Analyzing the Analytics

Posted on February 19, 2011

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What makes online marketing fascinating is that every marketing effort and every dollar can be tracked. And that’s where a web analytics expert steps in who knows exactly what metrics need to be monitored. In a team every analytics report is shared and discussed which goes for a second round of reporting with your client. This blog entry brings to light the various metrics- merging both search marketing and social media- picking up from where I stopped on my last entry.

Let’s begin with search first. Google Analytics has made every website and its popularity transparent. It quantifies everything; which keyword is minting the most traffic, how many visitors you are getting, how many are returning visitors, which page is getting in the most traffic and which is the least popular, how many new visits you are getting, average time visitors spend on the website and so on.

It basically helps you to understand which page of yours is a winner and which ones you need to work on. And new visits tell you how successful your SEO/SEM strategy is and what you need to do better it. The main tools are your keywords and whatever analytics you are reading is related to that. Most clients come to me with a primary goal of getting more traffic. But it is my job to point out the bounce rate next to the booming visitors. If you have a high bounce rate what is the point of getting in more traffic? It means you are turning off the visitors and you are losing out on the possibility of the same visitor returning back unless you are in the practice of repeatedly changing your offers (provided you are a e-commerce site). Aim for “site stickiness”, as we search marketers say. Another insight that really intrigues me is “sources” ; google analytics very clearly depicts whether your traffic is coming from search engines or paid campaigns, how many referrals from xyz website or emails and even which social media website. How cool is that?

Imagine when you are going through the report and you read “800 clicks from Facebook”. A graph like this always excites me. You will be surprised to know what Facebook marketing can do for your website. Google also tells you how your website is performing on a weekly/monthly basis and also gives a map overlay to see which part of the world or city your visitors come from. So say, you are popular in Boston where you are making sales as well but maybe you are not so popular in London but you are getting some valuable sales from just few visitors. Get your Search specialist to target London and hike up the visitors. When it comes to a e-commerce website, the sale is by far the crucial metric. And our friends at google also tell you exactly what pages the visitors entered from and where they went next. It just goes on and on…

Coming to the other tool on the web. What many were weary of when social media revolution first began is how are we going to track it. And today every web analytics platform is able to show a bunch of metrics related to Facebook, twitter and its likes. The first objective is to know what metrics you need to look for and the second what tool you are going to use to analyze it. eMarketer estimates four out of five US businesses with at least 100 employees will be marketing on social media this year, and US ad spending on social networks is expected to reach over $3 billion.  More marketers will measure success with conversions than by tallying fans and followers, positive buzz and a variety of other “soft” metrics.

If you have a fanpage on  Facebook it is basically going to monitor your buzz and reach concentrating on like, share, mentions. If you were to run sponsored ads revenue related metrics will also be noted. And with softwares like Radian6 and sysomos you have the option of linking all your exposure and ads on all the social media websites. It gives you the ability to view coverage and mentions by vote count, comment count, Twitter followers, sentiment, media type, and more. It ties to Google Analytics, Webtrends, and Omniture to view social media results through the lens of web stats.

Undoubtedly, this is what makes online marketing the most viable option in today’s digital arena. If you have the option to quantify every promotional effort and track your spending and earnings; in other words ROI, why would anyone not take it? “Especially in a poor economy, people are looking for marketing solutions that target their demographic better, are highly measurable and show how each spent marketing dollar makes money.” affirms, Nelson James, president of SEO.com on Dan Bischoff’s blog in Dec 2010; I totally agree. And if you don’t understand this let your google analytics or omniture account do the calculating. The results will be right in front of you! This is something we online marketing experts swear by.

Uncovering these metrics is the beginning, the real task is being able to fathom them. The key however, is how you are going to use these metrics to build or fine tune your future online marketing campaigns or even your offering.