If you’re not tracking your website analytics, it’s time to step it up. Contrary to more traditional marketing channels, your website and web analytics are direct, specific, and measurable. So what exactly is website analytics? A good definition I often use is “The qualitative and quantitative analysis of your website and your competitors’ websites for the continuous optimization of business outcomes for all channels, both online and offline”.
Essentially, you don’t need to use good ol’ faith any longer. Now you can use data to measure the things that drive revenue for your business. The benefits of robust website analytics include an increase in accountability within your organization, finding the best solutions faster, and delivering better business outcomes through enlightened decision making.
Answer the Right Questions
- What are the top 10 pages visited?
- What are the top 10 products sold?
- What are the most popular downloads?
While that’s a great start, to drive real improvement in revenue performance, you must be able to answer “Why”:
- Why did they go to those 10 pages?
- Should those have been the top 10 pages?
- Which ones should have been and why weren’t they?
These questions are crucial to your business and a must-have for every digital marketer out there. To discover the “Why” of your website’s performance, implement these five processes:
1. Web Activity Analysis
As we mentioned above, this will tell you what is happening on your website and can be provided to you quite easily through tools such as Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics. The simple act of adding a tag to your website will give you access to a near limitless amount of visitor data. With it, you can better understand things such as what pages are working, what your visitors like and don’t like, where they come from, what time of day they visit, what pages or ads sent them to your site, and on and on and on. This will allow you to form hypotheses and draw conclusions that can shape your testing and web strategy—it’s wonderful!
2. Conversion Analysis
Now that we understand what happened we also need to know how much and for whom. This is where we tie the web activity to online and offline conversions. We can continue to get all of our online conversion data from Google Analytics Yahoo Web Analytics, but offline data can be a little more of a challenge. A complete marketing automation solution can solve this problem by integrating with different CRMs and rolling the offline conversion data back into your marketing database. However you accomplish this, tie your digital marketing efforts to both the online and offline revenue data.
3. Customer Preference Analysis
You should hear the voice of your customers loud and clear when performing your analysis. In fact, every web marketer should be able to answer three key questions about their visitors. “Why are you here?”, “Did you get what you came for?”, “If not, why?” The answers will provide insights about your customers and your website. You may find out that they are coming to you for things you never dreamed of. Only after you understand their reasons will you be able to better serve them and drive more revenue for your business. Answering these questions is typically accomplished by providing a survey for a small percentage visitors in two formats:
- Site-level surveys: for measuring session experience. These are done upon entrance or exit and are usually a pop-up. Site-level surveys are very good at understanding macro issues—big things that might be wrong such as experience, navigation elements, and overall effectiveness of site.
- Page-level surveys: for measuring micro issues. These are usually part of specific pages and are typically opened with a “plus” sign. In page-level surveys, you gain information about micro conversions, transactional efficiency, and overall experience with individual pages on your website.
4. Experimentation and Testing
This is a key step to understanding your website in terms of what is working and what is not. Only through experimentation and testing can you determine how to improve and optimize your website. Typical types of testing are A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B testing swaps one page out for another to see which one works better and multivariate testing swaps out one or more components of a page to do the same. This will give your customers a say in how your website will work going forward because the results will be based precisely on their behavior.
5. Competitive Intelligence
Understanding how your competitors are faring in the marketplace will provide bountiful insights for your business because it will provide context to measure your own performance. For example, do you know who their customers are, their demographics, and their lead sources? Do you know how many visitors they are getting, the duration of stay and bounce rate? The ability to understanding your competitors’ performance on the web versus your own is vital to your success in the internet economy. Right now you are probably saying to yourself, “But my competitors won’t give me their data!” You’re right, they won’t, but www.compete.com will. Go check it out—most of this data is available for free.
By tracking these 5 simple metrics, you can execute a true website analysis and provide tangible value to your company, and I’m talking dollars here people.
Have you already uncovered meaningful insights with the metrics above? I’d love to hear what you found in the comments below!