Hello! Welcome to our introduction to web analytics. In this analytics guide we’ll be going over what web analytics is, a quick overview of the kinds of insights it can give you, and a taste for how to get started with analytics yourself.
Okay, let’s get started.
So, what is web analytics, exactly?
Well, it’s all about using the data you can collect from your website to get insights about your business.
There are lots of web analytics tools out there, and they can do many things. Since we’re just getting started, we’ll start from the basics, and talk about the ways analytics can help you, no matter which specific tool you use. Web analytics provides data that helps you understand how people use your website and improve accordingly. First, let’s look at the different types.
A “metric” is basically anything you can count. “Unique Visitors” is a good one example. “Time Spent On Site” is another. Like, if you sell something online, you can track how much money you’re making or how many of a certain product you’re selling. If your goal is to get people to your website, you can track the number of times someone comes at your webpage or the amount of time they spent on it. All of these things are “metrics.”
Next, you’ll generally analyze your metrics by using what are called “dimensions.”
Generally, a dimension is any kind of data you can describe something you’re tracking with words.
Dimensions include things like the types of device and browser visitors use, their geographic locations, and many more things.
By taking your metrics and “slicing” them with dimensions, you can find answers to very specific, important business questions, like “which devices are people finding the easiest way to convert on the goals of my website?” And that’s only one of many questions you can answer with web analytics.
When you’re first starting out with an analytics tool, you might feel like you’re swimming in an ocean of metrics, but you’ll quickly understand having all this data.
As you give time into your own web analytics reports, you’ll be able to see all the metrics and dimensions being tracked, and you can compare them to answer the questions you care most about.
If you haven’t started with an analytics tool yet, you’ll want to set up one. Most have a pretty similar set up.
First, you’ll need to copy and paste an html code onto your web pages. Next, while these analytics tools will track a lot of actions on their own, you might want to configure them to track only specific things that are important to your business and your goals.
Make Analytics Work For You
If used properly, web analytics can become the foundation of your online business. That’s because analytics can track the performance of any kind of online marketing you decide to do. From search to display advertising, social to email, and all others in between.
At the same time, an analytics tool can measure your website visitors across their entire digital journey – from the first time a person comes to your website, to the next time they become a valuable repeat customer.
It can then show you if people are actually engaging with your business when they find your website. For example, do they browse around or sign up for your newsletter for upcoming offers and updates? Or do they just leave your website and move on to the next avail option?
Analytics can also track whether people are converting on the goals you want. For example, do they fill up your enquiry form or place an order.
Analytics can tell you whether people are coming back and becoming repeat customers. And when properly set up, analytics can even tell you if those loyal customers are becoming your advocates – for example, are they loving and sharing your content with others on social media networks?
A great way to turn analytics into powerful insights that helps you understand how people engage with your website and improve accordingly, is to set clear, specific, profitified goals at every stage of the customer’s journey.
Then, use analytics to measure your progress toward these goals, and identify problems that are getting in the way of achieving them.
Learn, How To Track Specific Goals With Web Analytics
As you know, web analytics tools can give you a lot of data, straight out of the box – and that’s a great opportunity for your online success. But in order to really make use of all those data, make sure you’re measuring progress toward your own specific goals. That means you’ll want to customise your analytics tool a bit, to make sure you’re tracking things that really matter to you.
Seeing some examples of goals and conversions*, and learning why it’s important to create them, will help you figure out what yours should be.
*Conversion is the term naturally used to define what happens when a website visitor completes a goal.’’
So, you’ve taken your business online for a purpose, true? Well, just about anything you wanted to achieve with your website can be tracked and measured with web analytics as a goal you want to achieve.
But, how would you set up an analytics tool to analyse that? Well, maybe visiting the page on your website with a map and directions would be something you could consider a goal and configure that as a conversion.
Or maybe you want visitors to sign up for your email newsletter so that you can send them special offers and updates with improvements you’re making. If they sign up, they’re signaling that they’re interested in your business and giving you an opportunity to reach them, so that’s really valuable!
And that could be your other goal that you track.
There are all kinds of goals you can find that can be tracked as conversions inside your analytics tool and show you the performance of what’s happening on your website. First, you’ve to figure out your goals then you’ll need to configure them in your web analytics tool.
Once it’s done, analysing the reports in your web analytics tool becomes much more productive and useful.
Instead of simply looking at how many visitors come to your website or how long they spend on your site, you can start analysing reports seeing the things you actually care about.
Web Analytics and Organic Search
Search engines are the primary source of traffic for most websites. In fact, Google is very often the single biggest source of traffic to a business’s website. But are you getting more or less of that traffic from search engines like google over time? What do all of those visitors actually do after they come to your website? And most importantly, how can you improve your website SEO to make sure the search engines are sending you traffic who are interested in your products and services?
If you’re thinking that web analytics has the answers to all these questions, you’re right.
No matter which web analytics tool you’re using, you’ll be able to track how many visitors are coming to your website from organic search results from the different search engines. If you’re hiring an SEO agency or consultant to manage your website for you, you should ask them for access to your web analytics data.
Once you’ve got access to that data, one of the first things you’ll want to check out is how your traffic from different search engines is trending over time. If you’re having more visitors from search engines, that’s good. But, if your traffic is trailing off, you’ll probably need to focus. Either way – before you can take any decisions, you’ll need to understand the “why”, and that means we need to dig deeper.
If you’re using Google Analytics as your web analytics tool, you can dive deeper by learning which keywords people are searching into Google before they got your website. That data doesn’t necessarily come from the analytics tool itself, but because Google Analytics can integrate data from Google Search Console, you get to see that kind of important data.
You’d also be able to track whether you’re getting more or fewer visitors from any given keyword theme, as well as whether or not visits to those pages end up with your actual goals.
So far, we’ve been analyzing the amount of traffic, or visitors, that are coming to your website after searching. That’s really important. But make sure that even more important than the amount of traffic you’re getting is the quality of the traffic that you’re getting.
After all, what’s the use of attracting loads of people to your website if nobody ends up with your actual goals.
So take a look at the things that are driving conversions on your goals, as well as visits.
Web Analytics and Paid Search
It’s time to talk about using analytics to get the most out of your Search Engine Marketing, or Paid, campaigns.
With search engine marketing, you’re spending money for every click. With analytics you can monitor what you spent where, and understand where it was spent most effectively.
As you know that you want to create ads that are clear and compelling to the user. But ultimately, those users will decide what clear and compelling means to them. And that’s where analytics can help.
Let’s say you decide to run two different ads with two different headlines.
Analytics tools can help you compare these ads, side by side. You can see which ad is more likely to get a click and send visitors to your site, and which one is more likely to convert the visitors into a goal. This will also show you which one you should be using. And you can even use the insights you learn here across other campaigns of your website! And last, analytics tools can help you analyse just how much you should be bidding for ads, to get a good return on your SEM efforts.
By using Google Analytics, which deeply integrates with Google Ads, you can find the keywords and ads driving people to your website and what they do after getting your site. But you can also see quite a bit more. For example, how much you had to pay for each click, and how high up on the results page your bids put your ads.
This gives you a lot of sense into both what you’re getting for your investment as well as if it gives you clarity to bid higher or lower, to reach different positions that work for your business.
Of course, the ideal position and bid for you will depend on lots of things, and you might find that it’s better to be higher or better to be lower. But the key is that by using analytics, you’ll know exactly where you perform the best, and that means you’ll be getting more out of your investment than your competition.
Whether you’re monitoring your keywords, your ads, or your bids, analytics tools are essential to get the most out of your SEM investments. So before you make another improvement to your marketing campaigns, make sure you drive those decisions with data!
We hope you’re getting excited about all the amazing stats you can get from web analytics tools. If you stick with us, we’re going to tap into the world of e-commerce and learn how to effectively sell your products online. From the tools you’ll need to build your online shop from scratch, to payment methods and managing orders, Our next chapter (e-commerce marketing) will get you on your way.