Web Analytics Tools
Before the Internet, leading marketers relied on market research to create effective campaigns. Today, digital marketers still rely on this type of data for proper search engine optimization and Internet marketing, except now there’s a lot more data, and it’s easier to get and understand.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you make sense of the data, Bruce Clay, Inc.’s web analytics services provide a critical component of every digital marketing project, campaign and consulting engagement.
Web analytics tools make it possible for website owners and digital marketers to see, track, and analyze valuable information about their websites in order to create and improve their online marketing efforts. Web Analytics, and the tools used to analyze the data they offer, can provide you with information about the type of website visitors that bring conversions. How do they navigate your site? Where do they go and what do they do exactly? How long do they stay? All of this information and much more can help you study their behavior and ultimately tailor your marketing strategy to boost your business.
Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Before you start using web analytics tools, pinpoint the type of information you want to get about your website and your online visitors. To do this, identify your key performance indicators (KPI), or the pieces of data that help you measure your website’s success. You can create a list of your KPIs by examining the goals of your organization.
While KPIs may differ from company to company, there are certain website metrics that nearly everyone needs to know and monitor, including the KPIs to measure conversions, reach, acquisition, and retention.
The ultimate goal of web analytics is to provide a return on investment — to bring home the bacon. Depending on your budget and your KPIs, find a web analytics package or tool that will enable you to achieve high rankings in the search engines and get more traffic to your site.
Here are some of the types of KPIs and metrics you may want to measure with the various web analytics tools available. You can collect the following data:
- Number of visits
- Number of unique visitors
- Number of page views
- Average time spent by visit
- Steps that may lead to bailout
Conversion Optimization Tools
With conversion optimization tools, you can do the following:
- Define multi-step processes in terms of the number of steps
- Track visitors from step to step to measure bailout along each step in the conversion path
- Learn details about the average time spent on a page, pages viewed prior to that page, pages leading from a particular page, and points at which visitors abandoned the process
Visitor Paths through Your Website
In addition to understanding where your visitors are coming from and whether they covert, it’s important to know their journey through your site. You will want to find out how they went from one place to another and how they ended up at their final stop. This information will give you insight on whether people are merely browsing your site to find something they want or following a certain path that leads them to something you want them to get. You can find information about your visitor paths in Google Analytics.
Here’s a look at web analytics tools available today and the types of metrics they track.
One of the most commonly used analytics packages, Google Analytics (GA) is a free, advanced software that provides a wealth of website data about your customers. As a website owner, GA might be all that you need to gain insight about your website and enhance your digital marketing strategies. With Google Analytics, you get to see:
- Keyword data
- Detailed statistics about visitors to a website
- Visitor data from all avenues, including search engines, display advertising, email marketing, and social networks
- Landing page and conversion information
- Ad performance data
- Visitor paths through your site
If you run a large company and have the budget, Adobe Analytics is a powerful analysis tool that can process multidimensional queries and caters to companies that need top-of-the-line tools. You can purchase Adobe Analytics for about $1,500 a month and set-up fees are about $5,000.
StatCounter (Statcounter.com) is another free analytics package. It provides tailored summary data about your visitors and in-depth analysis about your last 500 page loads. Although this is a good service, most people prefer Google Analytics because GA easily integrates with other Google products, such as AdWords and Webmaster Tools.
Webtrends (www.webtrends.com) is a great product if you want custom-made tools for your business model, such as technology, retail, and travel. You can use it for international websites for countries such as Germany and France. Prices vary depending on your needs.
Log Files Analysis
In addition to using analytics software, you can get information about your website by reviewing your server logs. A server log is a report of everything that goes on with your server. It’s basically your website activity recorded by hours, days, or minutes. It records page loads, image loads, script runs, and more.
But even though you have access to your server logs, for most, a server log isn’t easy to read or understand. It’s information written in the computer’s own language. You can, however, use various log file analysis tools to help you. Here are some of the most commonly used log-file analysis programs on the market and what they offer.
WebLog Expert (www.weblogexpert.com) provides detailed information about your website’s visitors. The information is presented via HTML reports that feature easy-to-read tables and charts. You can take advantage of the free demo version or purchase one of the commercial packages starting at $99.
Sawmill (www.sawmill.net) offers three different versions of log-file analysis, starting from the basic and most affordable version which is around $99 to its most expensive and complex versions that can run up to $35,000.
Tracking SEO Efforts with Analytics Tools
How effective are your SEO efforts? You can find out by monitoring your traffic and conversions from organic search. Analytics software packages usually provide this type of report and show you how much traffic and money you’re earning from your SEO efforts. Analytics is its own field of study, one that requires a great deal of time and extensive knowledge to master. The good news is that you can use tools to help you track your progress and success.