Web Analytics Traps: Tracking the Right Data for your Business

By in Online Marketing,

It is safe to say that the words “data” and “analytics” have become two of the hottest marketing/business buzzwords over the last couple of years. We have all seen ads telling us that companies are increasing revenues by up to X% by digging into the quantitative information they have at their disposal. Tracking web analytics in particular has become standard practice for businesses.

In this light, it would seem that by simply dedicating company resources to tracking analytics, you can drastically improve the performance of a company’s marketing campaigns, and even overall operational efficiency. Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward or simple.

It’s true that mining your company’s data creates very real potential for significant improvement. However, the issue that most businesses will encounter has to do with the sheer bulk of data. There are so many metrics available that is easy to get overwhelmed with the seemingly endless columns of information. Worse, at first glance you may think that each and every metric is important, and therefore needs to be collected and studied. This is overwhelming and a waste of time.

Numerous metrics can act as what we at Webolutions® call “analytics traps.” This simply means that a piece of data may appear more useful than it actually is and may draw your attention away from more important information.

One of the biggest “traps” is only measuring the number of visits to your website. This metric can be very misleading. While it’s one of the first pieces of data that comes to mind when performing website analytics and is one of the easiest to understand and most talked about, it offers limited insight.

Measuring the number of visits is useful if you see an increase over a certain time period, and then tie this to a campaign you were running, but even this provides incomplete information. It would be better to track the number of unique visitors that came to the site, as well as the number of page views. Then, when correlating this information with campaigns, look at when visitors are coming to your website – break this down by week, day, and even hour if need be.

Another easy trap is measuring the number of likes on your Facebook page. Although this is the primary metric used on Facebook–and every organization wants more likes for their company page–it overshadows many of the other valuable data points. These include engagement metrics like how many people liked, shared, or commented on your posts.

How to use this Information
Successful online marketers collect and measure visits to a website and Facebook likes. They also understand the importance of tracking additional data to acquire deeper knowledge of how consumers view and interact with the brand online.

More visits and page likes does not equal success. Big numbers do not mean a customer base is engaged or happy. Identify metrics that tie directly to your business’s bottom line results (conversion metrics in particular). That is the best path towards measuring your company’s success.

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About Mike Hanbery

A 26-year marketing industry veteran, Mike has assumed active leadership roles at Webolutions since 2010. Achievements include overseeing the digital marketing team and contributing to the marketing success of many of the more than 2,000 websites Webolutions has launched since 1994. Certifications include social media, inbound marketing and local search marketing. Mike’s mom thinks he is witty and insightful. Learn more about Mike Hanbery.

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