Here’s what we know about our clients with regard to website analytics…
- most of them have Google Analytics (or an alternative package) installed
- most of them use it insufficiently, incorrectly or not at all
As Google’s Avanish Kaushik told Search Engine Land: “Numbers are hard to come by on this, but in my humble experience, a tiny fraction of people who should use data productively access it, and a tiny fraction of that actually ends up using data effectively. We, as a universe, have a long way to go.”
As always, you know who you are (unless perhaps you’re one of those that’s using it incorrectly). It’s a sad state of affairs, considering the tremendous value that such packages can bring to the diligent.
Another dismayed observer of this scene, Jason Prescott, recently blogged on this topic for iMedia Connection. As Chief Exec of several vertical search engines and directories, Jason knows a thing or two about website effectiveness. His post provides three hints that will help you to get your analytics working for you:
Set your website goals first. Identify what you’re looking for in terms of conversions per week or month; Google Analytics enables you to set such benchmarks. If you aren’t meeting those goals, you’ll need to study everything in your conversion funnel: ad creative, landing pages, offers, touch-&-go pages (land & leave), etc. The good news is that often fairly minor improvements can make an enormous difference in conversion rate.
Understand hits, visits, conversions.
- A hit is a server request for something on a specific webpage, which could be simply copying an attractive image or animation. Such “curiosity” hits are outside the realm of desirable traffic and conversions.
- A visit is a user landing on one of your webpages, and perhaps navigating to other pages before exiting. Your analytics can tell you how many visitors come to your site and how many items were requested from each page, as well as distinguish between new and returning visitors.
- A conversion is a visitor to your site who completes some pre-defined action (download, purchase, registration form, etc.); clearly, this is your most important metric.
Monitor page views and time spent on site. In general, you want users to visit more pages on your site and stay for as long as possible. Analytics can tell you which pages are helping that cause, and which need work to become solid contributors.
Monitoring these metrics can tell you quite a lot about what your website visitors are doing, so you can tweak your site to increase visitors, page views, and time spent on the site. This will ultimately translate into more visitors and – what you’re really after – more conversions.