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Analytic Trends in Associations Part I: General Trends

Posted By Mei Li Brown, Thursday, August 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Analytics can be confusing, but they don’t have to be. As we learned in our previous post, “How associations can use analytics to boost membership,” web analytics are vital to associations when it comes to retention and recruitment. Once you are utilizing your analytics to help retain and grow your membership, the next step is to determine if your association’s site is performing well.

According to Neil Patel, measuring the success of your webpage’s analytics will vary due to several factors including your business type, industry, and audience. To get this data, you need to consistently monitor your analytics to set your sites baseline averages and then work from there.

We conducted our own case study on association websites to help us measure association analytics. We pulled analytics from a sample of 42 associations from July 2017to August 2018 to gain insights into what the baselines were and gain perspective on trends. Here is what we discovered:  


association analytic trends


Users vs. New Users
We discovered that, most web visitors are new to the website and have lower engagement than returning visitors. It is important to keep in mind that a new visitor is counted as someone who accesses your site from a new browser or device. Visitors will also be counted new again if they clear their cache and cookies. While determining if a visitor really is “new” is not completely accurate, this data indicated that associations needed to focus on being more welcoming to non-members on the site instead of only advertising to members or people familiar with the association.

Sessions & Pageviews
The case study showed that most web visitors will only visit once or twice, but they engage in multiple pages per single session. Considering most web visitors are new, the session to visitor ratio was not surprising and roughly correlated with a ratio of 1:1. Pageviews, however, demonstrated that the average visitor engaged with the site since they are visiting multiple pages per session. This was a great data point and an indicator of drive on the websites.  

Avg. Session Duration & Avg. Time on Page
Throughout the study, we found that web visitors who stayed on the site have terrific time durations of engagement. For average durations and times on page, we recommend aiming for least 1 minute, 30 seconds per session and 30 seconds per single page. These time stamps created a nice baseline that indicated some sort of interaction occurred.

Bounce Rate
A hard truth was confirmed by the study, associations tend to have higher bounce rates.
In the Brafton 2017 Content Marketing Benchmark Report, they calculated the average bounce rate across sites to be 58.18%. In their data sample, they found that B2B had higher bounces than B2C. Our study calculated that the sample websites were averaging a bounce rate of 55.12% –very similar to the findings of Brafton.

So why do association sites have higher bounces? In general, these sites are loaded with multiple calls to action (CTAs) meaning they require the web visitor to have a strong actionable item (e.g. Read our Blog, Register Here, Join Today). Not many associations are selling products outside their events and membership, unlike most B2C websites, so visitors will either decide to engage with that they see or leave if it’s not what they’re looking for in the current moment, thus creating a bounce.

What does this all mean?
Don’t let all of the options and metrics overwhelm you so nothing is measured. Start with a few analytics, understand the implications and expand into deeper data after starting with key metrics.

One of the first places a potential member will look for information is on the website, so it is critical the website layout & content is reviewed and updated on a consistent basis.

Remember less is more! You don’t have to take away the feeling of exclusivity of your members. There are ways to make both groups feel catered to, including consistently refreshing your content to be relevant and simplifying the user experience. A confusing website will discourage people from exploring the site and can turn off potential and existing members if the messaging is not clear. We encourage you to utilize the baseline data from our case study to analyze your association’s website performance and discover where you can make improvements for your visitors.

TAGS: Analytics, Associations, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Case Study

Tags:  Analytics  Associations  Case Study  Content Marketing  Marketing Strategy 

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How associations can use analytics to boost membership

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 18, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What are analytics?


Analytics are a brilliant tool used to research possible trends that any industry can benefit from using, especially associations. Looking at analytics is all about seeing what is working and what isn’t, and then making improvements.


Associations often have one thing on their mind: increasing membership. How to increase membership, how to provide the best experience and value for members, etc. They want to grow their membership, but analytics as a tool are often overlooked or ignored.




While it may be daunting, analytics can help guide your organization and grow membership. Here are four uses of analytics that can help associations grow their membership.

  1. Auditing
  2. Having a good overall experience with an organization is like a puzzle: many pieces fit together to create the full picture, and a positive online experience is one of them. Associations need to maintain a strong web presence in order to provide a positive online experience as well as gain and retain members. By using analytics, associations can audit their websites and see what is working and what isn’t, such as 404 errors and bounce rates, and then make improvements to provide a better experience for current or potential members.

  3. Monitoring social accounts
  4. Everyone is active on social media these days, including businesses. Social platforms are versatile and an important part of any marketing strategy because of their ability to drive awareness, engagement, and start conversations. Analytics allow associations to start and monitor the online conversation of their brand and gain a deeper understanding of which social campaigns are effective. This understanding can then be applied to create a better experience for prospects and members by targeting content that specifically fits their needs and the online conversation.

  5. Paid Marketing
  6. If an association invests in paid marketing, they want to make sure the campaign is effective. Whether it is A/B testing or promotional content, analytics are a useful tool for evaluating paid marketing because they allow associations to compare options. By choosing the most successful option, associations provide content in the right context for their members.

  7. SEO
  8. So why does auditing, social media, and paid marketing matter? It contributes to improving Search Engine Optimization, often referred to as SEO. At the end of the day, associations strive to enhance the user experience. Search engine bot crawlers read a websites’ pages from top to bottom and rank the site based on the quality fundamental SEO practices executed. Examples include meta tag, fresh content, and alt tags. Bots will determine how high or low a site will appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which affects the visibility of a site in a search engine.

The use of analytics has transformed the world of marketing, bringing endless growth opportunities to organizations. Utilizing analytics in your strategy and planning can be key to keeping your organization relevant and thriving. So the next time analytics comes up in a strategy meeting, don’t shy away, instead dive right in and help grow your organization.

Tags:  Analytics  Associations  Marketing Strategy  Marketing Tools  Membership  Membership Growth 

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