Web Analytics describes the process by which we measure user behavior with the content we publish online.
It can take many forms, including but not limited to the following three which I consider to be foundational…
– #1 – Website Data Tracking: traffic, user behavior, conversion tracking, flow
– #2 – Email Marketing Data Tracking: open rates, click through rates, subscriber growth versus decline
– #3 – Social Media Marketing Data: engagement on Facebook versus Instagram versus Twitter
You might be measuring behavior in all three of those categories – or even just one. I would be willing to bet you all have at least been looking at Social Media Analytics since they’re so easily accessible right here in Facebook.
*** WHY MEASURE DATA? ***
Answer: Welllllllll, how can you possibly know if a strategy is working unless you’re *measuring* the way people respond? (Hint: you can’t.)
Further – like in the podcast I showed you earlier with Chris Dayley – if you’re not measuring what you’re doing, you may have webpages or strategies that aren’t working – that you could be pouring ad and marketing dollars into (not to mention the time you’ve been wasting.) It can be COSTLY to not have at least an eagle’s eye view on how effective your work is!
For the sake of simplicity (and since this is what I get asked the most) I want to start by discussing Website Data.
*** TABLES, CHARTS, AND PERCENTAGES – OH MY! ***
When you think of Website Data Tracking, you might be thinking of Google Analytics – and remembering fondly (or not so fondly) the one time you tried logging in to see what’s what – and then logging back out the second you saw tables and charts.
The truth is Google Analytics is just *one* tool that measures user behavior. It’s sort of the most valuable free tool that exists. The paid alternatives (like CrazyEgg, for example), measure user behavior and conversion tracking even more in-depth than Google Analytics does – and with more accuracy. But I’m geeking out and digressing, so let me pull this back to Google Analytics.
It’s a great place to start with measurement – and if charts give you motion sickness, I highly recommend looking at just the following metrics. These are a great way to start familiarizing yourself with data.
*** AMV – Average Monthly Visitors (Unique) ***
Often abbreviated AMV (sometimes also called AMU, where U means users), AMV is the most popular metric people wonder about – because it answers the age old question, how many people visit my website in a month’s time? For startups, the month’s time makes more sense because you might have low traffic day to day – but looking over a longer window of time can be more insightful. Another note about this is the word Unique. Unique means it’s measuring individual users coming to your site – and doesn’t count the same person twice. Hence – UNIQUE monthly visits.
*** Pages Per Session and Average Time On Site ***
Both of these metrics are different in how they measure – but they both refer to how engaged each user is that comes to your website. The # of pages they view should be as high as you can get it (at least certainly more than 1 is ideal on average) – and the average site time goal should be high – because this reflect the amount of time someone is actually on your website. Both metrics can be insightful in reporting if people are actually engaged with your web content.
*** Bounce Rate ***
This one is my favorite – it refers to the percentage of traffic that comes to your site and leaves after seeing just one page. AKA – the percentage of users who come to your site and BOUNCE! They’re like – “I’m out!” Can you tell why I love this one? It’s so playfully named. Anyway – if your bounce rate is super high, Houston, we have a problem. You want this as low as possible. Some contributing factors to a high bounce rate (some of these factors also can account for users *not* engaging with content per the metric above)…
– Slow site speed
– Too many menu options in the navigation area
– Too many calls to action placed closely together
– Vague copy that doesn’t describe what the site does or who it’s for
– Too many outbound links on the page
*** Referrers ***
This one can be powerful to measure because the Referrers part of Google Analytics will tell you where your people are coming from (social media versus SEO versus a guest blog or podcast episode you did.) The Referrers metric is a great two-second way to draw a conclusion about which social media channel, for example, is most effective at driving you traffic.
What questions do you have about web analytics?? 🙂
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