If you are a webmaster (owner of a website), there are many disciplines that, from mastering them to not doing so, change your life . One such discipline is web analytics .
In this post I intend to tell you what web analytics is, the information it provides you and how it can have a radical impact on decisions about your website and, in the case of a business, also on your business figures .
Believe me: unless you already know what web analytics is, you can’t imagine how valuable the information it can provide you is .
In addition, you will realize that all your campaigns or actions to get more traffic or customers must be aligned with a strategy where you have to know very well what aspects you need to review to know if everything is going correctly and, if not, see what It may be failing to fix it as soon as possible.
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What is web analytics?
Web analytics allows you to observe everything that happens on your website , such as how many users visit your page, what they do during their visit, what products they see, which ones they buy… The collection and analysis of all this data will help you to try to improve your website (or that of your clients).
Why do you need web analytics and what are its benefits?
Whether you have your own website or if you work with a client’s, you will know that each website is different, with different designs and focused on all types of audiences, depending on the market.
For example: an architect who chooses a certain design for his website. It turns out that, as usual, there are several points on your website that don’t work (they don’t like them, they don’t understand each other, etc.). Because of this, they don’t click where they should, leave the page early, etc.
The ultimate consequence of this is that this architect will lose clients and thus income. The big problem is how to know if and where this happens .
And this is where web analytics comes in (among other things…). Thanks to the data collected with web analytics, you will be able to see which elements are not working as expected and you will be able to change them (or even test them before changing them permanently).
If you do this really well (with A/B tests, etc.) you can even achieve, after several optimization cycles, a web page that achieves the best possible results .
But since this is just an example of a specific facet of web analytics, I will summarize below some of the main benefits that you will obtain thanks to having carried out an analysis of your web page:
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1. It allows you to get quality traffic for your website
A common goal for most companies or people who have a website is to attract traffic.
However, the key for your website to be as successful as you want is for the users who arrive to be really interested in your products or services.
A user who comes across a post or ad they have seen on Facebook (while browsing to see other types of content) is not the same as a user who searches for a specific product and your page appears.
In most cases, the person doing a search will always be more interested in your products or services.
2. You can optimize your marketing and advertising budgets
Thanks to being able to carry out this analysis, you will be able to see which are the sources that attract the most quality traffic to your web page (which convert the best) and you will be able to help decide who makes the decisions, in which channels they should put their efforts, thus achieving better optimization of your marketing budgets.
This point is surely one of the most critical , especially for large companies that invest heavily in each of the different channels.
However, even if you are not a large company and do not have very high budgets, it will also be very useful for you to identify which traffic sources are going to generate the best results. With the data in hand, you will be able to invest your money in the right channels .
Which by the way, not all channels work the same way for everyone . Depending on your sector and your type of client, it may be more profitable for you to invest in Facebook, for example, but for another web page it may be more profitable to invest in Google Ads.
3. Make decisions based on data and not on intuitions
Continuing with the example of the architect, he makes his design based on his intuition or taste. He will only have a better intuition if he already has some experience and can intuit with a little more certainty if his design will be satisfactory (data that he has been collecting over time…).
If you use web analytics , you will have in your hand all the data you need to support your decisions about what to do to get higher quality traffic.
In addition, if you work for a client or agency, you will have sufficient reasons to justify your decisions and transmit them with the greatest possible confidence.
4. Find out if your website is as optimized as you think
The design of your web page and the loading speed are key factors when it comes to achieving the best results for your web page (conversion rate).
For example: a simple button color or different text can cause your conversion rate to vary a lot .
And it is even more important that your site is very fast and the pages load as soon as possible. According to a Google study ( 53% of mobile website visitors abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load).
So you will have to take it into account and check that your website is adapted for all devices and works correctly, if you want to get the best results for your page.
5. Group scattered sources of information
If you’re just starting out and still don’t get too many hits on your website, you may not have realized how many different sources you can get traffic to your website .
For example, you can receive traffic from Facebook, Instagram , Google, another website…
But of course, Facebook traffic can be from an ad, from an organic publication (which is not paid), from a mobile, tablet or desktop…. All this information can be collected with the web analytics tool that you are working on and for this reason it is very important to be able to group them.
This concept is called ‘ Channel Grouping ‘ and you can create the one that best suits your needs or those of your client.
Google web statistics and analytics tools
Google emerged as an online search engine where you can search on any topic and it will show you hundreds of results related to your search.
However, Google today is much more than a “simple” search engine. It has the most used email platform today: Gmail , tools to create online advertising ads ( Google Ads) and very sophisticated tools to analyze the traffic that reaches your website from its search engine.
These last tools are the ones that interest us, specifically, Google Search Console and Google Analytics .
Let’s delve a little deeper into these great tools that are also free…
What is Google Analytics and how to integrate it with your website
As I mentioned, Google Analytics is a Google tool that is used to analyze the traffic that reaches your website .
Therefore, the most important thing to be able to record the visits your website receives is to add the Google Analytics code to your web page :
But the amount of things that you can do with Google Analytics is many and here I leave you only some of the most important that you will be able to know if you use Google Analytics:
- How many users visit your website.
- How many visits do they make?
- Which pages are the most visited.
- How much time users spend in each one.
- When do they leave your page?
- From where users access (mobile, tablet or desktop).
- Location of users (country, city and region).
- What time of day do they visit?
- What day of the week do you get the best results?
- View the age and gender of users (at the aggregate level).
- How they reach your website (access channel, for example, Facebook or Google).
- Whether they are new users or not.
For all this and because it is the most powerful free web analytics tool on the market, most of the examples that you will see in this post and screenshots will be taken from Google Analytics. However, you can use whichever tool you feel most comfortable with.
What is Google Search Console, how to use it and its relationship with Analytics
Google Search Console is another Google tool, which is used to check how your page is positioned within the Google search engine. Some of the metrics you will get with Google Search Console are:
- How many impressions your page has in the Google search engine.
- In what position have these impressions occurred.
- How many clicks have they received?
- Keywords that users have used to make your website appear in the results.
In short, this tool is much more focused on SEO and seeing how your page is displayed in user search results.
However, Google Search Console “does not enter” your website at any time, so it does not know what the user does after clicking on one of the results that takes him to your page , so you do not know if it is or not a quality visit.
To solve this, we can integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console and thus we can follow the entire “journey” (journey) of the user from when they find your web page until they leave it.
Google TagManager. Integrate your analytics tools into one
Google Tag Manager is Google’s free tag manager . Of course, I am going to explain to you what this tag thing is and what Google Tag Manager consists of.
When you have a web page where you offer your services or sell your products and you are constantly attracting traffic to get a greater number of conversions or sales, you normally do not work with a single tool that does everything , but rather you use different tools and from different companies. .
For example: if you have previously activated an advertising campaign on Facebook, you will know that you have to add the Facebook “pixel” to your web page so that Facebook can record the conversions that occur thanks to its campaigns.
If you have active Google Ads campaigns, you will also need to add the Google Ads conversion pixel to your website, so that Google Ads will record the conversions thanks to your campaigns.
Many other “pixels or tags” that you would have to add to your web page if you were using this tool would be, for example: Hotjar, Linkedin , Google Optimize, Sizmek, Optimizely…
As you can imagine, this is not a very easy task, especially if you do not master programming or do not have access to editing the code of the web page. To solve this problem comes Google Tag Manager .
Best of all, once you’ve added Google Tag Manager to your website, you can add all the tools from within Google Tag Manager and never have to touch your website code again if you don’t want to!
In short, with Google Tag Manager we can forget about having to edit the source code of our page to add new pixels or modify them and we will also have all the tags organized in a much more visual and efficient way.
Google DataStudio. Save hours of work and create professional reports
Continuing with the Google tools, I now present Google Data Studio . This Google tool allows you to create data reports ( “dashboards” or control panels) in a very simple and visual way.
This tool can connect with different sources of information and of course Google Analytics is one of them.
If you have already accessed Google Analytics, you will have seen that there are many different reports, most of them based on tables and with dozens of dimensions and metrics.
However, most of the time you will always have to review the same dimensions, so you can create a dashboard similar to the one below, which you can even schedule to be sent every week directly to your email.
If you want to know a little more about this tool, here is a brief tutorial about Google DataStudio
Google Optimize. Optimize your page 100% without programming
Google Optimize is one of Google’s most useful tools related to web analytics and is used both to test different elements on your web page and to personalize your page and adapt it to each of your users. And best of all, you don’t need to know programming!
Within Google Optimize, your task will be to create different experiences or experiments and create different versions of your page so that, randomly, some users are shown one version and other users are shown another of the versions you have created. .
After you have enough data, you can review it and see which version you have obtained better results with.
In case you want to continue investigating more about this tool, I leave you a more detailed tutorial about Google Optimize .
Interesting web analytics tools beyond Google
As you can imagine, the number of tools currently available that allow you to work on the analytics of your website in order to improve it and achieve a greater number of conversions is very large.
The most widespread and powerful with a free version is Google Analytics. However, there are other similar tools, in addition to other complementary ones, that can be of great help to you. Here I leave some of them:
Adobe Analytics, the main competitor of Google Analytics for large companies
Adobe Analytics is the main competitor to Google Analytics for large companies . It is a very powerful and highly customizable tool.
The main drawback for most users is that it does not have a free version .
Create heatmaps with Hotjar
Hotjar is a tool that allows you to create heat maps where you can see the behavior of users on the pages of your website.
It is very simple to configure and you will be able to draw conclusions very quickly. In addition, you will be able to record the visits of the users and see the movement of the mouse as if you were the user.
Optimizely, la alternativa a Google Optimize
Optimizely is the alternative to Google Optimize. Today, it is a much more powerful tool than Google Optimize , allowing all kinds of experiments to be carried out and all devices connected to a network. They have a lot of content with which you can train.
Matomo, an “open source Google Analytics”
How to analyze the traffic to a web page. Basic level
Well, now that you know more or less what tools exist and what you can do with them, it’s time to start collecting information that is useful and allows you to know if your website is optimized, if users find what they are looking for and, more importantly, if they complete any of your objectives (purchases, contracting services…).
How many visits does your website have?
To know the total number of visits to your website , you will only have to access Google Analytics and review the “Sessions” metric .
This metric is available in most Google Analytics reports.
How to know who visits my website
The primary Google Analytics metric in most reports is the “Users” metric .
This metric will tell you the total number of users who have visited your website for the selected dates.
The difference between users and sessions is that a user can perform multiple sessions, so there will always be more sessions than users.
However, as I have already mentioned before in this post, Google Analytics does not allow the collection of personal information, so you will not be able to know who each of these users are with their first and last names.
In the eyes of Google, each user is a different “cookie” , it knows when they are different users, but not “who” they are exactly, something that, in reality, you are not interested in either.
What you will be able to know is the data at the aggregate level (that is, how many of those users are men, how many women…), but it will never tell you that user “X” is a man.
How to see the statistics of any other web page online
Google Analytics is a tool used to analyze the traffic of your website. However, if you want to see the traffic of your competition or any other web page, you will need to use other types of tools .
There are many different tools that allow you to review this data about other pages that you do not own. One of them is Similar Web .
Similar Web will offer you statistics of the page you indicate, as long as it has enough traffic. That is, if you search for a page that does not have much traffic, it will not show you any statistics.
However, you have to keep in mind that these types of tools are based on statistics and the only way to see the real data would be with a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or similar.
How to use web analytics to measure marketing results
Collecting so much information with Google Analytics simply by adding it to your web page is amazing, don’t you think? However, be very careful with having so much information available, that it is not always easy to draw conclusions.
If you really want to take advantage of it, you must plan very well what information you want to obtain and how you can get it.
How do users get to your website?
Surely, one of the first things that you will want to know apart from how many users and how many visits your web page receives, will be to know how users arrive at your web page.
Users can reach your website in many different ways:
- After seeing an ad.
- After doing a search.
- Having seen a link on another web page.
- Throught social media.
In the world of online marketing, each of these ways of accessing a web page is called a “Channel” .
Where to invest your money and your efforts?
The key for your website to have the success you want will be to identify which channels are the ones that attract the most quality traffic to your website.
A channel can bring a lot of traffic to your website, but if these users are just curious and not really interested, it will be very difficult for them to hire your services or buy your products.
To know if a channel is bringing quality traffic to your website , you should pay attention to a series of metrics, of which the most important would be:
- Make the conversion rate as high as possible.
- Keep the bounce rate as low as possible.
- That the number of pages per session is as high as possible.
- That the duration of the session is also high.
- That they have seen a target page.
- That they have carried out a specific action that is part of your objective.
By analyzing all these metrics, you will be able to draw your own conclusions and decide where you should invest your money and efforts. In Google Analytics, this report can be found in the acquisition section.
Do your users find what they are looking for?
To know if the users who visit your web page find the information they are looking for, there are many different options:
- You can review the data from Google Analytics.
- You can review the heatmaps generated by Hotjar.
- You can review the screen recordings made by Hotjar.
- You can do a test with Google Optimize to test another version.
Looking more specifically at the Google Analytics data, this time you should focus your analysis on the Behavior section.
Looking at the ‘All Pages’ report, you’ll need to identify which pages have a high bounce rate (ie users who view that page and leave without doing anything else). This can be an indicator that users arrive at that page, do not find what they are looking for or nothing that makes them stay on your web page and decide to leave it.
Similar to the bounce rate we have the percentage of exits from a page. This metric indicates how many of the visits end on that page (ie, the last page a user sees before leaving your web page).
If the page with a high percentage of exits is a “thank you” page or a purchase confirmation page, you don’t have to worry, these users have already taken the action you wanted so badly.
However, if this is the first page a user sees or some key page in your checkout process, you’ll need to review what might be going on and possibly make some changes to try to reduce that percentage of exits.
What is your target audience according to your data?
To identify your target audience with Google Analytics, you will need to make use of the reports available within the Audience section .
Here you will be able to see some very interesting data about the users who visit your website, such as:
- Demographic data (Sex and Age).
- Language and location.
- Type of user (new or recurring).
- Access device (mobile, tablet or desktop).
Based on the metrics mentioned in the previous points, you will be able to do an analysis and find your target audience. In other words, with the audience that converts best and in which it will be more profitable to invest .
Is your website optimized for all devices?
Nowadays, more and more visits are made through mobile devices and, in most cases, this is the device that attracts more users to your website.
That’s why you want to make sure your page is as optimized as possible , allowing users to find what they’re looking for, regardless of the device they’re using .
In Google Analytics, you can access this information in the “Audience” section , in the “Mobile Devices” section . Here you will be able to see the main statistics for each type of device (mobile, desktop and tablet) and even for each browser or mobile device.
Note: The behavior of users on mobile devices is usually very different from that of users who do it through their computer.
Basic metrics and KPIs that you should measure
Well, now that you know more or less everything that can be achieved thanks to web analytics, it is time to take action and show you the metrics that you should check to make sure that both your campaigns and your website are working correctly. .
However, I have to tell you that each web page is different and the metrics can be totally different from each other, so do not get overwhelmed if, for example, you see that your bounce rate is 80%. Surely, if you have a blog, this high bounce rate is normal, since users arrive at the page they are interested in, read it and leave your page without doing anything else.
Users, New Users and Returning Users
One of the basic metrics you need to measure is the total number of users who visit your website.
As you have already seen, this “Users” metric is available by default in most Google Analytics reports. Of course, you will always want to have a greater number of users on your website.
However, not all users who come to your website are equally important. If you have a lot of new users, but none of them visit your website again, you should do something to change these users from “New Users” to “Returning Users” .
A recurring user is someone who already knows your website, has decided to visit it again and therefore may be more interested in your products or services.
One of your main goals should be to increase the rate of recurring users visiting your website.
Sessions, Bounce Rate and Pages per session
As I have already told you on occasion in this post, a session is the same as a visit .
In the same way as users, not all sessions are “worth” the same. In other words, there are sessions that we consider to be of higher quality (they are more interested in your products or services) and others that are of poorer quality.
It is no use having many sessions on your website if they do not meet any of your goals .
Typically, a high bounce rate (percentage of visitors who view a single page during their session or visit) is associated with a low-quality visit.
Another metric that is closely related and that you should take into account is the number of pages per session that each user views during their visit.
In most cases, your goal should be to increase the number of pages per user session .
For this you can resort to some tricks, such as showing related posts or articles in the case of a blog, related products in the case of an online store or help pages or other services for any other type of page.
You could also add a video or image so that the user clicks on them and you know that this visit was not actually a bounce.
Conversion Rate, Transactions, Revenue, and Average Media Value
In the event that you have an online store, these will be four main metrics that you should review to see if your sales objectives are being met. It is obvious that the better the conversion rate you have, the greater the number of transactions, the greater the volume of income and the average order value is high, the better for your website.
However, you should pay special attention to two of them : Conversion Rate and Average Order Value .
The conversion rate can vary a lot for each web page, even within the same sector. Therefore, it is important that you take a look at the values ??that your competition may have, but I recommend that you forget a little about that value and that your main objective is to improve your conversion rate day by day (that is, tomorrow be higher than today, and that next year be higher than this).
Regarding the Average Order Value , it is a metric that is somewhat forgotten and I think it is a big mistake not to give it the importance it deserves.
The most difficult thing (and what costs the most) in the online world is getting users to buy your products or hire your services.
When you already have a user who has bought from you or is about to do so, it is because you have earned their trust. It is at this point when you are in a position to offer something else and, surely, it will cost you much less to ‘sell it’ to it than if it were a user visiting your page for the first time.
Therefore, I encourage you to follow this “Average Order Value” metric very closely and try to increase its average value, since I am sure that your campaigns will be much more profitable for you.
Well, as you have already seen throughout this post, web analytics is a very wide world in which many things can be done to improve your web page and try to achieve maximum performance for your campaigns .
There are many different tools with which you can do many things, so I recommend that it is best to go step by step.
To begin with, I recommend that you use Google Analytics since it is currently the most powerful free web analytics tool on the market and adding it to your website is really simple. Also, if you can, use Google Tag Manager for its installation for what it will give you.
As you get more comfortable, you should start using other tools, like Google Optimize to do A/B tests, Hotjar to see the heatmaps of some of your pages, and Google Data Studio to have it all centralized in a very visual report. .