Whether you know it or not, the internet is constantly gathering information about who is using your site, when they are using it, how they are getting to it, and where they are using it from. Connecting to tools like Google Analytics allows you to track and view this information about your website and its users.
However, accessing analytics data is only useful if you know what to do with it. You need to sift through the cascade of details and determine which matter most to your business. Then, to get the maximum return on your efforts, you have to track, measure and evaluate the data on a regular basis.
Investing in analytics will help you accurately identify ways to improve your site and make smarter decisions about where to spend your time and money. Since technology will inevitably advance, your investment must be flexible and ongoing, taking into account evolving software, emerging devices, and the developing aptitude of your customers.
4 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Analytics
Start with an Analytics Audit. An audit will provide an overview of your site’s traffic patterns and how users are interacting with your content. This information will help you understand the state of your site and establish baseline metrics to measure against going forward. An audit will also look at the data you are currently tracking to make sure your configurations are providing valuable business insights.
Next, make sure you’re tracking and measuring the right data. A Measurement Plan documents your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the benchmarks you want your website to achieve. Creating a plan helps you identify and stay committed to the metrics that are most aligned with your business goals. It becomes your guide when determining how to configure your analytics tools. Once you’ve reported and assessed your findings, you can return to the Measurement Plan to assess the value and effectiveness of your online marketing efforts.
After your metrics are in place, you need to configure your analytics tools to map to your Measurement Plan. Free services like Google Analytics offer a suite of out-of-the-box tracking tools, but to get the most accurate results, you’ll likely want to set up some custom configurations. Setting up the right tracking and metrics allows you to collect the most complete, accurate and relevant data. With proper configurations, your assessment of site activity will be more effective, and you’ll make decisions based on sound information.
Depending on your business goals, you might consider additional services that connect interactions across digital channels, e.g. your website, emails, social channels, etc. Tools for tracking, analyzing and optimizing customer data continue to be developed and the variety of digital touchpoints continue to expand. As your analytics process grows and evolves, make sure you’re considering ways to connect and expand beyond basic web tools.
Now that your metrics are defined and configured, it’s time to report and assess the findings. Generating reports and assessing the data arms you with insights to make intelligent decisions based on facts rather than assumptions. It allows you to measure your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with accuracy, and determine areas of improvement. From these insights, you can identify ways to get more traffic, increase conversions, and improve site usability. You’ll also make smarter decisions about how to spend your online marketing budget.
It’s an Ongoing Commitment
With technology ever-changing and user needs continuing to evolve, your analytics plan needs to be an ongoing investment. You can’t just audit, measure, and evaluate once and assume things are good to go. Getting the most from your analytics means you have to continue the cycle and make updates as your goals change.
Your commitment will pay off. As you make updates to your site based on solid analytics findings, you’ll start seeing better conversion rates, more efficiency in your processes, and stronger returns on investment.
At Clockwork, our goal is to be a strategic partner to our clients. Helping you develop and maintain an ongoing analytics plan allows us to ensure you’re getting the most out of the work we do.