Analytics allow you to measure what happens on your website and to provide business intelligence that empowers you to make qualitative, thoughtful decisions about the next steps of making your website search- and user-friendly.
The most-famous advertising quote of all-time goes back to the early 1900s, when department store magnate John Wanamaker said, “Half my advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.”
Analytics is the counter to that. Analytics helps you understand where people are on your website, what the popular pages are, how long they spend on those pages, and if they are doing what you intend for them to do while there. You put pavers down to create beautiful pathways on your site for them to use, but your visitors may be altering this path or taking a different one altogether. Proper analysis of your website using analytics can tell you that.
Google Analytics is being used by roughly 53% of all websites on the internet, more than 10 times the next most popular analytics option.
Yoast SEO has been downloaded more than 1 million times and averages more than 3,000 downloads per day.
Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making. Yet, 62% of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions.
Analytics Removes Assumption
When you set out to develop — or redevelop — your website, you may end up making some assumptions about what you want people to do on the site and what they are likely to purchase or consume, because you have anecdotal experience about your brick-and-mortar or real-life customers and their path to purchasing your product or service.
However, if your website isn’t set up to accurately measure traffic and what visitors are doing on your site, you won’t be able to generate any real data on how people actually use your website – whether they’re looking for information or to make purchases.
But, if you’ve installed the tracking code on your website and set up the analytics portal appropriately, once the website is live and active you will be able to learn precisely how the website is being used and what the purchase path is.
When it’s fully implemented and measuring correctly, analytics provide valuable, in-depth business intelligence that helps you move past assumption and guesswork about what your visitors need to turn into prospects and what your prospects need to turn into customers.
Savoir Faire provides in-depth, quarterly reports to our clients, sharing with them how the website is performing, including what pages or blog posts are most viewed. With one client’s most-recent report, the four blog posts with the most visitors in the previous quarter were all initially published the previous year. None of them were new posts. That tells us those four topics are important, because people are looking for them and they’re finding them. With this business intelligence, we would advise looking at ways to create new content based on those four topics to continue to attract traffic to the site.
Proper Google Analytics Set Up
You’re likely familiar with Google Analytics (GA) as the most well-known analytics platform.
GA provides a tracking code that you can install on your website to track what is happening on the site via GA’s many categories of measurement, with one caveat: poor GA set up = bad data = bad measurement = bad decisions.
The way your GA portal is set up will impact the quality of the decisions you make. For example, there’s filtered traffic versus unfiltered traffic. If you just have tracking code on your website and you haven’t filtered out any traffic, you’re getting bad data. — Here’s why.
Let’s imagine that several members of your sales team regularly use a few of your site pages — such as FAQs, blog posts, product catalogues or Q&As — as resources. If they leave those pages open on a browser for any given length of time, they’re skewing the page’s session duration data.
It may look like those pages are doing great, but in reality, tons of people bounced off that page in four seconds, while your sales team keeps the page open for eight hours each day. You need to exclude your staff by filtering out your physical business IP address as well as your teams’ individual IPs at home. This is merely one example of how good intentions can go bad with measurement and analytics. There are stories like this for every metric that can be measured.
Using an advanced setup, GA can facilitate tracking events and goals on your website. Events are visitor interactions with things that can be tracked separately from a web page, such as downloads, clicks, embedded elements and video plays.
Goals can measure how well you’re doing at achieving your site goals. A goal is a completed activity, or conversion, such as a purchase (on an e-commerce site) or submitting a form with contact information (for lead generation).
Events and goals help you evaluate the effectiveness of your website and marketing campaigns. Analytics makes you smarter, more effective and empowers you to continually improve the entire website experience.
Also Good to Know
Analytics are powering every part of your digital marketing program, so there’s more to think about than just GA. For instance, if you use a marketing automation system like HubSpot or SharpSpring, those have built-in analytics. Email marketing software like MailChimp has analytics. Most of your social media platforms have analytics. And, there are other, more sophisticated website analytics systems that go much further than what Google Analytics will measure.
Yes, we know that’s a lot of data to analyze, which is why we do the majority of it for our clients. Now you know. And, remember what the “GI Joe” cartoon PSAs used to say, “Knowing is half the battle.”