Web Analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Marketing Cloud are fantastic tools for understanding what your website/app visitors are doing when they get to your site however, measurement and data capture traditionally only starts when they get to your website.
So how can you understand what happens before or after your website?
There are a number of tools that you should consider to get a view of the bigger picture.
What posts are you placing and how frequently? How many ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ do you have on these posts and how many people are following you? Unless you have a click-through to your website, you can’t see in analytics how successful these post are. I would recommend considering the data in your social media tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter etc) to understand volume of posts along with audience measurement and topic interest; even in its crudest form this will highlight trends that will help your social efficiency and content strategy.
Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is a free web service allowing you to check indexing status and optimise visibility for websites. Search Console should ideally be enabled within Google Analytics to make data analysis easier for you (all in one place). Using Search Console will help in the following ways:
- Make sure that Google can access your content.
- Submit new content for crawling and removing content you don’t want to show in search results.
- Create and monitor content that delivers visually engaging search results.
- Monitor and resolve malware or spam issues so your site stays clean.
- Which queries caused your website to appear in search results…not necessary clicked through to your site.
As with Search Console, AdWords should ideally be integrated into your analytics tools, again this will give you one place to view your data, although you will still need to login to AdWords to manage and optimise your PPC activity. In a similar way to Search Console, AdWords will give you a wealth of information about what searches are being made and the CTR (Click Through Rate) of those searches to your site. The Searches are what happens before they arrive on your site.
Understanding overall search volumes and which keywords are driving volumes of searches will help you further understand your audience. In addition which position in the rankings works best for you.
If you are advertising a contact phone number for you customers/potential customers to call ,then it is worth measuring the number of calls received. From your web analytics point of view, it may appear that a visitor has bounced from the site when in actual fact, they have arrived on your site then picked up the phone.
There are a number of ways you can measure your call volumes, whether this is basic tally which you then log each day or something more sophisticated with dynamic telephone numbers for each of your marketing activities tracked directly into your call management software. Either way you will have an understanding of the number of calls received which you can then relate back to what marketing activity you are running and ideally understand the types of calls being received.
When you send an email out to your base, the data about that email will only be seen in your web analytics tool IF the email is clicked on and they visit your site/app, it should also be noted that your email traffic may appear in ‘Direct’ traffic if campaign codes are not used. There are a host of other measures you should be considering which will help you understand your business and customer base better. These include:
- Number of emails sent.
- Type of email sent (newsletter, offer etc).
- Soft & Hard Bounce Rate.
- Open rate by day part (will help you understand the best day and time to send future emails).
Overlaying this information on your web analytics data will give you further understanding of overall website conversion.
Businesses with either a shop front or physical business premises, should consider measuring the volume of footfall through the door. Again this can either be measured manually using tally/clickers OR by employing more sophisticated methods of automated counters on the door.
Either way a visit to a physical premises will not be seen in your web analytics but that visit will have been prompted by a form of marketing that you have invested in. If you have upped your marketing spend and resulting footfall increases then that marketing effort has delivered you a conversion that you won’t understand from your analytics data alone. Again footfall should be tracked and overlaid on your web analytics data.
For many businesses, the conversion of the website is only half of the picture, particularly lead generation websites. In these cases, once a lead has been created, it is managed through the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. More diligent companies will track not only where the lead was generated from (marketing activity) but also what stage the lead is in their lifecycle (marketing qualified, sales qualified, customer etc) which helps the sales/business development team focus their efforts.
Understanding the revenue from each of these customers, then relating this back to the initiating marketing activity/cost will enable measurement of ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). This is £’s earned per £ spent and is calculated by dividing revenue earned by the cost to drive that lead/customer.
Order Management Systems, in a similar way to CRM provide a further level of detail. For instance an online retailer will receive orders from its website, this will be captured in Web Analytics if configured correctly. What your analytics won’t tell you is how many products were then returned and what is the net average order value.
It may be that some marketing initiatives are driving high volumes of orders, but the return rate for those activities may be considerably higher than other. If return rate and postage etc are a key focus for the business the this data should also be considered in relation to your web analytics data.
Web analytics tools are brilliant in many ways but in order to view the bigger picture, you should consider the other data sources you have as business. Overlaying the important metrics, that you are able to act upon on top of your analytics data will help you gain efficiencies in effort and marketing spend while helping you understand how your business is performing as a whole.
Want to know more about how business data can compliment your web analytics data? Why not get in touch today and lets start a conversation.