3 Must Haves for Online Business Analytics

  • 19 Mar, 2012
  • Jon Tucker

While driving website traffic is a big piece of what we do for clients via increased Google rankings (i.e. “SEO”), we make it a point to ensure that the website traffic we’re growing is also growing leads and / or revenue for the client’s business. While increasing rankings sounds great, it’s not worth pursuing if it’s not eventually impacting the bottom line revenue of the business.

In every project we take on, we help clients to integrate tracking that communicates how SEO and other marketing tactics are impacting the core metrics in their business. While each client situation is unique, below are a number of tracking tactics that every business should be using.

Track All Website Activity with Google Analytics

Before the explosion of the internet and web-based tools, tracking data about a business used to be extremely cost prohibitive. For example, you’d evaluate which complex anlaytics software would fulfill your needs and then hire a consultant that cost almost as much (or more) than the software so that it could be tailored to your business.

Luckily, the world has changed at least for the online side of business. It’s now possible to track everything that happens on your website, including the visitors that arrived, information about those visitors, what content they reviewed on your site, and much more. Even better, this is free if you’re using Google Analytics, a powerful website tracking system provided by Google that powers the analytics of most of the websites you visit each day.

Make sure you’ve added Google Analytics to your website, which is required to do much of the rest of the tracking we’ll be covering below…

Lead and / or Sale Conversion

Once someone comes to your website, you need to have a goal (or multiple goals) in place regarding what you want them to do. For example, if you’re an ecommerce site, you may want visitors to either (a) purchase a product or (b) signup for your email newsletter to receive future product updates.

In addition to lead and sale conversion goals, you can setup “engagement” goals such as a minimum time spent on the site or minimum number of pages viewed. While not all businesses need engagement goals at first, lead and sale conversion goals are a must.

Regardless of what your goal for website visitors is, it’s important that you track the number of people that complete these goals within Google Analytics. This will enable you to gauge the overall performance of the site as well as the effectiveness of various channels of website traffic in generating leads and sales for the business.

Creating goals in Google Analytics is a pretty straight forward process, but something that every business should do.

Segment Your Website Visitors

Not all website visitors are created equal. For example, someone that visits your website through links in your email newsletter is going to interact with content much differently than someone who finds your website on Google after searching for a product or service. Think of this like the difference between someone who shops at a certain store frequently (i.e. this is the email newsletter visitor) versus someone who is a first time visitor to your store (i.e. this is the Google visitor).

For this reason, you need to be sure that you’re not going through your Google Anlaytics website tracking data and viewing every visitor as a single group. Below are a number of segments to consider viewing separately, which can reveal powerful nuggets of insight that you can leverage to make your website more effective.

  • Non-paid search engine visitors– These are visitors that found you on Google, Bing, or another search engine without you having to pay for the visit. We also recommend ensuring this segment only shows “non-brand” related traffic, which means that you filter out anyone that typed in a keyword related to your company name or company-specific products on the search engine. This will help you realize how you convert first time visitors into leads and sales.
  • Paid search engine visitors– These are visitors that found you through your search engine advertising, such as Google Adwords pay per click advertising. It’s best to link your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts so that you can see full Adwords campaign information, such as cost per click and budget information, directly within your Google Analytics account.
  •  Social media related visitors– These are visitors that found you through one of your social media channels, including tweets, Facebook status updates, or even your email newsletter (although that can be a separate segment by itself if you’d like).
Once you have created segments in Google Analytics, you will be able to activate a segment in Google Analytics to see website data that only represents that particular segment. For example, you can see the number of people that visited your site through your non-brand Google rankings, how long they stayed on your website, and whether or not they converted to a lead or sale.

Potential Insights Provided by Tracking

While each business’ situation is going to be unique, there are a number of insights that often come out of tracking your website’s activity as shown above.

  • You will identify which web marketing channels are most profitable. For example, you may find that SEO visits produce leads at significantly less cost than paid search engine visits. This can help you know which online marketing campaigns to focus on scaling up.
  • You will identify which pages on your website cause the most visitors to lose interest and leave your site. For example, you may find that once people click “Get a Free Consultation” and reach a page where you ask them for too much information, they decide not to take advantage of the free consultation and leave the site. This will help you know what pages to adjust to see how you can decrease the percentage of people that you “lose” at that page.
Using the insights provided by implementing the rather simple website tracking systems above, you will be able to have a better understanding of what happens when someone visits your website and how to increase the effectiveness of your website in producing leads and revenue.
If you need further guidance in setting up your website tracking systems, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us anytime.

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