The concept of web analytics is more and more common in today’s business environment. There are multiple ways businesses can take advantage of web analytics tools that provide insights and uncover opportunities. This article will discuss web analytics and outline the main types and methods used.
- What are web analytics tools, and how can they help your business?
- What can analytics not tell you?
- What are the four main types of data analytics?
- What are some statistical methods for data analysis?
- What are the five steps in data analytics?
- Final Thoughts
Let’s dive in!
What are web analytics tools, and how can they help your business?
Web analytics tools are programs that track and measure website traffic and usage. They help you understand how your website is performing, who is visiting it, and what actions users take. By gathering this data, you can make informed decisions about improving your online presence and delivering better customer experiences.
Some popular web analytics tools include Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and our own privacy-friendly Simple Analytics, of course.
What can analytics not tell you?
Website analytics tools provide a wide range of data and insights that can be useful for improving the user experience and achieving business goals. However, there are some things that website analytics tools cannot tell you. For example:
The identities of individual users. Website analytics tools collect data about user behavior, but they do not collect information such as a person's name, email address, or phone number. However, one should consider that some web analytics tools are more privacy-invasive than others. For example, Google Analytics is considered unlawful in various EU Member States due to privacy violations.
In addition, it can’t tell why visitors leave your website. It can tell you how many visitors left, what page they were on when they left, and the average time spent on a page before leaving. But analytics cannot identify why visitors decided to leave. This information can be found through user surveys and feedback forms asking people about your website's experiences.
Obviously, website analytics cannot measure the impact of traditional marketing activities such as print ads or television commercials. To understand the effectiveness of these campaigns, it is necessary to track responses with specific URLs or discount codes associated with each campaign.
What are the four main types of data analytics?
There are many different types of data analytics, and the specific categories and definitions can vary depending on the context and the goals of the analysis. Some common types of data analytics include:
- Descriptive analytics: This type involves summarizing and describing the data and is often used to provide a high-level overview. Examples of descriptive analytics include calculating the mean, median, and mode of a dataset or creating charts and graphs to visualize the data.
- Diagnostic analytics: This type of analytics is used to identify the reasons behind a particular outcome or result. Diagnostic analytics involves a more in-depth data analysis and may use regression analysis or clustering techniques to identify patterns and relationships in the data.
- Predictive analytics: This type involves using data and statistical models to predict future events or outcomes. Predictive analytics can be used to forecast sales, identify potential risks, or recommend actions to optimize a business process.
- Prescriptive analytics: This type goes beyond prediction and uses data and advanced algorithms to recommend specific actions or decisions. Prescriptive analytics can provide decision-makers with various options and the associated risks and benefits, allowing them to make more informed decisions.
Web analytics tools can be used for descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive analytics, but not prescriptive analytics.
What are some statistical methods for data analysis?
Many different analytical methods can be used to extract insights and value from data. Some common analytical methods include descriptive analytics, prescriptive analytics, and predictive analytics, as mentioned above, but also data mining and machine learning.
Data mining involves searching for patterns in large data sets to uncover relationships and trends that would otherwise be impossible to detect. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that learns from data and improves over time without requiring explicit programming.
With Google Analytics, you can use all these methods to analyze your website performance and understand user behavior. For beginners, it is best to start with descriptive analytics, as it provides an overview of the important elements, such as page views, bounce rate, visitor sources, etc., before diving deeper into other analytical methods.
What are the five steps in data analytics?
This is often referred to as the "data analytics process" or the "data analytics cycle." It provides a framework for approaching data analytics projects in a systematic and organized way, from defining the problem to sharing the analysis results. By following the steps below, you can ensure that you are using the correct data to answer your question and that you interpret your analysis results accurately and effectively.
Here are the steps:
- Define the problem or question that you want to answer.
- Collect the data that you need to answer the question.
- Clean and prepare the data for analysis.
- Analyze the data to find patterns and insights.
- Communicate the results of the analysis to others.
There are different ways to approach analytics, and it ultimately depends on your needs. Concerning website analytics, it's essential to have a clear idea of what metrics are important to you. From that, you can determine which analytics tool will fit this need.
Google Analytics, for example, can be extremely useful for businesses that work with complex data and need a lot of functionalities to get insights and uncover optimizations. On the other hand, Google Analytics might be too complicated for business owners or marketers who just want to see which pages are performing well and which are not. You should use something other than Google Analytics if you need top-level data and a straightforward overview of your website performance. This is also why we built Simple Analytics as a simple (what’s in the name, right?) and privacy-friendly alternative to Google Analytics.
Simple Analytics gives you the insights you need in a very straightforward dashboard. Want to see what that looks like? Then check out our live dashboard here. If this resonates with your need, feel free to give us a try!