If you have any kind of digital property like a website, blog or mobile app, you need to have an analytics platform to support it.
Digital Analytics can answer the basic questions that you may have about your audience:
- How much traffic is coming through?
- Where is the traffic coming from?
- What is the top content being viewed?
- How many quality leads am I getting?
All of these questions can be answered through the story of your data.
However, before your data can begin providing you strong insights to make better business decisions, you must establish a reliable analytics foundation.
Determine Your Business Goals
When first setting up analytics, or going in to look at existing data that is unorganized, you should take a step back and think about your business goals.
- What determines a lead in my sales cycle?
- How can success be determined?
- What do I want visitors to do?
After defining these goals, it is much easier to organize your data to provide the insights that you need for success.
Measure Your Goals with Data
One of the first and most important steps in any analytics plan is to define the goals of your digital property within your analytics platform.
In analytics, the goals are similar to those that you have set for your business. Some of the things you may want to set up as goals could be:
- Contact form submissions
- Online purchases
- eBook downloads
Setting up actions like these as goals can help to determine what traffic coming to your website is interested in learning more about your business, and where new and potential customers are coming from.
Track Site Searches
Site search can tell you a lot about what visitors on your digital property are searching for.
Once you have the tracking in place, you can see within the site search reports what users are searching for on your digital property, and how long they are staying after searching.
If a visitor searches for “careers” on your website, and views 10 pages after searching, this can give you an indication that information about careers may be hidden on your site, and visitors are having a hard time finding the content they are searching for.
Site search is useful for determining user experience issues on your digital property, and what popular content might need to be made easier to find for a visitor.
What Data Should We Be Looking at?
Any analytics platform will provide out-of-the-box reports to view, and it can be difficult to determine which ones are the best to find what you want.
Depending on what business and digital property goals you set up, some reports may be better than others.
For example, if your website does not have an ecommerce platform, the ecommerce reports will be useless.
However, there are some general reports that I recommend for any digital property:
- Channels – An overall channels report can provide data on where the traffic on your digital property is coming from, how much time they are spending there, and where they are converting.
- Device Overview – A device overview report will break down what device visitors are using when they are on your digital property. If you recently made your website responsive, you can look here to see how often mobile visitors are engaging with your site.
- All Pages – A report on all digital pages will show the top pages that have the highest number of pageviews, and where users are spending the majority of their time. If you are looking to do a redesign in the future, this type of report can be helpful to determine what content appeals the most to your audience.
These reports can provide you with the basics that you need to establish a strong foundation, and you can begin to pull insights from what these reports are telling you about your digital property.
Customize Your Reports
The traditional reports that your analytics platform provides are great as a starting point, but there are many more advanced features within these platforms that can take your data analysis to the next level.
Creating customized reports, dashboards and segments in your analytics account can provide you with the exact data you want to see, based on your defined business goals.
For example, you can filter your data to a certain segment of your website viewers, such as users that are only viewing the “ecommerce” section of your site. Then, you can create a customized report or dashboard, that only shows this segment of data. Other filters can be applied and saved, so you can always return to this customized report in the future.
Then, your customized reports can be exported or shared, so other people in your business can easily find what they need without becoming an expert within the platform.
What Are the Next Steps?
Your analytics account can provide reliable data about your website, blog or mobile app, but it is up to you to organize it properly so that you can pull out valuable insights for your business.
You can now begin to look at the data in your analytics account to see how and why visitors are coming to your digital property, what they are the most interested in once they get there, and how you can improve upon the structure and layout of your content.
Now that your analytics account is organized with trustworthy data, you can standardize your reporting to a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, so you are always monitoring your website activity and making the necessary changes that your audience is looking for.
The user is the most important part of this process, and making their lives easier on your digital property starts with a strong analytics foundation.
Our Lunch & Learn @ Liquid on September 7th will expand on how to establish a strong analytics foundation, how to improve upon that foundation with advanced strategies, and how to integrate what you learn with your business goals.
About Alex Prestipino
Alex monitors and plans strategies and campaigns surrounding SEO, SEM, social media and analytics for our clients as a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s degree, Alex enjoys playing golf and the piano, and spending time with friends and family.