Government website ROI measurment…STOP measuring just "visitors"!!!

After working with numerous government departments and coming across the same issue I have decided it is time to write something about it.

A recent client asked me why I wanted to get rid of their Site A, which had 1Million unique visits last year, and yet I wanted to keep Site B, which had 50K unique visits (they had to ged rid of one or the other). A simple answer: Stop looking at quantity, look at quality of your visits.

What is the purpose of your site? What are your objectives for the site? What do you want your target audience to accomplish?…Is it to :

  • Sign up for a newsletter?
  • Fill out a survey?
  • Use the interactive application built into the site?
  • Read something important?
  • Download a pdf Guide?

All of the above can be measured and tracked via free analytics software (such as Google Analytics) .

In the case of Site A, none of its initial objectives were being met. Visitors were leaving after browsing a few insignificant pages (there was no clear call to action, but rather a storage room of information). Over 70% of the 1Million visitors were staying on the site for less than 5 seconds…meaning essentially that they stumbled upon the site accidentally or were immediately turned off.

In the case of Site B, nearly 50% of the website visitors were actively engaged in the site and reached essentially every goal set forth in the website strategy. Many were staying on the website for 15+ minutes each time and returning on numerous occasions.

Which one would you keep? One that delivers on its mandate or one that you can show senior management is getting a lot of “hits”? The sad truth is that many public servants choose the latter because they cannot show the ROI/ROE of their website effectively.

Here’s a hint:

  • Assign a relative importance value to each conversion goal (objective) you assign to your website out of 10
  • Set up your analytics software to track how you are doing on each conversion goal (assign a performance value out of 10)
  • Multiply this value by the weight of that objective
  • Add up the scores
  • Take this number and divide it by an ideal score to give you a percentage.
  • Use this percentage as a quantifiable indicator with which you can gauge ROI/ROE

Simple technique , yet too often it is overlooked or seen as something for the techies. It’s not.

Ontario government bans FACEBOOK!

As a public sector marketing consultant , (trying to desperately get government to start adopting web 2.0/social media) I find the recent Ontario government decision to ban Facebook on provincial public servant computers absolutely ridiculous, yet not at all surprising.

The decision comes as a result of the fact that public servants had supposedly been wasting time “socializing” on the popular social networking site during work hours…

Well why don’t we ban work telephones then? how about e-mail? why not put shackles on all employees while we are at it?

The fact is, employees that want to waste time will always waste time. Instead of banning Facebook, the Ontario government should have looked into how it can leverage it as a tool to engage its employees and increase productivity. I see Facebook as an ideal tool to get rid of government silos and increase horizontal cooperation within departments.

Mark my words. This decision will be reversed sooner or later. The government can’t keep running away, social media is here to stay.