Website analytics is your roadmap to success. Expecting more traffic and leads without understanding key web metrics is like driving blind and hoping you don’t crash. If you are new to website analytics, don’t worry, this article will guide you.
Below, you’ll learn the basics of what analytics and tackle different metrics that you can use. Also, we are going to go through some use cases, plus, recommend SEO software and other analytics tools that you can use. We’ll also tackle social media, display ad and email analytics, as they are part of the mix of the general perception today that is website analytics. Of course, we all have different needs and budgets, so this article will only tackle the general idea of how you can leverage analytics to improve the performance of your website and business.
Just so you know, free general business intelligence tools are out there. Also, there are premium ones with specializations. Some specialize in website analytics such as Google Analytics. Others specialize in social media analytics among others. You get the picture.
In reality, and depending on your situation, many analytics professionals use a stack of platforms. These set of tools gather data and help you manipulate them into something you can use for actionable insights. However, these are customized according to specific needs. A purely ecommerce business will be using a different stack than one with multiple physical locations. Furthermore, some may just use one comprehensive platform that includes analytics for different business processes. We will brush on some of these mixes in the last section.
Moreover, if you want a more comprehensive approach and a step-by-step guide of how to use a stack of free digital analytics tools, we recommend Jumin Kamki’s book. It is written in a clear easy-to-understand manner. Also, it has comprehensive guides on setting up advanced features like A/B testing for websites and others. Now, let’s hop on to in.
For most businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, website analytics may not be enough to improve both online and offline performance. These are key performance indicators (KPIs) like reach, lead generation, online conversion, offline sale, and profit among others. This is because both online and offline activities and their data are interlocked. This means website analytics is just part and parcel of digital analytics and analytics in general. This is why according to Tabatha Farney, the Web Analytics Association in 2012 changed its name to Digital Analytics Association.
However, she adds that the foundation of everything came from the “web analytics 2.0” vision by Avinash Kaushik in 2007 which defined the term to be:
“the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website… to drive continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, which translates into your desired outcomes (online and offline).”
Now, with the growing use of other digital media like social networks and the internet of things (IoT) among others, all of these need to be taken care of for a holistic analysis. Operating based on the assumption that different business processes and their corresponding data are interconnected contributes to your overall success. Keeping them in silos would contribute to failure.
Hence, we’re broadening our scope of web analytics here to more complete digital analytics.
Again, your analytics stack or even data sources will be different than your next-door business neighbor. However, there are four main channels that you would wish to pull data from and analyze using vital analytics metrics. They are the following.
Furthermore, there are special data sources for analytics as well. For example, consultancy websites usually have downloadable content like white papers and reports. If you run one of them, you should keep track of these as well and whether those that downloaded it actually got converted to purchase your service. So, you should be taking account of full-text requests. This also is preferrable for offline sales which were funneled from digital media. Now, let’s tackle key metrics for your digital analytics.
Most free website analytics tools have ample capacity to give you a good picture of how your site is doing. Also, you can integrate them with other more general or specialized data analytics platforms. For website search traffic, you will be mostly dealing with these key metrics:
Many people use the free version of Alexa to easily check their website statistics. Metrics like bounce rate, session time, and your search traffic sources come for free. However, if you want a more comprehensive service, you can upgrade to Alexa premium plans. Since 1999, it has been a part of the Amazon family.
Google Analytics is maybe the most popular analytics platform. It allows you to understand customer behaviors on websites and can even collect data via other platforms including those for CRM, mobile, and even gaming data among many. Thus, you can collect and analyze data from different digital sources. Therefore, your decision making will be more data-driven in the future. Also, this website analytics tool is available for free and in paid versions.However, if you want more advanced features that can check out our top-rated business intelligence app, Sisense. You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs.
The website and your social media accounts go along together for your whole digital marketing mix. Also, the same principle goes for the metrics. Basically, you want to know who your users are, where they are from, what do they do on your social media page, how they interact, and what they feel about your product among others. So, here are the social media analytics metrics that analytics practitioners usually gather to complement their website data.
Social media sentiment is an advanced metric. Fortunately, there are some free applications out there that would give you the basics. For example, there is Social Searcher that pulls up posts and analyzes user sentiments. This is whether it is positive, negative, or neutral.
Social media management tools with advanced analytics features are all over the net. However, if you want a robust and comprehensive software that includes marketing tools, you can try out the highly-recommended HubSpot platform. What’s great about it is that you can integrate it with your Google Analytics for the web. Thus, you’ll have a 2-platform stack for more powerful analytics.
Now, if you want to boost your search metrics or clicks, one way to do it is by display advertising on the web. However, this is not just on some publication websites. Also, it is better that you should mix it up with some social media as well. But what metrics for paid displays would you use to boost your digital analytics metrics use for your websites and social media accounts? Here are some important ones.
Additionally, these display advertisements are not just banner ads. These can be social media advertisements as well.
Email marketing is a big part of the digital aspect of many businesses out there. Also, it can be a rich source of data. Firstly, many people prefer to contact support or ask questions via email. This is especially when it comes to B2B. Anyhow, there are metrics that are important to take into account the performance of your email communication. Whether you use it for your stakeholders or suppliers, it still matters to the overall performance of your business.
Many email marketing tools already have these basic built-in analytics and more.
Now, all of these useful metrics are just parts of your overall digital analytics. Thus, you need to put them all together. There are many ways to do this. If you just want to stick with free apps, there are many out there. However, the problem is that you would likely pay more attention to the technical side of things rather than the analysis itself. What we mean by this is that you would spend time learning each app well, and how to interface them together. Thus, we highly recommend using a complete tool like HubSpot.
As you can see on the dashboard above, it tracks metrics from different data sources including offline sources. Thus, this allows you to have one centralized place to see vital statistics needed for actionable insights. You can try all its premium features at no cost when you sign up for HubSpot free trial here. However, if you really want to focus on free apps and services. There are many tutorials available on the internet for them just like Google Analytics. What’s interesting about it though, is that your actions and interactions with these brands will surely be part of their very own digital analytics report one way or the other.
Finally, in practice, you yourself have to create a mix that is tailor-made for your organizational needs. You need to use these metrics to work together. For example, you can use your display advertising metrics to inform what actions you should take to increase your paid and organic search metrics. Also, you can use your social media metrics and emails to do the same. If you sell online, then your conversion statistics will include sales and revenue from your eCommerce platform. If you only have a brick-and-mortar store, then you need to source data from offline sources to make everything work together.
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