Top 10 Reasons Web Analytics are Essential
Web analytics are essential to the success of online marketing efforts. Overview of the free defacto web analytics package which is easy to use and install.
Web Analytics are essential to marketing on the Internet. Macro economic conditions have led to a surge in new business start-ups over the last few years with a large percentage of them just beginning to come online. Most new business owners understand the promise of accountability in Internet marketing, and clearly a large percentage of businesses now view web analytics as a key component of their Internet Marketing strategy. Web analytics provide the underlying infrastructure and capability to track Internet Marketing ROI.
Here are 10 reasons why it is essential that every business deploy web analytics, which in lay terms, are simple to use mechanisms used to track and report on key website performance metrics such as number of visitors, traffic sources of visitors, keywords used by searches who were referred to your site by a search engine to name just a few. Web analytics can also be used to define, capture, track and measure business and website goals such as newsletter sign-ups, product and services sales and other user interactions which can be valued at some monetary amount and then used to calculate ROI (Return on Investment).
Why Web Analytics are Essential for all Business Websites
1. You can’t improve what you can’t measure: Without having the ability to capture , track over time and report on the number of visitors to the website, the engagement level of different visitors segmented among various dimensions (by source, content, keywords, etc.), it is difficult to know if your website is adding value to the business and what steps are required to improve the return on a website investment.
2. Track key website engagement metrics : Web Analytics provide the ability to track engagement metrics such as bounce rate, return vs. new visits and number of pages/visit, average time spent on site, just to name a few.
3. Provide traffic sources overview illustrating visitors segmentation between direct traffic, referral traffic and search engine traffic. The three traffic source segments in Figure 1 below show that 49.87% of the traffic of this website, over some user defied period of time, originated from Search Engines. The Direct Traffic of 14.24% came from visitors who entered the (URL) web address in the address window of the browser and the remainder of the traffic, 35.93% came from Referring Sites that link to this website, with visitors originating from links on those sites.
Figure 1 – Traffic Sources Overview Example with Search Engines, Referring Sites and Direct Traffic Segments
4. Provide and understanding of visitor geographic distribution which can drive website language requirements if your business is international and potentially uncover new market potential based traffic originating from Geographies that are currently either under served or not serviced at all. This information can be presented through an interactive map overlay which can be used to drilled down into Country, State/Province, County, City , and other defined marketing areas. You can imagine the power of the marketing intelligence this kind of web analytics information presented in this interactive visual format, can provide.
Figure 2 – Map Overlay Example Showing Visitor Origination Geography
5. Understand which content is viewed most/least often : This information can help focus and prioritize scarce development resources supporting many competing needs based on an understanding of which content is most consumed (i.e. most in demand) versus content that is less consumed and may be viewed by visitors, your target market, as less valuable. In the example in Figure 3, we see that this site, like many other sites, has the most page views on / which is typically the default homepage for the domain such as index.html or default.php, etc. We also see that the glossary and blog are the second and third most visited sections of this website. This information could potentially focus development efforts in those content areas to maximize return on development investments.
Figure 3 – Web Analytics Content Overview Example
6. Measure online impact of multi-channel marketing: The power and promise of Internet marketing and the measurability and accountability that web analytics can provide can be extended to evaluate the impact of traditional media used in multi-channel marketing campaigns which often drive website visits, registrations and online engagement. Often times, lifts in key website metrics are driven by a website mention in a print, radio, television or billboard ad. Using web analytics to track traffic to the website, dates of offline campaigns can be compared against online metrics. For example, a broadly distributed TV commercial with mention of the website on April 18 could drive a traffic as seen in Multiple Channel Marketing Impacts Example shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4 -Multiple Channel Marketing Impacts Example
7. Define and track sales funnels with multiple conversion levels: Online goals often tracked include opt-in email sign ups, contact request form submissions for lead generation and completed sales for ecommerce applications. These events add value to the business and can be tracked within the web analytics tools. Monetary values can be assigned to individual goals based on their value to the business. For example, each valid email address from a user Newsletter Signup is worth $2.00.
8. Track and measure top referring sites : Including number of visitors from each, pages/visit, average time spent on site, % of visitors that are new visits and bounce rate. Enlarge Web Analytics Top Referring Sites Image (will open in a new window)
Figure 5 – Web Analytics Top Referring Sites Example
9. Understand Visitor Browser Segmentation : Used to drive technology dependent features and compatibility testing , especially if providing content that is browser platform dependent. Web developers know that each browser has their own proprietary nuances Can also be used to drop support for older browsers if the segment of visitors using a particular outdated technology is small or non-existent. This can be useful when making design and technology decisions. Enlarge Web Analytics Top Browser Segmentation Image (will open in a new window)
Figure 6 – Web Analytics Top Browser Segmentation Example
10. Understand which search engines are driving the most visits: This can be a key input into search engine optimization strategy. Enlarge Web Analytics Search Engine Referrals Image (will open in a new window)
The Best Part – Google Analytics is Free to Use, Easy to Install
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather is the top 10 reasons why web analytics are essential to any online marketing efforts. The best part of all is that there free web analytics packages, such as Google Analytics, that are easy to install and use. Installation is as easy as adding a snipped of code to each web page that you wish to track. The following code is real code for use with Google Analytics:
Enlarge Web Analytics Google Analytics JavaScrip Code Snippet Example (will open in a new window)
If adding code to html pages is not your thing, many professional Internet marketing service providers will install Google Analytics packages for as little as $200 with no recurring fee. Isn’t it time that you claimed your free web analytics package today?