ABCs of Web Analytics

The ABC’s of Web Analytics

ABCs of Web AnalyticsBrand management in the digital age means facing an ever-changing panoply of tools and platforms. To keep our brand connections fresh in so many places, we break down the tasks and hire experts. But then Google withholds our search term data, and no two search position reports show the same results. Fighting spam, Google wipes out our SEO vendor’s link network and we are left to clean up the penalties. And just when we hit stride on Facebook, the news feed algorithm changes and we are told that youth have moved to Reddit, Tumblr, or Twitter, or not Twitter, depending on who’s talking and who they are talking about.

This leaves marketers with an old, old question: How do we know if our marketing is working?
To help answer this question, Google Analytics recently updated their user interface to reflect an A-B-C approach, which can be used with any advanced analytics tool, like Adobe Site Catalyst, as well:

A is for Acquisition: How did people find the website?

B is for Behavior: What content and features did people use? Some features require a little extra code so that they can be tracked in Google Analytics, but it’s well worth the small effort to discover where people are clicking.

C is for Conversion: What were the outcomes of visits? Depending on your business model, this may include online purchases, customer service information found, lead generation forms completed or all of the above. If your brand transactions are completed through a distribution channel, the metrics may be slightly different, but still give a much clearer picture of your customers’ needs when taking a closer look.

Report Segmentation Leads to Insights
With Google Analytics’ powerful segmentation capabilities, it’s possible to easily gain insights into the customer’s journey relative to your brand’s online presence. Web analytics data shows where and how your brand message is making a connection with communities in advertising campaigns, through social media conversations and on your website.

Thus, when looking at the segment of visitors who came to the website via social media websites, one can see where these visitors landed on the site and the content this audience found most interesting. If the bounce rate is high –meaning that many of those visitors viewed only one page – corrective actions can be taken, such as adding links, updating right-column content and testing incentives to provide a more engaging, useful or persuasive experience.

Reports to Manage SEO Effectiveness
An important work around for Google’s infamous “not provided” or “secure” search data is to use built-in segmentation to see only the visitors who came to the website via search. This reveals the pages other than the home page that are drawing visitors. Further, with the segmentation feature active, content reports now show what additional content those visitors found interesting, while conversion reports show the return on investment from these visits. Further, new attribution reports give directional guidance as to how many touchpoints are commonly needed before people buy or become a lead.

Managing Campaign ROI
With proper campaign tagging in place, Google Analytics documents the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns and enables testing of selling points with small-scale campaigns and alternative “landing pages.” It’s not uncommon to find that what the marketing team originally thought were their best selling points weren’t well differentiated in the marketplace or weren’t what really resonated with customers. It’s important to share the experience that there have been a few times where we eliminated non-productive ads only to find that those ads were providing important support for the ads that customers actually clicked on; fortunately, we were watching the metrics and quickly re-activated the paused elements of the campaign.

Are you ready for a deeper dive into what your customers are telling you about their needs based on their A-B-C’s? Spend some time on Google Analytics and see if you can find some unexpected results or opportunities to test improvements to your website.

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