Web analytics is the measurement of visitors’ behaviour on a website, giving website owners vital information on who is visiting a website and what they are doing. If appropriately managed, this information can inform marketing activities and website design, leading to increased traffic and higher sales. Many businesses, however, do not measure the performance of their website in even the most basic sense.
The web allows tracking online customers and sales with accuracy and ease not possible with traditional marketing methods. Offline, it is not easy to get an accurate picture of how effective an advertising campaign has been. As the famous American businessperson John Wanamaker once said, ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’
However, the picture is different online as visits and sales can be tracked with great accuracy. With the correct setup, you can know where your visitors came from and how much they spent. For example, if a user clicks on a Google Search Ad and arrives at your shop, you can know the advert they clicked and the search term they used. By aggregating this data, different online promotion strategies can be measured and compared.
Web analytics is all about numbers, and they can seem daunting to some people. However, the process need not be complicated and can help build a more profitable website with a bit of time and effort.
Benefits of Web Analytics
Web analytics can give business owners essential metrics about the performance of their website. These metrics can tell merchants:
- Who their customers are?
- How they find your business
- What they do when they get to your website
From within these metrics, businesses can choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which to measure their website’s performance. These are the metrics that have the most impact on your business’s bottom line.
Website Analytics can help an eCommerce website improve in three principal areas:
As covered in this book, there are many different methods of promotion available for promoting a website. Web analytics can help identify which ones work best for your business by allowing the measurement and comparison of different sales channels. The data collected can help answer several questions about your marketing:
- Which marketing channels refer visitors to your site?
- How much traffic do they drive?
- What products do customer buy?
- What do customers spend?
- Where do your site visitors live?
- What are the demographics of your audience?
- What is the conversion by channel?
The answers to these questions will enable you to focus your marketing efforts, showing you the channels to invest in and which to abandon. They can also help you define and understand your target audience.
Website Design and Performance
Online promotion gets people to a site, but it is what they do when they get there which matters. The navigation and usability of a website can have a massive effect on its performance. Installing tracking software such as Google Analytics allows the analysis of users’ navigation path through the website, outlining usability issues. Insights include:
- Exit points. Are users leaving the site at particular points before completing a conversion? For example, when shipping is quoted.
- Shopping cart abandonment. What percentage of your items are added to a cart but never bought?
- Bounce rates. The percentage of website visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page. This indicates that the site does not meet user expectations.
- Page traffic. Which pages on my site get the most traffic?
- Site speed. How quickly do my site’s pages load?
These insights give you concrete ways of improving your site performance. For example, you could learn that certain products are getting lots of traffic but few conversions. By enhancing page element (e.g., description, images and prices), you can run comparative tests to learn which features improve performance.
Search Engine Optimisation
Analytics insights also provide valuable insights for improving your search engine optimisation. The Web analytics can help answer questions about how users find and interact with your site including:
- How much traffic is from natural search?
- Which landing pages get the most traffic?
- Popular search queries driving traffic to your site.
Using this information, you can see what content on your site attracts search engine traffic and the keywords driving traffic. You can use this information to discover where you are performing poorly and create higher quality content.