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The Importance of Analytics

Apr 10, 2017
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How many users come to your site each month? What is your best online referral channel? Is your traffic trending up or down? If you can’t answer these questions you have analytics issues. With the amount of free data available to website owners and marketers, there is no excuse not to be tracking and analyzing it. In the video below I’ll share a few free options you can start using right know to better understand your audience.

If you’re not currently tracking your online marketing efforts, you’re not alone. But that’s still not a good excuse. Did you know that...

  • 45% of marketers still don’t formally evaluate their analytics for quality and accuracy or, even worse, don’t know if they do or not. (Contently)
  • Less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking or coupon codes. 18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything at all. (MediaPost)

With free tools like Google Analytics and Search Console available to all website owners, there is no reason not to be tracking your efforts. Using the data will help you make smarter decisions that will yield real business results.

Video Transcript:

Today we have more access to data than ever before. You can track nearly every aspect of a marketing campaign. It's amazing that digital marketing gives us this ability to know what's really working and what's not working so well. But even though we have all this access to data, a lot of people still aren't engaging with it.

45% of marketers still don't formally evaluate their analytics for quality or accuracy. And even worse many don't know if they do or not. That's kind of a scary statistic because this data's available to help us make better decisions. But it doesn't just stop there. Less than 30% of small business website owners actually use analytics, call tracking or other codes and 18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything at all.

With the availability of all these free tools online, why aren't we tracking this kind of stuff? Well, we're gonna talk about two free tools that you should start using today, whether you're a marketer or a business owner, and need to check on a regular basis. And then we'll talk about some of the cool things that are coming down the pike and that are even happening right now in the world of understanding the data and then being able to transform it into actionable insights for your business. So let's go a little bit deeper into some of those platforms.

The first one is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an extremely powerful analytics tool provided to you for free by the team over at Google. You can check almost everything using Google Analytics. Now it can get very complex. You can do very very complex tracking by adding tags and adding different events and understanding every little aspect of your site. Or you can use it just to get a general idea of who's coming to your site, how they came to your site and what they did when they were on there. At a bare minimum that's what you should do.

It's easy, just go to Google and google Google Analytics. And that will bring you to the page. Sign up for an account, place the tracking code on your website and then start checking in. I recommend at least on a weekly basis to understand who's coming and what they're doing on your site. Google Analytics is free and you should be using it to get a good idea of who your users are and whether or not they find your website helpful.

The next tool is another free one from the team over at Google. It's another one of my favorite tools to use that I use all the time, and that's Google Search Console. It was formally known as Webmaster Tools. Now Google Search Console is gonna give you an idea of how Google is interacting with your site. Is your site being indexed? It helps you submit new site maps to Google. It gives you more keyword data that you're not going to get inside of Google Analytics. But you can actually get it inside of Search Console, not everything, but a lot more.

What's better is you could break down how your pages are performing in the actual search results. You can see what queries were used to find your pages. You can see the click-through rate of certain queries to find your pages. And this can really help you in your SEO strategy because you can begin to understand the types of terms that are driving traffic to your site and whether or not that your meta tags or your title tags are actually enticing people to click through when you're in the search results.

These are two free tools - Google Analytics and Search Console - that even if you use at a very bare minimum to understand your users and understand how your site's being interacted with on Google's search platform are well worth the time that you're gonna invest in them, because it's gonna help you understand how people are using your site.

When it comes to understanding your users, there are a number of even more powerful tools that you can use and apply to your business for very specific analytics and tracking purposes. Now, we use a number of different tools to track a number of different things for our campaigns. Whether that be keyword tracking and some of the SEO stuff that we use Moz for, or maybe it's a little bit deeper in the user experience for which we have a tool called Concurra. And we can actually understand and record real time users and how they're behaving on our site. And then run AB tests of our site pages to understand which one's working better to optimize it and optimize our flow.

We also use a tool called TrenDemon which is a personalization software. But it also gives us content analytics and it shows us how far people are reading into the content. And are they engaging with the content on a level that's more natural to them? Those are just three tools that we use on an ongoing basis, but those are three of literally hundreds of tools online that you can use.

I'm gonna mention a couple in the posts below that you can click on and check out for yourself and dig a little deeper. But if you wanna start tracking at a much deeper level and you wanna get some specific insights, there are a number of powerful tools across the web that will help you do that. And the data's available, you just gotta have the front end set up right in order to pull in that data. Then you can start to break it down and use the data.

As you can see there are a number of ways to track your business online. But at the bare minimum, you should be using the free tools available to you. Sign up for Google Analytics, install their script on your site. Sign up for Search Console, get that moving on your site. Bing even has a version called 'Bing Webmaster Tools.' Go over and sign up for that, start to see how people are interacting with you online. Start to track your campaigns, track your search results and understand how people are engaging with your business. If you wanna know more, sign up for one of those other free tools or one of those other more in-depth paid tools. I promise you if you use it and you put it into practice, it will absolutely be worth the money.

I'm gonna add a couple more links of some tools that I recommend checking out because I think that they're valuable. But it really depends on your strategy and what you're doing as to which tool is going to be right for you. If you've got any questions, please comment below, send me an email, hit me up in the chatbox. Any way you wanna connect with me, that would be really great and I can kinda help steer you in the right direction. But until next time, happy marketing, and start tracking your websites, peace.

 

Analytics Tools

Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a powerful and free analytics tool for website owners and marketers. Google Analytics is now the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet.

Search Console: Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search results.

Bing Web Masters: Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service as part of Microsoft's Bing search engine which allows webmasters to add their websites to the Bing index crawler.

Bitly: Bitly Enterprise - branded links, mobile deep linking, omnichannel campaign tracking, audience intelligence - gives the world's leading brands a holistic, unbiased view into an increasingly complex digital landscape, and a powerful way to see, control and own their customer experience across the internet.

Open Web Analytics: Open Web Analytics (OWA) is open source web analytics software that you can use to track and analyze how people use your websites and applications.

SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb gives you global multi-device market intelligence to understand, track and grow your digital market share.

SEO Tracking Tools

Moz: The SEO toolset that's got it all: keyword research, link building, site audits, and page optimization insights, in one.

Ahrefs: Ahrefs stirred the stagnant field of backlink analysis and kick-started a new round of competition among SEO tool providers back then and quickly became one of the world's best backlink analysis tools.

SEMRush: Online marketing is never simple. But marketing tools should be! SEMrush originated as an in-house toolkit that we used for our own marketing efforts.

Majestic: No other site or search engine gives you as much detailed information about how the fabric of the web is knitted together.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider: The SEO Spider is a desktop program you can install locally on PC, Mac or Linux which crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps to evaluate onsite SEO.

Content Analytics

TrenDemon: TrenDemon is a content marketing attribution and personalization platform, helping marketers understand, align and automatically improve the impact of their efforts on sales.

Sumo: Content Analytics gives you a visual display of exactly where people stop reading your blog posts.

User Tracking & Testing

Concurra: Concurra is a one-of-a-kind all-in-one technology platform designed to help digital agencies and marketers deliver better results for their clients.

Hotjar: Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand your web and mobile site visitors.

Crazy Egg: See where visitors click, improve conversion rates, and understand user behavior.

Dashboards

Cyfe: All-In-One Online Business Dashboard. Social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure... monitor everything!

Geckoboard: Geckoboard helps everyone on your team focus on work that improves the metrics that matter to your business.

Google Data Studio: Google Data Studio (beta) turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. Dashboarding allows you to tell great data stories to support better business decisions.

  SEO Tool and Inbound Marketing Tools That Actually Work

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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