#2 - The main concepts of analytics
In the first article of the analytics series, called "How to get started with your analytics?", we presented the definitions, objectives, principles and stages to succeed in putting together a strategy for your analytics.
In this second part, we will show you some concepts to really understand analytics.
The indicators are very numerous and all potentially interesting. This is exactly why it is very important to set objectives that will involve looking only at certain indicators. This is our advice: start by giving your employees just a few indicators and the means to interpret their evolution. It is counterproductive to drown them in figures that they will not be able to interpret correctly.
A few basic indicators:
Number of visitors
This is obviously the first indicator! But not necessarily the first analysable. 1'000 visitors per month, is this a lot or not? To answer this question, you must be able to compare with other similar sites (GA offers this comparison) or, over time, for example between just before a marketing campaign and in the weeks/months following the campaign.
Unique and recurring visitors
What percentage of visits are made by users returning to your site? While some sites may be able to ignore recurring visitors altogether, for sites that intend to engage their audience and provide them with a service in the medium or long term, recurring visitors constitute a key segment to focus on.
Indicators for the quality of traffic:
Average time per session
With a few exceptions, the longer the average duration, the better. This is a good indicator of interest in your site's content, especially if the site's goal is to inform by offering articles that take a bit of time to read. What is the purpose of the site and the pages visited? A short session is not necessarily negative... If the duration of the session is reduced due to a good design of the site which thus makes it possible to quickly find the information sought.
Number of pages viewed per session
Again, the higher the number, the better... in general. This is another indicator of the quality of site traffic. Work on the relevance of the "cross-linking" links on each page can increase this indicator.
Here is finally an indicator that is an exception! For once, the smaller the number, the better! It indicates the percentage of sessions for which the visitor loaded only one page, then left the site without interacting with the site. It is therefore an indicator of disinterest. But be careful, however, to consider that some cases correspond to a user who did not need to navigate to find the answer to his question! The bounce rate is particularly interesting to study per page and in particular on the landing pages of your campaigns. Too high a bounce rate may indicate that the content on the page does not match the promise or, at the very least, the expectations generated by the campaign. The user clicks on the campaign link but very quickly notices that the content of the link does not correspond or does not live up to what he expected.
Number of sessions per visitor
This indicator is useful for analysing the segment of recurring visitors and seeing how loyal your audience is. In the case of a site where the objective is to engage visitors over time, this is a key indicator!
Who visits your site? What are their specificities? The data may relate to the geographic area of visitors, their language, the tools (browser and device) used to access the site.
With priority targets for marketing objectives, it is an analysis that is of great importance. Do your site visitors match your target?
A comparison between desktop-type and mobile-type devices can teach you a lot about the specific expectations and interests of your audience in these different contexts of use.
It is possible to segment your audience for specific analyses and possibly compare between these different segments. This is particularly important for analysing the results of a digital marketing campaign, for example. Only the audience segment generated by this campaign will be analysed to measure the results. Comparing the data between the segment of new visitors and that of repeat visitors can be very interesting to understand the specificities of these two segments.
Where do your visitors come from? What are the main sources of traffic on your site? What traffic are your campaigns generating? Do your visitors match your target?
The acquisition of traffic is one of the nerves of the digital war. When it comes to meeting visibility objectives, the content created to attract traffic must be qualitative and written in such a way as to be visible and reach the right target. Analytics can help you measure the effectiveness and adequacy of your digital strategy.
The sources of traffic are essentially divided into categories:
These are the users who already know you because they typed the url of your site directly in the browser
These are the users who have gone through a search engine to come across your site. If the keywords used on the search engine include the name of your site or organisation, then they join the segment of users who already know you, see category above. The other keywords used are very interesting to know because they will tell you which keywords your site is ranking well on and also allow you to see that certain keywords that are important to you might not be generating traffic. Coupled with an analysis of the quality of the traffic thus generated (the 3 basic indicators mentioned above) can allow you to know if the content of your site meets the needs of your visitors. Coupled with the origin of the traffic, you can get an idea of how you are performing on your brand awareness goals in a given region.
These are all links to your site from other sites. They are your friends on the web. It is generally a quality source of traffic. You can influence this volume by contacting your partners to add links to your site, usually in exchange for a reciprocal service. It is not only a very immediate source of traffic, but it is also a key criterion for the referencing of your content by Google!
All the links to your site shared on social media will generate traffic which is considered by Google as a category in its own right. These links are also very impacting on SEO. If your digital strategy relies heavily on social media, this source is a key segment to focus on as a priority.
In general, it is also the comparison of the different segments corresponding to each of these sources that can teach you a lot about the behavior of your users.
In the third and final article of the series, which will be published next week, we will detail other features for a more advanced use of analytics, coupled with more qualitative methods.