The Value of Web Analytics in a Nutshell

Here’s a great quote about Web Analytics:

Web Analytics is good at the ‘What.’ It is not good at the ‘Why.’ The ‘Why’ can only come from the customer.

-Avinash Kaushik

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your website data or don’t even know where to start, it’s easier to keep things in this perspective as you can find you’re just chasing your tail sometimes when attempting to understand why website visitors did what they did on your site. We can rarely determine the ‘Why’ with absolute certainty, but by using what we know conclusively from the data (e.g. 60% of visitors left a certain page) we can begin to make steps in the direction of reversing negative trends or enhancing positive ones.

As an example, we worked with a client who’s website stats indicated a 40% bounce rate for their home page. What this meant was that of all the users that visited the client’s home page, almost half of them left the site without visiting any other pages. We weren’t sure why users were repelled by this home page at first, but after only swapping the main image that appeared on the home page for another one, the bounce rate dropped below 20%.

Needless to say, this increased the amount of people moving through the website and the more full their funnel of prospective buyers became. All by only making one minor change based on only knowing what the visitors were doing, not why they were doing it.

Of course through several exercises like this, the mindset of the website’s visitors and the ‘Why’ became more concrete but without testing, analyzing and refining and performing things like usability studies will it ever be possible to more fully understand the ‘Why.’

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