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Website Analytics October 20th, 2008
What’s the reason you have a website?
This is the first question to ask yourself when you are trying to determine the best metrics to focus on. Written in an earlier article by our very own PPC_Girl, in general terms all business websites break down to 4 different possible types of goals for sites; Brand Lift, Lead Generation, Social Platforms or Ecommerce.
Social sites such as Facebook, YouTube or Orkut have the goal of “people in a box”. Analytics can also be used to help improve conversion of social websites. The main point here is determining the purpose of a website. Once that is agreed on, goals and key metrics are much easier to decide on.
If your site is primarily a lead generation site I look at:
For e-commerce sites the obvious measurement of success is sales. But how do your visitors make a purchase? What traffic source is the highest converting and why? What are the keywords that lead to more sales? In your goal funnel, where are the most abandoned levels and why?
Specific areas to look at include:
Look at how much revenue you are generating compared to how much you are spending in AdWords advertising. Combine the reports from AdWords and Analytics to give you all the data needed to constantly improve your bottom line and of course, website conversion!
What are your stickiest content pages? When you find that answer, why are they sticky? What makes them so interesting? What is the source of traffic that is delivering the most engaged visits?
Look closely at the behaviors of the different traffic sources. The different traffic sources to your website always lead to varying degrees of conversion. Which traffic source is the best converting? For example, if organic traffic converts at 10% and Pay Per Click Traffic converts at 5% under the same keyword – why? Do you think the behaviors of your organic traffic may have some secrets to share with PPC traffic?
With social media networks the obvious primary goal is to build the community. Without people in a social network there is no reason for being. How do people reach your sign up pages? Who sent them to your social network and how well did that traffic source convert?
The other characteristic I also like to look at is how the new users interact with the community. For example, if I was the owner of Twitter and saw plenty of referrals from Facebook, how well do they convert (sign up). Once the referral is signed up how active are they with social interactions and making new contacts.
Analytics will tell you answers to all the metrics above accept your closing rate in lead generation. Out of all the leads you get through your website how many do you close? This is one of the most important aspects in determining the true value of a goal for lead generation. It is also an area to pay close attention to. Just because Google Analytics will give you data on the leads delivered to your business, this can be meaningless if you have no strategy for closing sales.
The most actionable data derives from 3 simple questions that Google Analytics answers.
After completing this '4 step process' it’s time to decide on what changes to make. But that is not all there is to successful actionable reporting; we must also benchmark our changes. To do this I like to create a spreadsheet that contains the key metrics you are tracking. Each month, take the data from the Google Analytics key metrics and stack them side by side in your spreadsheet. Monthly, you can visually see the impact of your changes.
Now that we have focus the final step of creating your actionable report is much easier. If you create your report with the right deliberative process, making changes will be a logical and simple process. I truly believe that any website can be improved with the right analytic approach. Without identifying what KPIs are applicable to each website your deliberative philosophy can be clouded, time consuming and ineffective.