Web Analytics Getting It Right By WG Moore
Understanding and using web analytics.
In recent years, website marketers were concerned with increasing ‘hits’ and ‘stickiness’ of their sites. They were concerned with increasing page views and amount of time spent on site. This is definitely a hold over from paper based businesses of past, and has proved to not be of much use in fast moving internet world.
As a result, hits and views are no longer considered useful metrics for evaluating website success. They simply don’t provide right kind of information needed by online marketers. Now they look at conversions, drop-out rates, return on investment and revenue per visitor.
Internet marketers of today want to make more money. To do this, they must understand their visitors, their motives, where they came from, what they were looking for, and how they found site. And most important of all: what made them make decision to buy or what made them abandon purchase.
In order to accomplish this, they need a powerful new set of analysis tools; tools that are fast, accurate and easy to use. And most important, these tools must be able to measure performance over time. That is, marketer needs to be able to set a baseline for any metric and then measure a percentage of increase or decrease at a later time. And time frame needs to be long enough to show meaningful results – usually 30 days or more.
Here are a few common problems solved by proper use of web analytics:
Good traffic, but a high Bounce Rate
A ‘Bounce’ is a visitor who comes to your site and leaves without looking at any other pages. The number of bounces is compared to those who visit more than one page to give a ‘Bounce Rate’. All websites have a bounce rate. Whether it is high or not is relative to site. Only numbers taken over a period of time will show an average for any particular site.
There are two main problems that lead to a high bounce rate: Attracting wrong kind of traffic and not giving visitor what they were looking for.
To identify first case, open New Visitors report. This report should contain a list of unique, first-time visitors. The report should also show first page visited and where they came from. The origin may be empty, due to a number of reasons outside control of analytics package. Select a visitor that came from a search engine. Now ‘Drill Down’ by clicking on selected line and opening a detail view of this visitor. The detail page will show search term used to find your site.
Was search term relative to subject matter of landing page? Were they only looking for something free? Looking at a number of search terms will reveal if wrong kind of traffic is coming in.
If search terms are appropriate, then searches are driving qualified traffic to site. If this is case, high bounce rate is due to page content not properly addressing visitor expectations.
High Drop-Out Rate
According to Jupiter Research, 71 percent of sites do not analyze customer drop-out rates, even though 66 percent of consumers reported having abandoned a purchase while on a website.
The drop-out rate will show an increase, or hopefully, a decrease with time. A properly designed buying process will capture personal contact information before continuing with checkout process. This contact information can be used to contact lost sale and discuss reasons.
The Drop-Out report should show visitor, product and date and time of sale. Select one line in report and drill down to view contact information, if available. Call or email visitor to learn reasons for abandoning sale. Also, internet marketer should discuss buying process with current customers. This is an excellent method of increasing customer loyalty. It also provides an opportunity to gather testimonials. Most buyers will have visited several times before they bought. Ask why they didn’t buy first time they visited site. Also, ask why they came back and what motivated them to buy.