What Are Website Analytics and Why Should You Care?

We talk a lot about analytics here at Flax Digital, and it’s something we care about a lot. But what’s the big deal? Is it something you actually have to worry about, or just nerd stuff?

Making good business decisions

Every business has questions like:

  • Is our advertising working?’
  • Which social media should we focus on? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…?
  • Do we need a website refresh?
  • Is our online store making a profit?
  • What’s our quarter on quarter growth?
  • Why’s business so slow this month?

Businesses can’t make good decisions without good information. Analytics puts that information at your fingertips.

website analytics help you make business decisions.

Every business person has a lot of decisions to make. Analytics can show you the way.

Types of analytics

When someone says “analytics” without qualification they usually mean Google Analytics. This is a service provided by Google at no fee, to any website that wants to track website visitors and traffic. But “analytics” is broader than just that. It can mean any software that tracks your audience or technology stats. This includes:

  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Email newsletter campaign stats
  • Search engine rankings, impressions and clicks
  • Stats from Google My Business, indicating people phoning your business or asking directions to it
  • Metrics from online advertising such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads
  • Sales figures from your online store
  • Technical stats such as uptime, page load time, or broken links
  • … and more

There are so many kinds of analytics data that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by them. So how do you pick what to focus on?

Key performance indicators

Many businesses set key performance indicators (KPIs) for their teams, which feed into their annual review cycle. Think of analytics as KPIs for your online presence. What are the key pieces of data that will help you understand if your digital strategy is working?

Imagine you were presenting a proposal for upgrading your website to a senior manager or potential investor. What might convince them that the website is doing well, in language they’d use? Some examples might be:

  • Online sales revenue
  • Event registrations
  • Membership subscriptions
  • Qualified sales leads acquired through your contact form

These are closely aligned with business goals – making money! – and are easy KPIs to choose. But these are what we call “bottom of funnel” metrics. What does that mean?

The AIDA model: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

In traditional as well as online marketing, the AIDA model helps us think about the sales funnel.

digital marketing ballarat - the AIDA model

The four steps are:

  1. Awareness – someone becomes aware of your brand, product, or services
  2. Interest – they are interested enough to seek further information
  3. Desire – they develop a positive wish to acquire your product/service
  4. Action – they take out their credit card and make the purchase

In terms of the how this plays out online, it might be something like:

  1. Awareness – 10,000 people see your Google AdWords advertisement
  2. Interest – 1,000 of those click through to your website
  3. Desire – 100 of add your product to their shopping cart or wishlist
  4. Action – 10 customers complete the purchase and give you money

In terms of metrics, you could choose performance indicators such as:

  1. Awareness – Google AdWords impressions
  2. Interest – Website visitors
  3. Desire – “Add to cart” or “Add to wishlist” clicks
  4. Action – Checkout completions

You can set up reports for all of these, and use them to understand your customers’ flow through the marketing/sales funnel. It can be useful to have metrics at each stage, to understand what the dropoff is at each level.

For instance, if you are getting heaps of ad impressions but no sales, it will help you understand whether that’s because people aren’t clicking on your ad, or whether they’re making it to your website but leaving things unpurchased in their shopping cart. You can then address each issue separately, perhaps by changing your ad copy, or setting you a “forgotten items in your cart” email reminder.

Integrated dashboards, automated reports

Once you’ve decided what metrics you want to use at each level, it helps to be able to set up a dashboard and/or automated email reports to see them all in one place.

Google Analytics can help with this. You can create a custom dashboard containing whatever widgets you want to show, and you can share the dashboard with other users or email a report to yourself (or your boss!) on a regular basis.

However, while Google Analytics integrates some reporting from other Google products such as Google Search Console and Google Ads, there are some metrics and insights which you can’t access from there. These include Facebook reach (you’d need Facebook Insights for that), YouTube views, mailing list click and open rates, and so on.

Some third parties offer integrated analytics dashboards which allow you to see your metrics from a variety of sources in one place – you can find a range of options by searching for “integrated dashboard” or “business metric dashboard”.

Or if you prefer, Flax Digital offers an integrated dashboard and custom monthly reports to our SEO and retainer clients.

Set up analytics for your business ASAP

If you haven’t set up analytics already, you are missing out on important data that can help you make better business decisions. Flax Digital can help, by consulting on your analytics needs or setting up an integrated dashboard for your business.  If you’re interested in talking to us about options, get in touch.

Alex

Alex is the owner of Flax Digital, a website consulting agency based in Ballarat, Australia. Alex has over 20 years' experience developing websites and digital strategy for businesses and non-profits in Australia and internationally.