Time To X topics are hot these days as marketers scramble to figure out ways to increase their revenues and conversion and streamline their processes for the new One-Ask-One-Answer world.
Right now, there are a few dozen TTs (Time To X), but the three that you should know about are below, along with a brief description of what they mean.
TTI – TIME TO INFORMATION
How fast can the user get the information they’re looking for? Traditionally, the time starts from wherever they’re browsing/searching. So, if I decide to look for a tami (often used in baking) that I saw on BakingTok (TikTok videos about baking), the clock starts counting from the moment I start searching till I get to a site that sells tamis and am browsing/carting them. Just as a warning, the vendors who tell you that they can pinpoint TTI “from conception” tend to be shady hucksters. Unless you’re in someone’s brain, it’s impossible to determine the EXACT second they decide. I can tell you from years of usability that users can’t even articulate it. It’s fine to start at search or someplace else.
This metric has value because it indicates how findable your goods/services are. With the rise of Voice Search, being easily accessible/findable – and fast — is critical.
Marketers are using hybrid models of TTI in many ways. One of the most impactful is to start the clock from the referring URL (using a pre-set metric) till the visitor gets to what they want on your site. Some companies measure to the time the user Adopts to Cart (aka adds something to their basket.) Others measure to the time the user starts making their selections (choosing size, color, etc.) You do you. Just please do it consistently.
If your goal is lead generation for sales, direct marketing, or otherwise, and you have an inquiry site, you can measure TTI as well. Typically, it works best if you measure till the First Field in the inquiry form, whether the user is signing up for a white paper, asking for a quote, registering for an event, etc. Some companies do segregate each type of inquiry, which can be uber-beneficial. However, if it’s too much, just lump all your lead generation efforts into one bucket.
Many eCommerce marketers assign a special TTI value to people who use their internal text search. Tracking this and then acting on it can be a big score because search adopters usually have some of the highest propensity to purchase metrics of your visitors.
TTT – TIME TO TRANSACTION
How fast can the user buy (complete their transaction?) Some companies start this from Google, Facebook, or wherever the visitor came from, but it’s often easier to do it from the moment the user lands on your site. Other businesses separate the direct/no-referrer traffic or compare repeat visitors to new visitors or mobile visitors to desktop visitors. It’s often best to do one overall metric for a while so you get acclimated to analyzing and acting on the results. Then, you can go hog wild and split things up seven ways to Sunday.
Time to Transaction is incredibly indicative of your overall success. It can precisely target where you have the most friction in your process and how it impacts your revenues. (To best do this on a shoestring budget, do a few time trials on your own to see how fast you can complete different types of orders.) This is also especially helpful for companies with legacy traffic: Catalogers, radio/TV advertisers, two-step marketers, and the like.
Don’t take orders? Only want an inquiry? Measure the final capture as your endpoint instead. (Final capture = the last step of the inquiry and/or when the user hits the call-to-action after submitting their information for your whitepaper, webinar, special event, etc.)
Friction is a big issue these days, and it’s not talked about nearly enough. Friction impacts what happens on your site from a user’s perspective, but it also influences whether the folks who send you traffic think your site is worthy of their referrals. The more friction they believe you have, the more points their algos take away from you. Speed and web performance are critical, but there are other things that are important too when it comes to friction – use of pop-ups and modals, registration/login processes, location sniffing, cookie messaging with multiple consent choices, etc. The more friction you eliminate, the better your results will be.
TTV – TIME TO VALUE
When you’re first starting out in Marketing, you often learn that Time to Value (TTV) measures the length of time it takes for a new customer to realize value in your product(s.)
As time goes on, you’ll find many other definitions of TTV. You’ll find companies that measure TTV as the time it takes for a 1x customer to become a 2x customer or that some companies measure TTV only for new customers. On the other hand, Salesforce measures TTV as “the time between a business request and the initial delivery of that request.”
How should YOU measure it? Whatever way it will help you improve your business…. Or don’t measure it all. Seriously. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning has put our reporting on the world’s most potent steroids. There’s no shortage of information you can get. The key is to figure out what will make a difference in your business and what you’ll actually use.
Measure things that matter to you.
Bottom line: name/call TTV as you wish; just do it consistently. And, if you want to start somewhere with the Time To metrics, measure the time it takes to find you (TTI) and the time it takes to buy (TTT.) Then, figure out where there’s friction and how you can reduce/avoid it.
Have questions about any of the Time To (TT) metrics? Have a tip you’d like to share? Tweet @amyafrica or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Down-and-Dirty Definition for Marketers. (Read more about these here.)