We live in a world where there’s currently lots of ‘data’ available to website owners. I’m going to look at what data is important and how you can gain insight from it to make real, measurable improvements to your websites.
There are many different analytics tools but lets start with the biggest one – google analytics<Who here uses Google Analytics?>Useful for getting an idea of who is using your site and how they’re using it…..but won’t answer all your questions on its own.In-depth analysis and additional setup is required to get real insight into user behaviour.
By default Google Analytics captures a lot of information, this includes:Audience demographics and behaviourGoogle Paid advertisingTraffic Sources…and Content viewing stats …… but to get the most out of it you need to make use of some advanced features.
To get the most out of Google Analytics you need to do some customisation of your account to include things like:
Goals are unique actions undertaken by users on your website which are important to you.They should align with your overall website objectives and be a real test of whether your website is performing.
Creating Dashboards in Google Analytics enables you to view all your key data in one place and get a to get a snapshot of activity. They help you to quickly compare multiple metrics across time and channels.You can also compare timescales to see how you are performing compared to this time last year
Google Analytics launched new Social Media Reporting features earlier this year.The reports have limitations. A lot of social sharing is not monitored ‘out of the box‘ and the reports only monitor your website, not mentions of your brand.
We think social media has an important role to play for anyone with an online presence so here are a few of the tools we use to monitor it.
Sentiment analysis, mentions, types of websites, topics – industry leading tool, very useful for indepth analysis.
Useful for checking ‘mentions’ of key words – but no sentiment or detailed analysis
Enables you to track the ‘reach’ of your tweets by number of retweets and number of impressions.
Provides a comprehensive set of twitter stats, including details of users you retweet and reply to the most.
Facebook does not make its data publically available so all your Facebook data will come from Facebook insights. This gives a lot of information on who is commenting on, and sharing, your posts.
Surveys, polls and user feedback forms are other methods you can use to collect opinions from your customers.
The data we’ve seen so far is useful but it’s important not to view your site in isolation.You can use some of the social media monitoring tools to get competitor insights but you should also look for data to find benchmarks for your industry.
You might also want to look at Google Trends. Google Trends is a tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume. This is useful for finding out seasonality for your terms as well as seeing whether interest has shrunk or grown over time.
…next we’ll look at what you can do with this data to make it useful.
…ClickTale can tell you how long people took to fill in each field on your website form, and also where they dropped out of this process.
If the exact reason is unclear from the data try a quick test yourself to see if you spot any errors.You can also ask users for feedback on your webpages using methods like those shown in these screenshots – or even do some more detailed usability testing to get a better idea of where problems might lie.
…This could be as simple as changing the name or position of a link and monitoring your results to see any improvements.
Before putting your changes live you might want to get a second opinion. A tool like 5 second test can help with this. Kristian redesigned the booking form for one of our clients to make it clearer and cleaner. We then uploaded the current design and the new one to the Five Second Test website and asked users to click on the design that they preferred…
As the screenshot shows, there was a clear winner.This gave us, and the client, more confidence that the new design would lead to improved performance.
User testing is, again, useful at this stage. If your test users are still having issues then you need to rethink your solution.You can use user testing to identify the problems, and further testing to test the solutions before putting them live.
Finally you can use A/B testing to see how your new design performs in a real environment.Different versions of the design are shown to real website visitors. In this example we wanted to test whether changing the labels on the main Call To Action button for one of our clients had an effect on people buying breakdown cover. We showed three different buttons to website visitors randomly to see which button led to the most conversions – in this case that’s people going on to sign up for breakdown cover.
As the results here show, the most successful button was ‘Join Now’ – with the ‘Buy Now’ button proving to be the least popular. A/B tests can take time to show a statistically significant improvement so be careful not to read too much into your results too early.
…Monitoring and understanding the data behind your website is only the first step in the process. Use this data to highlight strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.
UX Brighton - Analytics Best Practice
Data Monitoring & InsightsDon’t forget the quantitative!
“Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses alamp post, more for support than illumination” Mark Twain
Google AnalyticsWorld’s most widely used analytics service - used on over 10 million websites
Other Data Collection Methods• Simple but effective• Make it easy for people to feedback• Can be in-depth surveys…• …or simple questions on the website
Competitor & Industry DataDon’t view your data in isolation!Benchmarking data is hard to find but can be useful (e.g. Mailchimp):
Google TrendsUsed to see seasonality and trends over time.
We’ve got a lot of Data……and that’s great!However, too much data can be overwhelming…
What to do with this Data• Work out what data is most important to you based on objectives• Analyse in detail rather than just looking at ‘headline’ figures• Begin to consider the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’• Benchmark and track for improvements over time• Identify problem areas - areas for concern are high bounce rates, underperforming channels and negative mentions on social media
Pinpoint what the Issues areIf users are dropping out during a process, find which step they arestruggling with using funnels or a more detailed tool like ClickTale
Pinpoint what the Issues areIf the exact reason is unclear from the data alone, try a quick testyourself, ask your users directly or do some user testing.
Propose SolutionsOnce you have identified where the problem is, find a solution and test it
Get a Second OpinionLarger changes may require a second, unbiased, opinion.Tools like 5secondtest can help with this.
Get a Second OpinionTesters click to show their preference, and we have a clear winner…
In Summary…• Use tools to get all the relevant data you need• Ask the right questions of your data• User testing, of some kind, is vital• Use A/B tests to monitor improvements• On-going process - Keep monitoring and improving• Always lots areas for improvements…• …but focus on those which have the maximum impact on the overall objectives of your website