While it’s not essential to use web analytics for a business website, failing to do so will almost certainly mean that the website is less than fully effective.
This is particularly the case if the site is used for e-commerce – to sell products or services – although web analytics is also useful for improving the efficiency of website marketing.
What can web analytics tell me?
Web analytics allows you to track visitor activity, and find out:
- whether visitors arrived as the result of a keyword search, from pay-per-click advertising, via a promotional link or through some other means
- which keywords were most effective in driving visitors to the site
- how long visitors stay on your site, which pages they visited and what actions they take
- whether they are new or repeat visitors, and if the latter, how often they visited the site
Web analytics and e-commerce
For e-commerce sites, it’s absolutely vital to find out how long visitors remain on the site, and what actions they take while they browse. For example, it is possible to drill down into web analytics data to find out whether or not visitors buy during site visits, and if not, what products they looked at, and how long they spent browsing.
If visitors left the site quickly without converting to a sale, it may indicate a problem – maybe the pricing is unattractive, or they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Visitors who are driven to a site by specific keywords may buy different products from the ones they were originally searching for, or may buy additional products. This information might indicate ways in which the site can be changed to improve the value of purchases.
Seeing how often visitors come to a site, and assessing which are the most popular pages, will provide useful feedback to help you refine your website and products – increasing sales and helping with customer retention.
Web analytics and marketing
Maximising the return on marketing investment is another reason to use web analytics. Reviewing the data to see the source of site visitors will allow you to:
- define search engine keywords
- target your pay-per-click advertising
- evaluate your link-centred promotions such as emails, newsletters and interactive online magazines
- refine your social media marketing
As a result, you can save money and make sure that your marketing investment is precisely targeted at customers and potential customers.