Developing a roadmap for web analytics
With web analytics, marketers have a wide array of data at their disposal but it can often be difficult making sense of. Here are three areas to focus on when you review the data.
The internet is a dynamic environment that offers businesses, small and large, access to customers. But if you don’t know enough about how your website is being used, you’ll lose the ability to address your customers’ needs.
Let’s start with some questions.
- Do you know who is visiting your website?
- Do you know how long your customers stay?
- Do you know what they are interest in?
- Do you know how they found you or whether they have visited before?
You may have been in business for years without knowing the answers to these questions.
Analytics may have the answer to these questions. Google Analytics, a free web-based tool enables marketers to track traffic statistics on their websites. Its interface and features may seem complicated at first, but once you get to grips with the tools you’ll be able to see the benefits. Remembering this, there are three key areas you can focus on.
1. Build a picture of your customers and develop a strategy to ensure it is targeted
You can learn a lot about your customers through a simple snapshot:
- the number of page views,
- visitor demographics,
- how many of those views are new or returning readers,
- which pages they visited,
- the average time spent on your site or page,
- the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” or leave the site, rather than staying to view other pages within the same site) or
- the exit rate (the percentage of visitors who click away to a different site from a specific page, after possibly having visited other pages on the site).
The longer someone stays on your site, the more engaged they are. By getting an overview of what content people are reading, you’re better placed to develop your content and provide more of the material people enjoy reading.
Understanding how traffic moves to your site, around your site and then off your site gives you a roadmap of how the pages are being used. You can get a picture of how they found your site in the first place and the pages they were interested in reading, for example by looking at the incoming links – site visitors might have come from social media, a search engine or another website that has linked to your website. You can then tailor marketing campaigns to the interests of your customers.
2. Understand what devices your customers are using
If you haven’t browsed through the devices report before, you may be intrigued with how customers are interacting with your site. The report provides a breakdown of your site traffic by device type used – desktop, mobile or tablet -- over a period of time. You can track trends over time and this may affect your marketing decisions in the future. For example, if your customers are increasingly visiting your site on their mobile phone or tablet, then you may want to consider a responsive design for your website to make it easier for them to view on a small screen. Or you may want to consider providing media that works well on mobile devices such as embedded videos or podcasts that customers can easily consume on the go.
Gaining deeper insight into how your visitors access your website will enlighten and maybe even spark some new marketing ideas.
3. Analyse visitor paths
Flow reports show the paths users take through your content step-by-step. Essentially, it shows trends in which pages people have visited in a particular order. The benefit of flow reports is they allow you to see the volume of users at each step and the rate of abandonment at those steps. You can then get an idea of how users are moving around their site and at what point they lose interest or get drawn away to another website. By understanding visitor paths you can design better content or online sales processes to keep customers on your site for longer.
Without focus you could spend days lost in analytics, so you need to create a roadmap and define where you’re heading. Find out what is most important to your business and track it. It’s a shortcut to not only improving your website, but improving your customer relations.