Web Analytics: Relationships 101

Submitted by James Ussery | Category: Web Design | Published on Jan 02, 2011
Attracting customers to your website is a lot like sitting in a bar trying to find a mate. You have a basic idea of who you're looking for, but it's hit or miss. And if it's a Saturday night in the big city, that competition is fierce.

Attracting customers to your website is a lot like sitting in a bar trying to find a mate. You have a basic idea of who you're looking for, but it’s hit or miss. And if it's a Saturday night in the big city, that competition is fierce. Think of the Web as Saturday night at New York’s Tribecca Grand after a world premiere.

So you have to have a plan. A roadmap. Analytics provide that. As grisly as analytics are, it’s not just about hits and traffic anymore. As the Web grows, so does the competition. And analytics are the best way to stay ahead of them.

So what DO web analytics mean?

Well, lots of things. They tell you who visits your site, where they come from, what they like about your site, what they don’t like about your site, how much time they spend there, which pages they like, which they don’t, and a host of other things that help you make more money.

And they can be a great tool for business and market research. Conversion analytics tell you who bought and how long it took them from the time they visited till the time they bought. It also tells you which keywords resonated with them. This kind of information is invaluable to building your sales, your business and your bank account.

Just as in the hunt for a mate, wooing your online customer - getting to know who they are, what they want and what they like are critical to your success. Off line businesses spent millions back in the day doing surveys and exhaustive demographic research Why shouldn’t you spend a couple hundred on proper analytics in this dynamic age of eCommerce?

Analytics give you a snapshot of those who visit your site. The behavior analytics are a gold mine if you use them effectively and are proactive their implementation.

Knowing Your Customer: Visitor Behavior Informs Customer Behavior

So how do you turn a visitor into a customer? You woo them..

Unlike the swinging singles scene, studies show that most people don’t buy on the first visit. They shop around first. So the name of the game is paying attention to their behavior while they’re on your site, so when they come back, you’re ready to sell them. And they’re ready to buy.

“You can influence prospects' need to buy from you by understanding their behavior,” writes Bryan Eisenberg on Clickz.com. “These behaviors can be traced to patterns or groups of patterns all customers perceive as their ‘experience.’ Understanding the experience is used to predict customer behavior and is key to developing actionable Web metrics. If you predict customer behavior using metrics, you can anticipate their next move—and beat them to it.”

Some Terms to Know

Two metrics used to measure visitor behavior are HIT and VISIT. Just like dating, you can get hit on and/or you can get a visit. And just like dating, a hit doesn’t necessarily translate into a visit.

VISIT is the most meaningful of all stats. It’s the fantastic date with real conversation and breakfast the next morning. Visits include hits and page views. A visit means the visitor invested time in your site. And if he or she returns after at least 30 minutes have gone by, that counts as two visits—a second date!

A HIT is more like getting a phone number. Just as the player who collects them, a hit can be misleading. Hits count the graphics, too. So if your site has say, three graphics, that’s going to show up as four hits—the three graphics plus the initial opening of the page.

Active Time/Engagement Time/Page View Duration all mean basically the same thing. And they tell you how long the visitor has spent on your site; the difference between a flirtatious smile and an actual conversation.

Page Views are kind of like probing questions on that first date. Page depth and page views per session measure how many pages they looked at—a great indicator of interest as well as measure of what you’re doing right to attract that potential customer.

This is the metric that begins your wooing process. This tells you what your potential customer likes and what he or she doesn’t respond to. Use that information to your advantage and tweak what you need to!

If they really like you, they’ll be back and become a repeat visitor. Now you’ve got a relationship going.

Session Duration measures how long each customer spends on your site each time they visit. Another indicator of how you’re doing in the relationship with that customer. If you see them spending less time from week to week or month to month, they’re beginning to stray and you better do something to keep them interested.

A click path tracks the sequence of hyperlinks a visitor follows on a given site. Pay attention to this one and you’ll truly get into the mind—and heart—of your customer.

Just as in any relationship, sometimes it doesn’t click at all. Sometimes you have a bounce. (That’s the one-night stand). If your bounce rate is high, you need to take a good long look at your site and make some changes.

As in any relationship worth pursuing, you want to do everything you can to convert that visitor into a satisfied, and therefore loyal, customer. The fun part is, you get to do it over and over again with as many visitors as you want—with no consequences other than more money.

Don’t you wish dating was this easy?


Machus Corp., A technology solutions company based in Coppell, Texas, provides .net Software development, advanced web solutions, quality SEO, and experienced Internet Marketing.



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