There are thousands of reports and metrics in the world of web analytics today but my quest is to find 5 key reports that add real insight, by which I mean lend themselves clearly to an actionable outcome. Here I discuss 5 awesome analytics reports and the incredible insight you can get out of them to measure website performance.
1. In-Page Analysis
In a nutshell
Shows you which of your pages are working well, and which aren’t.
What I love about in-page analysis is that it simplifies all the complexities with web analytics metrics and provides visual insights for a website owner to consider and action. It shows you what links are being clicked the most in comparison to links that you want visitors to click. Click density shows the gains and losses by segmenting out people who click and convert as opposed to those that don’t convert.
Within Google Analytics (GA) you can gather insight into how long it takes for visitors to discover key pages on your site using metrics such as average time on a page. If it takes too long there might be scope for concern regarding the navigational structure of your site.
You can also create a goal that measures anyone who spends more than ‘X’ amount of time or sees more than ‘Y’ number of pages on a site. This goal would effectively capture visitor attention or acknowledgement. This is a deeper insight into customer behaviour regardless of whether it leads to a purchase because we are now capturing a segment of visitors who are more aware of our brand.
The primary aim is to observe the density of clicks and track visitor behaviour at the next stage in the funnel path i.e. what does the visitor do next? Heatmaps can be a more visual way of displaying click density as shown below in (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – ClickTale heatmap showing click density and mouse hovers
2. Visitor Acquisition Analysis
In a nut shell
Shows you where your visitors are coming from.
At site level, visitor acquisition analysis shows face value metrics of different sources of traffic to your site. Using GA (Figure 2) you can see an overview of traffic sources such as direct traffic, search engines, and referring sites. Deeper insights can be gained if you segment out referring sites that are sending you traffic that meet a specific goal such as a purchase or a subscription.
Acquiring the cost of your traffic is important. You can use metrics such as cost per conversion which helps you determine the cost of acquiring a customer by which you measure the level of your marketing initiative. This provides you with valuable information on your return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS).
Figure 2 – Google Analytics all traffic sources
3. Page Performance Analysis
In a nut shell
Shows you whether a page is doing its job.
Page performance analysis shows face value metrics of pages on your site. Using metrics such as entrances and bounces you can see what pages act as your home page and what page is doing its job respectively. GA also provides metrics such as unique visitors and average time spent on a page which indicates the degree of engagement.
You can then add goals such as per visit goal value which shows whether the content on a page ‘A’ was more valuable than page ‘B’ by simply assigning a value. So if page ‘A’ creates a value of £3.00 and page ‘B’ creates a value of £4.00 then page ‘B’ has more influence and value to your users and business at that interval in time. You can also create indexes to ascertain page value.
Page performance analysis can show the distribution of the visits to a goal. Funnel paths (Figure 3) show your desired path that you want visitors to take in order to reach a goal. You can then gain insight into how many people begin a conversion process, actually complete it and where people drop off.
Figure 3 – Conversion Funnel Path
4. Internal Site Search Analysis
In a nut shell
Shows your visitor intentions and search behaviour.
Internal site search analysis allows you to better understand visitor intentions. Assuming that you have an internal site search engine on your website then you will be able to see what visitors typed into your site search engine.
Internal site search is a key navigational element that provides insight into the mind of the visitor. GA provides metrics such as the percentage of search exits which is equivalent to a bounce rate for site search. It shows the percentage of people who leave instantly after viewing the site search results. You can then understand what search term is performing or not.
Referring to (Figure 4), if individual search term performance is high in relation to search exits then perhaps the search engine algorithms are not configured properly, or perhaps the products displayed are not relevant for that search term. There is even a possibility that the products visitors want are not being offered which reveals major gaps in conversion rate optimisation.
Metrics such as the percentage of search refinements can show you how visitors refine their queries to get optimal results. For example, you may have a complaints/refunds section on your home page which is explained but visitors still refine their search. So you can identify improvements for that section based on visitor search refinement behaviour.
You can also track goal conversions between visits with internal site search and visits without internal site search. This will show whether money invested in internal site search yields a return or not.
Figure 4 – Individual search term performance expressed as % of search exits
5. Paid Search Performance Analysis
In a nut shell
Shows the effectiveness of your paid search.
On face value this report identifies differences in trends between organic traffic and paid search. Using GA traffic sources you can drill down by keywords and segment these by paid and organic traffic. You can assess which type of traffic contributed to overall traffic visually.
We can go deeper by segmenting paid traffic to show the performance of your advertising using metrics such as the number of impressions, clicks, cost, click through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC). Other metrics such as revenue per click (RPC) and ROI show if your ad had a positive or negative business impact.
Using reports (Figure 5) such as days to purchase segmented by paid search traffic we can compare the performance of paid search against organic traffic. If there is a massive difference you can review the landing page of the PPC campaigns to identify any problems. Solving any problems and reducing the days to purchase can speed up the conversion process and boost your overall conversion rate.
Figure 5 – Days to purchase segmented by Paid Search
So are these really the 5 best reports? Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. This is my first post on SEOgadget and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, Fabian.