Data can help businesses better understand their customers, improve their advertising campaigns, personalize their content and improve their bottom lines. The advantages of data are many, but you can’t access these benefits without the proper data analytics tools and processes. While raw data has a lot of potential, you need data analytics to unlock the power to grow your business. Here is what we will be going over.
The term data analytics refers to the process of examining datasets to draw conclusions about the information they contain. Data analytic techniques enable you to take raw data and uncover patterns to extract valuable insights from it.
Today, many data analytics techniques use specialized systems and software that integrate machine learning algorithms, automation and other capabilities.
Data Scientists and Analysts use data analytics techniques in their research, and businesses also use it to inform their decisions. Data analysis can help companies better understand their customers, evaluate their ad campaigns, personalize content, create content strategies and develop products. Ultimately, businesses can use data analytics to boost business performance and improve their bottom line.
For businesses, the data they use may include historical data or new information they collect for a particular initiative. They may also collect it first-hand from their customers and site visitors or purchase it from other organizations. Data a company collects about its own customers is called first-party data, data a company obtains from a known organization that collected it is called second-party data, and aggregated data a company buys from a marketplace is called third-party data. The data a company uses may include information about an audience’s demographics, their interests, behaviors and more.
Web analytics is a way of collecting and analyzing what’s happening on your website, covering everything from what your visitors are doing, where they come from, what content they like, and a whole lot more.
By using a web analytics tool to collect data, you’ll be able to know what is and isn’t working, and then steer your website in the right direction.
There are a lot of metrics you can track using analytics tools. However, these five are a great place to start. Let’s begin with your general visitor numbers.
When we talk about web traffic, we refer to the number of visits your site gets over a specific period of time. This number is significant, because it tells you if your website is getting the attention it deserves.
Let’s say you’re getting about 50 visitors per day. That’s a low number if your website has been around for a year. However, it’s decent if you set up shop a month ago. In other words, not only is it important to keep an eye on your traffic, but also the way it evolves.
Ideally, your numbers will go up as your website grows older. If your traffic stagnates or diminishes over time, it’s a marker you’re not doing something right. In most cases, it might be due to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) issues, so that’s always a good place to start.
When someone visits your site and leaves without viewing a second page, we call that a ‘bounce’. The percentage of those visits you get measured against your overall traffic makes up your bounce rate.
This metric is important because it tells you if there are any outstanding usability issues with your website. Some of the most common causes for a high bounce rate include:
The average bounce rate for most websites is anywhere between 20 and 70% (lower is better). However, as a rule of thumb, if your bounce rate is higher than 30%, you’ll want to take a close look at the possible causes we mentioned above.
However, bounce rate is highly dependent on what content your site provides and what searchers are looking for, so it’s not always a bad thing if you’re above that number.
In most cases, first-time visitors will find your website via links instead of typing in your URL. The pages that link to your site are your traffic sources, and we can usually break them down into four categories:
Generally speaking, you want to build up all four sources of traffic. However, your primary focus will usually be search engines, because they have the potential to bring in massive traffic. More importantly, if your website ranks consistently high in search results, it tends to be easier to get links from other sites, because they’ll consider you a reputable source.
With web analytics tools, you can easily monitor your traffic sources and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if you don’t see much traffic from search engines, you know you have to revise your keyword strategy.
It might not come as a surprise to learn that mobile traffic is now fully adopted by many web users. In fact, it overtook regular desktop traffic a while ago, which means it’s essential for your website to offer a strong mobile experience.
With analytics tools, you can track what percentage of users are visiting your site through desktop or mobile browsers. It’s a simple enough metric to interpret, and it tells you where to focus your efforts.
Even if your website is getting more desktop than mobile traffic, we still recommend that you focus on optimizing its mobile experience. Adopting a mobile-first approach to web design will pay off over the long run.
Ideally, you want people to keep coming back to your website over and over again. We call those users ‘return visitors’ (and they’re the best!), but you can also think of them as your core audience.
A lot of people have different ideas about what constitutes a decent returning user rate. In our experience, if your recurring traffic is anywhere around 30% of your total, you’re doing pretty well.
However, if it’s below 20%, this means your website isn’t as engaging as it could be. This might be due to usability issues – such as those affecting your bounce rate – or your content strategy. In any case, it’s grounds for taking a close look at your site and figuring out how you can improve it.