Where to Begin with Data Analysis.
Data is a valuable tool in measuring your success, as it provides meaningful insight into which content your audience is engaging with. By making a small time investment to analyse your website data, you can identify areas of improvements within your digital strategy.
When first delving into the world of data, it can be be confusing as to how deep you should aim. With a range of metrics and numbers to look into, where do you begin with data analysis?
To begin with, you are going to want to familiarise yourself with Google Analytics. This is one of the most widely used and reliable sources of data insight for your website.
It is critical to stick to one reporting tool when compiling data, to ensure consistency. Not only will this save time, but between platforms you will find that data may vary dependent on the context in which it is collected. This variation in numbers can be very small, or in some circumstances, vast. Sticking to one data set avoids confusion.
Once you are familiar with your Google Analytics dashboard, a great starting point is to look into where your traffic is coming from i.e. your ‘acquisition’.
The quickest way to achieve this is via: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.
This report will illustrate the number of users coming from Direct, Organic Search, Social and Referral sources.
Within this table, you will notice several metrics. These include the number of users, bounce rate, pages/session and average duration.
The key metric to analyse on this section is usually the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page), correlated with the number of users. Even though you may have a high number of users from a particular source, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the most lucrative or relevant channel.
For example, if you gain 100 users from Social Media platforms, but the equivalent bounce rate is 99%, this audience most likely isn’t engaged in your contact. If you have 50 users from Organic sources, that showcase a 20% bounce rate, this audience set is staying on your website, suggesting that they find the content relevant. This is the audience you should continue to engage.
The next step is to analyse your landing page data.
Which landing pages are users visiting most frequently from each source? Does one landing page perform well on one channel but not another? What messaging do you adopt on these channels that could be altered to enhance performance?
When you delve into this type of user behaviour data, you can identify patterns in engagement and track which trends develop month on month. Analyse which topics are the ones that gather more interest, which channels are performing better and see where your audience is spending time on your website
How often should you track your website data?
It is recommended to log your data on a monthly basis. Logging the data between the 1st and the 3rd of each month, ensures that you collect the entire previous month of statistics.
In the first instance, creating a monthly report will take a length of time to set-up, however once this is complete, you can simply input data within minutes each month. This report may evolve over time but that is to be expected in the ever-changing world of digital media!
For the more tech-savvy there is also further functionality within Google Data Studio.
Data Studio is an app within the Google Suite that allows the user to dynamically harvest data from a range of sources, into one customisable report. This includes data from Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, Search Console, YouTube Analytics and more.
As part of the Google Academy, there is a fascinating Introduction to Data Studio tutorial. Anyone can register for this course and complete it for free.