Before you do any form of marketing, the most important thing you should do is ensure that you have a website analytics package successfully installed. One of the best things about online marketing is the ability to track and measure everything that happens on your site which helps you to gauge your ROI from different sources, behaviour of website visitors and many other aspects of your website and marketing. There are three major analytics packages which are Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture and Webtrends. Of all three of those packages, Google is the only free offering, which is why this is my analytics software of choice.

Analytics reporting is one of the most under-utilised tools when it comes to making decisions in order to optimise your website or campaigns. With correct implementation you can monitor just about anything, some that you probably aren’t aware of. Here are just a few of the key metrics that you should use your analytics software to measure.

Measuring Website Goals

Understanding your website goals is the most important factor. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Is it sales leads via phone, sales leads via email, online transactions, customer database or one of many other goals that your website could have. Most sites have multiple goals, so you need to be aware of them all. To track your performance in achieving these goals, there are a number of implementations that can present you with the data you need:

  1. Goal Tracking – By setting up Goals in your Google Analytics account, you can establish reports that monitor the number of successful goal completions. Not only can you track the number of completions for each goal, you can then determine such things as how many goals were completed from a specific traffic source, how long it took users to complete the goal and more.
  2. Ecommerce Tracking – If you have a transactional website, ecommerce tracking can be used to report the value of each transaction, the number of transactions, ecommerce conversion rate, products sold and more.
  3. Event Tracking – This can be used to track other events throughout your site such as clicks on internal banners, the completion of fields in a booking or contact form and loads of other website actions.

Optimising Your Site

Optimising your website for improved usability, functionality and conversion rate to goal should be a continual process that is never complete. No decision should be made on the basis of your instincts. With the available data and testing tools every decision you make to improve your website can be made with intuitive data that ensures you are heading in the right track. Changes should be recorded and measured to see the impact that they have had on your website. Google Website Optimizer is a great tool to take your testing to the next level. Set up as basic or complicated tests as you like and track the conversion rates to your goal through each variation in order to determine which is most successful.

Optimising Your Marketing Campaigns

No doubt one of your biggest expenses if you’re an online business, optimising your campaigns for a better return on investment is crucial to your success. Unlike the days of traditional media where it was difficult to measure the ROI from each channel, online marketing gives you the ability to track your activities. With goals and/or ecommerce tracking implemented you can view your traffic sources reports and determine the cost-per-conversion, conversion rate, traffic delivered, goals completed and more from each source. This presents you with a great opportunity to negotiate with your advertising networks or publishers with hard figures that demonstrate what you need to make each channel effective.