I have been asked by the company CIO to determine if Web Analytics is a strategy the company should pursue. I shall first provide information about what Web Analytics is. Then, I shall analyze how is can be used to improve a business. Finally, I shall provide my recommendation regarding using Web Analytics for our company—in answer of the CIO’s question.
What is Web Analytics and how can it be used to improve a business? Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage1 (The official WAA definition of web analytics).
Web analytics can be—and often is—done without the permission or knowledge of the user. In these cases—particularly with third party cookies which can be shared between different web sites—it can be a breach of privacy.
Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a web site.
Web analytics applications also allow companies to measure the results of traditional print of broadcast advertising campaigns.
The primary purpose of a Web analytics system is to measure the performance of a site. Within a Web analytics interface, such as Google Analytics service, managers of a company can see data about how many visits a site has had, how many visits the individual pages have had and additional information about these visits including how long users spent on each page. Analytics also indicates traffic sources, so you can see at a glance how users are reaching your site. In most cases, people visit websites not by typing the web address into their browser but by clicking on a link. Such links can be on other websites or on search engine results pages. By seeing where site users are coming from, company managers can gain insights into how best to focus marketing efforts.
Many companies use online marketing for their products or services. This includes adverts from companies such as Google through the AdWords and AdSense programs. If a company is investing part of their marketing budget in online ads, they will typically want to calculate the return on this investment. By using systems such as Google Analytics, you can see which of your online advertising efforts are successfully sending traffic to your sites as well as whether these users are then going on to make purchases in the case of e-commerce sites. This data can then be fed into future decisions about online marketing.
With Web analytics, company managers can see how well a page is performing in relation to its purpose. For example, if visitors of a company’s website is not spending long enough on the pages to be reading the content fully, that company may need to look at the quality of this content and consider improving it—the company needs to optimize the content of its website.
The Tools of Web Analytics2
1. Google Analytics (google.com/analytics) – Free
2. Yahoo Web Analytics (web.analytics.yahoo.com) – Free 3. Crazy Egg (crazyegg.com) – $9-$99/month
4. Compete (compete.com) – Prices vary
5. Google Website Optimizer (google.com/websiteoptimizer) – Free 6. Optimizely (optimizely.com) – $19-$399/month
7. Kissinsights from Kiss Metrics (kissinsights.com) – Free to $29/month 8. 4Q by iPerceptions (4qsurvey.com) – Free
9. ClickTale (clicktale.com) – Free to $990 (3 months free on paid plans) 10. Facebook Insights – Free
11. Twitalyzer (twitalyzer.com) – Free
Summary & Recommendations
Since the pros of using Web analytics outweigh the cons, mu recommendation to the CIO would be to start developing a Web analytics for the company. Since our company is comparable to that of Amazon.com, we can start to utilize Web analytics to collect valuable data from the company website. For example, we can collect information like visitor habits and visit frequency, among other data. We can then analyze this data and formulate strategies to optimize the company website’s content. Through analysis of the data collected, we can also perform search engine optimization. Our company can also use Web analytics to better analyze the data from our competitors’ websites—both quantitatively and qualitatively—to better understand what our competitors’ strengths and weaknesses lie. These efforts will likely increase the quantity and quality of the hits/visits to our website, and therefore drive sales and significantly boost our bottom-line.
1. http://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/?page=aboutus 2. http://www.inc.com/guides/12/2010/11-best-web-analytics-tools.html