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In the world of B2B marketing we’re all digitally driven. And what is the digital hub and nucleus of every business - it’s website of course. As marketers, data and analytics contribute hugely to the decisions we make in tackling forces preventing us from generating desired results - yet gathering vital website data remains a somewhat specialist topic that many of us would do well to fully discover. What are web analytics, why are they important and what should we look to measure? The answers are all here…
What does analytics mean?
“Analytics” describes the process of collecting and analysing data, looking for patterns, trends and connections. When applied to a website (better known as web analytics) it looks to collect and examine information and data pertaining to website features such as user behaviour, system performance and many more.
Web analytics is all done through metrics, which are (in simplest form) a quantitative measurement; numbers that provide us with the precise and accurate information we need. Whether a metric displays a total or an average (or any other numerical value) will change depending on what measurements those conducting the analytics choose to gather, but a metric can be any sort of definitive number. Metrics remain powerful because of their objective nature - when marketers use web analytics to their fullest, gaining the insight they need to drive desired results there is no questioning the outcomes.
Why are web analytics important?
Marketers know that information not only means power, it means better results. Knowledge fuelled by data allows us to make more informed, reliable decisions when strategizing marketing to benefit revenue generation and business growth. It makes total sense to ensure we fully understand our business website with web analytics, because it is such a huge part of brand presence, acting almost like a digital business card.
Discovering how prospects and clients alike use your website, what makes them spend more money or search for solutions elsewhere is a powerful insight and can prove that small changes sometimes have huge effects on results. In a digitally driven world, 94% of B2B buyers start their journey online so without an effective website, you’ll struggle to achieve your full revenue potential, because you’re not likely to truly tap into the buyer journey or understand your buyer’s behaviours and needs.
Web analytics are more than just pockets of marketing data, they give organizations the insight needed to benefit the whole pipeline, see retention success and increase brand reputation.
What should we measure?
As you can imagine, every website offers a myriad of metrics to measure, so what are the best ones to choose? This is hugely dependant on one very important factor - your business goals. Where so many different metrics can be drawn from a single website, having defined and desired results is a must, ensuring you can align your metrics to match. For example, here are two popular goals for business websites:
- Generating hot leads from website conversions - If you’ve got a website, why not generate new business from it? The metrics that feed into this goal are ultimately simple, you’ll want to measure how many visitors you get, and how many of them convert. This then provides your conversion percentage. A good website is expected to convert 1-5% of visitors, but what metrics help you improve your current conversion? Measuring the success and bounce rate of specific pages offers valuable insight into the most successful calls-to-action and page topics. Your average visit duration offers information about your current visitor engagement level and the important visitor source enlightens you to how prospects discovered your website, so you can assess your current marketing performance from specific online areas. These all feed into benefiting that overall website conversion.
- Gaining warm leads from gated content downloads - Content marketing continues to go from strength to strength and many businesses use their website to publish content, in the hope of gaining warm lead details in exchange. To see success, you’ll want to measure the number of sessions each content download page sees, how many clicks they gain and how many form fills completed. It’s important to do this for each gated content page, so you can easily understand the content subjects and formats that are popular and how many people have organically found your assets. Advanced tools such as Lead Forensics also offer business and industry insight, so can know which specific industries are engaging with your content. This all helps your team continually produce content that is popular, relevant and has the highest chance of conversion success.
You know better than anyone the results your business hopes to gain from it’s website. But it’s important to ensure you don’t get bogged down in vanity metrics if they aren’t necessary. Working hard to gather data for metrics not related to your goals can go against your pro-active outlook and hinder performance. The more “extra” web analytics you measure, the harder it is to see the patterns and trends that give marketers the power over their website results.
Reading the data
We know what to measure, but how do we get into an analytical mind-set and read the results properly, ensuring we draw out the most useful information?
The important thing to remember, is that a vast number of apparent trends and connections are coincidental and don’t offer marketers any insight. For example, let’s say last month your average visit duration was longer than the previous month, but you saw less visits than usual on your “customer success stories” page. Can you see a direct way these two metrics are connected? When reading web analytics always look for the link, piecing the data together; if there’s no clear or obvious link, then they probably aren’t connected - pure and simple.
When reading web analytics data, it’s also important to find the areas you can control. If a certain page is visited less, are you linking to it properly? Is its SEO optimized? Are any links broken? There’s no use drawing conclusions that you can’t impactfully change to benefit the result - otherwise you’re just drawing vanity metrics.
Reading web analytics data is more than just encountering data figures and looking for patterns, it offers full website control and an understanding of what your audience want - assuming you can read them properly.
Get better results
The main motivator behind getting to grips with web analytics is of course, bettering our results. Now we know which metrics to measure and how to read the results for powerful analysis, we ask, is that all we need to get those results we crave?
The truth is no, not quite…Web analytics will show you the data your website holds - the definitive numbers that depict goal success or failure. But it won’t give you the exact reason for changes in the data - you’ll need to get your detective hat on and find out for yourself.
To get better results, you need to ask better questions. If one of your pages has less visitors than normal, start by asking why. Then further this question and ask what has changed since the last time you took a reading, then go another level deeper ask what you can change to improve the result. It is this continual questioning that allows you to unlock the true workings of your website, and gives you the power to understand your prospects, what they need and how you can pique their interests.
It’s important to note that when making changes to improve results, always move with logic - make small changes to elements you think currently hinder your performance then leave them to settle. If you make a bunch of changes all at once, or lots of small changes in very quick succession, you may see a results improvement, but you won’t know why. This is counterproductive, and you’ll soon see the same bland results come back.
Why not discover how Lead Forensics can offer advanced web analytics, giving you valuable insight into more than just user behaviour. Identify your anonymous website visitors, gain valuable contact details for key decision makers and understand every individual user journey. Advanced website analytics and a bounty of hot, sales-ready leads- book your free demo today!
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