Analysing website Analytics data

Any business with a website must ensure that it stays competitive, meets its goals and achieves its return on investment. To do this, the marketer must collect data on the website’s performance and analyse it, as without the data, the business could end up spending valuable time and money with zero results.

There is a variety of web analytics software available, ranging from free to paid versions. Most businesses get started with Google Analytics, which is powerful, simple to use and well-supported. To make it even better, Google recently launched real-time reports to help businesses get a better insight into their web traffic. Real-time data can help assess the performance of a promotional campaign in real time, and its impact on website traffic.

For example, the new user flow feature will show how many visitors on an e-commerce website actually reach the shopping cart, or whatever parameters the website uses to measure visitor to customer conversion. The visual data is interactive and there is more detailed information to be had from the graphics.  The marketer can see how many people are on the website at any given point of time, and which page they are looking at. This gets updated in real-time as users arrive and leave. This is a very useful feature, especially for websites that use social media marketing, enabling them to gauge the success of the campaign.

The new Google Analytics interface offers many benefits compared to the earlier version with access to the following:

In a web that is rapidly evolving, it is not enough to modify a webpage only when there is a product launch or some major change.  It has become necessary to continuously monitor the website and its pages to ensure conversion.

Measuring social media impact with the new Google Analytics

The new version of Google Analytics allows you to measure the impact of social media instantly. Each time you post new content, and tweet about it, you can see its impact on website traffic in real time.  By tagging the links shared, it is possible to check how much traffic each channel is generating to the website as it happens, in addition to when it tapers off so that action can be taken to re-generate the traffic.

How to access Real-time

This is currently available in the new version of Google Analytics which can be accessed via the “new version” link at the top of the Google Analytics page.  The Real-Time reports appear in the Dashboards tab.

Google is not the first analytics tool that offers real time data. Woopra, Chartbeat and other tools also offer this facility. But the good news is Google Analytics is free, although a premium version has also been rolled out.

Website traffic does not relate to numbers alone, and Google Analytics can give you plenty of information about how your website is engaging your visitors and converting them. It tells you which pages are working well and which ones are not, besides indicating the keywords being used by people to find your website so that you can leverage them accordingly. Critical areas to look at with Google Analytics are:

  • The number of pages your visitor stopped at and the average time on the site.
  • The percentage of new visitors and returning visitors. It shows how much organic traffic the site is getting and how well the content is optimised. This also ties in with how well your website ranks for a targeted keyword.
  • Bounce rate, which relates to the rate at which a visitor bounces off your site. This means that a visitor who arrives on your site and decides it is not relevant enough, leaves.
  • Traffic sources, showing how your visitors arrive on your site, letting you determine where to invest your time and money.

To increase the average pages per visit and to decrease the bounce rate, ensure that you research your niche and find out what they want. Tweak the navigation and sidebar links to make it easy to browse.  Split test various options to see which works best and include relevant calls to action that entices visitors to stay on your website rather than direct them away from it.

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