What is Web Analytics?

Analytics is the practice of measuring and analyzing data of users in order to create an understanding of user behavior as well as website performance. If this practice is done on web pages and visitors of the web pages, this is called “web analytics”.
Web Analytics is analysis of users’ activities, web pages, clicks, actions, events, flows and more, such as how many new users visited, from which countries, using which devices and browsers, whether they followed a link on a marketing campaign or a Google/Bing search.
Businesses use web analytics not only for measuring or understanding their web traffic, but also as a tool for business research and market research, to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website.

Why do companies use Web Analytics?

It is always very important for businesses to measure their critical KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), as the old rule is always valid: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
That is why businesses are super focused on their sales funnels, visitor profiles, demographics or any other related data to their business, such as most visited web pages, time spent on website or most popular paths to purchase.
To be more specific, if a business finds out 75% of their users exit from the shipment page of the sales funnel, probably there is something wrong with that page in terms of its design, user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) or there is a technical problem preventing users from completing the process.
Countly Web Analytics - Overview
Countly Web Analytics - Overview
Another important topic for businesses is the advertising spend they do. Through website analytics, businesses can track and measure not only the website but also the effectiveness of their online and offline marketing campaigns. If one marketing channel is better than others in terms of conversions (sales, purchases, leads, etc.), why not spend more on it?
So, analytics companies provide this critical data in order to help businesses understand, analyze and improve their businesses.

How does Web Analytics work?

Most of the analytics tools need a code snippet to be added in the web page’s code in order to “tag” the pages and track the visitors.
With the help of this tag, analytics tools track and count each visit, click, event or any additional information that the user has such as device, operating system, browser, IP address (and probable location).
In order to distinguish users and remember them for their next visit, analytics tools also use some cookies to track user’s sessions. However, if a user clears their cookies or uses different browsers for their next visit, analytics tools cannot remember them, count them as a new user.

Examples of what is tracked

Most of the analytics tools have more or less the same basic reporting in addition to their complex tools for deeper insights.
Traffic sources
Goal completion
Acquisition attribution
Visitor retention
Custom events
Visitor flows
Landing pages
Exit pages
Bounce rates
Time spent
Pages per visit
Click and scroll heatmaps
Sessions
Unique visitors
New/returning visitors
Countries
Devices
Browsers

How do different teams use Web Analytics?

Various teams in an organization takes advantage of web analytics in different ways. It helps marketing teams to analyze and plan better marketing campaigns, helps UI & UX teams to design better pages and funnels, helps product teams to make informed product decisions and helps technical teams to pinpoint problems.
Let’s take a closer look at use cases for different types of teams...

Web Analytics for Marketing Teams

The single most important tool for marketing people is probably the web analytics tool they depend on to analyze the current web traffic, user behavior, landing and exit pages, conversions and more..

Marketing teams usually track several campaigns concurrently via unique campaign attribution links, measure their effect on visits, new/returning users, time spent on site, sales funnel performance and conversions of course. It becomes crystal clear which campaigns or acquisition channels are more effective compared to others.

Thanks to all of this information web analytics provides, marketing people can spend their budget wisely and effectively, even save some of their budget!

Countly Attribution - Campaigns, associated costs and conversions
Countly Attribution - Campaigns, associated costs and conversions

Web Analytics for UI & UX Teams

An increasing number of UI and UX teams use web analytics to help them create the optimal user experience for various aspects of their website such as a sales funnel or a sign up form.

With the help of custom events and funnels, the design team can easily track and analyze what the users are doing in particular pages of the website and whether there are any differences about the intended user behaviour and actual one.

If users are not clicking the button they are supposed to click in a sign up form, resulting in less conversions, taking a look at custom event and funnel reports is the best way to identify such problems.

After identifying the problem and using an updated design for that page, design team can see their success in the percentages in funnel reporting.

Countly Funnels - Users passing through and dropping in each step
Countly Funnels - Users passing through and dropping in each step

Web Analytics for Product Teams

Product managers often look at analytics data and try to find patterns before making product decisions. After making a change, they always check if there is any improvement or not.

Even more aggressive analysis is achieved by A/B testing and comparing data before making final product decisions.

Product managers analyze landing and exit pages, most visited pages, devices and browsers of the users to make better product decisions.

For example, while the conversions of visitors from Canada using Chrome browser on a Mac are very high, it might be very low for visitors using Edge browser on Windows. This scenario might indicate a problem in rendering of that page on Edge browser. The first thing a good product manager would do is to check this scenario immediately.

Countly Drill - User sessions segmented by browsers
Countly Drill - User sessions segmented by browsers

Web Analytics for Technical Teams

An analytics tool is a must for technical teams, since it is the only way to understand technical properties of the visitors such as operating system, browser, device types, resolutions and optimize all the code for most common ones.

Apart from optimising the code for the best visitor experience, analytics is crucial in order to discover technical problems about the web application in general such as client side JavaScript errors, 404 errors, rendering or speed problems so that the website functions as intended and other teams such as the product and marketing team can properly do further optimisations.

Countly Error Reporting - JavaScript errors by version
Countly Error Reporting - JavaScript errors by version

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