Why are web analytics so important to marketers and businesses alike?
A strong online presence can be the key to a business’s growth with increased exposure and better communication with potential and current customers alike, but what is the point of a fancy website and lots of online activity without a carefully thought out strategy? How can you develop strategy without accurate and up-to-date analysis? This is where web analytics come in.
With great free tools such as Google Analytics there is every reason that any business no matter the size shouldn’t be using some form of web analytics program to measure the success of their digital strategy.
But to those new to Analytics the whole thing may be a bit daunting but by using Web Analytics correctly the tools will allow you to go MAD! Yes there is a Professional Academy acronym for you there that looks at the 3 key things a solid understanding of Analytics allows you to do as a marketer/business; Measure, Adapt and Develop.
1 – Measure
When it comes to measuring website activity it is easy to just look at traffic numbers as we did back in the old days of the internet with the classic page counter (for those who remember the old days of the World Wide Web) but with analytics you are able to measure success in the same way you would any campaign or project with set target driven goals.
Granted visitor numbers are still key, the more traffic you have the more chance you have achieving your desired goal, much in the same way you would with high level foot traffic in a face to face scenario but when creating a goal you are able to think about what you want your website to achieve. Are you targeting a specific landing page? Do you want your visitors to find their way to a bookings page, online store, specific content or an enquiry page?
You can set specific goals that allow you to measure these targets vs. the visitor numbers heading to the site in general and therefore measure the success of online campaigns as well as the site in general.
2 - Adapt
Once you have the goals in place and you are accurately measuring your sites failings and successes you have the information you need to help improve the site in small ways by adapting what you currently have to improve the site and help you to achieve those goals you have set for the site.
Firstly you can look at the flow of your site. Where are your visitors landing, Where are they going and Where are they leaving? Once you look at these elements you are able to understand how people use your website and answer the most important question of all are those visitors getting to where you want them to be? Are you achieving your goals?
If the answers to those final questions are either no or yes but we could be doing more the flow will help you to determine where you can place Calls to Action targeting key traffic heavy pages to guide the flow towards those target pages.
You can also use your analytic data to adapt to new technologies by seeing what devices your visitors are visiting your site from. Do you need to look at developing a mobile or reactive site due to the about of mobile/tablet visits you are getting? Is your site speed slower on certain browsers? The answers to those questions are available and will help you create a more successful and better web experience for your visitors.
3 - Develop
Using analytics will allow you as a business to develop an effective digital strategy and also add new elements to your overall marketing/business strategy in to the future.
There are certain bits of analytical data which you can build in to your online strategy the first of which should be your sites referrals, in layman’s terms your websites friends; the ones sending traffic to your website. This information looks at where your guests come from outside of your SEO, this allows you to assess your social media impact on your site as well as that of blogs and external partners who are directing visitors to your site. When you have that information you can decide to build stronger links with external partners, include call to action links on social media or measure online advertising campaigns for success in achieving your goals helping you to gauge a ROI on those campaigns.
You can also develop a content strategy based on those pages that are proving popular on your site. With popular content you can look at creating more of this content across your site to help generate more traffic, building calls to action inside the popular content to direct visitors to your goals or even turning your popular content in to a potential revenue stream or data capture goldmine.
The analytical data can also yield some interesting geographical demographic information on your site visitors which could in turn affect your overall marketing strategy. Analytical systems can tell you which regions and cities/towns your visitors are visiting from which opens up new questions and possibilities for your business. Could you appeal more to these regions with regional specific content or could you even look at opening a new location for your business in these cities as there appears to be a possible market?
With developing your online and marketing strategies analytics does help you discover possibilities you may not have thought about without the information at your finger tips which is always a great way to help your business grow and develop in to the future.
So there you have it the some key ways your business can measure, adapt and develop with the help of web analytics.
If you would like to learn more about web analytics there are specific web analytics qualifications for you run by the by the CIM’s CAM foundation for more information on the qualification and it’s learning outcomes you can head to our Digital Marketing Qualification section.