I wanted to write about website analytics for a while.
When you work with a client for a while and create reports and dashboards every month, it can be tough to always go beyond the numbers and make a business impact with these reports.
Here is what I have learnt over the years about website analytics and how to analyze a website performance.
While there is a plethora of tools to collect and report on website data, it is still up to your, the talented analysts and marketers, to analyze what this data means for your website and the business and what can be done to further improve its performance and its significance to business success.
Data reporting is merely numbers, data analysis is an art, it is about providing meaningful insights that will have a positive impact.
What Is Website Analytics
Website analytics refers to the collection of data and analysis of that data from a website for understanding and optimizing its usage, accessibility and digital marketing performance.
Here is an overview of the reports in Google Analytics I use and how I use them to analyze a website’s performance.
How to Analyze A Website’s Performance With Google Analytics
The Acquisition report in Google Analytics provides several different reports to understand how users found the website, whether it was from organic search in Google, or a paid ad in Bing or a social media campaign on LinkedIn.
This is an important component to understand for a website. Knowing which marketing channels bring the most traffic is critical to plan future marketing campaigns and ad spend. It is also important to understand whether the data relates to the acquisition strategy and whether the channels that you invest in the most actually bring in the most traffic.
I look at acquisition reports to understand trends over time and cross reference with campaigns or content marketing campaigns that have been active at a certain time.
While it is important to bring users to the website it is also important to make sure the website makes them stay longer, commit to performing actions like reading your articles, browsing and purchasing your products, signing up for news alerts, etc.
I usually look at the standard user engagement metrics like bounce rate and session duration. While these might not be your main KPIs they are indicative of how well you are able to retain visitors on the website. I look at these metrics overall, per traffic channel and per top landing pages.
Other great reports that help understand visitors are the visitor loyalty and recency report and the behavior flow report. The first one shows how many times for a certain time the same user visited your website. The second one helps understand how users navigate your website, where they drop off the most, etc.
The loyalty and recency report can help you understand what percentage of your users come back to the website which is indicative if users find your content useful or like your website.
The behavior flow report can show patterns for users drop offs or pages where users navigate to the most.
Both of these can analyze how your users like the website and what you can do to improve the user experience.
Content and Conversions
The Landing page report contains conversion data that can be sorted by all conversion or by a specific conversion.
This data is full of insights on how the content on the website is performing against brining in new customers for the business.
I like to look at pages that receive a lot of sessions but do not bring many conversions and vice versa. Then use these insights to plan acquisition strategies and conversion optimization.
Naturally there are web pages that would perform poorly in converting web users into clients. For example blog posts normally would not bring conversions but this does not mean to ignore these pages. If a lot of traffic goes to the blog section of your website it would be a good to spend time brainstorming how these users could be more engaged to convert. What strategies you can implement to send blog visitors to product or service pages?
Conversions from Campaigns
A lot of effort and money are going into managing paid campaigns whether it is paid search, social media or email.
In my reports I include data to analyze sessions and conversions from all paid campaigns that were run for the selected time period.
This shows not only if campaigns are successful in acquiring website users but also if there is a return on your investment converting these users into customers.
If you are putting resources in paid campaigns it is critical to analyze the impact of these campaigns not only for budgeting but for better strategizing these marketing efforts.
What metrics do you look at to analyze your website? How do you evaluate if your business websites performs well or poor?