What Is Web Analytics

Imagine you have started a pest control business www.kumarspestcontrol.com and have the website ready. You have already shared it with your family and friends and they have loved it! Getting a website up and running the first time has its own challenges especially if you are a non-technical person.

But, that’s just the beginning!

Why Do You Need Analytics Software?

Setting up the website to suck in visitors as customers like a vacuum cleaner sucks dust comes up with whole set of new challenges. One of them is tracking your visitors and their behaviour. Some questions any serious business owner like yourself should ask are:

  1. How many visitors are browsing my website?
  2. How long are they staying on my website?
  3. How many pages are they visiting?
  4. Which is the most visited page/blog post on my website?
  5. What is the path of my visitor. Where does he/she come first and which is the last page he/she visits before closing the website?
  6. How many new visitors in last one week?
  7. Is my SEO effort providing results?
  8. Are my paid ads working?
  9. How many visitors are browsing my website on their mobile device vs desktop?
  10. What country and city are they browsing from?
  11. How many are using a contact form?
  12. How many are submitting a quote form?

This is a list of common data one measures in their business. Depending on your type of business you can add more, for example an e-commerce business you can track more metrics like drop-off rate on the Cart page etc.

The above questions can be answered with the help of the analytics software. One of the most popular and widely used software is Google Analytics. In this article I use Google Analytics screenshots and examples to explain the details of analytics software. Most of these features mentioned will be offered by other competitors as well!

How Analytics Software Helps Your Business Growth Online

It’s time to tell the whole world it’s live and ready to do business. Excitedly you share your website online. You create an introductory offer of 50% off for the first 100 customers and start sharing the introductory offer link on Facebook timeline, fan page, twitter, Google plus and even Facebook boosted post. You suddenly see people coming to your website contacting you, filling up the quotation form. You are ecstatic! Once the excitement dies down you realize you are not sure which of the shared posts is bringing in the traffic.

Is it the tweet?

Promoted tweet?

Maybe its the Facebook post you shared in a Facebook group?

Or is it the boosted post?

Well without analytics it is hard to tell where the traffic is coming from. But with an analytics software like Google Analytics, you can tell a lot about the traffic ending up on your website. And that’s not it. There is a lot more you can do. But let us solve the problem of identifying the traffic sources.

How do you uniquely identify the traffic from your different promotions?

It’s simple actually.

Google analytics software introduced 5 UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters to use with your URL. These parameters are read by Google Analytics and compiles the data for you to see. You can break it down in different ways to to understand the data better.

These UTM parameters are used by other analytics software as well.

What are the 5 UTM parameters?

Let’s consider you want to share your offer on your Facebook wall, fan page and boosted post. Below is a sample URL you can use.

Sample URL: www.kumarspestcontrol.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=promotedpagepost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer&utm_term=adkeyword&utm_content=ad1

utm_source: This can be AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, newsletter.

utm_medium: This can be CPC (Cost Per Click), email, fanpage.

utm_campaign: Say you have multiple campaigns on AdWords, Facebook, email etc. You can use different campaign names to identify which campaign is doing well. You can breakdown the results by campaigns to see the performance of different campaigns.

utm_term: Here you can add keywords you can targeting in PPC campaigns like on AdWords. You can ignore this for now.

utm_content: If you have multiple ads or multiple posts shared on fan page or tweets you can uniquely identify them by using names like ad1, ad2, tweet1, tweet2. I suggest friendly names to make it easy to identity.

Below are sample URLs you can use for a campaign.

Twitter
utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=promotedtweet&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer&utm_term=adkeyword&utm_content=ad1
utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=promotedtweet&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer&utm_term=adkeyword&utm_content=ad2

Facebook
utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=profilepost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pagepost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=promotedpagepost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer&utm_term=adkeyword&utm_content=ad1
utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=promotedpagepost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer&utm_term=adkeyword&utm_content=ad2
utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=grouppost&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer

LinkedIn
utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=profilecontact&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=profilepublications&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=profileprojects&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer

Google Plus
utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer
utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=pagelinks&utm_campaign=introductoryoffer

Time to see the campaign introductoryoffer performance

The below screenshot shows the different campaigns run by me. The numbers are very small, that’s because these are dummy campaigns I setup to demonstrate analytics features.

Now let us take a look at introductoryoffer campaign by clicking on it.

Below you can see the break down by the utm_source and utm_medium.

You can further drill down to get more data. You can click one of the links from the table to see more data. For example I clicked on the facebook / promotedpagepost. You can see the data under this link.

Since this is a dummy campaign you don’t see much data, but it’s very helpful in real-world scenario.

You can even setup goals to see how many people are signing up for your introductory offer by filling a form on your web page. It is a very handy feature to measure conversions and the effectiveness of your campaigns!

Now that’s not all we can learn lot more about the visitors and their actions on your website.

What Can We Learn From The Analytics Software For More Sales?

Some of the things you can learn from analytics data are:

Audience Data
Number of visits, number of unique visitors
New vs. returning visitor ratio
What country they are from
What browser or device they are on (desktop vs. mobile)

Audience Behavior
Common landing pages
Common exit page
Frequently visited pages
Length of time spent per visit
Number of pages per visit
Bounce rate – People leaving your website right after checking out the page they landed on. This means they didn’t bother looking at your other web pages/blog posts.

Campaign Data
Which campaigns drove the most traffic – This comes in handy if you are running paid campaign(s) with Facebook, AdWords.
Which websites referred the most traffic – If your business website gets popular there might be bloggers linking to your website in their blog posts, Facebook users sharig your websites in their discussions.
Which keyword searches resulted in a visit – You can find out what keywords your visitors are searching on your website and sometimes you can also tell what keywords from Google search lead visitors to your website
Campaign medium breakdown – Email vs Social media

I have listed 3 report screenshots below. Google analytics and other popular analytics software provide you wealth of information through reports to help you understand your audience and their behaviour better.

Session data

Demographics data

Web page numbers

This report helps you find out which page gets visited the most. How long do they stay and what is the bounce rate etc.

How do we set up the analytics software on our websites?

Once you setup an analytics account on the vendor’s website, they will provide you with a piece of JavaScript code that you need to install on all your web pages you want tracked. The snippet of code has a unique key that identifies your account and your website. Once the web page loads it also loads analytics code and data sent is sent by the browser to your analytics software account. And you you can log in to the account to check out the reports like in the screenshots above.

It’s not that difficult to install this. You just have to copy and paste the code in the web pages. In a CMS like WordPress you just have to install in one place. The code gets copied to each web page/post in WordPress.

This is what analytics is about. It helps you understand your visitors and their actions on your website. It also helps you with the organic traffic data, paid advertisements from AdWords, Facebook ads etc. Running a business and a website without analytics is asking for trouble. Business is hard as it is don’t make it harder by ignoring the must-have tools on your website!

Did the article help? Liked it? Hated it? Comment below to let me know.

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