Good Morning sunshine!
Today topic is Web Analytics!
Hang on Chandler… What is Web Analytics and more important what does it have to do with Search Engine Marketing??
Many people has asked me that over the years from Small and Medium Enterprises to Big MNCs clients. Because of that, i will try to explain the importance of web analytics or tracking in Search Engine Marketing in this post.
Also, bear in mind that Southeast Asia and Singapore are very different from US, Europe, Australia etc… so i won’t go into too much detail, too complicated concepts but rather giving you, the readers, an overview, the importance and what are the next steps for advertisers.
1. What is web analytics?
2. Main benefits of web analytics.
3. The next steps for advertisers / my own comments
Before i start, i want to mention the conversation i had with Mr. Mortensen, the Chief Operating Officer of Indextools earlier this year.
He mentioned that it took him by complete surprise when he talked to companies in Singapore. Despite having the highest internet penetration rate in the region, being one of the highest in the world, together with very high average time spent online… Singapore is still in every early stage for Web Analytics. People almost have no idea of what he was talking about and so 🙂
Ok, enough! let’s get back to the outline for this post.
1. What is web analytics
I like to use analogy so let me give an example:
Imagine you are driving, feel the joy of being in a comfortable chair, how relaxing it is. Since today is such a lovely Saturday morning with the sun, wind you decide to drive to East Coast. You turn on a piece of music and start singing along inside your car.
But Wait!!! you just realize that there aren’t a single METERS in your car. How could that happen??? You then realize that you have no idea how fast you are driving, how much gas you have left, whether you can get to East Coast or you have to stop somewhere etc…
Basically you have no idea of what is going on with your car.
Another better example would be flying an airplane because airplane has more meters and you can’t fly without meters at all. But i realize that not that many of us have an opportunity to control a plane so car example would be more close to heart:D
And so Web Analytics have the same concepts. Instead of your car, it’s your website.
Web analytics is the study of the behavior of website visitors (excerpt from Wiki) by putting in tracking tags on your website. You then can track the user journey from the moment they land on your site, until they leave.
Web analytics has two components:
- Data collection: there are a lot of softwares that can do this part
- Data interpretation: amongst hundreds to thousands to millions of reports you can pull out from analytics software/tools, how you interpret the data is a completely different story. What information is crucial to you? etc…
2. Web analytics: Main benefits
Without Analytics, you don’t know:
- How many people visit your website daily?
- How many pages read by visitors?
- Where are your visitors coming from?
- Which marketing medium is more effective in driving sales/signups etc… to your website?
- Why i spend so much money on advertising and the agency claims that they drive so much traffic to my site but NO SALES.
- Why people leave during the sales check out process??
- I am spending $10,000/month on online advertising and getting $15,000 from online orders. The Return on Investment (ROI) is acceptable to me but i want to increase it. Right now i only break even. What Can i Do?
Above are just some very simple questions that you can answer with Web Analytics.
In my opinion, main benefits of web analytics can be divided into three categories:
a) For independent site owners (blogs, personal sites etc…): to you web analytics can help to find out:
– How many people visit your site daily?
– How many pages your visitors view on your site?
– How much time do they spend on your site?
– Where are your visitors coming from?
These simple information can be found using free tools like: Google Analytics, Stats Counter etc…
b) For Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) or Publishers who want to monetize their sites, beside the above information, you will need the following info:
– How many times your online catalogs are viewed by visitors?
– What time during the day you have most visitors?
– The ratio of how many people visit your website vs how many sales you make?
– etc etc
c) For SMEs who spend money on advertising, offline or online; for MNCs
– What is your marketing ROI?
– If you run online marketing campaigns, which medium work better?
– Track the effectiveness of even above the line (offline) marketing campaigns.
– What is your conversion rate?
– The ratio of how many people start the check out process and confirmed payment?
The above benefits lie on the data interpretation part of web analytics. The benefits, by all means, are not exhaustive. You can refer to the benefits of Google Analytics here.
3. Web Analytics: the next steps for advertisers
- If you haven’t used Web Analytics yet, I strongly suggest you start right now. Start collecting data from your website as soon as possible even though you may not have any idea how to interpret them and how the data can help your business. You can use Google analytics or Stat Counter since they are free.
- If you are promoting your website using Search Engine Marketing, ask your agency for their web analytics service. They should have that service available to you already. Bear in mind that even though Google Analytics is free, you will need to pay for set up fee, report generation and data interpretation. However, this amount shouldn’t be a a lot. There are agencies who assume the cost of web analytics for you.
- If you spend a lot of money on advertising, online, offline and you have a website then Web Analytics is a MUST to you. Contact your agency, ask them for a meeting and ask them to explain to you how Analytics work and more importantly whether they can customize a Web Analytics solution for you. If they say no, i suggest you start to explore the possibility of changing agency.
- You are already using web analytics, Great! Make sure that your Analytics tools can incorporate all of the data from your Search Engine Marketing campaign, Electronic Direct Mail (EDM)… You should start exploring the use of Web Analytics to do Search Engine Optimization or even Affiliate Marketing.
- Testing, testing, improving, improving all the time…. The sky is the limit of what you can do with your website
Ok! That concludes the section about Web Analytics. Again, there are many more sophisticated things that advertiser can explore about analytics, how to further optimize data collection and interpretation process. So i can spend hours and hours of just talking about web analytics alone but it will bore most of you here.
I hope you find some useful information here. If you have any comments/suggestions, feel free to post 🙂