A Marketing Gold Mine: The Importance of Tracking Website Data
A firm’s web presence is much more than a flashy website and catchy content. It is a gold mine of information about a firm’s target audience including demographics, behaviors, and interests. If you dig deep enough and know where to look, there is a vast amount of data available to understand and optimize performance and results.
First things first, you must have Google Analytics, which involves installing a Google Analytics tracking code in the backend of your website. Google Analytics is a high-level tool that provides in-depth assessment of how your website is performing including website traffic, popular content, visitor demographics and behaviors, as well as goal conversions and lead sources.
With the wealth of information available, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Before you dive into the data, think about your business goals and focus on what matters most. Remember, the purpose of your website is to help reach your business goals, whether that is to attract top talent, generate leads, position the firm as a market leader, or complete transactions. Identify, track, and measure data with those goals in mind.
One data point we encourage our clients to measure is conversions. Conversions is defined as the completion of an activity on your website. For example: signing up for a newsletter subscription, submitting a resume, requesting a demo, or completing a form to access a whitepaper. This one metric is critical in determining the overall performance of your website. Few conversions indicate something is seriously wrong with your website (poor content, few conversion opportunities, poor design).
Next, focus on a few key metrics that provide insight into audience, acquisition, and behaviors. For audience metrics, review demographics, geographic, and technological platforms to understand your audience and which platforms are being utilized. For example, if the majority of your target audience engages your website via mobile devices, is your website mobile-friendly? If not, those using mobile devices will quickly move on. New versus returning visitors is another useful metric. Few returning visitors often indicates that a site’s content is outdated or stale, or that the content is not providing value-add (knowledge leadership, informative or educational purposes).
Other metrics to consider are acquisition and behavior. Understanding the channels that direct the most traffic to your website gives a clear indication of where and how to focus digital marketing efforts. Data around content and messages presents valuable insight into what your audience finds most valuable. Review top landing pages data to identify the content that results in the most engagement. View behavior flow to see how visitors navigate your site. Where and why are they leaving? There is something wrong with your website if you see that your website audience is not your target audience or that the content with which they engage the most does not contribute to business objectives. If this is the case, it is time to rethink the design, message, and/or content of your website.
Just like anything else in life, results can only be achieved when they are identified and measured. Consistently review website metrics and assign someone the responsibility to monitor the data. Focus on a few key performance indicators such as: sessions, percentage of new sessions, traffic source, users, bounce rates, average session duration, top landing pages, keywords, and goal completions. Consistently watch the metrics that have the greatest impact on your business goals and, when things aren’t performing as expected, make the necessary adjustments.
If you are uncertain where or how to analyze the data, give us a call.
Posted on Fri, July 1, 2016
by Christine Hollinden