What Web Analytics Don't Tell You

by Nick Dennis on Friday, January 18, 2013 in Marketing Measurement

Marketers love web analytics.

What's not to love? Thanks to analytics we know how are sites and content are performing now - not just a month or quarter from now. But as valuable as these analytics can be, they only feed you numbers in the aggregate. They can't tell you how leads or customers are interacting with your website, your landing pages, etc.

With that in mind, I've drawn up a sampling of analytics we have today and where they fall short.

Page Depth
Page depth is a lovely metric to have. It can tell you the volume of visitors drilling down into your website, what's resonating with the market. But to be really useful there are a few questions you need answer to: Who are those visitors that are looking at my high value content? Who's looking at my pricing page? Who's viewing our product feature comparisons?

By collecting this information we can start to work out "who's who".  Who's the CMO, who's the IT guy, who's just thinking about costs!  We can then begin to treat each of these contacts in different ways because we are starting to get to know them.

Repeat Visitors
Fire up Google Analytics and it's easy to find how much of your traffic comes from repeat visitors. That's handy data to have, but when you're selling complex services solutions and products you need go deeper.

Knowing who those returning visitors are allows the marketers to see how serious the buyer is and where they are in the buying process. Armed with this information we could provide tailored landing page content, with follow up messaging reinforcing the story we felt was relevant for them.

Referral Source
Analytics will tell us the percentage of the people coming from Facebook or LinkedIn, but marketers want to use that knowledge to present buyers coming from specific channels tailored-made messaging.

This move requires going beyond reporting to creating and delivering content that was more appropriate to visitors from different sources offers a more personalised, relevant journey from the get-go.

Analytics are providing the kind of insight marketers would have begged for not all that long ago. Simple data is never enough, though. With tools like marketing automation and social monitoring, you can go deeper into exactly who is looking at your content and exploring your products, versus spending a lot of time on your careers page.

For more on going beyond standard metrics, check out all these resources on campaign analytics.

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