Website Analytics is defined by the Web Analytics Association as “the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and marketing initiatives.” In short, it’s how you truly determine the effectiveness of your internet marketing efforts, gather the rich data you need to fine-tune your website and ultimately maximize your return on investment (ROI). Every single discipline of Internet marketing relies heavily on web analytics.
Does Web Analytics Really Matter?
Web analytics magically provides you access to incredibly valuable information undreamed of by pre-Internet marketers:
- Target Your Audience. Learn who your typical customers are and how they get to your site. Age, gender, region and other factors influence how people interact with your website.
- Check Your Conversion Path. Measure the loss between any two steps on the way to conversion (sale or sign-up). You will need this data in order to perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
- Maximize Your Return on Investment. Evaluate the effectiveness of your various marketing methods. Are your pay-per-click keywords paying off? Have you optimized your site for the right keyword search terms and phrases? What kind of lift are you getting from your social media marketing strategy?
Web Analytics Methods
There are two basic methods for collecting analytics big data:
- Log files: Your server already produces this data, which capture every detail of a user’s interaction with your site. Various free and paid web analytics services can interpret the data for you, or you can outsource it to an analytics company.
You will find that log files and page tagging each have distinct advantages and disadvantages for analytics strategies.