Web analytics are crucial to today’s digital marketing strategies. Web analytics don’t just help you track and measure website traffic and pageviews, but also other online channels, including social media, video, and mobile. As marketers adopt an omni-channel approach it’s important to understand the relationship between each channel and how they contribute to your website traffic and conversions.
Businesses have the ability to access more data than ever; a company’s web analytics now include:
Research indicates companies who have adopted a data-driven culture are the most successful. 76 percent of executives from top-performing companies cite data collection as very important or essential, and data-driven companies are three times more likely to rate themselves as substantially ahead of their peers in financial performance.1
Tracking, monitoring, and analyzing website performance provides data that shows where your business is headed, how it got there, and what changes are necessary to improve performance. A good web analytics platform will help you learn what’s working for your business — and what’s not.
The purpose of web analytics software is to track and collect information about traffic and usage patterns on your website and other online channels. Because the field has evolved to include interactions beyond website usage — such as social media and mobile applications — this technology is often referred to digital analytics software.
Web analytics software helps you measure the impact of marketing efforts across multiple channels. By collecting performance data, you can gather insights about customer behavior and predict future actions, which enables you to invest resources in channels or marketing activities which generate the greatest return. Essentially, web analytics software is a tool used to assess and improve the effectiveness of your website.
If you’re not sure what to look for, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you perform a web analytics software comparison. Web analytics systems are all essentially designed to do the same job, so differentiating between platforms can be a challenge.
It’s important to begin any technology purchase with a clear understanding of what you need the software to do. Questions to answer before you evaluate web analytics tools include:
More data doesn’t necessarily equate to a better system. The best web analytics software provides you with data that is valuable to your business. You need to identify specific holes in your current reporting that a new system will fill. Most importantly, ensure extra information will drive better decisions — and ultimately, more revenue for your business. Don’t just track vanity metrics.
After you’ve identified what goals you have for a new web analytics deployment, you’ll need to learn what features or functionality will help you achieve them.
Both types of web analytics tools automate the process of measuring these activities across multiple channels, and most vendors now provide a hybrid approach. Combining on-site and off-site metrics provides a more complete view of what’s driving desirable customer actions, which allows you to optimize your efforts and justify spending.
Web analytics are the backbone of a successful digital marketing plan. They provide businesses with the ability to track, measure, and act upon the results of their website, social media marketing efforts, and other campaigns. All business types and sizes can benefit from web analytics software. Though enterprises often require more powerful tools than smaller businesses, the use cases for web analytics are essentially the same. Let’s examine what some of them are.
Gaining buy-in from executives is a critical success factor for software approval and implementation. In order to get your software purchase approved, you’ll need to include data that shows stakeholders what kind of return on investment they can expect.
To do this, you can present industry research, statistics, or relevant case studies like the one below. Additionally, consider tailoring your appeal to address the concerns of each member of the C-suite. Below are a few talking points to get you started.
Your chief financial officer is likely already using tools to gather and assess company data. Use this opportunity to provide them with research on the correlation between web analytics software and successful campaigns or businesses. Highlight exactly how this technology will provide a return on investment, and don’t be afraid to use data visualizations to illustrate your point.
Modern web analytics software means your IT leaders won’t have to spend weeks or months deploying tag codes. This technology can help free up IT resources by adding up to 100 on a website and up to 20 on a single page — that can be released within hours instead of days. Users say their ability to implement new or revised tags quickly (within days) jumped from 18 percent to 80 percent after deploying a tag management system, according to Forrester Research.2
Additionally, the CIO is in charge of aligning technology with company goals and strategy. It’s important to involve them in a conversation about new systems early in the research process. It’s important to discuss system requirements, and the CIO can help you pinpoint company needs and create a short list of viable vendors.
Businesses have access to more data than ever before. The trick is to ensure this data is actually helping CEOs make more informed decisions. You must help the leader of your company see how they can actually capitalize on their data. Focus on the tangible benefits of a system, such how the software will make an impact on the business and help employees be successful at their jobs.
To help you sell web analytics tools to executives, you can focus on getting a small proof of concept first. Many vendors offer free trials or versions of their product. Use that opportunity to run a low-cost beta project to demonstrate how your company can benefit from the technology.
Company: Brian Gavin Diamonds3
Solution: Google Analytics Premium
Brian Gavin Diamonds is a Texas-based jeweler known for custom engagement rings and their signature line of cut “hearts and arrows” diamonds. Online sales are responsible for 95 percent of the company’s business, and the company relies on over-the-phone customer service to help influence those sales.
To prepare for a redesign of their ecommerce site, and to make informed decisions regarding its digital investments, the company needed to get a full picture of customer behavior across the purchasing funnel. They also wanted to drive customers to convert, and apply their customer insights to the new website.
Brian Gavin Diamonds implemented Enhanced Ecommerce from Google Analytics to understand their customers’ pre-purchase shopping behavior and measure their webiste performance. The company discovered they had a surprisingly high cart abandonment rate, so they decided to build a guest checkout flow specifically for customers who are on the cusp of making a purchase.
They also streamlined features to focus on ones that customers use the most. For example, they learned the live chat feature on the left hand navigation bar was taking up valuable site space, only providing 20 percent of the revenue associated with live chat, compared to 40 percent each for the live chat features at the top and right of the site.
Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service, with a premium version which makes it suitable for small or enterprise businesses alike. It is the most widely used web analytics service on on the market. Google Analytics was the best software to meet the needs of Brian Gavin Diamonds, but another vendor may be best for your company’s unique requirements.
Browse more options by using our Web Analytics Product Selection Tool at the top of the page, or check out any of the below reviews of web analytics vendors.
At TechnologyAdvice, our goal is to help businesses connect with the technology that best meets their needs. We’ve compiled product information, reviews, case studies, feature lists, video walkthroughs, and research articles on hundreds of leading IT solutions, all to make the buying process more straightforward for decision makers like you.
If you’re curious about any of the web analytics products or features listed in this guide, we’d love to talk to you. Call one of our in-house specialists for a free consultation, or use the Product Selection Tool at the top of this page for a custom recommendation.