How Much Should You Learn About Your Website Visitors?

Website analytics are a lot like puzzle pieces: They don't reveal much on their own, but when you fit them together you can see the full picture. These metrics let you track and trace your website visitors, providing you with real-time insights at every stage of the customer journey. Analytics range from marketing spends to response rates, and they are a valuable source of business intelligence. But how much should you know about your customers, and which key metrics should you track?

The Key Metrics You Should Measure

The best key metrics to measure include unique visitors, page views, bounce rate — the number of people who navigate away from your website after visiting just one page — and the average amount of time spent on your site. These are the four fundamentals of any SEO campaign worth its salt, and they tell you how website visitors interact with your content.

In addition, you need to discover where your traffic originates, which will tell you whether the bulk of people visit your website from a desktop computer or a smartphone, for example. It also allows you to adapt your website content for different audiences and different devices. You can even find out which Internet browsers your visitors use when they land on one of your web pages. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics provide you with all this information in one place.

Advanced Metrics

Once you have a rudimentary understanding of your customers, you can use more advanced metrics to dig deeper beneath the surface. Typically, advanced analytics incorporate big data – large data sets accumulated from the Internet, social media sites, customer relationship management software and other sources – and reveal patterns that pertain to customer trends and behaviors. Not all web analytics programs include these metrics, so it's a good idea to compare various tools and find the best one for you.
One example of advanced metrics is content tracking, which tells you where customers click on your website. Conversion drivers, another type of advanced metric, lets you understand which marketing messages convert the most visitors into paying customers and provide the biggest return on your investment.
Both basic and advanced web visitor analytics are important for decision-making, and they help you decide how much to spend and which customers to target during your next marketing campaign.

Best Tools for Tracking

Google Analytics
This is the big one, the world's largest analytics platform. With Google Analytics, you can track your web pages, blogs and social media sites from an easy-to-use dashboard.
Includes free tracking tools that monitor visitors throughout the customer lifecycle, from the first contact through to final purchase. Other features include A/B tests, heat maps – to see which geographic locations generate the most traffic to your site – and email reports.
Spot traffic spikes and trends with this all-in-one marketing tool. Chartbeat has an easy-to-use interface, provides detailed insights and measures reader engagement. This platform tracks content across a range of mediums, including blogs, social media profiles and, of course, websites.
Website analytics are a crucial component of any marketing campaign and provide you with insights into how your customers interact on your website. While some metrics are more important than others, the trends and patterns can fine-tune your future marketing campaigns and let you know more about the people who visit your web pages.

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