We presented the Bowen Craggs Google Analytics Benchmark 2017 in a web meeting earlier this month. Here, in the second of two posts, Andrew Rigby looks at how to examine web analytics in context, and the value of different data sources.
In the first part of our summary of the Bowen Craggs Google Analytics Benchmark 2017, which we presented via a web meeting recently, we highlighted some of the trends in user behaviour we are seeing develop across corporate websites.
But we also noted that meaningful comparison of a single site’s data against trends needs context, largely because of the variation we see in analytics between sites.
During the web meeting several examples of this were highlighted:
- The ways that users reach corporate websites can vary widely. For example, organic acquisition varied from 16% to 71%, but there could well be a valid reason for sitting at the lower end of the range – such as a high level of referrals from a parent site or direct traffic because the company is well-known. Or of course the site may be performing poorly in search engines, which would be a cause for concern
- The amount of traffic referred to corporate sites from social media also shows a lot of variation. Only two companies in the benchmark received over 5% of their traffic from social networks, but one participant in the webinar reported social referrals of over 13%, an unusually high figure due to a very active – and successful – strategy to use social media to direct traffic back to the website. Those at the lower end of the scale may have taken a conscious decision not to pursue such a strategy. Or if they have not, they might use this comparison to show what is possible and adjust their strategy and resources accordingly
- The site with the shortest average visit lasted 1 minute and the longest was 3 minutes
- Mobile visits to corporate sites are much more likely to bounce than those made on desktop. Visits from organic acquisition are most likely to be deep and long, while direct visits (where the site has been bookmarked or the URL typed) are the shortest, view the fewest pages and are most likely to bounce. But a high bounce rate might indicate that users are simply coming to a site for one thing, finding it, and immediately leaving, having had a successful visit. And a long, deep visit is not necessarily a productive one. Closer analysis is vital, and knowing where your visitors exited to can be very useful, so tagging exit links is a good idea – and often overlooked.
Insight through combined measurement data
As well as looking more deeply at the specific analytics of the site in question, it can also be very helpful to add context through other measurement, and in particular visitor surveys and user testing. By piecing together qualitative and quantitative data, you should be able to tell if that long, deep visit was in fact indicative of an engaged user, or in fact someone becoming frustrated at failing to find what they wanted.
We looked at one example where we had connected data from Google Analytics with survey data to gain some real insight into user behaviour.
On this particular site, looking at the survey data and cross-referencing it with the analytics, we noticed that referred users were less likely to achieve their goal. Further investigation revealed that a page in the careers section was the top landing page for those visitors who had answered the survey question about goal achievement. Delving deeper still, we could see that those referred from Facebook to this page were the least successful in achieving their goal, and especially those coming from Facebook on desktop machines.
While this has prompted the company in question to concentrate on its Facebook referrals, adding Google Campaign tags to Facebook links would help to identify which posts referred successful visits; in measurement, the deeper you dive, the more insight you can find.
– Andrew Rigby
You can be part of the analytics benchmark, and enjoy a host of other benefits, by joining The Bowen Craggs Club, an exclusive network for the most engaged online corporate communications professionals. It is aimed at individuals and companies who believe in the need for world-leading corporate web estates. Although most group members work in Fortune 500 corporations, we welcome senior managers from public sector and non-governmental organizations with responsibility for large web presences.
For more information on the Club, visit our website, or contact Lisa Hayward, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To discuss our measurement services, including how we can help with analytics and visitor surveys, please contact Dan Drury email@example.com or see our website.