Metric's Guide to Analytics and Reporting - Chapter 1
What are Analytics?
Analytics refers to the collection and analysis of data for the purpose of generating insights that inform future decision making. In our increasingly digital world, analytics are leveraged everywhere. For marketers, analytics typically refers to the measurement and analysis of data from websites and marketing efforts.
Website analytics data can identify:
- Who visits your website - i.e. a user’s geographical and demographical information
- How they got there (search engines, referral links from other sites, social media platforms, etc.)
- What they did once they landed there (did they engage with your content or leave immediately)
- Where they went afterward
By refining our understanding of how users engage with a web platform, we can in turn, identify opportunities for optimizing the experience for the user and improving conversion rates for your site.
Why are analytics important?
They identify what’s working
Website analytics provide you with extremely valuable data that details how your users engage with your online platforms, and more specifically, your promotional techniques. How can you expect to evaluate an investment in new forms of advertising like paid search without the data that shows how many visitors were driven to your website and converted into leads/sales?
They identify what’s not working
Analytics provide us with insights that can serve as red flags for obstacles for your users as they navigate your online platforms. A good analytics set up can help identify what isn’t working on your site - broken links, 404 pages, too-long contact forms, confusing shopping cart checkout steps and more.
They identify opportunities for improvement
Analytics provide the data required to make data-informed decisions regarding changes to your site based on your user’s behaviour. We aren’t talking best practice recommendations or hypotheses based on opinions or anecdotes here, we’re talking about real data you can use to optimize the experience for your current users based on how they currently engage with your site.
They keep you accountable to your measurement plan & business plan
Interpreting web analytics is a cyclical process that should run concurrently with the ongoing development and optimization of your marketing initiatives. The analysis and documentation of user behaviour a good web analytics tool provides is essential to:
- Defining appropriate goals from historical/baseline data for your campaigns
- Determining whether your efforts are moving you closer to your goal or further away from it
- Demonstrating the ROI of your campaigns