Web Analytics is a very important component of business strategies. It is the process that analyse the behaviour of visitors to a Web site. It measures, collects, analyse and reports web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. With web analytics, business and sales can be improved and be more efficient online and thanks to that, more money can be made.
Web analytics started in the 90s when it was very basic if compared to the highly sophisticated tools of the current days.
There are three key ways we get analytical data: Log File Analysis , Page Tagging , and Big Data . Log File Analysis is the earliest form of web analysis. On computers or servers, it can tell how efficiently the server is running and who is accessing the web simply logging its data onto the server itself. Page Tagging developed later when it was too intensive to host analysis onto the server. Third party companies came along to write extra pieces of code through which they were able to do the analysis for a web page gathering the information for the main company. Big Data to conclude, is a particular software able to analyse data as the information collected nowadays is increasing and no human being could analyse those numbers by himself.
To use web analytics we have to know where we have been successful. Once that is clear, analytics is the tool we need to improve and to be on a constant curve of improvement. With analytics, we can also see the things that are not going well.
Data are not very much used at the moment but having a web-site and using analytics gives us something that if properly handled can be extremely powerful. The disadvantage is that our data are not private anymore, data are shared online with a third party, but at the same time sharing data is extremely helpful as we can check our competitors. At the moment, people who have analytical skills are in high demand and the demand is going to grow in the future. People need to be persuaded that analytics can add extra value to our business.
Web analytics is very much used to monitor marketing campaign, to track for example a format that works better than others. Analytics can measure a broad range of actions, from heat maps, to customer interactions and successful copywriting and determine what is more effective on web pages. The customers' journey can be mapped out through five stages: awareness, consideration, action, enjoyment and advocacy to see if our patterns are different from last year's, to check what they search for, to see why and where they are leaving our website. The source (which page they are coming from), the behaviour (which pages they look at) and the outcome (what happens in the end) of the customers' journey can be also tracked with web analytics.
Logging and leading metrics are used to explain the past and predict the future through numbers. Those numbers need to give and action in the following period. Web analytics gives background information and explains the numbers to help to understand what numbers represent through testing, learning and measuring things to improve websites.