When you run a business online, your revenue can come from numerous sources. You may have a website and other digital assets to help with your marketing but do you know if you are getting proper return on investments?
For a Facebook page for your business, the number of likes for your post or online reviews can talk about how your business is functioning. If you have a blog, the number of blog views can tell something about how it is performing. If you have a website, you can understand how it is performing through the number of inquiries you get on your contact page.
However, these are not enough. Everyone knows that there are many underlying factors and parameters within which an online business can bring you revenue.
Factors like your website’s user experience and design on different digital devices; the content, keywords, sales and landing pages; your brand’s web reputation,; the marketing posts you put up on social media; the sources and ad campaigns that get traction to your website; the payment gateway of your site; your products and their prices; and the languages used for all your content etc., affect your business and its performance. To truly understand how your website and other digital assets are performing, you need web analytics.
What is web analytics?
Web analytics is capturing, analysing and improvising the data for your business to have a better web presence. Using web analytics you establish goals and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) , track and analyse the data and then remedy the errors.
Web analytics has two parts to it:
- on-site analytics where you measure the sentiments and behaviour of your target audience on your website
- off-site analytics where you do the same measurement all over the internet. This includes what they talk about you (comments and reviews); how they feel about you (likes, dislikes, ratings); your brand’s reach and visibility and how many people are interested in your business or buying your products.
Now for web analytics, you can choose multiple tools such as Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Google Tag Manager, Google Optimize, Adobe Analytics, IBM Cognos Analytics, Spring Metrics, Kissmetrics or Bing Webmaster Tools. However, you cannot be tool-dependent to do analytics. Rather, you use various analytics methods and models to find solution to the problems. Some tools come in handy to execute a particular model or a method.
For instance, using predictive analysis, data science, data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical modeling etc., you can predict your audiences’ behaviour in the future by capturing and analysing the current data you have on them. For this, you do not have to limit yourself to just the above mentioned tools. You could go further and have extensive research done, by using tools like R Programming, Tableau Public, Python, SAS, SEMrush, GTMetrix, Hotjar, Crazy Egg, Apache Spark, Mouse Flow, Mint, User Testing, Woorank, Alexa, Woopra, Chartbeat, Clicky, Ahref, Webtrends, SimilarWeb, Mixpanel, Microsoft Excel, RapidMiner, SQL, KNIME etc. Thus, the key here is to understand what data to capture and how to capture it and then go ahead and use various tools to capture the data.
If you are dependent on just one tool, you will only capture the data the tool is designed to capture. You will analyse and report the data in ways that the tool is designed to do. You put constraints on your data and you never get the whole picture.
To start with web analytics:
- You first set up objectives for your business.
- Then, set up SMART goals for your website; each of your social media pages; and third party websites etc.
- Establish your KPIs to measure your progress.
- Employ various methods and models to do the analysis.
- Then setup the right tools, setup and report the analysis.
- Based on the reports, you can craft strategies to improve your existing marketing and sales ideas.
What can Web Analytics do for you?
Ultimately, you are going to increase your business revenue and profits by understanding two kinds of people: your customers and competitors. Web analytics will solely help you get an in-depth understanding of your customers and competitors.
You can understand who your target market is, what market’s interests are, segment the market, analyse its trends (track when the demand is high or low) and also get a complete insight about their behaviour on the website and on other digital platforms.
You can track the number of visitors to your website and the number of returning or recurring customers to your site as well. That way, you can analyse and segment your audience based on:
- when they visit your website and how often they visit it
- geographical location
- the sources they use to access your website
- the type of devices they use
- the keywords and phrases they use to locate your business or website etc.
- whether your visitors read reviews before coming to your website
- or whether they need information on your website before making a purchase
On social media you can understand their demographics (age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status etc.) and psychographics (interests, aspirations, hobbies, lifestyle, habits, behaviours, skills etc).
You can monitor your visitors’ behaviour once they get to your website.
- Are they exiting your website early?
- Check for bounce rates: the percentage of visitors to your site who abandon the site after viewing just one page.
- Check for exit pages and rates: when visitors browse multiple pages and exit the site. Usually pages with contact information or “transaction successful” pages get more exit rates. If other important landing pages, product or service pages get more exit rates, then you have to improve the visitor’s experience on those pages.
- What pages are they visiting the most?
- What information do they search for, on your website?
If you have an eCommerce portal, do they just browse or buy as well?
- What keywords are they using to search for your products or services?
- How long do they stay on your website?
- Do they quit before making an actual purchase?
What do your audience talk about you on social media and third-party websites? You can analyse your audiences’ sentiments about your brand and business through analytics.
- Are favourable or unfavourable towards your brand?
- Are they recommending your business to others?
- Have they lodged complaints against your business.
- Have they given positive feedback?
- Are marketing and sales conversions happening?
- Are your visitors watching your video tutorials?
- Are they downloading your case studies and ebooks?
- Are they subscribing to your blog or magazine?
- Are they joining your webinars?
- Are they leaving inquiries on your website?
- On social media, are they clicking on the call-to-action buttons like ‘view directions’ or ‘contact now’?
- Are they sending out reviews on third-party websites?
These actions are conversions that you would ideally want your customers to take to make your business profitable.
To improve a visitor’s journey on the site, you have to improve the pages and the content based on the data you get and make sure the visitors check all the pages of your website and end up making the actual purchase. The pages that do not send the visitor further in the purchase journey or in the conversion funnel should be taken down.
Businesses execute marketing campaigns to earn more profits, get new leads or improve sales, gain more brand visibility. This is done offline through conferences, meetups, distributing marketing materials like brochures or visiting cards, workshops, exhibitions, radio or print ads, PR activities etc. Marketing online is done through paid ads on social media and search engines, marketing campaigns on social media, collaboration with influencers, affiliate programs etc. Through web analytics you can assess how effective these campaigns are and if they are driving the right kind of traffic to your website and social media.
You can track the source that led your customers to your site. It could have been an email marketing campaign, a paid ad, a webinar, an influencer’s blog etc. When the users land on your site, you can simply put up a survey asking them how they arrived at your site. That way you can understand which marketing activity caused a boost in leads or sales. Accordingly, you can also allocate your resources for a marketing activity to get more return on investment (ROI).
Not just that, you can also be suggestive about what you want the customers to search for online, so eventually they indirectly learn about your business and products. You can even track and see if customers have used those keywords to know better about your business.
Through this exercise you can make decisions on what changes to make to your marketing and sales strategy; how much to invest in marketing; what changes to make to your content and how to change your website design to get more sales. Based on that, you can employ or scrape the strategies based on what works for you.
When you are running an online business, investing in marketing and sales is no joke. Such investments directly impact your profits and revenue. How do you gauge if the money you have invested is bring you returns? Web analytics helps you there! Web analytics helps you track on-site data and off-site data (search engines, social media, third-party websites). However, it is not merely a one-time job and it should not be dependant on any one tool. Web analytics can help you have an in-depth understanding about: your customers (demographics and psychographics) and their behaviour on-site and offsite; sales and marketing conversions and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.