Jan 27, 2016

10 Reasons to Use Analytics on Your Website

1. Because you’ve paid good money for it

When you’ve decided that a website is important to your business, you invest a lot of time and energy into getting your website right. Design, functionality, content – all of this takes up valuable resources, in the name of making your online presence as good as it can be. So it’s important to be able to measure the effectiveness of your website: Are visitors coming to the site but leaving pretty much straight away? Do they only really visit the home page, and not go any further? Analytics can help you work out whether your site is performing to the level you expect.

2. Because your customer might not be who you expect

Sometimes, businesses create an online store for their bricks-and-mortar customers, only to notice that the demographic is not the same. Because of this, they may need to refocus the message to better align with the demographic that actually *is* visiting the site. For example, one of our clients has a jewellery store, and was marketing to women in their 30s and 40s with online advertising. It wasn’t until he installed analytics that he realised that 75% of his site visitors were actually men – potentially buying for their other halves, but certainly not coming to the site as a result of advertising on women’s forums. He adjusted his marketing efforts and the site tone, and saw an increase in both site visits and conversion rate (sales).

Instore customers may not be the same demographic as online customers

3. Because your most popular products/posts might not be what you expect

Similarly to finding out information about the users coming to your site, Analytics will show you what those users are looking at – the type of content that’s popular or your hottest products. This can help you decide on the topics you should post more on in the future, or the items you should be pushing through newsletters and other marketing initiatives. The products that are popular instore may not be the same ones that people are looking for online.

4. Because you want to know whether social media is sending visitors your way

By checking the acquisition reports, your Analytics integration will tell you how users got to your site – whether they’ve done a Google search, or they clicked on an ad, they came via Facebook or another site, etc. If one of your goals in using social media – and by using, I mean investing time and money into one of the platforms – is to get people to your website, then it’s important to see if the resources you’re putting into this have been effective. You can also see which platform is performing best for your site; whether it’s on mobile or desktop; whether your most popular content for Facebook is different from other sources, etc.

Use the new social tab or referrals to see what impact your social activity is having on your website

5. Because you can find out the cost of an online sale with irrefutable data

As well as looking at your overall site’s return on investment (ROI), you can measure the cost of your marketing initiatives against the value of sales; or your cost per acquisition of clients/customers. If you’re using Google AdWords, there are many reports templated within Analytics that let you determine the spend against the conversion amount. But if your site doesn’t use ecommerce, you can still create a dollar value for a conversion (i.e. how much a conversion means in your business – is it worth $10? $50?) and use this as a measurement against marketing spend.

6. Because you can see what your customers are searching for

Not only can you learn terms that people used to get to your site (via searching), you can also see what they searched for while they were on your site. This can help in a couple of ways – firstly, if people are using your site search a lot, and your site is fairly compact, you may want to look at your navigation structure – it may be too complex. If they’re not using it at all, perhaps it’s just taking up real estate. If users are consistently searching for a particular product or category, you may want to think about bringing this to the front of your site, or just making it more obvious so that users can find what they’re looking for quicker – and hopefully removing any barriers to sale in the meantime!

Turn on site search tracking to see what users are searching for on your site

7. Because you can analyse where conversions are falling down

By setting up your conversion funnel within Analytics, you can examine the different phases within the buyer’s journey, and see if there are drop-offs at any particular points. You may find that 30% of users add to cart, but only 2% of users actually convert – and Analytics will be able to tell you where, along that pipeline, people were leaving the site. From that, you can gather information about that page and investigate why this is happening (and then, of course, go about fixing it!).

8. Because you can record micro conversions

Micro conversions are goals that you want the customer to achieve, that aren’t as important as sales or contact requests, for example. You may have documented that it takes three micro conversions before a prospect turns into a customer – 90% of the time, they sign up for your newsletter, watch a video, and spend more than three minutes on the site. Through these micro conversions, you can start to turn leads into prospects, and prospects into customers – while at the same time growing your subscriber list, and helping inform your customers about your offering.

Use event tracking to record micro conversions

9. Because you can find out if people are reading your newsletters or other off-site content

When you send out an email newsletter, you can use software that will tell you how many people clicked on the links in your email. While this is useful, it gets even better when you combine that software with your website analytics and you can start to measure how long those people spent on site; whether they bought anything or downloaded a pdf; or whether they returned to your site one week later as a result of that EDM. The same goes for content on social media – Facebook can tell you how many clicks a post received, but it can’t tell you that out of all those who came to your site as a result of that post, 90% of them were female, from Melbourne, and on a mobile device. Analytics can.

10. Because you can answer “How’s the website going?”

This last reason should actually matter to you as well, but if you’re “in charge” of your company’s website, you’re no doubt asked to report on its performance (which usually aligns with your own performance!). Using Analytics, you can set up dashboards, or use any of the third-party plugins and software, to present reports to the board or management that can show them exactly how your website is performing this month, versus last month, versus last year. It gives you, as a business and as web executive, something to aim for and something to measure against. You can set KPIs, goals, and tracking that make sure that your site is always improving.

Reporting and informing other stakeholders on website performance is vital.

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