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What is Web Analytics? November 14, 2012

Posted by Joe Kamenar in web analytics.
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Web analytics is the collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of data from your website, covering both site activity and user types. The purpose of web analytics is to better understand the following:

  • How visitors got to your website
  • How your website is used
  • How your site visitors behave
  • Who is visiting your website
  • How to measure the success of your site
  • How to increase your site’s conversions through a process called “optimization”.

Web analytics is also used to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, by being able to associate “success events” to various campaigns. By integrating campaign cost data with success metrics, a web analyst can provide insight into how much it cost to achieve a success event. Some examples of success events include a purchase, user registration, newsletter registration, webinar registration, social media share, or other desired activity from your site.

Web analytics can also tell you how effective your conversion process is, and where you are losing potential customers or registered visitors. By setting up a “conversion funnel”, you can measure the percentage of visitors who fall out of the conversion process at every important stage in the conversion process. Based on this information, you and your web team can then look to see why you are losing visitors at these stages, and then hopefully better optimize the site to reduce this fallout.

Another key area of web analytics is A/B and multivariate testing. These are processes where you change one or more items on a web page or a campaign and compare the resulting metrics to a “control” group that receives the un-modified, or baseline, version. These types of testing are used to determine things like:

  • What types of templates work best
  • What types of copy or colors work best
  • What types of offers have a higher conversion rate

While there are specialized tools that are used for performing A/B and MV testing (Test & Target, Site Spec, Website Optimizer, Monetate, for example), you can do basic testing and analysis with many web analytic packages.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is that they don’t trust the data they get from their analytics packages. A lot of this can be traced to poor tag strategy, poor tagging, and poor implementation. While in theory, getting analytics data can be as simple as slapping some Google Analytics code at the bottom of all the pages on your website, in reality, if you want to get meaningful data on which to make data-driven decisions, you need to do a lot more than that. You will need to identify major goals, minor goals, key events, visitor and visit segments, conversion funnels. and much more. One of the goals of this blog is to provide you with a broad overview into the many aspects of web analytics.

Stay tuned for more posts about how to become a better web analyst, for your company.

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