On the 12th day of Christmas a great site gave to me....measuring analytics

Posted by Nigel King on 12 December 2016

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The total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 and is set to rise to 44 zettabytes by 2020. To put that in perspective, one zettabyte is equivalent to 44 trillion gigabyte*

There's no doubt we have a wealth of digital information to hand - we can extract this data easily but do we truly understand what it all means? Do we really know why people do what they do online?

All digital analytics, such as Google analytics use a set of metrics or measurements to describe key parts of the online process.  Here's what I believe are the 5 most influential measures that you will need to analyse; that is those that wil have direct effect on your business decisions:

Engagement Levels

Analysing engagement levels on pages is an important way of identifying whether your content and images are relevant to the visitor.  Engagement level can be determined from page views, length of time on page and analysing how deep the visitor has gone into the website. Engagement analytics are also useful on pages that continually change such as News or Blog pages. It will show if the pages are interesting enough for visitors to return to them again and if the page is shared offsite to social media.

Traffic Sources

Understanding the channels directing visitors to your website is another valuable metric.  Not only can you identifying the impact of organic SEO (and therefore determine what you can do better), you'll also be able to ascertain whether your social channels, email campaigns, affiliate or referral sites are all helping to drive traffic to your website. 

Bounce Rate

A "bounce" is when someone visits your site and immediately leaves without further engaging on the site.   Bounces could be caused by people not finding the content they expected, the way the page is laid out, or the slowness of the page to load. After improvements are made, such as adding more relevant detail to the home page, or compressing images to speed up page loading you should see the bounce rate decrease. Bounce rate shouldn't be confused with number of Exits however (which is another useful metric). Exit percentage helps you identify how often a user exits from a page or set of pages once they've viewed the page. 

New sessions

This is how many new visitors are arriving at your site. It's a good indicator of how your campaigns and SEO tactics are working in bringing new potential customers to engage with your website

ROI - Return on Investment

This is one of the most important as it signifies the difference between how much money has been spent on digital marketing and the money earned from new customers buying your products or services from you. A low or negative ROI could be an indicator of low conversion rates, high bounce rates and a slowing down of new visitors to your site.

Overall if you're having trouble interpreting what all the analytics mean, or indeed which metrics you need to focus on we recommend you read 'Web Analytics 2.0' by leading digital expert Avinash Kaushik.  Here Avinash applies his 10/90 rule in order to achieve web analytics success.  Essentially the rule states that for every £100 you spend on data analytics, £10 should be spent on the analytics tool or vendor professional services with the remaining £90 spent on intelligent resource or analysts to interpret what all the data means.

For further stats, check out this infographic from Smart Insights 

(*Source:http://www.northeastern.edu/)

Nigel King

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