Insights from Analytics (1) – Learn to Read Web Analytics

Data analytics is critical in digital marketing. Analytics gives great insights to the content developers. All content development and maintenance work should be based on the analytics. In following a few posts, I will explain how to use analytics to improve the website.

First of all, let us learn how to read the web analytics. For instance, if you have following reports data for the website you own.

  • Bounce Rate: 85%
  • Mobile Sessions: 83%

What does these statistics speak to you?  Sometimes, it is overwhelming to see these analytical results if we are not familiar with terminologies in the specific area. We have to get comfortable with the web analytics terms first in order to read the report. I have listed common used terms in web analytics. Understanding these terms will help you start reading web analytics report and get some directions on what to do in the next.

In the web world, session is a basic term we need to know. Session is actually fancy way of saying visitors. When someone visit your website, the session is created. The session ends when you close your browser. Or a session expires after 30 minute of inactivity. Basically, more sessions mean more visitors. Longer session means better engagement.

Sessions can be counted by device type, such as mobile device or desktop device. For example Mobile Sessions 83%, this information tells us that 83% of the website visitor are using mobile device. This means your website has to be mobile device friendly. The website appearance on the desktop and the cellphone are totally different. Make sure your website looks neat and comfortable reading on mobile phone.

Sessions can be grouped by the source type as well. Followings are source types that are commonly used.

  • Organic Search: these visitors are from normal search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo etc. For instance, user searches keywords on Google, then clicks the link that redirects the user to your website.
  • Paid search: these visitors are from search engine Ads. These visitors clicks the link you paid Google to show in the beginning of search list.
  • Referrals: these visits are triggered by clicking the link embedded in other websites.
  • Social media: visits are from social medias, like FB, Twitter and LinkedIn etc. For example, if someone clicks the link you shared on Twitter, the visit is counted as social media. 
  • Email Marketing: these visitors are from the email you sent. 
  • Direct traffic: this type of visitor are generated by people type the website URL directly into the browser.

Usually, people neglect the importance of social media and referrals. The web analytics I have seen has zero visitors from these two sources. This is a problem. Especially, social medias are supposed to be most important resources to distribute the website content in recent days.

Another important term we need to know is bounce rate. Bounce rate is the number of sessions with exactly 1 page view divided by total sessions.  It tells us how engaging the website content. We do not want visitors to view just one page in the website and leave. We want them to stay and react other actions on the website. Higher bounce rate means less engaging. For example, 85% is too high. Most of visitors just viewed one page in the website and left without doing anything. There can be many reasons for high bounce rate. The content is not attractive. People are bored to read the content. Or it can be the CTA (Call To Action). If the website has no such thing called CTA to direct visitors to engage in next event, users would not do anything. In order to make the website more engaging, we need to add CTAs (Call To Action) to the content. CTA is very important tool to decrease the bounce rate and increase lead conversion rate.

In the next post, I will explain CTA in detail with a example.

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