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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What is web analytics?

Web analytics involves collecting, measuring, and analyzing website data. Web Analytics tools can provide lots of useful information about the origin of website traffic, how website users navigate and interact throughout a website, what content and web pages they're most engaged with, and how they exit the site. Marketers can then use this data to optimize the performance of their channels and websites by taking data-led decisions. These are actions we take to improve performance based on our understanding of the data we’ve recorded; in other words, the data is leading the decision. While it’s best practice to follow data-led decisions, we must always remind ourselves to make sure we test and verify the data.

Web analytics tools

Web analytics tools provide information about the origin of website traffic, how users navigate and interact throughout a website, what content and webpages they’re most engaged with, and if they take valuable actions on the site, known as conversions, these include purchases or contact requests. Using this data, marketers can optimize channel and website performance with data-led decisions.

A number of analytics tools are available on the market today. Some of them are free, and some of them require a paid subscription. Paid analytics products and free analytics products will differ in terms of support, features, and functionality.

Some examples of available analytics packages include:

  • Google Analytics and Google Analytics 360, which are part of the Google Marketing Platform
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Woopra
  • Kissmetrics
  • Webtrends
  • Piwik

The market leader and most commonly used analytics program is the free version of Google Analytics, or GA as it is sometimes known. The paid version of GA, called Google Analytics 360, offers some additional functionality in terms of report validity and sample sizes. But it's mainly for websites that receive more than 10 million page views per month. For the vast majority of websites, the free version of Google Analytics is perfectly fine.

Because of its functionality and widespread adoption in the market, Google Analytics is seen by many marketers as the single ‘source of truth’ for website traffic, engagement, and conversion data.

Advantages of web analytics

Web analytics is a valuable way to deduce the ‘story’ behind the data, in order to gain valuable insights and enhance business performance. Web analytics can help a digital marketer understand their customers better by providing:

  • Insight into who the customers are and their interests
  • Conversion challenges
  • Enhanced appreciation of what consumers like or don’t like
  • Understanding of how to improve user experience for the consumer

One of the real values of web analytics is that it allows you to deduce the ‘story’ behind the data in order to gain valuable insights and enhance business performance. But how exactly does this lead to commercial returns? Web Analytics can help you understand your customers better. It tells you who they are, where they're coming from, and what their interests are. It tells you about their demographics and location. It also helps reveal any conversion challenges that might exist on your website. It helps you grasp what content and products your consumers like or don’t like, and how they interact on your website. You can use all this information to improve the consumer experience on your site and to optimize the channels that consumers use to visit your website.

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Jack Preston

Jack Preston is a Data Scientist working within marketing analytics, with a particular focus on strategic customer loyalty. Jack has experience working in both small-scale startups and large corporates, including dunnhumby and Notonthehighstreet. He also holds an MSc in Business Analytics from UCL where he graduated with distinction.


Jack Preston
Skills Expert

This short course covers the principles of analytics and demonstrates techniques and useful tools that you can use to develop and refine your knowledge of data analytics.

You will learn:

  • The fundamentals of data, collecting data, and processing data, including best practices, techniques, and challenges
  • The principles of web analytics, the benefits and limitations of Google Analytics, terminology for reporting, and the legalities around consent and data privacy
  • The concepts of Big Data, the processes around data, including mining, scraping, cleansing, and de-duping, and the various languages and programs for testing your data
  • The importance of AI, Machine Learning, analysis types, the value of testing hypotheses, and forecasting based on the data available
  • How best to report and present data findings to management and the different tools available to you

Approximate learning time: 3 hours