What Numbers Matter

hand holding counting clicker

Numbers and statistics matter for your digital ministries. Numbers can mean dollars spent, people reached, conversions made, and attendance increased. Yet some numbers matter more than others. Some numbers tie directly to the goals of your church while others just make us feel good. This article will help you make sense of the many statistics your digital spaces provide.

Speaking of numbers, I humbly would like to announce that I hit yet another milestone. This is the 200th article of this blog. Sometimes I have several ideas just bursting forth as I write my weekly article. Other times it is late on a Thursday night and I am staring at a blank screen. Regardless of the experience, writing is still transformational. Even better has been the feedback from those that consume this content. Knowing that this blog is making a difference is a huge reason it is still going. That said, I am again encouraging you all to consider what numbers matter to you.

Define Results

Your church’s leadership is interested in how to meet a ministry’s goals. Often statistics from a website and social media platform inform you of what is working well. Yet this requires that you properly defined your goals and connect them to the proper statistics. Goals such as fundraising are easier to track. Whereas goals of increasing awareness for a particular cause are not. Regardless, try to clearly define a goal and identify the numbers that define when you meet it.

Get Numbers

To track numbers, you need to collect them. Many social media platforms provide interfaces to view your account’s statistics. This includes the number of accounts following, viewing, and engaging with your content. There are free website analytics packages, such as Google analytics, that track activity on your website. This includes visits, bounce rates, entrance and exit points, and time on your site. Depending on the page, the meaning behind these values varies. Yet the first step is to start collecting them.

Gather Followers

Most social media platforms allow you to follow another account. The number of followers does matter because you want your posts to reach the largest audience possible. Yet this can be a fairly hollow number. What good is a few thousand followers if your end result never happens? Followers can also apply to your website. Statistics packages can detect repeat visitors. Some can also track subscribers to your site’s RSS feeds.

Reach Readers

These are the people you actually reach on a regular basis. Most social media platforms only show your posts to a small percentage of your followers. In my Social Media Marketing article I mention that to increase this number you will need to pay money. Common website statistics that indicate reading is a higher time on page and lower bounce rate.

Solicit Engagement

All social media platforms have a way to share another account’s post. Regardless of the verb (share, retweet, repin, etc.) you want your audience to share your content. Another indicator is where users show they enjoyed your post (i.e. “like” on Facebook). Although this does not have a large effect, it can influence a user’s likelihood that they too will like or favorite the post. Engagement on a website is far easier to identify and track. It is when a visitor performs an action you want them to. Examples are clicking on a link to a next page, or a button to submit a form.

Action Item

Before you know what numbers matter, you must have clearly defined goals. Those goals will obviously tie to changing a number. It may take several leaps of logic to help connect those goals to digital space statistics. You may not be able to measure certain goals for your ministry. But you can certainly see what actions support those goals. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thank you for reading the 200th post of this blog. I hope this article encourages you to engage with the previous 199. If you found it particularly helpful, I pray you will share it on your favorite social media networks.

Photo courtesy of Craig White

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.