Web Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Outliant Editorial Team
October 28, 2022
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A guy wearing formal attire with a backward cap and a laptop introduces web analytics to another man
A guy wearing formal attire with a backward cap and a laptop introduces web analytics to another man

Web Analytics might sound like a complicated and technical concept, but simply put, it’s a customer marketing tool for businesses to determine the chances of creating return customers. More generally, it helps businesses evaluate visitor behavior on a website.

As businesses continue to compete and try to outdo each other, utilizing web analytics has been an effective approach for giving businesses an edge over the competition. This article will explain the concept and significance of web analytics and highlight critical analytical tools and tactics that help improve sales.

  • What is Web Analytics?
  • Key Web Metrics to Track for Improving Business Growth
  • Web Analytics Tools to Boost Your Business
  • What is Web Analytics?

    As previously stated, Web analytics involves examining customer behavior on a website. This process includes tracking, reviewing, and reporting data to measure web activity and predict future customer behavior. For instance, when a customer hovers around a website, browsing through images and videos, the data recorded on such activity can be utilized to determine what moves the customer is most likely to make on their next visit. 

    Effective for market research and optimizing website effectiveness, web analytical applications help businesses measure web traffic and utilize the results of advertising campaigns when creating customer behavior profiles. By analyzing information about the number of visitors to a website, or the number of page views, businesses can monitor industry trends, highlighting what is useful for market research. There are two categories of web analytics:

    • On-site - These allow businesses to track the activities of visitors on their own website and determine how well the website is doing. Tools like Google Analytics monitor user engagements and interactions on a website, identifying why and how a customer got to the stage of making a purchase or how many campaigns they viewed and clicked on.

    • Off-site - These allow businesses to measure user activities on other websites and identify potential visitors to their website. With this industry-wide analysis, businesses can see the bigger picture of how they rank among the competition.

    The sheer amount of data being recorded on websites can seem overwhelming for a startup business; however, using tools to make sense of this information is vital for business growth. Tracking this information can help businesses do the following:

    a. Create a personalized experience, tailored to each customer who regularly visits the website

    b. Design a more specific market strategy that determines which products customers are most or least likely to buy

    c. Observe which geographical regions pull the most traffic on the website

    d. Determine how much each customer or group of customers can spend on a product

    e. Evaluate whether or not a customer will return to repurchase an item they previously bought

    Key Web Metrics to Track for Improving Business Growth

    So, what do website analytics actually allow you to do? A common issue most businesses have with analyzing large amounts of data is knowing where to begin. Based on this, we’ve highlighted critical analytics to track when trying to increase sales, clicks, and conversion rates:

    • Web Traffic Rate - This refers to the number of users that visit a website during a particular period. This is crucial, because it tells businesses whether or not their website is getting the attention of their audience. For example, for a new business, an average number of 30-40 visits per day could be regarded as growth, whereas, for a business that has existed for a year or more, visits that few might be indicative of a problem. Analyzing traffic rates helps businesses know at an early stage whether or not their website is ranking well among the competition.

    • Engagement & Conversion Rates - While a high number of visitors on a website is a good indicator of growth, when that number has a low engagement rate from the visitors, it tends to defeat the purpose of optimizing that website. Just like monitoring engagements on social media through likes and comments on posts, businesses should also monitor how visitors engage with the content on their website. This will provide an accurate idea of whether or not their audience is actually interacting with their product and why; tracking the conversion rate on any website is key for businesses to determine how many of their visitors are being converted to actual customers.

    • Bounce Rate - This is when a user visits your website and does not move to a second page. To calculate bounce rate, the overall traffic on the website is divided by single-page sessions. This gives businesses whose website success rate depends on users visiting more than one page the opportunity to determine if there are usability issues making users drop off. An average bounce rate is approximately 41-51%, but when that number approaches 70%, the rate is considered high. It’s worth noting that having a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing; if a business has a single-page website, like a blog, then a high bounce rate is expected.

    • Exit Page - Similar to bounce rate, an exit page is the point at which users leave a website after visiting other pages. It’s normal for a customer to complete a transaction on your website and then exit, however, there are common page drop-offs, like the billing page during online transactions. It’s important to track this activity, because it gives businesses an insight into their website structure and content, especially for those businesses that have multiple pages for checkouts, surveys, or signups.

    • Traffic Sources - It’s important to know where your website visitors are being redirected from. Tracking traffic sources gives companies the ability to examine campaign streams and monitor what channels are useful in pulling traffic to their website. With web analytics tools, it’s easier to know which traffic sources are engaging and then to build marketing strategies accordingly. In addition, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic in recent years. What this means is that people now use their mobile devices to view content more frequently than their computers. Knowing that many customers engage with their content on a mobile device can help direct businesses to build and focus on websites that are more mobile-friendly.

    • New & Returning Visitors - The return rate of website visitors is important because it’s an indicator of whether or not your products are engaging to customers. When a website has a low return rate, it could also be a result of usability or service issues. Businesses, regardless of size, should enhance their website’s user experience, keeping in mind that every optimization made should be in service to their customers. By creating user personas for every new customer, businesses are able to determine who their target audience is and what they want, helping to inform the decisions that will most improve user experience.

    • Website Issues - Sometimes, design issues like CTA placement, headlines, or site navigation can frustrate users and discourage them from engaging with your content; proactively identifying these issues is a good way to combat this problem. Analytics tools can also help businesses identify aspects of their websites that might be confusing or misleading to their customers.

    Web Analytics Tools to Boost Your Business

    • Google Search Console - Formally known as “Google Webmaster Tools,” Google Search Console is an analytics tool that helps businesses optimize their SEO strategies. By providing information about high-ranking keywords and the user click rates of search results, this tool helps businesses determine which keywords their sites rank for. As a free service offered by Google, this tool has numerous benefits that include increasing search traffic, HTML improvements, and monitoring link reports, among others.

    • Google Analytics - This tool essentially tracks and reports website traffic. By integrating with other Google services, this tool provides businesses with the opportunity to monitor and utilize data recorded from their website. This data in its raw form might be too complex to make sense of, so Google Analytics offers less complexity and a clear understanding of how all the information is connected. 

    • HubSpot - This marketing tool has analytics integrated into every campaign, allowing businesses to track and monitor critical metrics in one place. Hubspot provides businesses with essential data needed to make smarter and more-informed decisions for business growth. In addition, this platform provides insight into the entire customer journey, pinpointing which marketing areas work best.

    • Hotjar - This platform offers features that visually represent where users click, move, and scroll on a website. Some of these features include playbacks and feedback on how users interact with a website. By providing behavioral analytics, Hotjar helps businesses understand their customers better and create a more-personalized experience.

    • Spring Metrics - This tool gives businesses in the hospitality industry insights on real-time conversion, converting sources, converting keywords, landing-page analysis, and e-mail performance. In addition, the platform shows which marketing channels are the most lucrative. Spring Metrics has over 20 behavioral triggers that inform businesses about the best strategies to increase sales and grow. 

    • Chartbeat - This is an essential content marketing tool that monitors active customer behaviors that determine when visitors are reading or engaging with content on a site. Chartbeat provides real-time analytics, insights, and transformative tools to ensure businesses can make informed editorial decisions and improve audience engagement.

    As the web is becoming increasingly customer-centric, businesses are eager for new ways to provide better services and determine how well their customers are interacting with their products and services. To this end, web analytics tools provide an efficient means for companies to analyze raw data and make informed business decisions. 

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