Web analytics: how to get insights from your data in 2024

Data & AnalyticsBy Gladys Gordon

The data-driven world is making strides. Understanding how customers engage with your brand has never been so crucial. Consequently, businesses are adapting to the current market climate by digitizing their processes and web analytics.

The 2022 web analytics global report shows a growing demand for online shopping trends. The web analytics market is expected to reach $11.35 billion in 2026. Further updates from the marketing analytics report also reflect these trends. This market will increase to $4.68 billion by 2026 from a valuation of $2.13 billion in 2020. This indicates a compound annual growth rate of 14% for the forecast period.

New data technologies are emerging, and consumers now prefer multi-channel communication. Companies need to track and measure data through web analytics to gain valuable insights. They need to know consumer behavior, marketing needs, and their website's performance.

What is web analytics, and how does it work?

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of user-generated data visitors generate when they access and interact with your website. The main aim of gathering this information is to take the guesswork off your marketing efforts. By understanding your user's behavior, you'll create better user experiences. Also, you'll gain insights to meet your business goals.

You usually need to add a tracking code on your website to collect data for web analytics. This code enables the analytics platform to track, for example:

  • User behavior
  • Where users originate
  • The content they view the most
  • How users view content.

This gives you many insights, such as how long a visitor spends on a page and where they typically bounce off during the conversion process.

If you need help knowing what to prioritize in your tracking plan, check out our blog post about it.

Why is it important?

Let's say you're experiencing low sign-ups on your website and want to increase the conversion rate. A web analytics platform makes it easy to review the sign-up funnel and discover where the problem is. The low "Time on Site" may mean your product is not well-explained on the website's copy. Or maybe when they sign up for a free trial, they don't log in the first time. In that case, you may need to create a better onboarding experience.

With a web analytics strategy in place, you get a deep dive into users' interaction with your website and find ways to optimize their experiences.

Web analytics is also important for the following reasons:

  • Helping you find where your website traffic is originating from
  • Analyzing your website conversions for conversion rate optimization (CRO)
  • Boosting your website's search rankings by tracking which search queries get more traffic
  • Understanding your top-performing content so you can focus more on those content types.

Different areas that analytics cover

Website analytics covers a vast area, as there are thousands of metrics to track. These are some of the fields:

  • User journey tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Marketing campaign KPIs
  • Website performance.

But with so many metrics, how do you decide the ones your website needs? The key is to consider tracking actionable metrics that reflect your business goals. So let's look at some examples of essential metrics to track.

What metrics can we track in 2024?

1. Sessions

Sessions are a group of user interactions with your website within a specific period. The period length depends on the web analytics tool. On some websites, a session may be an interval between activities. On the other hand, some tools set sessions based on a timeout period — usually 30 mins by default — or at midnight. Tracking sessions helps you answer questions like: "How long does a user spend on the site?" "Where are they spending most of their time?"

Check out our blog post on sessionization to get more insights.

2. Unique pageviews

This is the number of times users view a page. It's unique because it totals the number of user page views and counts it as 1. If a user views the same page more than once in a single session, it counts as a unique pageview. This metric is essential. It gives you a clear picture of how many times users view each page, so you can identify your top-performing content.

3. Conversions

Tracking conversions is crucial for any business. It lets you know when a user completes a specific action, such as:

  • Making a purchase
  • Submitting a form
  • Signing up for a free trial
  • Subscribing to a newsletter.

4. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave your site. Analyzing web pages with high bounce rates helps you to identify possible problems such as:

  • Slow page loading speeds
  • Content not matching user search intent
  • Poor user experience.

5. Time on page

As a follow-up to a high bounce rate, you'll want to track the average time a user spends on your page. This will give you insight into potential issues with your website's navigation. Imagine, for example, that a user spends less time on your page than expected. You'll want to know why, right? Did they have trouble finding the right information? Or did the landing page not show the same offer your ad did?

6. Top landing pages

Tracking your top landing pages shows you which pages receive the most traffic. And it's a great idea to combine this metric with others, such as user search items or custom conversions. This way, you can optimize popular pages to increase conversion rates further.

Learn how to optimize your landing pages by reading our blog post.

7. Traffic source

Your traffic source is where your visitors originate from. A website's visitor usually comes from various sources, including:

  • Organic search
  • Paid search
  • Email marketing
  • Referrals
  • Blogs
  • Social media pages.

You can easily monitor your traffic sources and milk the high-traffic ones.

8. New and returning visitors

A new visitor, also known as a unique visitor, is a person who visits your site for the first time. Returning visitors are those who have repeatedly accessed your website over time. Both metrics are important for noting how effectively your site attracts and keeps visitors browsing and interacting with your content.

How to get meaningful insights from web analytics

Now that you have the metrics, what do you do with them? The first thing is to determine whether the data meets your goals. Then use the data to test, experiment, and make the necessary changes to your site.

Success here requires understanding the difference between the metrics and the analytics. Metrics are the numbers you see. Analytics is the story that tells you what is happening, why it's happening, and what to do next.

Web analytics and storytelling

Structuring data along memorable storylines breathes new life into the numbers. And it also helps you glean insights from them. Using the same data, you can find different stories. In fact, they can range from trends in behavior to correlation. The challenge is to uncover the stories buried in the data. And you can do this either by segmentation or visualization.

Segmentation is the spotlight. It shows you exciting stories behind a mass of aggregated, out-of-context data. It's data grouping based on common behaviors, interests, demographics, and more. You can make segments from people who bought your products, visited your website, etc.

Visualization is about deciding how to present the message to your audience. Sometimes you don't see a crucial element from one angle, but you can see it from another. So it's vital to experiment with data visualization options. You can turn your data into pie charts, scatterplots, tree maps, heat maps, and more.

You can also use visualization tools to present your data stories better. Examples: Tableau, Visual.ly, and Google Data Studio. By combining segmentation with different visualization techniques, you make the best use of the data you collect.

Points that companies should pay attention to

While collecting and analyzing data, it's critical to focus on meaningful metrics. That way, you'll establish the right objectives. You can do this by viewing your data in context. So, suppose you want to know how many visitors used your search box this month. Instead, the right question would be how often they used it and what they searched for.

Another point is the optimization of the right metrics for better results. Are there high-value content pages with low traffic? You can implement SEO practices on these pages to capture organic search traffic. Also, you can move the page's navigation link to a more visible part of your website.

Companies should also not report on specific data points outside their relative contexts for no real purpose. Context is key to understanding the user experience. To get a comprehensive view, seek to capture 100% of user interactions across all digital platforms and compare data sets over time. This gives you an in-depth analysis of the data relationships and trends that forecast results accurately.

At what points do analytics fail?

Focusing on the wrong data

Web analytics can yield very little results if you focus too much on popular metrics across the board. Instead, you should focus on the ones that'll steer your business in the desired direction. Effective web analytics begins with an internal focus — what goals do you want to achieve? What are the key performance indicators we should be monitoring?

Assuming all data is accurate

Check your data source if you want to be confident in the numbers you're seeing. Some types of traffic can distort the information if you're not careful. For instance, when there's an unusual spike in traffic, it may be a bot or spam, not actual users. So look for the source. Then, compare the results from different tools to test for reliability.

Focusing on the numbers rather than trends

It may be tempting to look at the numbers. But checking if your key metrics are increasing or decreasing over time is more crucial. You need to consider how these metrics changes related to what's happening in other areas of your website. Suppose your product page views decreased by 3% over three months. If other pages experienced an increase of 30% in the same period, it might be worth checking out. Again, it's all about context.

Why math and statistics are essential

Web analytics data rely heavily on math and statistics. You'll make better marketing decisions if you know your data may not be random. Suppose the average time on your website is 5 minutes. Does it mean that your website visitors really spend 5 minutes on average? Avoid 'false-positive' mistakes by calculating your data's mathematical and statistical significance before making analytical decisions.

How does Croct use analytics?

Croct has a flexible and easy-to-use model. It allows the creation of user-browsing journeys that adapt to customers in real time. That means it fits your website's most diverse user-interaction scenarios.

Croct allows you to define a user session the possible scenarios. For example, the first time a user accessed the site, what they did 5 minutes later, or what happened recently. As a result, you can select the logic that best fits your business needs. Then, focus on what's important — the user experience.

Interested in learning more about how we do it at Croct? Create your free account and explore our platform by yourself.

Let's grow together!

Learn practical tactics our customers use to grow by 20% or more.