How to bring your website into ‘reality’ with Analytics
Does your company exist without if you can't find it online?
A recent study suggests that reality doesn’t exist until it’s measured or, said in another way, “pics or it didn’t happen!”. Digital data analysts have been advocating this for years, and with the new trends around “big data”, it looks like people are starting to listen.
So, how can you measure your digital efforts properly? Not just so you can prove the efforts have existed, but also their worth?
It‘s not as simple as slapping the Google Analytics default code on each page of your site and walking away. In fact, you don’t need to put the code directly on the page at all – meet Google Tag Manager: your new best friend! Like anything worthwhile, the process requires some elbow grease to set up, and continuous monitoring and improving to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
Here are some areas you should start tracking to help gather insights into how your customers are using your digital assets.
Events and goals
Your website was developed for a purpose. Ask yourself the question: what actions do you want your customers to complete when they visit your site? Actions that go beyond simply viewing pages? These could include, but are no way limited to: buying a product, filling in a form, calling you, saving a product to a wishlist or signing up to a newsletter. These actions are your goals, and they need to be tracked – not just whether or not they’ve been achieved, but the path customers go through to get there. This way you can see when and where people get diverted.
These trackable paths may not just be a pathway of pages people have visited. What if the ‘submit’ page for your feedback form is the same page the form is on? What if your goal is for people to click the “call us” button that links to a dialable phone number instead of a page? This is why event tracking is so useful. Once you have worked out your goal, you can make sure that you are tracking all the events and pages that lead to that goal.
The values assigned to your goals are vital to truly understanding how all of the elements on your website, and your marketing efforts, contribute to your revenue. This is a fairly straightforward measurement for e-commerce stores. You can easily calculate the revenue from products sold, but what about the value of a customer filling in a ‘contact us’ form, clicking the ‘call us’ button, or getting directions to your closest store? How do each of these actions affect the revenue of the company?
If you have accurate goal values set up, Google Analytics allows you to see the statistical value of every page on your website. You can then draw insights like, “People who read that blog post are more likely to give us a call” or “Not many people viewing this product page actually make a purchase”.
Can you tell which calls-to-action in your email campaigns are generating the most leads? Did your television commerical actually drive people to your website? Did your magazine ad cause people to buy from you online? All these questions can be answered if you put campaign codes on the links you send into the world outside of your site.
Campaign codes look something like this:
You can use Google’s URL builder to build them yourself.
But, I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not going to put that on my commercial or print material, no one will type it in”. Never fear! You can create a snappy, short link to redirect traffic to the same web address.
If you’re lucky enough to have a website that has a customer log in, you would already know this comes with a wealth of benefits. These can include:
The ability to build accurate profiles of your customers
Ways to retarget information through emails and other online media
Options to bring your customers back on site if they look like they haven’t logged in for a while.
You can also track customers across devices. In an age where the majority of customers are using 3 screens (phone/tablet, personal desktop, work desktop) to access the internet, being able to track their behaviour across all devices is priceless. Imagine a customer viewing one of your products on their mobile on their way home from work, and then showing them that product on their tablet when they have settled in on the couch that evening. It has become common play to find that 75% of your customers research a product on their mobile before making a purchase on their desktop computer at work the next day.
With these few extra pieces of analytics under your belt you can start bringing the customer journey out of the imaginary and into reality. You’ll be able to get a real picture of what your customers are doing, areas you can improve, and places to invest your money. On top of this, you’ll begin to increase your ROI, conversion rate and provide your customers the best experience of your brand.