Get the most out of website data – measure the right things

28.01.2022

Get the most out of website data – measure the right things

Full utilisation of web analytics helps you understand your customers better and apply a variety of A/B tests to make website more user-friendly and its traffic more cost-effective.

Undeniably, one of the best features of digital marketing is their measurability. Website users and their interactions can be monitored and measured in a number of different ways. Various analytics services and solutions have been available since the end of the 20th century.

Web analytics is used on the majority of all websites. The most prevalent combination of the services used is Google Analytics and its Universal Analytic property. This service fits most companies, regardless of the industry or the size of the website. However, specific needs call for different kinds of solutions, and Google Analytics, for example, will no longer be the best solution once the visitor volume exceeds a certain threshold.

Choosing the right web analytics service

Google Analytics’ customisability makes the solution suitable for most needs. When installed and configured correctly, the service accommodates analysing online store customers’ shopping cart behaviour, for example.

Expertise is required in the implementation and configuration of complicated analytics solutions, and no web analytics service is a key to happiness if you take shortcuts in the implementation of the solution or don’t know what to do with the data.

The popularity of Google’s analytics solutions can be explained by their versatility and free-of-charge basic features. However, the installation and implementation of the service are lacking in a considerable number of cases. Even many websites with international traffic collect invalid data on the user flow of the website for analytics that is implemented incorrectly. In addition to the misleading analytics data, a fairly common weakness is the non-compliance of the collected data with the current data protection regulations, such as GDPR.

Matomo’s service enables websites to own their analytics data, since the service can be installed on the company’s own server. While replacing Google Analytics with Matomo typically increases the licence costs of web analytics, Matomo is usually the recommended option for public sector operators. Correspondingly, other competing analytics solutions offer benefits as well.

In addition to Google Analytics and Matomo, services that offer web analytics services include Adobe Analytics, Kissmetrics, Yandex, Metrica, Heap, Smartlook and Oribi.

No matter which web analytics service you use, web analytics offers you a wealth of diverse information about a website’s usability and users, often to a fault. The problem with the analytics solutions that we encounter most often is not the collected data being too limited but the poor quality of the data or there being no data to begin with. It is often not possible to fix event data that occurred in the wrong places or dimensions that are missing from the data after the fact. An analytics installation performed incompetently does not serve its users but can instead mislead by giving the user a completely wrong picture of the website’s user flow, usability, etc.

Measurement plan holds the web analytics together

Once a web analytics service that is appropriate for the technology, features, goals and available budget has been chosen for the website, it is time to prepare a measurement plan. A measurement plan supports the broader objectives of the website, and usually also those of the general business operations, since it is an important aspect of collecting high-quality data and of the further development of the website. The measurement plan covers the data points and objectives specific to each customer and the related metrics and selectors. The plan helps the company improve its customer understanding on the basis of accurate and high-quality data.

Web analytics measurement plan can also include qualitative indicators.

Dimensions of web analytics data

The measurement plan covers the needs that the company’s management and marketing have concerning the website-related data variables and dimensions. Web analytics enables you to collect highly comprehensive data about the website and its users to increase your business benefits.

At its simplest, analytics reports are used to monitor websites’ user volume and usability, but often metrics that are more important than pageviews include actions related to user behaviour and the conversions carried out by customers. The most straightforward of these actions include, for example, the number of clicks on the contact details of employees listed on the website or how many times the service-specific white papers are downloaded.

For example, Google Analytics makes it possible to configure one’s own data dimensions. When implemented correctly, the analytics can sort users who have performed a certain action by, for example, customer type, and viewing the internal operations of a certain segment offers considerable added value for the web analytics.

Importance of target tracking

The usability of a website can be improved by tracking the use of the mouse or by heat mapping the navigation functionality. Correspondingly, aspects such as page scrolling or time spent on a particular webpage element are interesting facts when it comes to website development. Similarly, monitoring a website user’s flow is useful, since examining the path allows for smoothing out potential defects in the path.

Conversions and the key figures of eCommerce are usually at the heart of the measurement plan. A correctly implemented and configured web analytics solution provides reports not only on the data related to transactions but also on users’ shopping cart behaviour, for example. This enables remarketing to a user who removed a particular product from their cart at a particular stage of the checkout funnel. Often it is the marketing department, in particular, that is elated by a high-quality analytics implementation, but customer understanding improved by reliable data benefits the entire organisation.

When the web analytics installation, data collection, metrics and dimensions have been defined correctly, the data will be of help in the development of the digital service, digital business and the business operations of the entire company. High-quality data is not only a tool for improving the overall understanding but through conversion optimisation, it is also a gateway to maximising the cost-effectiveness of digital services.

Web analytics is definitely worth investing in!

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Blog writer

Ville Aho

Lead Consultant at CX Analytics