When it comes to measuring a website’s effectiveness, most people’s first point of call is their site’s analytics.
For most this means accepting a generic tally for ‘user numbers' and ‘user activity’. In reality though, this gives limited information to act upon.
What we all really need to do is dig deeper into the data available and;
Really understand engagement levels of our users
Evaluate how our users came to the site (and what their interest may be)
Create more tailored content to appeal and resonate with them
Enhance the user experience and shorten the buyer journey
The generic ‘user’ tally provided by proprietary solutions is just a total of many different groups of people; each with completely different motives and interests. What you can’t distinguish from the analytics’ user figures are who these different groups are. As a result you risk wrongly assuming they’re all potential customers, when in fact they’re not.
A recent example
Here’s a recent example of how analytics can be misleading if taken at face value.
Our team were called in by a large brand to determine what different groups the ‘user’ figures in their website’s analytics represented. The site also included a customer service portal for existing customers post purchase.
We examined the activity, the sources of different users and the core characteristics about them. It enabled us to identify 3 common groups within the ‘user’ tally of the site’s analytics;
Employees of the brand – who were supporting the service portal
Existing customers – visiting information sections of the site, product pages and also the service portal
Ambient browsers (potential customers) – also visiting information sections of the site and product pages
In defining these groups we were able to recalibrate the website’s analytics so they could distinguish the volumes and behaviours of the 3 distinct groups.
Being more effective with your site and marketing
Going forward the clearer analytics enabled the brand to be more focused and precise with the management of the site and the marketing campaigns they created to drive traffic to it. For example, they were able to assess and improve;
The quality and appropriateness of the site’s content for the different groups – this prompted them to create dedicated sections for different groups’ interests and clearer signposting
The effectiveness of their online advertising in driving prospective customers to the site and improving engagement and bounce rates when they landed.
The overall health and user experience of the site.
Whilst it is good to regularly check your website’s performance, make sure you understand what lies behind the figures. Don’t take them at face value. You really need to understand the people behind the numbers and how they relate to your marketing plan’s objectives. By using data science to configure a bespoke solution for your needs you are not bound by the limitations of 'off the shelf' software which more often than not requires huge internal commitment and long term investment.
Do dig deeper so you completely understand the different groups your ‘user’ figures represent. Armed with this knowledge, you are then on a much stronger footing to gain accurate insights from the data and – more importantly – take the right actions to achieve the results you want.
Good Karma Media Analytics Team – firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Karma Media are a PR and Marketing Consultancy that are also a social enterprise. This means the majority of their profits are redirected to help protect our planet and in support of good causes.