To process your digital marketing plans most effectively, you need to know how to set up a proper Web Analytics process: here are what steps it consists of and what you need to pay attention to. 

In the last article I introduced the concept of Web Analytics, explaining what it means and how it can help you plan the growth of your website and, as a result, ensure the success of your digital strategies.

Very good, though...

How does this apply in practice? That's probably a question you've asked yourself, and I'm here today to give you an answer.

Read on: you will find out how to implement an effective web analysis process and what best practices to follow to make sure we do it as well as possible.

The Web Analytics Process

To set up a Web Analytics strategy that really allows your site to take a leap forward, I recommend that you do so by considering the steps listed below.

#1 Define objectives.

It may seem obvious, but reiterating it never hurts: it is clear that before putting in place any kind of collection or data analysis, you need to have clear in your head the goals and results you are trying to achieve. They may relate to increasing sales, increasing the brand awareness or improving customer satisfaction. In any case, make sure they are SMART, i.e., specific, measurable, concretely achievable, realistic, and placed in a specific time frame. So rather than simply proposing to "increase purchase conversions," it is better to aim to "sell your product to tot new customers in two weeks."

#2 Identifies web analytics KPIs.

Based on your goals, you need to define which key performance indicators Are most relevant to your business. They are metrics and can be numerical (such as number of leads) or ratio (such as conversion rate or bounce rate). You don't need a lot of them; in fact, too long a list would probably be counterproductive: 4 to 10 would suffice. You must then ask yourself what the critical success factors are. For example, the percentage of visitors to your site who click on "Subscribe to Newsletter" can be an important KPI if your goal is to acquire new contacts for your mailing list.

#3 Collect data

The next step is to collect and store data. As I already showed you in the last article, they are essentially about the behavior of your users and how they interact with your website: so we are talking about views, conversions, dwell time, purchases. In this case, you can make use of a platform such as. Google Analytics, the most widely used and popular, which will quickly provide you with an overview of the performance of your online business.

#4 Processes web analytics information.

Well, at this point you need to turn the metrics and numbers you have collected into concrete, actionable information. So you can proceed in this way: first eliminate superfluous data that do not align with your goals and strategies; then check for duplicate, strange or simply irrelevant values. Next, process the numbers and find any relationships between them, identify trends, and sort and filter your data by variables. I recommend, of course, that you use dedicated tools and software.

#5 Develop your strategy

Here you need to delve a little deeper to formulate a strategic plan in line with your goals. Considering all the information you have gathered so far, you can adjust where you understand it is needed and get to work on making your site even more effective than you thought it already was by, for example, developing a rich, functional, and valuable content marketing plan.

#6 Experiment 

The next, and probably most important, step is to use that data to test, experiment, and make changes to your site. For example, to increase traffic to a page you particularly care about, you might move navigation links for that page to a more visible part of the Home Page or leverage SEO measures to rank higher in search engine results. (By the way, at this article I talked just about the importance of graphics in Web Marketing and in making a site user friendly.)

You often have to try several strategies before you find the one that produces the best results. An easy way to do this is through what is known as A/B testing, which involves creating two or more versions of a given piece of content to help you understand how your audience reacts differently to both. That way it's easy to realize what works and what doesn't.

Best practices web analytics

Many aspects of web analytics are specific to your business: what metrics you monitor, how you create reports, what tools you use. However, there are some best practices to help you collect, analyze, and use data more effectively. Here are a few.

#Select only the metrics that work best for your goals

It is important that you can identify the right and most valuable metrics based on what you really want to achieve. Probably one or two won't be enough to actually tell you how users are interacting with your site, but you can't track every KPI possible and imaginable, either, just to "make sure." You risk having too much data in your hands and overdosing on information, without being able to actually take advantage of any of it.

To avoid making this mistake, focus on your top priorities for developing your website: for example, ask yourself whether you want to reduce the bounce rate, whether you want to attract new visitors or convert more existing ones. After that, think about specific strategies to achieve them. At this point you will surely be able to narrow it down to those indicators that will help you track your progress and get what you want.

#Don't limit your attention to traffic.

Understanding and analyzing web analytics data, such as page views or top sources, is certainly important. But it is only a small part of your website's performance, and more importantly, the fact that many people visit does not necessarily mean that it is functional for your growth and success.

Trivially, if you're getting millions of page views but no conversions, there's probably something wrong and you'd better act on it. Or, if a high percentage of your traffic is just new visitors, you can evaluate why this is happening and think about how to attract those users to return.

#Talways turns data into useful information

If you find that your website received, so to say, 1 million views of a certain page and 400,000 new visitors in the last month, that doesn't mean much. Considering only the numbers by themselves gives an incomplete picture of performance-that's why you must always convert your data into detailed information in light of everything around it.

For all you know, these numbers could indicate, for example: an increase from last month or a decrease; little or no change in page views or visitors month over month; an increase in the last period but a sharp decrease year over year. You necessarily need to be aware of this by comparing the data with each other: only by such considerations can you be able to improve the effectiveness of your site.

#Oobserves data in context

When collecting web analytics data, never forget the context. What major variables or forces could affect the numbers? For example, algorithm updates, seasonality, and bots can have a major impact on traffic and other metrics. Considering data in context can help you understand, analyze, get detailed information, and make better decisions.

Web analytics: conclusion

To understand where you have been, where you are, and where you can go in your online marketing journey, it is critical that you know how to set up a Web Analytics strategy that is functional, effective, and above all, consistent with your goals.

As you can see, it's nothing too difficult: once you've established a course of action, all that's left is to be determined in using all the information you've gathered to successfully pursue the growth of your business.

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