Web analytics tools have become an essential part of any business or website, providing valuable insights into how users interact with a website and how it can be improved. However, it’s important to remember that these tools do have limitations and may not tell you everything you need to know about your website’s performance.
What Analytics Tools: What they offer ✔
Web analytics tools offer a wide range of features to help businesses and website owners understand user behavior. Here are some of the most common features that they will include:
- Traffic metrics: tools like Google Analytics provide data on website traffic, including the number of visitors, pages viewed, and bounce rate.
- Audience demographics: Your web analytics suite also provide data on the age, gender, location, and interests of website visitors. This information tends to be a part of how they log in and whether or not your analytics suite has access to the user details.
- Behavior metrics: Analytics can provide data on how users interact with a website, including the number of clicks on a specific button or link, time spent on a page, and scroll depth. This can give insight into where people interact most with a page.
- Conversion tracking: Analytics can allow businesses to track specific actions that users take on a website, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. This is useful informaiton for when you have an objective set for your pages.
These features provide valuable insights into how users interact with a website, but it is important to remember that they are not the only metrics that matter.
What are They Not Telling You? ❌
Let’s cut to the chase. A few of the things the tools are not telling you are:
User Motivations: Web analytics tools provide data on how users interact with a website, but they do not tell you why users are behaving in a certain way. For example, if a website has a high bounce rate, it could be due to poor design or a lack of relevant content, but it could also be due to users finding what they were looking for quickly and leaving the site.
User Experience: Analytics tools can showcase how users might behave on certain sites or pages, but they do not provide information on the user experience. For example, a website may have a high conversion rate, but that does not necessarily mean that the user experience was good.
Offline Conversions: Web analytics tools provide data on online conversions, but they do not provide information on offline conversions. So, if a user sees an ad on a website and then makes a purchase in-store, that conversion will not be tracked by web analytics tools.
User Satisfaction: Your analytics suite might provide data on how users acted on certain pages or with interactions like buttons or forms, but they do not provide information on user satisfaction. As an example, a website may have a high conversion rate, but that does not necessarily mean that users are satisfied with their experience on the website.
Although it might not matter in some circumstances, knowing why certain things are happening can be helpful when launching future marketing campaigns or when you plan to redesign an aspect of your website.
Designing Experiments to Fill in the Gaps
To gain a more complete understanding of website performance, it’s helpful to design experiments that fill in the gaps left by web analytics tools. This is where data science begins and is complemented by business intuition about what is helping or hurting your website.
Here are a few ways to do experiements you can launch today:
Conduct User Surveys: User surveys can provide valuable insights into user motivations, user experience, and user satisfaction. Surveys can be conducted through a website or through email and can indicate the things that visitors enjoy or dislike. For guidelines and best practices, please see: Survey Monkey’s Best Practices and Design Guidelines
Conduct A/B Tests: A/B tests can provide valuable insights into how users interact with a website. A/B tests involve showing two different versions of a website to users and then comparing the results. This is also a great way to validate a theory you might have as to whether certain colours work better, sizing differences that may matter or changes to copy write that could make the difference in converting.
Track Offline Conversions: To track offline conversions, businesses can use tools like Google Analytics to track phone calls or in-store purchases by setting different conversion goals for advertising Display Ads or Search Engine Marketing. You could also leverage customer information instore and collecting that information into a database to establish a data stream that counts the offline conversions as well as you create reporting about your company’s performance.
Conduct User Interviews: User interviews can provide valuable insights into user motivations, user experience, and user satisfaction. Interviews can be conducted through a website or through email. But consider a user’s time and provide them with an incredible offer for their help in improving your products or services; gift cards, freebies, or shoutouts.
As web analytics tools can provide insight about what you’re doing well or not so well, the reason “why” can still remain a mystery. Instead of relying exclusively on the results you get in a dashboard, conducting small experiments can help answer the questions you might still have.
Our experts at EV Advisory can help you structure and design the experiments that are appropriate for your business. Connect with us to get further insights about your analytics suite and how you can improve your results