Growing Online, or Why You Should Stop Ignoring Web Analytics
Today a large proportion of your customers and clients will likely first find out about you online, either via Google search or social media. Your digital footprint – your website and social media presence – can be a clear indicator of how forward-facing your company is.
This means that it can be as damaging as it can be helpful. For this reason you need to pay close attention to how your brand is presented and received online, and how your customers engage with your content, whilst monitoring activities beyond your direct control (such as Google or Yelp reviews).
Web analytics is all about gathering information about your performance and learning how to use this insight to improve your marketing and services. How can you know what you’re doing right or wrong if you don’t listen to your audience?
In simple terms, web analytics is a grand phrase for keeping an eye on your readers. If you have heard of analytics but have felt intimidated by it, read on. In this post we aim to take the mystery out of this concept and demonstrate that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to start taking advantage of this powerful tool for your company’s benefit.
PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS, DATA ANALYSIS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Start by asking yourself how web analytics can help you achieve better results at work. It’s a tool for gaining an insight into behavioural trends upon which you can act straight away. Create a set of questions that will guide your investigation, such as:
What content receives the most positive engagement?
Why are our customers leaving us?
How to increase the sales of product X?
What is the value of a ‘like’ or ‘tweet’?
What is the best way to communicate with our customers?
Are our investments in customer service paying off?
What is the optimal price for my product right now?
In addition to answering the above questions and others, analytics can also be used for:
Benchmarking data – you can increase your organic rankings as well as track your PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign success (by establishing a history of data);
Highlighting problems with your website, such as Error 404 Page Not Found or other bad links that you can then correct;
Finding surprising facts about your site, such as what pages (aside from your Homepage) get most views and act upon this knowledge by guiding the visitors to promotion or sales pages to maximise your revenue.
By having an analytics system in place you are on the right path to becoming a predictive enterprise – a company that effectively and proactively uses data to make decisions and (re)develop business strategies in real time, responding to changing customer expectations and available technologies.
The usual approach to web analysis is two-fold – analytics software that corresponds to and tracks your company’s website, and social media’s own analytics, which not only gives you insight into your network’s performance, but also shows how much traffic reaches your website via social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA – WHAT TO MONITOR
Each social media site provides marketers with a different set of metrics; take your time to identify what questions you would like answered and examine the metrics accordingly. In general, you want to be monitoring the following:
Fan and Followers numbers – a good but not the complete indicator of your brand’s popularity;
Traffic and conversions from social media sites – you can monitor how many visitors to your website come from which social media networks, and whether or not that traffic converts into sales;
Conversation participation – this metric allows you to quantify your end users’ engagement with your content, i.e. most commonly the number of comments, ‘likes’, retweets and shares. Armed with this knowledge you can continually adjust your content to reflect what your audience finds most interesting;
Social reach – with this you can see how far your content travels through being shared by your supporters.
There is a huge range of analytics software available in the marketplace, both free and premium, but Google Analytics still remains the industry standard.
Google Analytics (GA) is a tool that keeps on giving. It is important that you connect your website to GA as soon as you can, even if you think you don’t need it at this stage, because the more historical data you have the better for getting an accurate predictive analysis in the future. With GA you can track how your visitors get to your site, how they travel within it, how much time they spent on each segment, the bounce rate (how many people leave your site after the first visited page), you can also set specific goals to help you measure how well your site fulfils your objectives.
If you want to learn more about how to set up and utilise Google Analytics, this website offers links to a number of excellent guides.
And if you want to experiment with software beyond Google, check out some of the best analytics programs currently available:
A new single-login dashboard is being developed by Rinku that promises to keep all your business analytics in one place, including sales as well social metrics. Currently in BETA, drop them your email to receive updates.
ARE YOU READY?
Web analytics is primarily about trends – it won’t give you detailed qualitative answers about your content or your audience, but it can be incredibly powerful if deployed to monitor website data flows.
It’s about being proactive – spotting trends and analysing behaviour as it happens. This approach ensures that your business not only keeps up with the big names in the industry, but it can actually help you become a leader in your niche, way ahead of your direct competitors.
Do you need more advice or help setting up your analytics? Give us a call today to discuss what we can do for you and your business!
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