How Web Analytics Can Help You Understand Your Customers

Bounce rates. Page views. Acquisition. New vs. returning visitors. When it comes to web analytics, which metrics are the most important?
When used collectively and strategically, all of them matter, say experts Krista Park and Ryan Andricks, who will separately teach UVM’s online Web Analytics and Data-Driven Decision Making course.
“It’s about understanding analytics as a whole,” says Park, director of analytics at Greenlane Marketing in Philadelphia. “Analytics are only one piece of the larger puzzle. You use web analytics to inform. But just because your web numbers are going up doesn’t mean things are going the way you want for your company. You need to think about the data strategically.”
The five-week course offers a deep dive into Google Analytics and interpreting web traffic data. It’s designed for digital marketers, analysts, and professionals looking to deepen their understanding of how to identify and use data to support their campaign planning and performance. It will also show how to leverage data as a way to better understand how a company’s website is being used—by whom and in what ways—for better reporting.
“We’ll look into how the process of selecting key data works, evaluating data, presenting it effectively, and communicating findings and recommended actions—based on the data—to achieve a business’s objectives,” Park says. “The course will help participants more efficiently and effectively evaluate their business’s performance and create actionable insights.”
Those actionable insights will then be used to achieve their business objectives, whether it’s growth in a particular area, stemming a loss, or working to achieve parity with their competitors, Park says.
In the course, Park and Andricks will also demonstrate how to create connections between offline and online data so digital marketers and analysts can understand and communicate a whole-world view of their business.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking at a top surface piece of Google Analytics information, but segmentation is key,” Park says. “Otherwise it’s likely you’re missing some really important things that are happening.”
Andricks, a senior analytics manager at Seer Interactive in Philadelphia, agrees. He adds that if a digital marketer or analyst is working for a new employer or is hired by a web client that already uses Google Analytics, it’s important to educate them.  “A lot of people are using Google Analytics and assuming that it’s been set up properly,” he says. “If goal tracking isn’t being used, it needs to be. And they need to be sure to focus on the users, don’t think about sessions.”
When measuring analytics and communicating results, Park and Andricks say it’s critical to pay attention to and communicate patterns and standard fluctuations.
“One of the most basic patterns is seasonality. It’s a standard catch-all such as back-to-school or Christmas,” Park says. “But fluctuations don’t have a primary driver and might be less obvious. Maybe there’s a marketing campaign happening or selection of channels being promoted. You need to ask yourself, what is the context behind this data? What else is happening?”

UVM’s Digital Marketing Course on Web Analytics

The UVM course will help prepare participants for the Google Analytics certification exam. Participants will also learn:
  • How to identify key performance indicators within the data and contextual supports
  • Mapping data to key performance indicators, strategies, and objectives
  • Identification of ancillary factors impacting a data set
  • How to work with trends to identify patterns versus standard fluctuations
  • Data combinations for more robust outputs (e.g. segments, filters, dimensions, custom views)
  • Presenting data in digestible formats
  • Data presentation structures—report types (sheets, docs, slides), frequency, update methods (manual, automated)
  • Creating actionable insights
  • Developing baselines and projection

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