Web Analytics: Importance, Benefits, and the Best Tools
By Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Apr 25, 20227 min read
The world has changed before our eyes since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At its worst, most businesses had to shift most of their operations online. Though restrictions have eased since and we are seeing more physical interactions, businesses are not expected to completely go back to the traditional way of operating. In fact, most businesses, especially smaller ones, have gained firsthand experience on the benefits of websites and online platforms.
In the pandemic-influenced world, it has rather become a necessity for businesses to interact more with customers digitally, understand their online behavior, and map their omnichannel journey. And web analytics have a significant role to play here.
Though the importance of web analytics has been known to the world of digital marketing for the past decade, the pandemic has given it a new meaning. In this piece, we shall look at what web analytics means for modern marketers, how it is beneficial for your business to survive in this cut-throat competitive environment, and which tools you should opt for to derive the best results.
What Is Web Analytics?
Web analytics is the process of gathering, processing, and assessing your website data. It helps you map the behavior of a user on your website. It is used to benchmark the performance of your website and identify any gaps that require your urgent attention. By helping track the KPIs, web analytics enable you to drive your web presence and online business in the right direction.
How Web Analytics Benefits Your Business
Web analytics sits at the heart of any digital marketing campaign as it helps understand visitors’ demographics, behavior, and interests. Using this information, you can build more informed and impactful marketing campaigns and strategies and scale your business faster.
Analyze Online Traffic - Web analytics lets you analyze traffic to your website. From user insights to the source of the traffic, your business gets a deep understanding of your customers. This helps you shortlist content, strategies, and activities that are working in your favor and those that need a relook.
Identify the Right Keywords – Success with digital marketing rests on the choice of keywords. Attracting the traffic alone is not enough, you need to choose the right keywords to turn visitors into customers. For instance, the keyword ‘laptop’ might bring in users looking to buy laptops, but this would not add to your business if you were a laptop repair technician.
This is where you need web analytics tools that help you identify and target the most potent keywords.
Track User Behavior – To run your business successfully, you need to get under the skin of your users. You must understand their needs and keep track of their changing aspirations. Web analytics helps in tracking every single interaction a user has with your web platform, thus allowing you to analyze their behavior on your website.
Target the Right Audience – Every business needs to track the ideal customer to increase sales and revenue. Web analytics lets you identify your target audience and drive them toward transactions. Identifying the target audience helps your business run rewarding marketing campaigns.
Improve Site Optimization – Web analytics helps you identify critical risks in your digital marketing campaign and improve it. Whether your landing pages are not attracting traffic or content irrelevance is resulting in page exits, you are able to spot the flaws in your website and optimize it for better results.
Important Website Metrics You Should Track and Share
Understanding the importance of web analytics is one thing and knowing the most important metrics to track and share with your customers and advertisers is another. Depending on the analytics tool you choose, you can track dozens of metrics to measure the performance of your website. However, not all of them are going to be useful and to save time, you must learn the ten most important metrics that are listed here:
1. Number of Visitors
Before you get into any other web analytics metrics, you need to start with the number of visitors. If your traffic is low, other metrics become inconsequential. You must go back to the drawing board and work on your SEO and other digital marketing strategies.
2. Bounce Rate
It is defined as the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after landing up on a page. You must aim to keep the bounce rate low with engaging and interesting content on your website.
3. Pageviews Per Session
This is one of the most important metrics to measure the quality of your website. Ideally, you would want a visitor to visit multiple pages on your website. Adding informative content, graphics, infographics, and quality internal linking is one of the best ways of increasing average pageviews per session.
4. Average Time on Page
It measures the time a user spends on a particular page on the website. This is an important metric as more time spent on a page suggests users find the content engaging. Average time on a page may vary depending on the kind and length of content on your website.
5. Session Duration
This metric is an extension of the previous one where you look at the total time users spend on a website during a session. Higher session duration indicates increased engagement on the website. It also helps track the success of any recent marketing campaign.
6. Traffic Sources
You must know where your visitors are coming from, whether it is from search engines, social media platforms, emails, or other websites. You can also track the location of the users, thus leveraging your top traffic sources and at the same time, improving your score on poor performing sources.
7. Source Device
It has become an important metric in recent years as with technological advancement and mobile evolution, the traffic has started originating from different devices including PC/laptops, smartphones, and tablets. You can also get information on the browser, or operating systems used to visit your website.
8. Exit Pages
These are the pages from where people exit your website and hence, it is important to track them. Once you identify the top exit pages of your website, it becomes easy for you to fix the issues on those pages and encourage users to spend more time on your website.
9. Returning Visitors
You need to track the number of returning visitors to your website. Returning visitors suggest increased brand value for your website as they reflect how the content, the marketing campaigns, and the user touchpoints are working well for your website.
10. Goal Conversion
Finally, you must focus on goal conversion. These are defined as activities that you would want your users to perform during an active session. For instance, if you are running an ecommerce store, you would want customers to order products; for a news website, your goal would be to increase subscription to your newsletters. Make sure your content communicates and encourages visitors to take the desired action.
Best Web Analytics Tools
Now that you know the importance of analytics and which metrics you should track, you might get stuck on which tool you should use to track these metrics.
The market today is quite competitive with a number of promising tools available to monitor your business’ performance. With the web analytics market size expected to hit $9.11 billion by 2025, various small and big tech companies are offering tools that boast of similar tracking features. To help you choose one that meets your business requirements and helps it grow quickly in 2022 and beyond, we have curated a list of the best tools:
- Google Analytics – It is the big daddy in the web analytics business and the most widely used tool. As a free tool, it offers deep insights into your website’s performance and easily integrates with other marketing tools from Google including Google Ads, Google Data Studio, Google Search Console, and Google Optimize.
- Adobe Analytics - It is a paid tool but does pack all the bells and whistles. It allows you to track the performance of your website from scratch using Tracking Codes. Apart from web analytics, it also provides your team with actionable insights from social networks. You can access data in real time and evaluate a customer’s journey.
- Open Web Analytics (OWA) – Another free tool, this has found its backers among digital marketers. Apart from metrics that are trackable on other tools, OWA offers a few interesting features such as page heatmaps and lets you track what users click on a page.
- SEMrush – If you wish to run compelling ads for your marketing campaign, this is the web analytics tool for you. Apart from tracking the performance of your website, you can track and gain insights into competitors’ ad campaigns.
- Crazy Egg – This tool focuses on conversion rate optimization and A/B testing. It provides visitor snapshots for you to understand and serve users in a more personalized way.
- MarketingCloudFX – MarketingCloudFX provides you with advanced insight into the performance of your website. It lets you personalize the content for different users and also transcribe phone calls which is an added advantage.
- Kissmetrics – Kissmetrics enables you to track and analyze user engagement on your website as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
- Moz Pro – This web analytics tool focuses on helping businesses improve their SEO strategy. It has one of the best keyword explorer tools in the market and is popular among SEO strategists.
- Clicky – It is one of the easiest web analytics tools to get started with. Leverage features such as heatmaps, uptime monitoring, and A/B testing, and monitor your website in real time especially when running annual sales.
Web analytics sits at the center stage of your digital marketing strategy. It acts as the nerve center of your campaign offering you a bird’s eye view of your website’s performance. By measuring diverse user engagement metrics, you can optimize your campaign and stay ahead of your competition. If you haven’t used these tools up until now, it's time to get started. And with the right tools before your eyes, it should no longer be a daunting task to choose which one fits your business needs the best.
If you are wondering where to start with implementing an analytics tool on your website or how to leverage its true power, our team at Growth Natives is here to help. As expert digital marketers who have served several of our customers with making the most out of analytics, we have deep knowledge of the use and potential of these tools. Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall help you choose the best ones suited for your needs. To learn more about our capabilities with web analytics, visit our website.