4 Insights To Bring Your Brand’s Web Analytics Into Focus

Excuse me, but do I know you?

No, but your customer does.

Each Facebook like, Twitter follower, and Pinterest pin goes into that analytic stew and provides a clearer view of your brand’s overall social standing.  In short, consumers get to tell you what they like – and don’t like – about you.

It was the will of the people, in fact, that prompted Domino’s to change its recipe a few years back.  The company centered an entire campaign on the concept, going so far as to say that people actually hated its pizza.

Of course, the real message wasn’t the subpar status of the crust, sauce, or other ingredients.  It was that they heard what people were saying and responded proactively to provide customers with a better product.  The sheer magnitude of web data at its fingertips allowed the pizza chain it to identify a problem, come up with a solution, and chart a course of action.

Other brands can do the same.

Perception Is the New Reality

When it comes to consumer insights, most brands find themselves in a bit of a quagmire.  It’s a boon to have an almost endless amount of data on your customers, but once you do, you need to figure out what to do with it – and what it all means, at that.

The esteem in which consumers or prospects hold your brand is the ultimate testament to your efforts.  But the only way to get a read on those perceptions is to start listening to the conversations.

It starts with measuring social sentiments instead of comment volume.  When people get excited about a new product or feature, maybe it’s something you want to bring to the surface.  Make sure people know everybody’s really amped about what you’re now offering and learn from that excitement.

The same holds true when people get down from a negative interaction or news item about a product or experience.  Less-than-optimal interactions with a product or experience provide an opportunity to change organizational operations.  Once you do so, make people aware of the shift.  That’s the only way to affect the conversation.

The information is out there.  You just need to start using it to engage and encourage a purchase because, rest assured, your competitor is doing it.

Follow Through on Your Findings

If you’re going to better engage consumers and get them to convert, you’ve got to do more with those clicks and shares than just track them.  You must leverage those insights to look at potential customers in a different way, and this often requires the following:

1. Consider Cause

Most people visit a website looking for a solution to a problem.  When they don’t find it, chances are they’ll bounce to the next.  Intent is at the heart of conversion, and it’s how you should go about optimizing your site.

Figure out what brought visitors there in the first place.  Was it referral traffic?  Did they come by way of keyword or email or banner ad?  Look at the path and make sure it aligns with the experience on the page.  It’ll give you a better idea of their desired outcome.

If the pages-per-visit number is high, drill down beyond that statistic to understand why people still fail to convert.  Sticking around shouldn’t be confused with interest.  Visitors could be going from page to page because they can’t find what they need, which can leave a bad taste in their mouths as it relates to that brand.

2. Simplify Conversion

Navigation may seem like a no-brainer, but companies get it wrong all the time.  Don’t ask visitors to jump through hoops to make a purchase.  Make sure your navigation leads consumers to the right page of their journey.

If your call to action is something like, “Learn more about price,” don’t link to your home page.  Not only does it leave customer questions unanswered, but it also forces them to continue clicking to find what they need.

Marry pages-per-visit with the user flow and visualization available within web analytics platforms.  This gives brand managers a better understanding of what users do on your site, how they’re best engaged, and whether a change is necessary.

3. Measure Behavior

The user experience isn’t just driven by intent: Your site plays a critical role in that overall experience, too.  Understanding the context of how users behave on your site can help.

UserTesting.com, for example, allows you to watch web sessions and observe the browsing behavior of your visitors.  As soon as you identify the path taken, you can learn how to better design your pages to serve up content earlier in the experience.

To add even more context, consider tying behavior to shares or comments.  What people say or share can direct changes in messaging and improve brand engagement, especially when joined with behavior.

4. Address Negativity

In terms of social, clients often ask, “What do I do if I get a negative comment on a Facebook post?”  One word: Respond.  Get to the bottom of why, try to resolve the issue, and figure out how to satisfy the user’s needs.

But don’t just focus on the negative.  Reach out to those who sing your praises and thank them for their support.  You want to encourage this behavior just as much as you want resolve customer issues.

While tools are available to monitor sentiment, full comprehension of how those resources work can be limited.  Our company was using software to monitor client mentions, and everything seemed negative – except it wasn’t.  It’s just that certain ‘negative’ words can be used in positive comments, skewing results.

From a big-picture standpoint, web analytics can help marketers understand how users want to engage with their brands – whether it’s in navigation, content consumption, user experience, or simply the message.  Brands that understand what’s effective can make adjustments as necessary.