Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.
The focus of web analytics is to understand the users of a site, their behavior, and activities. The study of online user behavior and activities generate valuable marketing intelligence and provides −
Performance measures of the website against targets.
Insight on user behaviors and needs, and how the site meets those needs.
Optimization ability to make modifications to improve the website based on the results.
An average web analytics tool offers hundreds of metrics. All of them are interesting but only a few would be useful for measuring the website’s performance. Focus on what is important to get meaningful insights on your website, and start your web analytics initiative by defining realistic and measurable objectives for your site.
In order to identify the users, web analytics tools need to report on user sessions (also referred to as visits). There are different techniques to identify users such as IP addresses, user agent and IP address combination, cookies, and authenticated user.
Nowadays, the most common user identification technique is via cookies which are small packets of data that are usually deposited on the user’s computer hard disk when the person visits a website.
When reviewing metrics, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you are encompassing the set of data that best evaluates your efficiency −
No doubt, technology is important, but you need to go beyond it. Take time and care to thoroughly understand your stakeholders’ measurement needs.
There’s more to data than just total number of page views. Many organizations unfortunately still report on total page views and miss out on all the non-page view interactions such as video, downloads and rich media.
Analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, MixPanel, Flurry and others, are very powerful and allow us the ability to go beyond simplistic hit collection, and really dive into rich data and patterns.
You can easily report and derive insights with visitor segmentation, have quick visibility into buyer or non-buyer behavior, group content by asset type, measure gated or ungated content consumption, and with relatively ease run a cohort analysis. These are just a few views that could be utilized while segmenting your data.
Explore data such as where visitors came from, what course they took between pages while on your website, and where they spent the most (or least) time during their visit. Later, after two or three visits they got converted to customers. With this information, you’re able to gain increased awareness of visitors and how they interact with your content throughout the buying cycle.
Optimize conversions on all things digital. Take it one notch higher and optimize on the Lifetime Value of a customer. Put into place a system that gives you the ability to measure behavior and interaction across multi-devices and multiple channels for (most) users that come from mobile, web, etc.
You’ll maximize the return on gathering, reporting and analyzing data, when you do so consistently. Commit to the process and develop a list of priorities and a measurement “roadmap.” Audit what you have periodically. Websites and mobile apps are constantly evolving, so ensure your analytics implementation is in-line with such changes.