Web Analytics – Insights & Challenges- Back to Basics

Web analytics, simply put, is a data analysis process involving below 4 steps in order:

♠ If you already know the basics of analytics, skip to “Challenges” part directly.♠

  1. Collection of website data
  2. Reporting
  3. Understanding the reports (Generating insights from the reports).
  4. Optimizing your website (OR) Digital marketing activities.

What is the use of Web Analytics?

It can be used broadly:

  • As a tool for own business and market research.
  • To assess and improve the effectiveness of a website.
  • Measure and optimize your digital marketing efforts.

Web analytics provides information such as: No. of Visitors, page-views, Clicks on links and buttons, Downloads, Video plays, Path analysis, Recency & frequency, etc.

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I would recommend going through the video below. I have explained what is web analytics, differences between different types of analytics, jargon, various types of web analytics reports, sample insights etc; all in simple language!


Challenges of Web analytics.

Digesting the ‘Expectations Vs Reality’ facts

Web analytics reality

The sales pitch of web analytics products will be simply exemplary. The overwhelming case studies, awesome reviews by famous ‘Fortune 500’ companies, monetary benefits and promised support makes customers buy the tools & services with lot of hopes. However in reality, most of the corporate decision makers realize (rather repent) that it is neither easy nor quick to generate revenue or even save actual cost using out-of-the box reports and insights from the web analytics tools.

Data Accuracy and Discrepancy

Making data to flow in to the tool is no big deal. We know every tool comes with ‘How-to guides’. The question is: how reliable is this data? Many buyers realize it ‘late’ (sometimes too late..?) that they have been feeding garbage in to the tool and hence the insights are of no use.

Data Security in web analytics

Web analytics data Security

Privacy and data security is a raising concern in the field of digital marketing and analytics. Especially after the GDPR act, there is a fear in consumer world about the data safety. Some countries have more stringent rules around how companies use the personal data of its citizens. Non-compliance to data privacy and security could cost companies dearly.

web analytics action items
Failure to deliver action items

Web analytics reports are mere tables and graphs with metrics and dimensions. All a tool can do is to tell you ‘how much’ depending on your business. The real challenge is to answer- “So? – What do I do about it?”

Troubles in Integration

Every Web analytics tool, at some point of time has to be integrated with another data source. Some examples can be: offline sales data, competitor data, third party data or API.

At this point of time, every major player in the market has a standardized process to do this. However, it remains a challenge for customized implementations.

Insufficient Knowledge

web analytics less knowledge

Let’s face it. Web analytics has been in and around for over a decade now. However, the mystery of accurate implementation, best practices and deriving actionable insights is still questionable. I am quoting this with confidence because, I have worked with Sr.Account Managers & Senior Support Engineers of almost all major web analytics tools in the world! – One common thing I can say is that none of them are 100% confident on the way their tools work.

Basic to medium level complexities are answered impeccably. However, when it comes to knowing the micro-level details of any tool, even the tool owners aren’t proficient!


How to Over come these Challenges?

Set quantifiable, verifiable expectations

web analytics goal

From the beginning, prepare a plan, start tracking and bench-marking your results from Day-1. This will ensure that you are on right track and utilizing every buck you’ve spent of analytics tools and resources.

Get your implementation right
web analytics implementation

Data analysis begins with data capturing. This crucial step decides how, when, where and what to be captured. Using a Tag Management System will be beneficial for on-site tracking. Make sure that the people who manage your analytics implementation are diligent and they document every step in the process.

Privacy is top Priority

web analytics privacy secured

Digital marketing , mainly requires information on a person’s ‘interests. Some times, geographical, demo-graphical and psychometric data are useful too. However,  if properly executed, doesn’t require Personally Identifiable Information (PII) . In fact collection of personal information should be totally forbidden starting from implementation stage itself.

Hire a dedicated team of experts

web analytics expert personal

I can’t stress enough on this fact:- 80% of business spending on analytics are yet to realize the real benefits of having analytics in their digital system.

In my limited experience this is because analytical insights (especially digital marketing) requires people with good understanding of business as well as technical aspects of tracking users. Since most organizations try to marry these two together having different teams (technical analyst +analysts), there is always  a gap in expectations vs action items.

If this case is inevitable, make sure that the people acting as a ‘bridge’ between these two teams know JavaScript and HTML coding along with proven business analytics skills of calculating ROI and suggesting improvements.

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Post credits:- Images are copied from various websites - They are meant only for illustration.

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