Updated: Jun 9
This blog is part of a content series helping small businesses to get set up for digital marketing best practice.
You’ll find a guide for each of the major channels that are consistently used amongst each of my clients.
I will be releasing a guide per week.
One key area of focus is website analytics, and rightly so. If you operate in the online world then you need to have an understanding of your website analytics. It is essential for reporting and optimising - two crutches of success for any business that has an online presence.
So, let’s dive into things.
What do you need to first consider for your website analytics?
Do you want to track the basics or do you require something more complex? For the purpose of this guide I will take you through the basics. However, the ability to track user behaviour online is quite limitless.
Do you operate in countries where there are data privacy laws? If residents of Europe or California access your website then I suggest you read up on GDPR and CCPA respectively.
Will you be installing several tracking platforms (recommended) on-site? If so, I suggest you first install Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager allows you to install only 1 tag on your site, rather than a new tag for each individual platform. You can then access Google Tag Manager for a very simple add/remove platform that is visually friendly and does not require you to be a developer.
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What data platforms should you set up for your website analytics?
On-Site Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics)
On-Site Analytics will give you a look at what your website traffic is doing once they are on your website.
Google Analytics is the most widely used tool that is free for most small businesses (Google only starts to charge once your pageviews are very, very high).
It tracks the real-time traffic as well as historical traffic to draw insights on acquisition, behaviour and conversions. You’ll be able to splice this data any which way you like, while also looking at user types (new, returning, location, devices, etc.) and key events (like who clicked the call to action button).
Common use cases for Google Analytics are to understand the source of your traffic and what actions those users took. For example, what number and percentage of people who made a purchase on-site came from Facebook or Google? Did they come from Google first and then return from Facebook?
Heat Maps (e.g. HotJar)
Heat Maps take things a bit further. While On-Site Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) looks at the data, it doesn’t give you a visual reference for your site. This is where Heat Maps and platforms like HotJar come in, which is also free for up to 1,000 pageviews on each of 3 individual pages.
Once a heat map is generated, just imagine a screenshot of your website is taken. You can then look at this screenshot but with some very helpful data integrated with it. You’ll get three key metrics (scroll, clicks and mouse).
Scroll - you’ll be able to see what percentage of users reached each section on your page (e.g. how many people actually saw my footer?).
Clicks - you’ll see exactly how many people clicked on all buttons on your page (e.g. What percentage of people clicked on your ‘Pricing’ page vs your ‘Buy Now’ button.
Mouse - you’ll see where people moved their mouse while viewing your page. This can be helpful for things such as usability testing to understand where people take their mouse while on your site.
Remarketing Tags (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Other)
Last one off the ranks!
Yes, yes, this article is about analytics and not marketing campaigns. And yes, this section is all about marketing platforms. It’s important to note that while installing the above tags primary purpose is for building remarketing audiences, it will also allow you to (1) optimise campaigns and (2) analyse data on those platforms.
The easiest way to present the importance of this is to use an example.
Starting with Optimising Campaigns Let’s say you’re running an ad campaign on Facebook. You want to tell Facebook what you’re trying to achieve (e.g. - website visitors, email subscribers, sales). When running a campaign you are only able to optimise for 1 action at a time.
And then Analysing Performance
Okay, you’re still running a Facebook campaign. Some people see your ad but never click on it. That means that they’ve seen your promotion but didn’t click on the ad itself. However, they came to your website later on that day via Google as they searched for your brand. And then, they made a purchase. In this scenario Google Analytics would not attribute any of the sale to Facebook as it only tracks on-site analytics. But, as we both now know, the customer did see an ad on Facebook. By installing the Facebook Pixel you will be able to see this data.
A couple years ago I recorded a bunch of videos to help small businesses setting each of the above items up, together with video tutorials. Check it out here.
Bonus Tip - UTM Tags for Unique Codifying
If you want to have more granular control over your analytics (and especially if you want your Email traffic to show up as Email in Google Analytics) then I suggest you use UTM tags. UTM tags are specific springs of text that are appended to a URL that you’re sharing.
For example, I could share the URL www.hedgehogmarketing.com.au with you on WhatsApp. If you clicked it you’d then be sent to my site as Direct traffic.
But, if I want to codify that in my Google Analytics I’d then use UTM tags. Google offers a free UTM builder for just this purpose. By following the prompts I’ve created a specific URL that I can share with you (as below). If you want it to be shorter you can also use the free shortening tool included in the link.
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