If you’re looking to start or expand your online business, understanding web analytics can be a valuable tool.
You can learn a lot about your website’s visitors from web analytics, including how they spend time on your website and what their preferences are. By tracking metrics like page visits, unique visitors, bounce rate, and conversion rate, you can optimize your website design, content strategy, and marketing efforts.
In this guide, we’ll explore the key metrics and tools of web analytics and show you how to use them effectively. We’ll also explore real-world examples of businesses that used web analytics to solve business problems and drive growth.
Whether you’re a newbie business owner or looking to scale up your online business, this guide addresses all you need to know about web analytics. Let’s dive in.
What are web analytics, and why do they matter?
Web analytics involve collecting, examining, analyzing, and displaying information on website visitors and their behavior. This helps website owners understand how users interact with their website and what could be tweaked to improve user experience.
Let’s suppose you own a website that sells scented candles. By using web analytics, you can learn about things like:
- The number of visitors on your website
- The locations they’re coming from (country, state, or city)
- The pages they keep returning to
- The time they spend on each page
- The way they engage with your pages (for example, whether they put something in their shopping cart or leave your site when they face an image-heavy page that’s taking longer to load)
- Whether or not they end up making a purchase
This information could help you in many ways. For example:
- If a slow-loading page turns buyers away, you could redesign it to improve site speed.
- If you notice sales increasing during festivals, you could create personalized and contextualized web experiences to boost engagement and sales. Some ways you can do this are by:
- Creating a festival-specific collection showcasing candles related to the festival.
- Displaying pop-ups or notifications with offers on festival-themed scented candles based on your visitors’ behavior and interests. Suppose many people are leaving without buying anything right at the checkout stage. In that case, you might need to streamline the checkout process or add more payment options to encourage buyers.
Web analytics are crucial processes that help online business owners understand user behaviors on their websites. With the help of this information, website owners can improve their site designs, offer a better user experience, and grow their businesses.
Important metrics of web analytics
First, let’s understand some key metrics that web analytics help measure.
Page visits (sessions) and page views
Page visits track the traffic to a website within a given time frame. Page visits, also known as sessions, measure how many times a user visited your website, including all pageviews and interactions within a specific period. A session starts when visitors enter your website and ends when they leave or become inactive after a specified time. A high number of page visits from disinterested buyers might not be helpful. In contrast, fewer visits from high-intent buyers can indicate the page’s effectiveness in driving conversions.
Page views are the number of views a webpage gets (or the number of times it loads or reloads) over a given period.
Let’s see how these two are different.
Imagine a visitor coming to a website and viewing five different pages during their visit. This would count as one page visit (or session) but five page views.
Also, page visits occur when visitors land on a webpage from an external source (like a search engine). But page views occur when a single user loads or reloads a webpage, regardless of whether they came from an external source or were already on your website.
Unique visitors are those who have visited a website during a given time, regardless of how many times they’ve visited. Page views track the total number of views which might include repeat visits by the same person. Unique visitors metric shows the actual number of visitors to the website.
Let’s say there is a website called “Something.com,” and we want to analyze its visitor data.
During the month of April 2023, Something.com had 10,000 unique visitors and 30,000 page views.
This means that there were 10,000 unique individuals who visited Something.com at least once during April 2023. It doesn’t matter if they visited the website multiple times, they are counted as a unique visitor only once.
On the other hand, the total number of page views is 30,000. This includes all the visits to the website, whether they are by unique visitors or repeat visits by the same person. So, if someone visited Something.com eleven times during April 2023, it would contribute eleven page views to the total count.
A session measures a user’s time on a website, starting when they first land on it and ending when they leave or become inactive for a specified period (usually 30 minutes). Users may view multiple pages during a session, take various actions, or engage with different website elements. The number of sessions can be a valuable metric for understanding how visitors interact with a website over time.
Bounce rate gives the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing only one webpage and taking no further action.
Time on page
Time on page indicates how long a user spends on a specific website before moving to another page or leaving the site. You can measure it by deducting the time when the user first accessed the page from when they navigated to another page or closed the website.
Click-through rate (CTR)
CTR calculates the percentage of users who click on a call-to-action (CTA) link compared to the total number who view a page, email, or advertisement. This tells you how engaging or effective your marketing campaign is.
Conversion rate calculated the percentage of users who take a specific action or complete a desired goal, such as purchasing something, downloading an eBook, or subscribing to an email newsletter. For example, if a website had 2,000 visitors and 500 made a purchase, the conversion rate would be 25%.
Exit rate denotes the percentage of visitors who leave a website or web page after viewing it. This differs from bounce rate, which considers only those who leave a website after viewing just one page. Exit rate considers all pages a user may have viewed before leaving.
Exit rate is a helpful metric for identifying potential problem areas on a website, such as pages that may be causing users to lose interest or become frustrated.
Remember, pages like the checkout page will naturally have high exit rates. So a high exit rate isn’t always problematic unless it’s happening on a landing page or a product page.
Traffic sources are the channels through which users find and access your website, such as social media platforms, search engine result pages, and more.
For example, if you’re running an email marketing campaign, the CTA can direct users to a specific page on your website where you want them to take action, such as purchasing a product or downloading a white paper.
If your visitors are referral traffic, they might first land on an article or blog post on your site whose link was shared by another website.
Return on investment (ROI)
ROI is a financial measurement of the profitability of your website, which compares the cost of running your website or marketing campaigns to the revenue generated.
WebEngage’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) helps you track all of these key metrics across different sources, such as websites, mobile apps, and data warehouses, in one place. This way, you can obtain a complete and unified view of your customers. The insights you gain from this help you to build more personalized and targeted campaigns.
What kind of problems do web analytics help solve?
Here are some ways in which web analytics can boost your business growth. The accompanying impact stories show how they can be put into practice.
User behavior tracking
Web analytics help track your visitors and provide insights about their behavior. Suppose a user visits a website and clicks on a product page. Web analytics tools monitor how users interact with the product page, including metrics like the length of time they spend on the page, whether they added the product to their shopping cart, and if they ultimately made a purchase.
The software also tracks the user’s behavior on other pages, such as the homepage and checkout page.
The user’s behavior data is aggregated and analyzed to understand patterns like which products are popular, what pages have high bounce rates, and where users tend to drop off in the checkout process. This information can help you tailor your website for a better user experience and higher conversion rates. According to Forrester, companies that make data-driven website changes are three times more likely to improve customer experience (CX) than companies that don’t consider data analytics.
Let’s see this in action.
TravelTriangle, India’s biggest OTA marketplace, wanted to investigate why people visited their web pages or mobile app but left without booking a trip. With the help of the Lead Scoring model designed by WebEngage, TravelTriangle could assign scores to its visitors. A high lead score implied high intent users. Once the user segments were defined, TravelTriangle targeted the high-intent users via hyper-personalized communication and cross-channel engagements. As a result, the drop-offs on the travel destination landing pages were reduced by 10%, and the company’s remarketing cost declined by 30%.
Website design and content strategy
You can use web analytics to identify areas for improvement in your website’s design and content. Using these insights, you can create a more user-friendly website that offers content tailored to your target audience’s preferences. This will help boost your engagement and conversions.
For example, a business might use web analytics to identify the traffic sources to its website and the most popular pages among its visitors. The company could optimize its website design and content strategy with this information to improve engagement and conversion rates.
Let’s see this in action.
Happilo, an Indian gourmet health food brand, faced trouble retaining its customers due to a lack of personalized and relevant website content.
Happilo deployed WebEngage’s in-line personalization tool, which helps create a customized website experience for each user based on their behavior and attributes. You don’t need any coding experience to use the in-line personalization tool.
As a result of implementing in-line personalization, Happilo could achieve a 15% growth in conversion rates through repeat purchases and a staggering 286% uplift in conversion by targeting cart abandoners.
Businesses can use web analytics to track the performance of their digital marketing and advertising campaigns and choose the best channels for reaching their target audience.
Let’s see how this is done.
Scripbox, India’s leading digital wealth manager, needed help optimizing its marketing efforts to enhance acquisitions and retention. With WebEngage’s Journey Designer and analytics platform, the company could segment its customer base based on domestic and NRI residents. Then they targeted the segments with more personalized communication using WebEngage’s dashboard features like ‘Send Intelligently‘ and ‘A/B testing.’ WebEngage’s web analytics tools also empowered Scripbox to measure and rank its marketing campaigns’ efforts and optimize the most effective ones.
As a result, the company witnessed a 3X growth in user engagement, a 25-30% growth in email open rates, and frequency capping in marketing campaigns leading to a 25% decrease in unsubscribe rate.
How to leverage Web Analytics to create high-impact strategies that drive business growth?
Define goals and objectives
To use web analytics insights effectively, you must first define the goals you’re trying to achieve. For that, you first need to determine your overall business objectives. Are you trying to boost sales or improve engagement? Identifying your goals will help you focus your efforts and ensure that you’re tracking the right metrics.
Make the goals as precise as possible. So instead of setting a goal like increasing web traffic, set an objective like ‘increasing website traffic by 20% in the next four months.’ All your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
Track the right metrics
Once you’ve identified your objectives, it’s time to determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help measure the progress toward your goals. Let’s assume you want to boost sales. In that case, your KPIs could be conversion rates, cart abandonment rates, and revenue per user.
Choose the right tools
Select the web analytics tools that will help you collect the data you need to measure and analyze your chosen metrics most efficiently. Analytics tools can help you track user behavior on your website, including which pages users visit, their time on a page, and their actions. Google Analytics is a popular tool with many features, but other options are also available.
WebEngage has some advanced and sophisticated analytics tools like Funnels, Paths, and Live Analytics that help you in cases like:
- Visualizing how customers are engaging with your brand
- Tailoring your sales funnel to suit customer behavior
- Getting real-time insights on your marketing campaigns
- Encouraging customers to return to your eCommerce site
- Understanding the reasons for customer drop-offs
Analyze the data
Once you’ve installed the right analytics tools and tracked your chosen metrics, you must analyze the data. Look for patterns, trends, and anomalies. Understand which areas of your website are engaging users (or causing them to leave). This knowledge can inform your content and design decisions.
For example, Clovia, a leading full-stack lingerie brand in India, used WebEngage’s Funnels to analyze user behaviors and customer drop-offs on its websites and apps. A checkout funnel was created for high-intent users to observe their behavior patterns at different times.
Identify traffic sources
Understanding how users find your website is crucial for building effective marketing strategies. Analytics tools can reveal which channels (e.g., search engines, social media, email) drive traffic and which generate the most conversions.
Segmenting users based on demographics, behavior, or other factors can help you identify patterns and trends that might not be immediately visible when looking at aggregate data. This information can inform your targeting strategies and help you create more effective messaging and campaigns.
Use A/B testing
Analytics tools can help you test different variations of your website and marketing campaigns to identify the highest-performing versions. You can tweak your website and campaigns accordingly.
Make data-driven decisions
Based on your analysis, decide how to improve the performance of your website. Adjust your website design, content, or marketing strategies to achieve your goals.
In continuation to our last example, Clovia analyzed the data it collected. Using WebEngage’s Journey Designer, the company created a personalized multi-channel journey that encouraged customers to complete the checkout process. Using web analytics tools, Clovia determined the best time to reach out to cart abandoners. As a result, it experienced an impressive 85% growth in its overall revenue.
Continuously monitor and refine
Your job doesn’t end when you reach your goals. Keeping track of your website metrics and making tweaks to your strategy according to the insights received is an ongoing process.
Over time, your business metrics will change. But one thing will remain true: you will always need to track your website’s performance and make necessary adjustments with the help of web analytics tools.
Something to keep in mind
There are certain instances, like dark social, where web analytics might not give you the most accurate insights.
Dark social refers to social sharing and online referrals that occur through private messaging platforms, email, or other non-public channels, making it difficult for marketers and analysts to track and measure. In other words, it is the sharing of content or links that take place outside of public social networks without identifying the source.
Imagine sharing a link with your friend via private messaging through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. In these cases, the referrer information is often lost. Then when your friend clicks on a shared link and visits a website, the source of the traffic appears as “direct” instead of being attributed to the specific sharing channel.
Web analytics tools can provide some insights and help shed light on dark social to a certain extent, but they are not designed to fully capture and track it.
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of dark social, you might need to employ alternative methods, such as surveys, user interviews, or social listening tools, to gather data and insights from users themselves about their sharing behaviors.
If you dream of growing your online business, there’s no doubt that web analytics are crucial. Without understanding your website traffic and user behavior, making informed decisions about optimizing your website design and marketing strategies is almost impossible. But don’t worry. You need not do everything by yourself.
WebEngage is here to help you harness the power of data-driven decision-making. Our advanced analytics features are designed to help you gain deep insights so you can make informed decisions that drive growth and boost conversions. With tools like funnels, paths, cohorts, and live analytics, you’ll have all the information you need to customize your website and marketing campaigns for maximum impact.
Need more proof? Check out our Impact Stories. Our analytics’ capabilities have helped businesses like yours achieve remarkable results. We’re confident we can help you. Ready to take the leap? Head to our website to book a demo today.