Analytics is a big part of a website’s success, However, even though analytics software is getting better and cheaper, website owners still don’t really know what to do with it.
Matt Bailey with Site Logic is an excellent speaker on this topic. He talks about how analytics is more than just hits, it’s about segmenting and tracking and learning how your visitors are using the site. Tracking things like page views, top 10 entry pages, keywords and hits are just scraping the surface. There is so much more that should be happening. What are the KPIs? Analytics numbers are just numbers with no action and figuring out what they mean is the key to success.
Matt states that when it comes to analytics it should always start with a question. Then segment by verticals and acquisition methods. Measure segments, compare and contrast results. Then put the results into context and keep a focus on the value to the business. You should also be looking at referrers and segment them by blogs, websites, search and social news and figure out how each of those area are converting. Use that information to figure out in what context your visitors are getting to the site and work on creating more exposure in those areas.
Lionel Largaespada of Agency Services gave some stats on how users feel about analytics. In the findings, 82% of respondents say that web analytics is poorly understood and those that interact with the data don’t understand it. Within those that have been working with analytics platforms for over two years, 56% still find it quite confusing.
Lionel also made a good point that you shouldn’t just use one analytics program. Different programs have different features and you don’t need to choose just one.
Laura Thieme of Bizresearch talked about how we should be concerned with social media tracking. There aren’t too many good tools out there at the moment to automate this, however there are photos and videos in places like YouTube that can contribute to getting leads or brand awareness without the user ever visiting your website. She stated that with five of her clients, she has to use 27 different tools to get all the data.
Laura also talked about how some people are to obsessed with bounce rates now that Google Analytics makes them a bit more visible. However, pages should be researched and analyzed separately to find out why their bounce rate is what it is. It could be that the visitor is picking up the phone and calling which isn’t a bad thing. Or, the user could be coming into the site on phrases that you just aren’t optimized for. So, in that case, the bounce rate isn’t a big deal for those pages.
She closes by saying that we need a new web analytics tool that really takes social media and all the different avenues of the web into mind. She also had a great point about how analytics is like a crossword puzzle. It may take a lot of time to actually figure it all out and not everyone is good at solving the puzzle.