WHAT ARE USER ANALYTICS?
The term “User Analytics” refers to monitoring, recording and analysing the way website visitors use and interact with your site.
The two main tools in use by the vast majority of website owners is Google Analytics and a heat mapping service. There are many others, but using these two tools can tell you everything you need to know about your visitors.
It’s one thing to install these on your website, but learning how to interpret the results is the key to understanding how your website is being used and whether improvements need to be made.
TOOLS OF THE USER ANALYTICS TRADE
Used by almost 30 million websites, Google Analytics is a very popular free tool.
The interface can be overwhelming at first, but once you’ve learned how to read and interpret the data you will find a wealth of information at your fingertips.
Google Analytics can tell you:
- How many people visited your website
- Which pages they visited and how long they stayed there
- Which browser they were using and on what device (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.)
- Basic demographic information such as location, age, gender, and in some cases, their interests
Heat maps are used to display data in graphical form. For websites, heat maps can show you:
- Where users have clicked and how often
- Where users have scrolled; in particular, which areas of the page they lingered on and which areas they ignored
- Some heat maps use mouse movements to correlate with eye movement, showing you where users have looked on a page.
Heat maps are very useful when examining the elements on your page and deciding which are worth keeping and optimising and which ones should be discarded.
GETTING STARTED WITH USER ANALYTICS
Especially for eCommerce, User Analytics is a vital component of managing your online presence. By examining how people are using your website, which content they find the most useful and – most importantly – whether they are taking the journey you want them to take, you can make the most out of your website as a lead and sales generation tool.
If you’re a new website owner and you want to get started with analysing your traffic, the below steps are recommended.
Click on each heading to expand the area you need the most help with.
INTERPRETING THE RESULTS
Once you’ve got your analytics tools installed, you’ll need to learn what to do with all that data.
Heat mapping is fairly straightforward and your service provider will give support while you learn, but Google Analytics can take some getting used to. The interface can be overwhelming at first, and many people simply don’t use it because they never get used to the terminology.
Below are some key terms and explanations that you may find useful.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS – LEARNING THE FOUNDATIONS
This report shows you how many people visited your site over a set time period, how long they stayed on your site and how many pages they visited.
It can also show you which country they live in, what devices they used to find your site and in some cases, what they are interested in.
This report shows you where your traffic comes from – search engine queries, paid search results, social media and referral from other websites.
If you have a specific campaign set up in social media, it can also show you how effective the campaign is, and whether it is cost-effective.
This report shows you what your visitors did while on your site and how your site performed (e.g. fast or slow loading pages).
It also provides a graphical representation of the journey your visitors took through your site and where you lose the most traffic.
This report is used to set goals for eCommerce, campaigns or on-page conversions. You need to set up goals and/or E-commerce tracking to use this report.
Setting up goals is the best way to measure the success of targeted objectives, e.g. page views per month, purchase confirmations, etc.
Goals and E-commerce tracking are advanced features.
Google’s official documentation and support portal for Google Analytics
Comprehensive blog from an analytics agency explaining all of Google Analytic’s most advanced features