Pro's and Con's of Web Analytics

Posted on Tue, 12/19/2017 - 17:15 by avantgarde

Web analytics can provide an insight into the performance of a website. Many Web hosting packages include Web analytics tools. Free services such as Google Analytics, which can be used in any site, are also popular. Companies use Web analytics to find out information about their visitors, including how they interact with the pages in a site. The information gleaned from analytics can help to inform future decisions regarding the content and marketing of Internet and other company services.

Performance Measurement

The primary purpose of a Web analytics system to measure the performance of a site. Within a Web analytics interface, such as the Google Analytics service, company managers can see data about how many visits a site has had, how many visits the individual pages have had and additional information about these visits including how long users spent on each page. Analytics also indicates traffic sources, so you can see at a glance how users are reaching your site. In most cases, people visit websites not by typing the Web address into their browser but by following a link. Such links can be on other websites or on search engine results pages. By seeing where site users are coming from, company staff can gain a sense of how best to focus marketing efforts.

Marketing Optimization

Many companies with products or services that are available over the Internet use online marketing. This includes adverts from companies such as Google through the AdWords and AdSense programs. If a company is investing part of their marketing budget in online ads, they will typically want to calculate the return on this investment. By using systems such as Google Analytics, you can see which of your online advertising efforts are successfully sending traffic to your sites as well as whether these users are then going on to make purchases in the case of e-commerce sites. This data can then be fed into future decisions about online marketing.

Content Optimization

Company Web properties such as sites and blogs can serve multiple purposes. Some pages on a site may be designed to process transactions, while others may have an informative aim. With analytics, you can see how well a page is performing in relation to its purpose. For example, if you have an informational blog but your visitors are not spending long enough on the pages to be reading the content fully, you may need to look at the quality of this content and consider improving it.

The pros of analytics

Of course, using web analytics tools such as Google Analytics or CANDDi, means that businesses can save many hours on any mistakes they might make without the insights. What’s more they are very easy to install and it can be applied to any website. You can also set up customised data collection and reporting, adding further time-saving advantages for businesses who may use other methods of analysing data by, for example, manually searching the web or scrolling through excel spreadsheets.

Web analytics tools can also be utilised across all digital marketing channels to work to your benefit. For example, if you are using Google Adwords, you can analyse results much more efficiently through Google Analytics and CANDDi and really dig in to what works and what doesn’t. Even if your website isn’t ecommerce based, the chances are you will invest in online advertising or email sign-ups at some point and these can be tracked in web analytics tools as well. So, in general, web analytics tools are a very flexible, easy to use platform – supporting a solid return on investment at the harvest end.

Cons of analytics tools

Generally, there are very few cons to using web analytics tools, and, what’s more, when something is so cost-effective, it’s not something to grumble about. However, there are a couple of things to mention. In the instance of Google Analytics, yes it is one of many free web analytics tools, but on occasions that works against itself. Of course, Google is going to encourage you to spend money on a ludicrously expensive upgrade, so why would they give you the whole package for free?

Also, the ‘price’ you pay for this ‘free’ tool, is giving up information about you, your company and your visitors, which don’t remain confidential to you. However, if you don’t mind this, and as long as you aren’t working on something sensitive or top secret, this may be something you can swallow.

 Website Performance Indicators You Should Monitor


Uptime is without doubt the single most important performance indicator of your website.

Most business models rely heavily on their website. When your site is down for more than a few minutes, you may experience a decline in sales. Moreover, an unavailable website can lead to disturbed workflows in your whole company. The longer the downtime is and the more often it happens, the more it jeopardizes the reputation of your business.

Time to first byte (TTFB)

Most internet users are impatient: 40 % abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to laod. 

If your page does not load quickly enough, they bounce before being drawn-in by your great content. By sending requests from different locations, you can check how fast your webserver responds. A common metric for determining the responsiveness of a web server is Time to first byte (TTFB). The TTFB is affected by the duration of 3 actions:

  1. Sending a request to the server
  2. Processing and generating the response
  3. Sending the response back to the client

Traffic Sources
It is important to have a diverse number of sources for incoming traffic. The three primary source categories are:

  1. direct visitors – the ones that visit your site by directly typing your url in their browser address bar,
  2. search visitors – the ones that visit your site based on a search query, and
  3. referral visitors – the ones that visit your site because it was mentioned on another blog or site.

All three sources are important but have varying levels of conversion, so you should calculate how much each traffic source is converting and deal with them individually.

Interactions Per Visit
Even if your visitors don’t convert, it is important to monitor their behavior on the site. What exactly are they doing, how can you get them to do more of it, and how can you influence this behavior into conversions? For example, what are your page view rates per unique visitors, what is the time spent, comments or reviews made, and so on. Each of these interactions is important, and your goal should be not only to increase these interactions (e.g. increase time spent on the site), but also figure out how you can leverage these increased interactions into increased conversions (which might be downloads, subscriptions, purchases, etc.).

Bounce Rate
Your initial goal when trying to increase all five of the metrics above is to minimize your visitor bounce rate. The Bounce rate is the rate at which new visitors visit your site and immediately click away without doing anything (very low time spent and no interactions). A high bounce rate can mean several things, including weak or irrelevant sources of traffic and landing pages that aren’t optimized for conversion (have a poor design, low usability or high load times). Bounce rates for e-commerce sites are often called abandonment rates, i.e., the rate at which people abandon their shopping cart without making a purchase. This is usually a result of an overly complicated checkout process, expired deals, forced cart additions (e.g. to see the actual price of the product, add to your cart), and so on.

Exit Pages
Your bounce rates aren’t entirely derived from your home page. In many cases your final call to action or conversion may be on page 2 or 3 of a process. To maximize conversions you need to dive deeper into your exits and figure out at what stage in the process your visitors are exiting the site or abandoning their shopping cart, and optimize the process accordingly.