On the fifth day of christmas my true love gave to me: all the information I could possibly want about my customers.
Doesn’t really have the flow of the original does it? Nonetheless, we’re back with a rundown of just why analytics are so useful for understanding those visiting your site. So, what exactly can you learn?
What brought them here?
It’s the most obvious question most people are going to have when it comes to upping their web traffic. What channels perform best for me? Are my visitors arriving here directly (physically typing the url), through search, via a link or were they brought here from an ad?
Practically any web analytics package (including the free Google Analytics) is going to offer info on where your traffic is coming from and that’s brilliant! If nothing else you can use it to salve that nagging worry at the back of your mind: “are my ad campaigns working?”
There is so much more to it though. You can work out what people are searching for when they find you and use that info to overhaul your branding and SEO strategy. You can break down social media further into the individual platforms and find out which ones are driving what traffic. This can, for instance, allow you to identify networks that need a strategy overhaul. On the other hand, if you don’t have the time and resources to hit all the networks all the time, this is the perfect way to decide where to focus your efforts. Get most of your referrals through Twitter? Well now you know where you want to spend your time!
Where are my visitors from and when are they active?
Thanks to the magic of IP addresses, analytics will let you know which countries your customers are from, they’ll also tell you what time they are visiting your site.
Straight off the bat, if there are a significant number of visitors from a foreign country, keep them in mind when you look at expanding. You know you’ve got a ready made market there, it might well be worth targeting them.
However, you can drill down further into the geographical data and find out what regions of your own country are providing the majority of your traffic. This allows you to target more specifically in your paid advertising as you know the specific geographic bounds you want to set.
Similarly, with social media analytics, you can work out when is the best time to post your content. Experiment with different posting times to see when you get the maximum foot traffic.
New vs Return visitors
On the surface the new vs return ratio doesn’t really tell you much. However, you can segment these numbers by channel and that’s where it comes into its own. You can use it to identify which channels are loyalty building and bring back previous visitors as opposed to those that drive new engagement. This means you can tweak how you interact with each and where you focus what effort.
How do they navigate my site? How long do they stay?
So you know who your visitors are, how they found you and when they’re visiting. Nows its time to look at what they do when they’re on the site.
Analytics can track your most/least visited pages, which links get clicks, what visitors search for on site, and where and when they are leaving.
So what can you do with this? Well when you know where they are leaving you can identify problem areas on the site. For those of you in ecommerce this is particularly useful as you can track where and when shopping carts are being abandoned and edit the user experience to improve your conversion rate.
Similarly, short stay times tend to indicate a problem with your content or site design. It may be that the content isn’t answering their questions, the site design or performance is putting them off or they find what they want but don’t feel compelled to explore further. Whatever the case, it’s time to work out some adjustments!
What content do they prefer?
On the subject of content, you can use social analytics to work out what sort of content performs best for each of your various profiles. Do your FB followers prefer video, images or links? What sort of content (and hashtags) work best for you on instagram?
In the same vein, the ability to find your most visited pages on your site means you can identify which blog posts are performing best. Take a look through these and see if you can work out an overarching theme or style you can latch on to to ensure popularity of future pieces.