Without sufficient tracking, you won’t know if if your campaigns are succeeding, if customers are buying, where they’re coming from or going to, or if there’s bugs in your websites.
Worst of all, you don’t have a way to improve if you can’t measure the improvement or have any data to compare against.
One of the great things about online marketing, unlike traditional advertising campaigns, is that it’s 100% measurable. With proper analytics and tracking, you can make changes as small as single word in some “ad copy”, the color of a button on a landing page, or put up a new blog post, and measure the difference in the results.
You can see where your online users enter your site, where they leave, what content they like the best, where they get stuck, and where they fail to purchase
You can also track and measure the effectiveness of your email and social media marketing campaigns, measure sales, find out which channels are bringing you the most sales and growth, and much more.
Armed with this information, you can more properly estimate “why” your site visitors behave the way they do, introduce new sales tactics, reduce barriers to new leads and sales, remove bugs and bottlenecks, improve UX and ad campaigns and create a better site for your users. Attempts to improve the site then become quantifiable and you can watch your goals improve.
There are a number of ways to track all this. The most popular and cost effective is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a statistics and analysis platform provided by Google (google.com/analytics). A small amount of code is installed in your website or application which feeds data into the GA platform where is is proceeded into statistical data. You can then log into your GA account and view the info as historical data or in real-time. There are many kinds of reports which can be run to gain information and remarkable insights into your site’s traffic, users and their behavior.
Google Analytics is free, though they do offer a premium paid services for enterprise users (the vast majority of sites will never need the premium service)
Google Analytics is not difficult to install, however in order to be reasonably accurate it must be installed and configured correctly. There are many additional and optional settings as well as multiple versions of GA for different platforms.
We will gladly install and configure Google Analytics for you. For WordPress websites (and some others) we have a flat fee for initial installation and basic setup of $250 (please ask us if you are eligible for the special flat-fee rate). Most Google Analytics setups are free for our full-service PPC services clients. Custom setups and configurations, and most other platforms fall under our standard hourly rates.
For anyone who has a website, setting up Google Analytics, and a proper webmaster tools account activation, is the first step we will recommend to begin a marketing campaign. It helps you get a handle on your site’s traffic, visitors, users, sales and goals, and permits effective measurement of your marketing efforts.
Google Analytics is currently the best platform available for general usage and behavior tracking. Google Analytics provides crucial and significant information about what happens as visitors move into or out of your site, from one page to the next, or on their journey from a marketing effort like an email, PPC campaign or tweet to the shopping cart.
But what if you need more information than that? There are a number of additional services which are geared toward providing additional insights for certain specific targets.
What if a visitor come and reads a single page on your site and then leaves? Google Analytics will call that a “bounce”. Since Google doesn’t track interactions between a single page, you will never know what a single-page user did, what they liked, what they saw, or why they left without reading other pages. In-page analytics like CrazyEgg, Inspectlet and ClickTale can answer questions like that. With this kind of software you can see a “heat map” showing where your users clicked, how far down the page they went and more, which is as close as you can get to knowing what your visitors saw and read. This is great for conversion improvements and in-page A/B testing.
Some of these will also allow you to “play back” the history of user sessions, seeing not only what they did on a page but what they did between pages as well.
Playing off the concept of long tail marketing, the HitTail company provides very specialized analytics that will help you discover new keywords that users are searching for which may never have thought of but may match your own industry or site. This a great great way to get new ideas for blogs, pages, mini sites, targeted advertising, in-page calls to actions. Google has recently made changes to Google Analytics which removed similar data, and this may prove to be well worth the cost for many websites.