Digital analytics principles is all the rage these days. It is easy to understand why. When you have a website you need to know exactly what your visitors are doing. You need to know where they are going and what buttons they are clicking on.This is where Analytics comes in. It is an extremely useful tool but you need to know how to use it. In this article I talk about terms, how to get started, and using it to your website's advantage.
Digital Analytics Principles
Digital analytics principles are not hard to learn about but there is not a lot of good information out there. I hope my guide here will fill out some of that missing information about how things are done. This guide on digital analytics principles will be divided up into:
- Behavioral Analytics - understanding how visitors are interacting with your site.
- Metrics - understand the metrics associated with behavioral analytics.
- Ways to look at data - discover ways of viewing data in relation to user commonalities and differences.
- Using analytics to make decisions - learn how to translate data about your website into action.
Analyzing data is key to understanding customers. Doing so in a detailed way allows us to determine what to do with our website that will ultimately make more sales.
Identifying the Problem
For analytics to do us any good we have to understand our problem. The problem could be our traffic or our time on page. It can be many other things as well. Whatever it is we have to understand it and identify it. This will allow us to focus on it so we can look for answers in our data. A definition to a problem like this is often called key performance metrics. It is the data that truly matters.
Once you define your key metrics then you try to break them down into manageable parts that will be included into your data platform.
Our data for this scenario could be customer data collected over the years. It will contain buying habits, trends, and what does not work.
Behavioral analytics helps you understand what your visitors do on your site. It is the data that tells you how customers behave on your site. It can show you what element looks interesting to any particular visitor. The analytics can also show you how much they scroll on your pages. The parts of behavioral analytics that are important are :
- Interactions - this is the number of clicks on any particular page.
- Elements - these are hyperlinks, forms, pictures, and text.
- Screenshots - this is an image taken by our operating system of the screen.
- User exploration - this is where visitors go within your website.
Visitors are the life blood of your website. You need to make them happy so they will be a life long customer.
- Visits - any specific time a visitor goes to a page on your site.
- Page Views - this is the number of times a certain page has been viewed. The time period these views happened within do not matter either.
- Unique Visitors - this is calculated with the help of cookies in a visitor's browser.
- Bounce rate - this is the rate that visitors visit your website and then leave without going to another page. It may mean something but then it may not.
Analyzing traffic is another key component of analytics. Knowing where it comes from and where it goes after viewing your website is a good indicator of what is happening on any particular page.
- Traffic sources - there are various sources of traffic which include direct traffic, search traffic, and referral traffic.
- Direct - these are visits when a user types in your address or comes in through a bookmark.
- Search engine - search traffic is when users arrive via google, bing, or yahoo.
- Referral - this traffic sources comes from links on other sits or social media.
- Filters - this modifies the data that you see in order to make it more accurate. Basically they create a subset of the data.
- Groups - A group could be a certain area or category of pages within your site.
- Exit Pages - These are pages or forms where you direct a customer to leave under certain conditions after they have done something.
Doing a targeted campaign can be very effective. This is one of the more important digital analytics principles. It is very important because you are targeting people who are already likely to be interested in your site or product. If done wrong, though, it can cost you a lot of money with very little results. No one wants that. This can be accomplished through your URL which can track campaign visits and information.
- Purpose of Site - it should generate leads for your business, advertise new products, and help customers find information.
- Key performance indicators - these metrics or indicators for your business are what you evaluate to see if you are succeeding.
- Key metrics - This is what has been identified to be valuable for your site. It could be visitors or time on page for example.
Setting Up Your Analytics
First of all, you need to know why you have a web site and what you want it to accomplish. This is called setting goals. You need goals so you can actually use the analytics you are examining. Some common reasons why you have a site could be:
- help customers find information faster.
- make sales so your growth increases steadily.
- automate tasks that can be done by customers.
- keep customers coming back and developing a loyal following.
Obtaining Your Goals
The first thing you have to do is define your goals. Decide on this explicitly and know when you are getting there. This makes the whole process much easier. Do this by having your key metrics. It always help to get the support of management and peers in this process too. This helps because it will be easier to budget for things when you have the people behind the budgets supporting you. Your budget should account for tools and training specifically. Do your research and get the right tool. No need to buy too expensive at first if your a small company. Create a schedule where you will present the findings and reports. This will let everyone know what the status is and how everyone is doing overall.
Hierarchy Of Goals
I named this step like this because there are always first steps a customer will do before others. When a customer lands on my site he almost always looks at my most popular articles first before exploring my blog page. Then they might go to my regular blog page. After that if all goes well they will sign up for my newsletter. So you can see there is always a certain order or path that is followed.
For your site, you must identify this behavior and streamline it. Make it easy to do it by making your path stand out. You can even restructure your site to help once you have identified what your visitors will most likely do. Using these digital analytics principles will surely help you in recognizing these goals.
Analyzing The Data
While there is a lot to take in, there are some basic things to consider.
- Analyze your metrics that you decided on to make sure your on track.
- Organize your data as much as possible and divide it up into segments.
- Look at your site and get rid of underperforming pages.
- Choose filters for your data that make sense for your business.
It is a good idea to compare the number of visitors with the quality of your visitors. Choose your filters carefully and look at each set of data in detail. Analyzing referral traffic versus search traffic can be very helpful to decide where you focus your efforts.
How To Use Analytics
There are many ways to use analytics. Every company or organization will find a slightly way in which to analyze their success. Some key ones are:
- User behavior - this is how customers use your site.
- Measuring your goals - this is related to your metrics. Seeing what brings traffic to your site is always helpful.
- Conversion rates - this is related to the success of your site. It shows you how many people do what you ask them to do.
- Reporting data - after your metrics are defined you can set up a dashboard for easy to see data.
- Further improvements - After you identify weak points you can then work to improve them.
Understanding some basic digital analytics principles are key to knowing your business. Seeing where users click and go to on your site are nice and all but as you can see there is a lot more to it than that. Knowing what happens when a visitor converts and when they do not is just as important. This is all in the data. You first have to define an issue you want to analyze within your site. You then have to see what visitors do first and what they do last. Using a platform that displays what is important to your business is also important. There are many things to consider when analyzing analytics but with some proper planning it can be done.