Jun 1, 2016

Website analytics can be your gold mine

Website analytics can be your gold mine
BY Peggy Nordeen

B2B | Data Science | SFBJ | Smartphone Apps | Website

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal.

With 88 percent of the U.S. population and 40 percent of the global population counted this year as Internet users, the visitors to your website provide an amazing source of data on your business potential.

Search, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google keywords and adwords, broadcast, streaming video, print ads – drive interested potential customers or clients to websites for more information and purchase.

Most executives know their website traffic and purchase counts. Some have even, at one time or another, read a report of “who” that traffic represents. In a business world, where rising competition and changing paradigms prevail, carefully watching the “who,” as well as “how many and how much,” can provide the key to increased business success.

Measure the world’s interest in real-time

The good news is that today, our online tools and apps give us many avenues to keep track, in real time, of our website visitors, who, in essence, are a daily research sample of the world’s interest in our business offerings. Identifying and tracking the demographics of that sample and what they are interested in not only tells us how well we are currently reaching our audience targets, but who the emerging targets might be and what they are interested in.

There are many things you can do with this information, but focusing on a few top things can produce small increases that add up quickly and on an ongoing basis if you persist.

Retarget emerging segments

Google Analytics and other free tools offer audience, demographics and interest reports that can give you real-time information on who is on your website and insights into which audience segments are trending up. Trending up is the key. Retargeting these emerging segments of visitors with online ads to bring them back can be especially productive. We’ve all abandoned a shopping cart on an e-commerce site and seen the products in the cart on ads that pop up later as we surf. That’s basic product retargeting. Today, some savvy marketers are retargeting only when new website content is added and when the user is reading relevant related content. This is called “contextual targeting” and can garner twice the normal click-through rates.

Boost content for engagement

Content creation and monitoring is hard work, which can be made easier with tools like confetti reports. Most of us are familiar with heat maps – spectral graphic representations of a website page that show hot spots or areas of the page where viewers concentrate their focus, with white being the hottest and purple the coolest.

Confetti reports color-code specific dots based on criteria you decide, such as which ad the visitor came from and what they then click on, time of day, duration until click and new vs. returning. Through careful analysis of these sophisticated confetti reports, you can begin to determine which content appeals to emerging visitor segments and enhance that content.

To review best practices in content creation and management, the Content Marketing Institute is a great resource for most all marketers, including B2B, B2C and nonprofit. The organization has been providing important research annually since 2010. Additionally, CMI can provide training for your staff on developing personas, mapping personas to engagement cycles and implementing segmentation.

The key to business growth is to stay one step ahead of the market and the competition. Staying ahead of the competition means taking the lead. While there are many tools and reasons to also keep track of what your competition is doing, keeping an eye on your own upward trends can have faster payoff and prove that your own website analytics can be a gold mine.