to do this and shift your events to web using Google Hangouts, Zoom, or another web meeting service. Organize a movie watch party for Twitter using a hashtag and encourage engagement. Online educational events can also be recorded and repurposed for future learning.
    Pro-tip: Find time during online programming, even a meeting, for people to connect over their common interest, as many are feeling isolated right now.
  • Continue services: Food pantries are offering drive-thru bags of food items to one car at a time, utilizing face masks and other protective gear. Educators are dropping off craft kits on porches and then hosting an online session for kids to put together those crafts. Where you can, continue services while limiting contact so that workers are not at risk.
  • Reconsider fundraising: Many non-essential organizations have taken a break from utilizing their channels of communication to ask for donations, as to not take away from contributions needed for COVID-19 testing and research. Of course, not all organizations can afford to cease fundraising during this time of economic downturn. Similarly, advocacy organizations are taking a step back from lobbying, as legislators are focused on policy solutions to the virus.
  • Photos and videos: As always, photos and videos make for compelling social media posts. But take note that if you post a photo or video from that past that does not include people following physical distancing guidelines, you will get comments from your followers about it. People will (rightfully so) want to know why your organization isn’t taking this seriously! Easy fix: Include text with the photo or video that states it’s a #flashback.
  • Keep the newsletter going: If your organization hosts many in-person events and that’s what fills your e-newsletters, you might find that you’re lacking content. Listing canceled event after canceled event isn’t a good look, but don’t stop communicating with your audience. Instead, think about what else you have to offer either through the mail, online, or through drop-off/pick-up. Here’s an example from TTF Watershed Partnership, a nonprofit in Philadelphia, doing an excellent job offering their audience options to connect with nature in lieu of in-person events like birding and hikes.

Is your organization doing something amazingly inventive to adapt to COVID-19? Shoot us a line and tell us about it!