What is Analytics?
When you hear the term “analytics” in a marketing context, it’s pretty safe to assume that it refers to Google Analytics, but every major search engine has their own version. They all serve the same basic purpose, which is to report data. You can use the data to infer many different things, but in a nutshell, you can identify the audience that is coming to your site, what they are doing, and some general behavior. Analyzing audience behavior is crucial for optimizing your site to do whatever it is that you want it to do.
What Can I Learn From the Data?
Google Analytics tracks some key demographic factors of your audience such as age, gender, interests, language, browser, operating system, and more. You can identify the distribution of your web traffic that comes to your site from a number of channels such as organic searches, direct links, and social media. Once they get to your site, analytics has a number of metrics in place to help you understand what people are doing there. Some of the most notable metrics are bounce rate, sessions, and pageviews.
Your site’s bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that close their browser window, or “bounce off” your page. A high bounce rate can indicate people aren’t finding what they are looking for or something turns them off. Some websites have annoying popups or major design issues that cause people to exit prematurely. It can also infer that your call to action is ineffective. An extremely high bounce rate could indicate that your page isn’t loading properly – or at all.
Sessions refer to a single visit to a site. Depending on the audience, this could be viewing one page for a minute, or an extended Wikipedia binge that spans hours of time and dozens of pages. Sessions is an important metric because when compared to pageviews and unique pageviews, it can suggest a lot about how your audience interacts with your content. The average session duration metric can tell you a lot about how engaged your audience is with your material and how effective your call to actions are, among other things.
The Pageviews metric is pretty self explanatory, but it differs from unique pageviews. The former counts every time a particular page is viewed whereas the latter only counts each page a single time, hence “unique.” For example, if I load up a page from my bookmark bar and refresh it after it loads, Google Analytics will count two pageviews (one for the first load, the second for the refresh) and one unique pageview. Pageviews are an especially important metric for sites that have a lot of ad revenue.
That’s Great, But What Can it Do for Me?
Throughout the month of March, we will be digging deep into analytics. After we cover the basics, we’ll explore some best practices for interpreting the data. One of the biggest challenges of analytics is that many “cookie cutter” approaches fail because every business is different. For some sites, a long session duration is a bad thing – it could suggest people are having a hard time finding information. For others, like a blog site, a large average session duration is great because it exposes your audience to more ads.
A services-driven B2B company is going to have a completely different approach and relationship with analytics data than a B2C or e-commerce site. We have experience working with a variety of firms and offer individual analytics consultation and audits. They are affordable and informative services that can make all the difference in the world.Call or email us with questions. We’re happy to help.
Want to learn more first? Join us for a free analytics seminar at the MidTown Cleveland office Thursday, March 31 at 11:30am. Registration is first-come, first-served, so sign up today!