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How web statistics add up

Tracking your online visitors allows you to discover what does and doesn’t work on your website.

It may not be the most thrilling part of the job, but web analytics can give a real insight into the success of a business. You just have to know what statistics to look at.

The three main statistics to pay attention to when analysing visitor behaviour on a site are unique users, visits and page impressions. Unique users are the number of individuals visiting the site in a specific time period. For example, when looking at web analytics for the past month, the number of unique users will tell you how many different people have visited the site over the month. Visit statistics show how often users come to the site and page impressions show how many pages each visitor looks at on average.

These statistics allow a retailer to see not only how much traffic is coming to the site but also how often the audience is coming back. Comparing the number of visits with page impressions gives an indication of how the audience is moving around the site and is a measure of a retailer’s ability to keep them there.

Time-on-site statistics can reinforce this, but André Rickerby, digital content manager at trends analysis firm WGSN, says a number of things must be taken into account when looking at these. Firstly, if time on site is shown as high, retailers must be confident users are there because they are having a good experience rather than because they are lost or unable to find what they are looking for. Also, retailers must be aware that users may have left the site open and may not actually be shopping, which could distort these statistics.

Web analytics are also useful for looking at where users are coming from geographically and this can be very useful when targeting future marketing campaigns – a rise in international visitors may result in a retailer deciding to reduce shipping rates, for example. 

Statistics can show where customers are coming from, providing evidence of the effectiveness of marketing campaigns including pay per click, email and affiliates as well as the effectiveness of search engine optimisation.

There are many other statistics available, but understanding the basics is key, and once all of these have been taken into account it’s much easier to look at future strategies secure in the knowledge that the numbers will add up.

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