Understanding complex website data is becoming increasingly important for companies. How do visitors find your website? Once they arrive, how do the visitors interact with your site? What content do they consume? What pages on the site most often lead to a desired action? Are your visitors converting? Companies tackle these questions daily, and many choose to hire internet or digital marketing agencies to handle this information flow.
At most digital marketing agencies, you will find some combination of Pay-Per Click (PPC) specialists, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists, social marketing strategists, email marketers, web developers, website designers and content writers. Services provided can include paid search marketing, SEO, content building, social media, website development, email campaign creation and landing page creation.
Another offering that is gaining footing at internet marketing agencies is web analytics, sometimes referred to as conversion optimization. Depending on the agency, this service could include monthly reports pulled out of Google Analytics and canned dashboards, daily monitoring of website data, shopping cart optimization or even weekly analyses. At Parallel Path Internet Marketing, we look at web analytics differently. Web analytic shouldn’t be about just turning out a bunch of reports, but more about generating information from data that is usable to you and your organization. Our focus is helping you make money by being sure your marketing is working for you as hard as it can be.
Using a sporting goods store as an example, let’s take a look at potential analyses and ways that the sporting goods store could benefit from them.
Traffic Source Analysis
A typical traffic source analysis is reported on by medium; direct, referral, organic or paid search. For the owner of the sporting goods store, the traffic source analysis can highlight issues around specific traffic sources. Are direct visitors to your site viewing fewer pages than visitors from other traffic sources? Are they converting at a lower rate? That would be unusual as these visitors are motivated to come directly to your site via a bookmark or typing the URL into the search bar. They generally tend to be return visitors who are familiar with your brand.
Are some referral sites sending visitors who spend less than 10 seconds on your site and bounce at a rate of over 90%? If you are paying for that traffic, it could be wise to invest your money in another direction, as these particular visitors have no motivation to stay and shop for your products. Or maybe you just need to change the page those referrals are landing on. On the other hand, is a referral site sending quality traffic to your site that converts at a strong rate? If so, is there is a way to increase that traffic?
For search strategies, understanding from a data standpoint which keywords and landing pages are driving strong traffic (and which ones are not), can provide information to the paid search and SEO strategists in their efforts to improve. How well does each traffic source convert?
Alignment analyses are the next step in understanding how the current marketing efforts are working. Does the messaging on the landing page fit with the searcher’s intent? If a visitor arrives at the sporting goods website searching for “north face backpacks,” does the visitor land on your Home page, or a page specifically listing all the available North Face backpacks? How about searching for “north face backpacks” and landing on a page about duffel bags? Adding unnecessary clicks in the click path is never a recommended strategy, and can lose potential customers. Like traffic source analyses, alignment analyses are generated by traffic source to see if landing pages are aligning properly with visitor’s intent.
One consideration of a conversion analysis could be content viewed before the visitor makes a purchase. For the sporting goods store, are there specific pages on the website that visitors view before choosing to move through the cart process? Are there specific products pageviews that result in more cart views? If so, is there a way to drive more visitors to those specific pages in other areas of the website?
Conversion analyses are also a great way to closely analyze a cart process on retail websites. How many steps does the website visitor have to go through in order to check out on a website? Visitors who are buying items on retail sites such as sporting goods are more likely to complete a shorter checkout process than a longer one.
Are there steps in the process that see a high dropout rate? Are you only collecting information that is required to complete a sale, or are you asking for extraneous information? Experienced web analysts are able to recommend ways to improve cart processes, which will improve the the overall cart conversion rate.
Data Gap Analysis
Finally, data gap analyses are ongoing analyses to make sure that we are capturing the data that is important in making recommended changes. Are there other metrics that should be considered when making critical decisions? Websites can change, as can tracking needs, based upon the types of insights that are trying to be gathered. With the sporting goods store, there may be reports set up by brands or products. When new products are added to the site, specific reports may need modification to make sure they are included.
Incorporating a specific data analytics strategy as part of an overall internet marketing strategy is another method of tightening down all digital marketing strategies. Finding an internet marketing agency offering an analytics solution that goes beyond canned dashboards and reports (both of which are important and do have their place) and provides in-depth analysis on a regular basis make your digital marketing efforts even more successful.