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Web Analytics – Breaking a Tradition of Uncertainty

Posted November 5, 2011
2 minute read

Moneyball is a popular movie out these days and it is a true story about how the Oakland A’s baseball team (and it’s GM) has to re-assemble the team and finds all of baseball's conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, the team's GM and a partner use statistical data to analyze and place value on players who the scouts say are flawed but the data says they have the ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. These new methods challenge traditional approaches to the game and the GM is scourned because they claim he is tearing out the heart and soul of the game. When you couple the premise of this movie with Wanamaker's famous quote - "I know half my advertising works, I just don't know which half" - one can't help but embrace the advantages of using the right web analytics data to optimize marketing campaigns.

The challenge becomes identifying the RIGHT web analytics data to use when measuring and optimizing marketing campaigns. Following are 5 steps to making sure you are looking at the right web analytics information:

  1. Make a list of the various ways you are marketing or advertising your business. Then go into your Google Analytics and segment your traffic to match those advertising methods. If you can't identify the sources in your data, then you should consider setting up some advanced segments and/or separate profiles. This will enable you to evaluate the effectiveness of each marketing/advertising tactic.
  2. Have you decided what you want your website to accomplish? If you have, then make sure you have tagged those items and configured your web analytics data for Event Tracking and Goals. Combined with #1 above, you'll be able to see how many goals you are achieving for each of your marketing/advertising tactics. If you haven't set goals for your website, then navigate through it and identify (or create) calls-to-action. These could be downloading of information, signing up for newlsetter, scheduling an appointment, etc.
  3. Look at your top Landing Pages and evaluate how well they are performing for you. When reviewing landing page performance, look at bounce rate and time-on-page. These are "engagement metrics". If you find a landing page that gets a lot of views and has poor "engagement metrics", take a look at the page to determine how you can improve it for better engagement.
  4. Look at your top Keywords, those search phrases (keywords) that people are using to come to your site. Evaluate keyword performance using some of the same "engagement metrics" as described in #3 above. If you see keywords that are very relevant to your business but the "engagement metrics" are weak, then you need to evaluate landing page performance and content.
  5. If you are doing much offline advertising, obtain some unique domain names (website addresses) that resemble your brand or what you do. For example, let's say you provide plumbing services and your web address is WatkinsPlumbing.com. Get an alternative web address like WatkinsPlumbers.com or FlowingFreely.com. Then, assign a unique web address to your print advertising and tag that in your Google Analytics account. Now you can see how many people are coming to your website from print advertising.

Just like in Moneyball, use the data to make good decisions. Someone might say you should pay to advertise on another site because this other site gets a lot of traffic. You might be enamored by you getting millions of eyeballs looking at your link but if no one clicks or those that do click and come to your site don't do anything meaningful when they get there, then that "traditional approach" may not be the best approach for you.

Topics Google Analytics, Web Analytics, Online Marketing

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