You know how it is. You use external agency services to place advertisements, but they are not successful. Or you publish 372 blog posts on your website, which in the end do not bring any new readerships in. You give up and say: “We tried everything, but it didn’t work for us! If you feel this is you, here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be like that.
The following article aims to convey the basics of data-driven online marketing and to give small to medium-sized companies concrete assistance in independently improving their online presence and customer acquisitions, through the use of web analytics.
1. Data-Driven Online Marketing Using Web Analytics
Sooner or later every company deals with the topic of advertising. In the past, things like distributing flyers, newspaper advertisements or advertising pillar banners were the popular way to do this. Those that wanted to invest a little more may have chosen to advertise on the radio.
What do these advertising methods have in common? Right – they are not measurable. How many people noticed the respective advertisement at the end and actively processed it or what proportion responded because the advertisement is usually not verifiable? As the father of modern advertising, John Wanamaker, said:
“50 per cent of advertising is always wasted – you just don’t know which 50 per cent.”
The main difference on the internet is that advertising measures can often be measured, evaluated and optimized very precisely – both quantitatively and qualitatively. And this also applies to user behaviour. You don’t need a degree in computer science to use web analytics as part of your online business growth strategy.
The point here is not to measure any key figures that make an abstract statement about the competitive situation or market penetration – and which are completely useless for the pragmatist in a concrete case.
Rather it is about such key figures that allow direct conclusions to:
- Increase the relevance of your website and website content for the desired target group
- Increase direct interactions with your business (e.g. clicks, messages, calls, purchases)
- Improve the user experience of your visitors.
Of course, it is always important to ensure that data protection regulations are observed, especially concerning the GDPR.
3. Useful Metrics
Which metrics are particularly important for the evaluation of user behaviour?
- Scroll depth
- Button clicks
- Dwell time
- Visited pages/pages per session
4. Web Analytics: Results-oriented Marketing
In this context, the term “analytics” is often used. What exactly does it mean? The term covers all tools that measure groups of user data and behaviour. The best-known tool is probably Google Analytics. But there are other well known comprehensive tools on the market too.
A shortlist of popular tools
- Google Analytics (free of charge)shortlist standardised and allows the measurement of demographic characteristics, the duration of visits to individual pages and the number of pages viewed.
- Google Tag Manager (free) is very “customizable”. It covers applications for the beginner to the professional. From a technical point of view, it can be used to measure (almost) anything. The art in the concrete case is then only that you know how to set it up.
- Bitly (free of charge) allows the tracking of links. When someone clicks on a certain link, it is possible to check which platform the person comes from (e.g. email, Facebook, Instagram, website, etc.)
- Google Optimize (free of charge) enables the execution of so-called A/B tests (also split tests). This involves testing different variants of a page, an article or a headline against each other. The result is a statistically significant evaluation of which version has received more clicks or more purchases.
- CrazyEgg/SmartLook (with costs) allows the creation of so-called heat maps. With the help of the maps, evaluations of the behaviour of user groups are possible. Similar to a thermal image, the heat maps then provide an overview of where website visitors clicked or stopped at which point on the website to take a closer look at a particular content.
5. Implementation of the Web Analytics Tools
How do I get the tools set up correctly and link to my website?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to give a general answer at this point, as this depends on the individual analysis tool. An exact sequence of steps and explanations would therefore go beyond the scope of this article. But there are many good tutorials for integration, which can be found easily by googling. Most tools also have a well-documented overview that supports the user in linking.
The easiest way is to implement Google Analytics. Also, the integration of (mostly) paid tools, such as SmAlsoazyEgg, etc., is relatively easy. This is certainly not least related to the fact that the tools mentioned are products for the end-user. This is accompanied by the need to demonstrate a certain-user-friendliness, otherwise, no one will buy the product in the end.
Tag management systems, such as Google Tag Manager, on the other hand, are usually a bit more complicated. This is due to the highly technical user interface, which offers endless design and application possibilities. Again, there are tutorials on the internet that provide step-by-step instructions for certain use cases. Based on this, even the non-techie can create a solid foundation with a little training.
If you are looking for a privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative, I can recommend Friendly Analytics.
6. Concrete Use Cases
Below are three use cases in which the integration of analysis tools will help you to identify problems, find solutions and optimize your website to win more customers in the long run.
1. Visitors leave the website without interaction
Such as CrazyEgg or Smartlook are ideal for this purpose. Heatmaps or screenshots can be used to directly determine how users navigate. This makes it possible to quickly detect functionality problems – such as the “responsiveness” of the mobile version – or layout errors.
Visitors may also try to click on certain elements that have no function. Since heat maps allow you to view clusters of clicks at specific locations, you get direct feedback on where the problem areas of the website are located. Based on this information, optimizations can be made.
2. Improve Page Content & Make it More Relevant
This can be done with the help of tools such as Google Tag Manager, for example, it is possible to measure the scrolling depth of a website visitor. This can then be good to check what percentage of interacting visitors (e.g. 10, 20 or 80 per cent of a page) have scrolled down.
If you now want to optimize the relevance of a specific page for the website visitor, it is a good idea to test different elements against each other. Simply add new text content or other elements to the page and start measuring the scrolling depth of this page again for a subsequent period.
If the evaluation afterwards shows that a larger percentage of users suddenly scrolled down more after implementing some elements, this is an indication that this page content is more relevant for the users.
3. Improving the Conversion Rate of a Page
The use cases are comprehensive. If you have a landing page and want to test which colour combination, the arrangement of elements or call-to-actions your visitors interact with the most, split tests are an indispensable tool. But you can also do the same with the headlines of a blog article, for example, or by testing the meta title used to improve the ranking of the website.
Want to learn more? Have a look at this landing page optimisation guide.
7. Use Potential of Data-driven Online Marketing
Data-driven online marketing enables systematic work, user-oriented optimization and result-oriented growth. Often you can even access such tools free of charge. Those who choose not to use data-driven online marketing leave a lot of money on the table.