Web analytics can offer B2B marketing departments a goldmine of information, yet it seems that the true power of this data is relatively unexplored by many. A website is the online lifeblood for most brands, so measuring its constant activity is paramount to success. It’s easy to feel a little threatened by the prospect of analyzing website metrics as it’s often thought that to be good at web analytics, you need to be a mathematical whizz, but this is a common misconception. Web analytics can be grasped by any marketer with a little time and elbow grease!
But this is just the start…
Web analytics is a world full of misconceptions, that hold us back from taking full control of our website success. Here are five further myths that we’re keen to bust, so that marketers everywhere can harness their website analytics and see incredible results.
Bigger is better
When discussing web analytics and metrics, “bigger is better” is always a common thought; the more web traffic the better, the more page visits, the better. Essentially every number needs to be bigger to be better. However, this is simply not the case in web analytics and many marketers fail to gain the results they want when focusing on this folly, so let’s bust this myth wide open…
Though numbers play a huge role in any analytics process, the “why” behind those website metrics is even more vital, as is the behaviour of your visitors and how this feeds into your goals. Our ultimate job as marketers is to offer up new business opportunities that go on to become sales and generate revenue for business growth, so what’s the point in gaining a huge amount of web traffic or content downloads, if those people don’t stand a chance of becoming clients?
It’s really a very simple matter of quality over quantity; you would do better to have 1,000 visitors a month, with 30 conversions and 10 sales than 10,000 visitors a month, 100 conversions and still only 10 sales – what have you gained from all that extra traffic? Focus on rates of conversion, whether that’s visitor to inquiry, page visit to content download etc. Whatever goal you chose, look at how the initial numbers feed into the result and aim for a high conversion percentage – this is the number you want to be bigger.
Stemming even further, look at the conversion from web leads into sales – are these leads of good enough quality to genuinely want your product, and see the value it can offer their business? If not, look to change the copy, change the call to action, even change your keywords so the right audience can find you. Look again to your web analytics and ask more of your numbers.
I need all the metrics!
It’s so easy to think this, especially when you see the incredible data different web analytics tools offer. You want to know every number you can find about your website because it’s exciting, and it feels like you’re gaining such valuable information. But this is more of a hindrance than a help, and marketers can soon end up bogged down in vanity metrics with no idea how to start to move their strategy forward.
You need to be strict with metrics, and only measure the ones you need. What are your website goals? What do you want to achieve with your website, and how is this measured? Once you know this you can look to metrics, selecting those that are essentially linked to your goal and its output to only gather the data you need.
Why not look to create a pipeline of specific metrics feeding into your goal? For example, if you’re keen to look at how many leads are generated from a single piece of content, start by tracking how many views the content page gets, then how many clicks into the asset, how many downloads, how many leads and so on – right through to the revenue generated. Each metric leads onto the next, so you know they’re all necessary, and you gain an insightful view of the full buyer arch – from start to finish.
Focusing on the right metrics makes it far easier to pick out the successes and pitfalls – if your goals aren’t being reached, you can look to your pipeline and see the exact areas causing the problem instead of trawling through vanity metrics hopelessly searching for some hints. If things are going well you can also understand the over-performing areas, allowing you to take note and re-create that success in the future.
Data always looks the same
Another common misconception when looking at web analytics is the assumption that your numbers will always appear the same, not matter what tool you use – this is unfortunately not the case. Every tool is different, and all offer uniquely different data and metrics. This means that the data drawn from each tool, even for the same metric will never be 100% the same. Take Google Analytics and Lead Forensics for example. On Google Analytics, if a visitor arrives on your sight multiple times within 30 minutes, it’s counted as one visit, but on Lead Forensics, every individual visit is counted, so the number of overall visits across the tools will differ.
But there’s nothing to say you can’t use multiple tools! Gaining the same metric from a selection of sources allows an enormous insight into trends and patterns. You’ll see that the data often fluctuates in the same way across different tools, both showing any drastic changes. It’s like getting a second opinion, knowing whether a reading is reliable or anomalous.
Information above action
There’s no point gathering data you won’t use. This is key, as many businesses put more of their efforts into gathering the data and analyzing it for answers, than making changes to improve results; it’s often thought that having web analytics information on hand is more important than taking action to change the results.
As web analytics hinge on numbers, it’s so easy to sit back, keep on top of the numbers and say, “we’re doing web analytics”, but it’s just not the case. Get active and bring your analytics to life in the changes and updates you make; with such high quality and insightful data to guide you, it won’t be long before you see the results you want.
This is the true power of website analytics, providing the grounds and drive for marketers to take guided actions that better performance. Gathering web analytics and searching for patterns and trends takes time, so don’t just waste it! Plan website improvements, plan your next strategy or campaign – keep asking yourself what actions you’ll need take next.
All bounces are bad
And finally, a misconception that may surprise you. We are so often lead to believe website bounces are bad, and yes, often they aren’t great. Someone has accessed your site then left without any further site exploration – we agree it doesn’t look good. They don’t appear to have engaged with your content or filled in any forms – but never be so quick to judge.
We always see bounce rates as an indication of the website in question failing to fulfil visitor needs causing them to leave and go elsewhere, but there are several reasons for web-page bouncing that aren’t so negative.
Have you considered someone was looking for your number quickly, so they could call in? Or they were grabbing a link to your site to refer your services to a friend? Perhaps they clicked on an external link you want them to follow (to an event page or similar) – the options are many and so often overlooked.
You may think we’re being optimistic but look at it this way – there is as much reason to believe visitors found what they were looking for instantly, as there is to believe they didn’t. Marketers are obsessed with bounce rates for all the wrong reasons. If it’s high, then yes by all means have another look at the copy or the layout – is everything as good as it could be? But at the same time, have confidence; if you’re seeing the results you want from your website, are you really at a loss because of a high bounce rate?
In conclusion, web analytics are not a mathematical minefield that takes a genius to navigate. They can offer incredible help to marketers, showing the next best move to take in difficult times ensuring clarity and guidance.
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