Your Pages Aren’t Worth Anything

I’m sure that some of you will disagree with the title of this post as soon as you see it, but hear me out (read me out?). Wether you are in publishing/content or straight up e-commerce, your pages are not making money inherently. Many executives and busines owners always have one of the two following question:

  1. “How much revenue has this page made?”
  2. “How well is this page converting?”

To preface the rest of this post and explain the title of this post, I am going to say that pages do not make money, and they do not convert. Crazy, I know. But, what does make you money and convert are the changes that you make to your pages.

Answering, “How much revenue has this page made?

 

I do not want to turn this into a debate about revenue attribution at the page view level, so I will leave that issue for another time. So let’s just assume that you have some kind of repor that has page names and dollar amounts next to those pages. The answer to the above question is:

“Does it matter what that revenue number is if you aren’t changing anything?”

So you can trend a page’s revenue over time. So what? Let’s say that you sell hair dryers (why was that the first thing that popped into my mind?). Your sales of hair dryers are what make you money, not the view of some page on your site. Afterall, you are selling hair dryers, not page views.

I also want to take this opportunity to address the publisher/content sites out there. News flash, you are selling something! Your selling ad views, and video ad plays, not page views or time spent (or “engagement” of all silly things).

You should not be asking how much a page makes for you. You need to be coming up with ideas that you think can make a page better, and testing those ideas to see if you can create lift! A page that just sits there and is never, or blindely changed isn’t doing you any good. Does it really matter how much you think a page makes over time if you’re not trying to make it better to begin with?

You changes, improvements and efforts make money and create lift. A page sitting there isn’t doing you any good.

Answering, “How well is this page converting?

 

Again, I would say that a page just sitting there is never converting any different that it ever has, so tracking the conversion rate of a page is pointless. You should be tracking how good YOU are at making changes that improve conversion.

Lift is as Important as Revenue and Conversion

 

Just like I feel that “engagement” is an excuse on the part of publisher/content sites, I feel that tracking how much a page makes or how well it converts is an excuse for not testing your pages and working on creating lift. If you really care how much a page is making or how well it’s converting, then you should have a hypothesis as to how you can make it better, and you should test that hypothesis to create lift.

5 thoughts on “Your Pages Aren’t Worth Anything

  1. When noticed that I would be the first one to post a comment, I suddenly felt I should.

    I’m quite agree with your main idea,that we should keep optimizing pages even though they “do not” make any revenue(may be I’m wrong). You know, when saying this, I feel it’s quite funny to make such a “assertion” because it’s just like saying a shopping mall doesn’t make revenue for a e-commerce site, or a exposition doesn’t make money for a content site.

    Finally, may be you try to say marketing doesn’t worth anything but the improvement of marketing make revenue- if we take all things before “payment” as marketing. Still feel funny about your title, but no evil.

  2. Jinqiu,

    I’ll admit the title was part truth and part bait :). The point that I’m trying to make is that the reason things like dashboards and regularly delivered reports are at some point in their lives continually and ALWAYS ignored is because things rarely change. For example, think about revenue trended for an entire site over time.

    While revenue over time is an important number, worrying about why it changes from day to day or week to week is somewhat wasted effort if you’re not really doing anything to make that number change. So revenue was up 10% from yesterday. Is that really information that you can leverage for anything if nothing on your site or any marketing efforts changed? In this case it falls in that useless category of “good to know” information. How much of our analytics solutions is really just “good to know” information. Do we really need to track everything on the planet if we can only really change a few things?

    This is exactly the reason dashboards are ignored and rarely used by business owners and decision makers. A number just moving over time is easily ignored, unless there is something going on, giving context to the information. If you are constantly testing and optimizing your site, then the numbers mean a LOT more on a daily basis.

  3. I think you are wrong. If I am right ‘monetizing’ which is assigning monetary values to a page or web action creates importance and heirachy for the page or web action. If you cant say how much a page means to you in dollar or naira (my country currency), you wouldnt see the need to change it if. Matter of fact, you wouldnt even know which pages needed attention always.. If any one ignores or refuses to make changes based on the reports they get, then their analytics isn’t actionable. They have root issues with their analytic culture…

  4. Immanuel,

    I have to disagree a little. You shouldn’t start anything with page level analysis. You should start with a business objective. I know that this sounds obvious, but how many of your teams really start here, really? If for example, let’s say, Zappos wants to sell Nike better on this page (they could be great at it already, I don’t know, this is just an example):

    http://zeta.zappos.com/brand/111/Nike

    The starting point then would be to ask what can we do here to make people more likely to buy Nike products? Then you would need to meet with marketing, design and user experience people to develop ideas which you will then test to see which one creates the most lift and converts visitors into Nike product customers.

    Obviously, having an understanding of how visitors click and interact with the page is important, but the entire process of coming up with your business objective and testing never really required giving an arbitrary dollar amount to a page before you started testing.

    Instead of giving a dollar amount to a page, which is very easy with about any analytics solution, ask yourself this one question:

    How effective is the “X” page at actually selling “X?”

    Your analytics solutions will probably have a more difficult time answering this very basic question. In fact you might need to do some kind of segmentation to find a conversion for product “X” where visits contain a view of the “X” product page.

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