Web analytics is the study of website behavior and today's online marketers would be lost without it. With the current batch of analytics programs, you can tell who has visited your site, what those individuals did while they were there. how long they stayed, which sites or platforms referred them and so much more. There are many free and paid analytics programs, but easily the most popular is Google Analytics, the platform designed by the world’s largest search engine. Armed with the data the platform (or any other analytics program) provides, you can make decisions and tweak your web campaigns so that they become extra effective and profitable. Here is a rundown of web analytics and how it can help you run your online marketing business.
A Web Of Analytics Data
For the purposes of understanding web analytics, the following will give you an example of a web campaign that is being tracked using various software programs. You will be able to see how the data is tracked, how it is interpreted and how it can be used to make the campaign even more targeted for the ideal market.
For our intents and purposes, we are going to use the content management system WordPress as the backbone of our campaign website. In order to make sure our campaign is effective, we want to make sure people are finding the site, remaining on it for a good amount of time and are locating all the pages that they find interesting, and hopefully more. For this, we are going to fall back on our trusted web analytics program, Google Analytics.
When you sign up for GA and add your WordPress site to the platform, you will be given a snippet of code that you will have to incorporate on your WP site. The easiest way to do this is to put the code in the Footer Editor, just before the closed </body> tag. Then, everyone that sets foot on your site will be logged and their behavior tracked.
To help form a better understanding of analytics and how they are used, we will again focus on the number of visitors to the site, the pages they access, the amount of time spent on the site and the URL that referred them. Of course, there is much more information that you can glean from GA, such as ecommerce dollars spent, the amount of return on your investment and the social media behavior of your website visitors. Many of these can be established as customized goals within the GA infrastructure, which is one of the reasons why the platform is so popular. It can be customized to report on any web behaviors you want for the purposes of improving your campaigns.
Since Twitter is its own platform, we can’t use GA for tracking. Luckily for us, Twitter has its own analytics platform that we can use. You will have to sign up for Twitter’s advertising program, even if you don’t plan on advertising just yet. Once you sign up, you will have access to all the analytics data gleaned from your individuals tweets. You will be able to see who retweeted your tweets, who favorite them, and which Twitter users were most impacted by the messages you sent.
Just like Twitter, we must rely on Facebook’s Insights platform within the social network’s framework. Here you will be able to see who Liked your page and posts, who shared your posts and much more data that can help you fine tune your Facebook activity.
The world has gone mobile and more people than ever are accessing their favorite web pages with smartphones, tablets and other miniature devices. To help track our mobile-using web visitors, we are again going to turn to Google Analytics. GA allows you to not only track the landings and behavior of your mobile users, but you can also tell what devices they’re using to access your site. This allows you to tweak your site and other campaign materials to fit the screens that are most used by your target market.
Like most of Google’s products, GA is free to use, which means that you can set up as many sites as you want without having to pay a thing for the privilege of web tracking. There are other alternatives out there and many are free to join, but most of these will charge you after a month or after you’ve added a few more sites. It is best to stick with Google Analytics until you have a better understanding of web analytics and how they can be used to improve your marketing efforts.
Crunching The Data
Now that we have our WordPress site, mobile site and our Twitter and Facebook profiles logged and tracked, and once we have a bit of traffic flowing, we will be able to tabulate the data and tweak accordingly. When we know that more people are flowing to a particular page than any others, we’ll know that those other pages need work, and if people aren’t spending as much time on our site as we’d like, it’s time to tweak our pages to make them more enticing and lurk-worthy. We can also tweak our campaigns to accommodate certain browsers, devices and even languages once we know exactly who we are targeting. The treasure trove of data that you are afforded with Google Analytics and other web analytics platforms is invaluable for the online marketing professional and for any online business owner, for that matter.
As long as you have the web analytics platforms hooked up to your sites and social networks, you will be able to tweak and make your campaigns even more targeted for the end user. Hopefully you have a better understanding of how analytics can be used to help you satisfy your audience and entice them to return to your site and other campaign materials again and again.