The initial days of web was dominated by traditional online platforms whose key design elements such as navigation, flow and main user interface were a choice made by the organizations that created them. These design elements seldom took into consideration the end user’s preference. But with emergence of Web 2.0, the internet has changed as we knew it. Everything is now more user-focused than ever before. Intuitiveness, user engagement and user behavior are the core focus areas of the current design standards. This is where Web analytics come into picture. A web analytic system is designed to collect and deliver data about your website, visitors, and their behavior so that you can know what’s working and what’s not. The datapoints provided by web analytic system help improve your website’s performance, conversion rates and overall business health.
Why you should care about web analytics?
Before Web Analytics came on the scene, market research, beta testing and third-party usability testing were the most common ways of gauging the user behavior. However, all of these lacked real-time end-user feedback and analysis, which now-a-days is the primary requirement for businesses (read e-commerce sites) to promote and recommend their products. The requirement was felt of a system that could continuously monitor user behavior and provide real-time feedback to business heads that could analyze the data and make their moves accordingly.
Web analytics provides that system, playing a vital role in analyzing the current trends and predicting the emerging trends in real time. A successfully implemented web analytics strategy will help website owners to visualize the key site metrics such as traffic, click through rate, bounce rate etcetera and measure the success of their online campaigns.
Implementing a web analytic strategy
Implementation of web analytic strategy essentially consists of collection of the key site metrics such as page views, downloads, time spent on the site, click paths, referral websites and direct visits, amongst others. In an AAA framework of web analytics implementation, this would refer to the first A, i.e Acquiring the key metrics. The selection of these metrics is dependent on the business goals and flows. These metrics are also industry based, as for an e-commerce site; bounce rate is a more useful metric than for any information based website.
The next step which refers to the second A of the strategy is Analyzing the obtained information. Analysts, business officials, CEOs use various visualization tools that provide a holistic view of the captured information in real time. By analyzing the metrics information can be determined regarding campaign effectiveness, SEO effectiveness, the visitor profile, conversion rates and visitor exit rate amongst others.
The final A refers to Action, where key figures at the company or business heads in charge of the decision making come up with an action plan to act on the analysis. Depending on the analysis and targeted key metrics the action could be anything ranging from enhancing the site design, making site more navigable, improving SEO to increase site traffic from external search engines and fixing issues related to websites.
The AAA implementation of web analytics strategy will only be effective if the process follows the correct sequence of step. Often the responsibility of implementation is bore by the friendly neighborhood IT guy and the web analytic vendor. Since there are a number of business decisions that need to be made during the implementation, hence the best practice for business owners or website owners would be to actively involve themselves during implementation.
Many webmasters put the JS tag right at the top or in the header. The best practice is to put the tag as close to the </body> tag as possible. This way, if you are on a slow server, or the webpage takes time to load, the content will load at first. This is a customer specific approach.
- Tag all the pages
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But what if you are planning to hire an expert to do all of the above discussed things and more for you? How would you identify your next web analytic superhero? After all that’s what most firms and businesses do. As Forbes reported in an interesting post published last year, there is a definite jump in marketing analytics or web analytics jobs. Thus, there is no doubt that web analytics is growing and so is the hiring of web analysts.
Some points to keep in mind while making the next hire in this department are summarized below:
- Find about their knowledge of current industry trends
- Check their passion about the analytics, their desire to learn and improve
- Test their ability to make analytics understand to a layman
- Check about their knowledge of various tools and techniques
- Ask them about their previous experience and examples of a successful strategy implementation
There are many self-professes online analytics expert applying to all sorts of digital marketing jobs. However, the truth remains that a good digital analyst is hard to find.
Contributor: Saurabh Tyagi
Saurabh Tyagi is an expert author, a web analyst and a self-professed social media addict. When he is not writing about the latest industry trends, you can find him working out ways to attract maximum social media audience.