8 Ways to Use Web Analytics to Increase Online Sales

Just about every online business or business with a website uses an analytics tool to track traffic. However, more often than not, business owners and managers do not take full advantage of the information contained in analytics reports - or they don't know how to.

So how should businesses interpret Web analytics data -- and leverage that information to decrease bounce and exit rates and increase sales on their website? To find out, CIO.com asked dozens of Web analytics and marketing experts. Their top eight tips on how to use web analytics data to improve conversion rates and sales appear below.

[Note: Most of the advice below refers to Google Analytics. However, it can also be applied to other Web analytics software and services.]

"With close to 40 percent of Internet activity generated via mobile devices, it's critical to understand which devices are being used to access your website," Elward says. "Be sure to look at conversion funnels and bounce rates by device for your key conversion pages as it could highlight issues such as page load [times] and layout [problems]." And if customers are using mobile devices to view your site, make sure the entire site is mobile friendly.

"Analytics data can [also] allow you to understand what marketing channel is leading to the most conversions on your website," adds Chris Meares, director of Analytics at MaassMedia, a boutique digital analytics consulting firm.

"By tracking marketing campaigns -- email, display and paid search -- companies can understand what campaigns are contributing to conversion by utilizing the Google Analytics attribution model," Meares says. "By understanding the conversion rates of each campaign, a company can move their marketing budgets to the most productive marketing channel."

Discover where visitors are located, so you can better target those areas. "Use a geographic filter to figure out which countries, regions or states generate more sales than others," says Noah Parsons, COO, Palo Alto Software, providers of business plan software. Then you can "use this information to create focused advertising campaigns for specific geographies." You can also use the information to "try and figure out why some regions don't convert and consider special offers, discounts or other incentives to boost sales for those regions."

Use demographics data to better understand and target your audience. "Google Analytics recently released a Demographics and Interests segmentation in the Audience report," says Katya Constantine, founder, DigiShopGirl Media.

"This allows sites to see the age, [gender] and interests of their site users - and which segments have a higher conversion rate," Constantine explains. "Based on this data, you can create better targeting criteria in future display and paid traffic efforts."

Know exactly what your customers are looking for (with Site Search). "Use Site Search data in Google Analytics to find terms people are searching for while they are on your site, along with the page they were visiting at the time," says Dave Cannon, co founder, FindProz, a private instruction marketplace.

"This will help you pinpoint lost opportunities for product placements or additional mid-to-low-funnel content, and where they should be located on your site," Cannon says. For example, "someone might search for 'photographer' and then refine the search with 'wedding photographer.' [So] now you know to advertise wedding photographers."

Learn where visitors are landing. "Look at your Landing Page metrics," says Nick Mather, COO, CyberMark International, an Internet marketing firm specializing in ethical SEO. "These are the pages where all your website traffic lands from search engines and other referrers. The content (text, images, call-to-action elements, etc.) on these pages should be perfected as to decrease the bounce rate and increase the conversion rate."

Find out which calls to action generate the most interest. "When it comes to online conversion rates and lead generation, you can use in-page analytics to learn which calls to action are producing the best results on your Web pages," says Brendan Cournoyer, director of Content Marketing, Brainshark, a provider of cloud-based business presentation solutions for sales, marketing and training.

"For example, Google Analytics allows you to view a web page and see which links on that page are driving the most clicks," Cournoyer says. "Are some calls to action more effective than others? Does the placement of the call to action matter? Do some calls to action resonate better based on the topical focus on the page they live on? By using this data, you can further hone your messages to increase conversions based on the practices that work best."

Pay attention to bounce rates to see where you're losing customers. "Review the bounce rate of your landing pages," says Steve Lamar, vice president, SEO Production, Volume 9, a search marketing firm.

"Look for pages with higher traffic and high bounce rates relative to your other pages," he advises. "Pages with high bounce rates can indicate a problem with the information, layout or call to actions. Use bounce rates as a initial indicator of problem pages."

In addition, think about using "a conversion funnel to figure out where you are losing customers on the way to a sale," says Parsons. "Are there steps in your checkout process that are causing users to drop out and not purchase? Simple changes might result in dramatic improvements in the number of people who end up purchasing," he says. Moreover, "conversion funnels can be used for sites that aren't ecommerce sites, too."

Have another tip regarding how to interpret and use web analytics data to improve conversion rates? Leave a Comment.

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a regular contributor to CIO.com and runs a marketing communications firm focused on helping organizations better interact with their customers, employees and partners.

Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about analytics in CIO's Analytics Drilldown.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts

As an ex employee of 4 years during the growth of the company, I can say that the new management has benefitted the company tremendously,...

Harry

How JobAdder's CMO is bringing the human truth to B2B rebranding

Read more

So many words, so little business benefit.

Brett Iredale

How JobAdder's CMO is bringing the human truth to B2B rebranding

Read more

This article highlights Gartner’s latest digital experience platforms report and how they are influencing content operations ecosystems. ...

vikram Roy

Gartner 2022 Digital Experience Platforms reveals leading vendor players

Read more

Ms Bennett joined in 2017 yet this article states she waited until late 2020 to initiate a project to update the website. The solution t...

Munstar Cook

How Super SA put customers at the heart of its digital transformation

Read more

Its a informative post thanks for sharing

Galaxy Education

The people and process smarts needed to excel in omnichannel retailing

Read more

Blog Posts

The real cost of doing customer service badly

Headlines of unacceptable waiting times to get onto Qantas will have many brand owners, chief executives and boards thinking, ‘thank goodness that is not us’. But Qantas isn’t the only company being inundated with calls with no reprieve in sight, it’s just dominating headlines right now.

Kath Blackham

CEO, Versa

The 15 most-common persuasion mistakes

As workers across the country slowly head back to the office, many of us might have forgotten how to deal with one another in person and the best way to persuade someone in a working environment.

Michelle Bowden

Author, consultant

5 commonly missed opportunities when marketing to multicultural customers

The latest census data shows Australia has become a majority migrant nation for the first time. According to the new national data, more than 50 per cent of residents were born overseas or have a migrant parent.

Mark Saba

Founder and CEO, Lexigo

Sign in