Big, small, or somewhere in between — whatever the size of your business, you should be utilizing web analytics. If you’re chuckling to yourself and thinking you already use Google Analytics, we’ll ask you this instead, are you using it to its full potential?
When used correctly, web analytics can increase your site traffic, sales, and customer experience to name a few. We’re talking all about the importance of web analytics and how you should be using it for your business.
What is Web Analytics?
Web analytics refers to the measurement and analysis of data from a given website. There’s a huge array of tools available to help you do this, which we’ll dive into more later, but the most popular one is Google Analytics. This is because it’s free to use for all businesses and user-friendly once you know what you’re looking at.
Different tools will give you different data about your website and how people are using it. Broadly speaking though, analytics will always measure audience activity and behavior on a website.
While it’s interesting to know how your potential customers are using your website, it’s also a powerful tool you can use to optimize your website for more online traffic and more sales.
Why Web Analytics are Important
Instead of guessing how a customer is using your website, web analytics can tell you.
Like we mentioned in the introduction, the vast majority of businesses that have an online presence are using the Google Analytics platform. There’s a wealth of data available on this free platform that can inform you about how customers are using your website, but lots of businesses only look for surface level figures.
By surface-level figures, we mean audience data like the number of visitors on a given week or month or traffic sources (where your customers are finding your website). This data is interesting, but it doesn’t reveal much about what customers do after they actually land on your website.
What we mean is, of course it’s great news if you’ve got loads of unique visitors coming to your website. But if they’re landing on your website and immediately leaving, they don’t hold value for your business.
Different Types of Data
Google Analytics itself offers audience data, which is where so many businesses focus their time. But it also offers other categories like audience behavior and campaign data.
Audience behavior refers to data that reveals how users interact with your website. This could include the pages they’re landing on most often, the time spent on each page, and the number of pages visited. If you’ve integrated Google Search Console to your Google Analytics platform, it can even tell you (some!) of the keywords they used to end up on your site.
This data is more actionable. It can reveal pages that are and aren’t working on your site. It can reveal whether customers are finding what they’re looking for. Ultimately, you can use it to figure out improvements for your website based on empirical evidence instead of guesswork.
The same goes for campaign data analytics. This could include keywords that resulted in a visit, a breakdown of traffic channels like social media or email, and conversion rates on that specific campaign.
Again, all this data is tangible. It can help you get clear figures on return on investment and inform your future campaigns.
These are only examples of many different types of data available on one web analytics software. But they serve to prove our point, which is that web analytics is vital to businesses because it provides us with actionable data to improve the customer experience.
Best Web Analytics Services
We’ve covered some of Google Analytics already. One of the big appeals for businesses to use Google analytics is how easy it is to integrate with their other services.
For businesses using Google Ads, this can be integrated with your Google Analytics account so you can easily cross-reference the data available from both.
The same goes for Google Search Console. This is another free platform by Google that can help you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s ranking in their search results. It’s an incredibly powerful tool in the right hands and can help increase your site traffic considerably.
While all businesses should be using Google’s free web analytics software, many also invest in other web analytics tools. This is because they offer insights on user behavior that as of yet, Google has not.
Many web analytics companies offer heat maps. Heat maps are a clever data tool that show you the “hot spots” of a given page. This could show you where users are clicking on pages, how far they’ve scrolled down, and more.
Using heat maps can reveal where your call-to-actions are and aren’t working. You can then use this information to test moving your CTAs, changing the style, the wording, and more.
Session replays allow you to watch back videos of user interaction. It gives you an “over the shoulder” view of any given user interacting with your website.
You can use this to figure out where users are struggling with your site. They may be unable to find information you think is obvious or they may be put off by an unnecessarily long form. Like heat maps, you can use this information to test optimizations to your website pages.
A quick final note here to say the best way to do this is with web analytics software that lets you A/B test. You can do this manually too with the help of your web developer.
A/B testing involves creating two versions of a page based on a data-led theory from your analytics. We’ll use an example to make this simpler.
Let’s say your analytics data shows you some users aren’t scrolling down to your CTA. One of your marketing team says the CTA should be moved to the top, while the other says to change the wording and style of the CTA.
In A/B testing you would create both options and let the data inform you as to which is the best optimization to implement permanently onto your website. It takes all the guesswork out of website design because you can see how your users are interacting with the page through data.
Make Marketing Easy with Web Analytics
As you can see, using web analytics offers significant advantages for your business, whatever the size or industry. But the data alone isn’t enough. You need to use the data insights to drive optimization across your site.
If you’d like to learn more about digital marketing, we’ve got loads of helpful tips on our blog.