Okay, so you have learnt all the basics about web analytics and how this process is conducted using KPIs. Now, how can you use this data to your company’s benefit? It has already been established that web analytics is a wide field of study and implementation. There is a lot that experts can do with the analysis data to bring improvements and make a difference to the workings of a business and its website.
It needs to be understood that having a lot of information and statistics derived from web analytic tools and metrics does not guarantee that you will be able to use it for the benefit of your website. In fact, a mere collection of data guarantees nothing. The way it is implemented is what determines its use and efficacy.
For this reason, many business owners prefer to use professional web analysts who have experience and skill in this field. They are equipped with the knowledge of how to use the data generated by, say, Google Analytics, and make it work for the company. These specialists work with poor performing websites on a daily basis and use the power of analytics to change their fate.
Nonetheless, what professionals do can also be learnt if a business wants to have web analytics services in-house. If you are a business owner who wants to train his own webmasters to understand how to implement web analytics metrics and Key Performance Indicators, there are a number of aspects to master.
The following five aspects of web analytics should be mastered by those performing this activity if the analysis is to yield a promising result.
1. Objectives for visitors
What do you want your visitors to do? Every business sets goals and objectives that it wants visitors to achieve. These goals usually reflect on how well the business is doing because when combined, all visitors take it closer to the bottom line. The most typical end-result that web analytics assesses is the rate at which visitors turn to customers.
Even though not every visitor will fulfill this objective, it is important to lay down clear and achievable goals so that when the analytical process begins, the webmaster knows what is to be measured and which metrics should be used to measure this goal. Enticing visitors to achieve this goal is also not possible until the business knows what action it is looking forward to.
2. Tracking conversion
The conversion is important part of web Analytics. Why do you design a website? Why do you want visitors to be directed to it? Why do you want to run an analysis of its performance? The answer to all these questions is to turn visitors to customers. The conversion rate determines how well people perform the action you expected them to. In other words, how many visitors fulfilled the objective defined above.
Keeping track of the conversion rate is very important because it distinguishes between two main concepts, i.e. how much traffic passed through your website and how much of it converted. There is a stark difference in both, and novice webmasters who fail to make this distinction, fall into a trap.
Assuming that your website is becoming famous and receiving a lot of attention based on increased traffic is quite meaningless because the same can also result in an increased bounce rate. Therefore, unless the conversion rate is tracked, and it reveals an increasing and satisfying number, the performance of a website cannot be gauged.
3. Explain abandonment rates
After tracking conversion rates, if you discover that the figure is significantly low, it means that visitors are not performing the desired actions. There are many entry and exit points/pages on a website, all of which are watched by web analysts because a business’s goal of conversion can be achieved at any of these pages.
It would not be incorrect to think of these pages like virtual customer touchpoints. If a business succeeds at attracting a visitor enough for him to make a purchase, the touchpoint has achieved the objective. However, if it does not, the visitor abandons his search and exits the website. In this situation, a web analyst should discover and explain why this visitor behaved as such.
Effective web analysis is able to tell where customers drop off the most. This point of the website is identified as a problem area and it is then improved with corrective measures.
4. Identify bounce rates
While abandonment rates represent the fraction of internet traffic that drops off after exploring the website to an extent, bounce rate represents the chunk of visitors who leave immediately, i.e. after seeing only one page.
In 2012, Google Analytics revealed that most websites had a bounce rate of over 40%. Is that good or bad? A smart webmaster will not answer this question without more, in-depth information because a bounce rate stat can be either good or bad. A 40% result can mean one of the following things:
- Visitors leave your website immediately because they are not interested. Nothing attracts them and they do not want to waste more time.
- Visitors leave your website immediately because they found what they want. They completed the form you asked them to and they signed up in a minute because of a very easy navigation path.
Which of these is the explanation of your bounce rate can only be determined once all statistics are pooled in to give a complete picture.
5. Determine cost per acquisition
Cost per acquisition shows the expenses you incur for converting one visitor to a customer. Knowing how much you spend is essential because inadequate expenditure is also a big cause of low conversion rates because you have not put enough on the website for people to be attracted.
On the other hand, if your cost per acquisition is too high and conversion rates are still low, this indicates that the problem lays somewhere else and the web analyst should look further for the answer.
Even though all analytics software get the job done, the one you choose depends on the level of analysis you need. Google Analytics is one of the most widely used and basic software that will track web traffic data using metrics like visits, abandonment rates, exit pages, visit durations and goal funnel visualization.
These metrics will help determine how your visitors reacted once they landed on the website and whether they completed an action or not. If you need free analytics software that performs the most basic function and gives you detailed reports about traffic records, you should opt for Google Analytics.
However, on the other hand, if you want out-of-the box analytic approaches, using software like Crazy Egg is a better option. Apart from using different sets of metrics, Crazy Egg will use overlays and heated charts to give you a visual representation of web traffic. You will be able to see what your visitors are doing, where they are clicking and which zones on a website they are visiting the most.
Such a tool that integrates visual comparisons together with detailed text reports is a better and a much more advanced way to analyze web traffic data. Crazy Egg lets webmasters see their visitors in real time, which reduces the duration of time needed to make effective changes that attract a visitor’s attention even more.
With Google Analytics, users can make use of multiple dashboards to shortlist the information and charts they want to see the most. This feature is a very useful extension of the regular dashboard provided by other tools. When data is stored in a dashboard, it becomes very easy to access, change and modify it quickly.
Moreover, Google Analytics also has the advantage of assigning goals to specific funnel paths, a strategy that has proven to be extremely useful for webmasters. Assigning goals in this manner lets analysts track goal oriented metrics with a high level of certainty. Every time a visitor takes a certain funnel path on a website, it becomes easy to determine whether he achieved the goal, and if not, then why.
Therefore, both tools have strong points that can be used to get reliable results about the performance of a website. Many businesses now use Google Analytics as primary analytic software and aid its function with another tool that has some promising deliverables; the heat-mapping visualization by Crazy Egg being a great example.