Let's face it. Most small business owners rarely look at their analytics, period.
This is a crying shame, because your analytics can provide a wealth of information about not just how your website is performing, but how your target audience behaves and how effective your marketing efforts are at driving action.
In all likelihood, if you're looking at your web analytics metrics at all, you're glancing at the number of unique visitors to the site, total pageviews, and possibly (if you're particularly savvy) the number of goal conversions completed.
That's useful over time for benchmarking, but sometimes you can gain terrific insights by comparing two different metrics against each other. Here are three simple examples.
- Searches for your business category vs. searches for your brand name. Do you want to know how well your brand advertising is doing at improving your name recognition? Then filter your search engine traffic by those who are typing your brand name from those who aren't. Add that number to your direct traffic referrals, and you have a good gauge of brand lift. This is really helpful additional information when you're doing a television or radio campaign designed to improve name recognition locally. Non-brand keyword traffic increases are a gauge of how well your SEO efforts are working.
- Pages-per-visit and time-on-site vs. conversions. Is your content doing a good job of selling your services and products once your marketing gets a curious visitor to the website? Looking at your "engagement metrics" (PPV and TOS) to see if visitors are more likely to convert after spending more time with your content is a good indicator.
- Social opt-ins vs. social referrals and reactions. If you're doing social media marketing, you're likely looking at subscriber numbers: page likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, subscribers on YouTube and your blog feed, etc. But building an audience that you can't move to action is a fairly useless activity. What you really need to know is are these additional "eyeballs" translating to "feet"--are they going to your website and checking out your offers? Are they reacting, commenting and sharing your social content to their own networks? This is a more meaningful piece of information when valuating your social activity.