What are web analytics tools?
Web Analytics tools provide a way for businesses, organizations, and individuals to understand how users and visitors interact with your brand online. This is typically your website, social media networks, and search engines.
Understanding your audience can be challenging. Each interaction with your brand can provide unique data, metrics, and a new set of nuances. On top of this, understanding what to do with all of the data you gather can feel similarly daunting to the first time you looked at a Profit and Loss statement.
Thankfully, there are a lot of different web analytics tools that can help you collect and analyze the information easily. These tools can show you how effective your website is and give you ideas for how to improve.
So what are web analytics tools, and where should you start? Here are a few that you can use to understand how your target audience is interacting with your brand.
Google Marketing Platform
Over the years Google has continued to impress with their growing suite of web analytics tools. The encapsulated version of this is the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). GMP is a unified advertising and analytics platform that enables more collaboration for your agency and your marketing teams by integrating the analytics and measurement tools from Google. The platform includes Google Analytics, DoubleClick, Data Studio, Google Optimize, Display and Video 360, and Tag Manager. Basically, through this toolset, you can track, measure, and improve the performance of your marketing and advertising efforts. No matter how big or small your organization is, you can get a lot of benefit out of the platform’s tools. The base software is free and provides a lot of value for businesses.
Google Analytics is probably the most commonly known web analytics tool. It is the foundation of most businesses. Google Analytics is a free and paid product with user-friendly web analytics dashboard views and a wide user base. The free version lacks some enterprise-level features compared to its competitors in the space, though the paid Google Analytics Premium edition closes a lot of the gaps. At Big Storm we use Google Analytics to guide decisions and ensure our marketing efforts are working or not.
For those that are new to Google Analytics, here are some of the tools available:
- Google Tag Manager — This is a tool that allows you to create and manage marketing tags on your website. The tag information is shared from your website to Google Analytics through Google Tag Manager.
- Google Data Studio — This is a tool that creates quantitative, fully customizable dashboards and reports for your website.
- Google Optimize — This is a split-testing tool that plugs into your website and enables you to experiment with different variants of pages on your site to see how each performs. There are three types of tests you can run: A/B, multivariate, and redirect tests.
- Google Display — The Google Display Network lets you create and manage targeted Display ads that users see when they’re browsing online, watching YouTube videos, or using mobile apps.
- More — Google Analytics has a huge amount of analytics tools that you can use! Working with an analyst who specializes in Google Analytics is a great option for getting the most out of all of the tools available.
This is a simple, effective web analytics and reporting tool that lets you gather qualitative and quantitative data about your site. Using Hot Jar, you’re able to track and analyze what users are doing on your site, what’s working well, and what’s not working well. Set up things like heatmaps (to track where people are looking, scrolling, and clicking) and funnel tracking. Each of these will help you make informed decisions about how to best optimize your site and drive more quality conversions.
Crazy Egg is a highly user-friendly web analytics tool used to track user activity and optimize your site. With Crazy Egg you can view heat maps, see snapshots that show your visitors’ click behavior, and run A/B tests. You’ll be able to track where users click the most (and least), where users come to your site from, and which parts of the site are receiving the most and least engagement. It’s a great tool for optimizing your site and seeing what’s working well (and what isn’t!).
Facebook Analytics lets you track who your audience is and how they’re interacting with your business’ Facebook page. It’s a great analytics tool to help you track and measure engagement so you can create and refine your social media strategy, and analyze your return on investment for ads.
Leadfeeder is a lead generation and website visitor tracking tool that shows you which companies or businesses are visiting your website and how they are interacting with it. You’ll see a list of companies that have visited your site, how they reached your site, and which pages they’re loading and interacting with. This data can help inform your site strategy to drive new, engaged leads.
Semrush is an all-in-one web analytics and reporting tool that you can use to run SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), social media, and content marketing campaigns. It audits your SEO and helps you improve your pages, as well as having tools to help you identify and track valuable keywords. With the keyword tools, you can see which keywords are performing well for you, which keywords your competition is using, and what the rankings look like on search engines. Semrush has a free account that you can use to get started and learn the basics, though it will likely be worth upgrading to a paid plan once you’ve learned the ropes and know which site web analytics you’re looking for.
Using web analytics tools and tracking analytics for your website can feel daunting at first, and working with an analyst who knows what they’re doing can be a great way to get started and make sure you’re tracking the best data for your business. Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to start tracking and analyzing everything at once. A good strategy can be to start with small, achievable goals and data to track, and to slowly build from there. Once you start working with web analytics tools and figuring out how best to use them for your business goals, it can take your digital marketing to the next level.
Big Storm is a digital marketing company in Bozeman, Montana. We use the tools listed in this article for our own marketing efforts and when working with our clients. Find out more about our web design and analytics services here.