How to Take Advantage of the Top Web Analytics Trend of 2014

In the digital space, we are always hearing about some hot new trend that is supposed to be the next big thing. It felt like I heard "Next year is the year that mobile takes over the internet" from 2011 to 2013. In the Analytics space, Big Data has been "the next big thing" for the last few years. Rather than write a post about "the next big thing" that may or may not pan out, lets focus on something we know is already here.

In the analytics world, platforms have moved from looking at site behavior on a session-by-session basis, to looking at site behavior as it pertains to each user, across many sessions. This simple and intuitive shift into how we look at site behavior can give us some invaluable insights as to how we can further optimize our websites. In this post, I'll run through some ways you can use your analytics platform to take advantage of this paradigm shift.

Finding keywords that will drive quality traffic to your site is extremely important in creating new content. The idea is that you create content around keywords that have proven to be successful in targeting the right users and getting them to convert (or perform any desired user action on your site). Now that we can look at data on a user basis that spans over multiple visits, you can access keywords that led users to your site who didn't convert on the first visit, but returned and converted on a future visit. This is extremely powerful information to have. A whole treasure trove of valuable keywords are now available that otherwise would have been chalked up as ineffective because they did not lead to an immediate conversion.

Speaking of conversions, knowing how long a user takes to convert can have a major influence in how you structure your site. Now analytics platforms allow you to look at conversions segmented by the number of visits it takes for a user to convert. Take the graph below for example:

Looking at this chart, the biggest takeaway is not that it's more likely a user converts after one visit than multiple visits; it's that a whopping 65% of this site's revenue comes after users have visited the site more than once. With this information, features like wish lists, cart abandonment emails, and remarketing become infinitely more important to capture those users who didn't convert the first time around.

Lastly, you can dive deep into user behavior by looking at user action sequencing. Say, for example, you have a blog on your site. The purpose of your blog, like most blogs, is to provide content of value to a user who is still in the information gathering phase, however is not quite ready to convert. The best way you can measure success of your blog is to look at how many (or what percent of) users came into your site through the blog, and converted on that, or subsequent, visits. Now, analytics platforms are allowing you to set up user action sequencing that will show you exactly the blog success metric I described above. This means you can see the type of articles that were most successful and inform future content, among other valuable insights.

Actions taken from user insights like the ones described above can dramatically change your website performance for the better. Dig into reports like these to understand your users and get the most out of your content.

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