Setting up a tracking analytics platform - a snippet of code that monitors everything visitors do on your website - is as essential as a memorable URL. Google Analytics is ubiquitous - and many think that GA is enough, that having GA in all of its complex glory means they're all set up to track visitor behaviour, optimise their funnel, and monetise their data.
But just as everyone gets comfortable, the target moves, and its no different with data collection.
It's no longer enough to monitor traffic with GA if you're looking to monetise your data and maximise your data ROI. GA will give you a birds eye view of who is using your site and how they move through it, but you need to go a few steps further if you want to stay ahead of the pack.
Read on for three types of tracking platforms you shouldn't be without.
1. Event-Based Tracking Analytics
GA is an anonymous tool that aggregates data - that is, it doesn't allow you to communicate with visitors or members based on what they do on your site, either by email or 'in-situ' (that is, with targeted on-page messages). These platforms that let you do just that.
These third-party platforms take GA one step further by going down to the level of the individual visitor turned member turned customer. That is, they track visitor behaviour, track the conversion event, track their behaviour as a member, and allow you to communicate with them from the first time they visit your site.
The benefits are clear - you can now not just watch people enter your funnel, you can hold their hand through it. From a conversion perspective, this has the potential to be transformational.
A word of caution: there are a plethora of options and you need to be mindful about which platform you choose and how you set it up. Classifying what you track is bespoke and can have an impact on the usability of the data you're collecting. Every platform is different and every platform presents the data it collects in a slightly different way. Knowing the constraints up front can help you maximise the output once you're up and running. It's not helpful if the data you need isn't the data you collect.
Look into: Kissmetrics, Intercom, Mixpanel, Heap, Hubspot, VE Interactive, Lytics.
People often take a 'build it and they will come' approach to their website. But visitors end up using in a way that may not correspond to our intuition. Visitor behaviour often clusters, and tracking this clustering via a heatmaps tool can lead to insights as to how to optimise.
Heatmap tracking shows you the hot (highly clicked) areas of your site and those less clicked. This information is very useful, for example, to check if your menus are designed correctly or even whether or not your site begs for some clickable elements that you haven't anticipated.
For example, we've seen a client website where visitors were clicking on either side of the hero image. That showed that we had the opportunity to market to visitors there since this prime piece of real estate was being treated like a sliding banner rather than a static one.
You can also track the activity over the span of your page to ascertain whether or not certain buttons are converting better than others, certain sections are being by-passed while others are enjoying higher activity and should be moved higher to the top.
Look into: VWO, Crazy Egg, MouseFlow, HotJar.
3. A/B Testing and Optimisation
Your website should be optimised to convert, but this is hard to get right the first time unless you know exactly what your customers want and the best way to deliver your product to them. A/B testing lets you keep your website in tip top shape by giving you the tools to change an element and, retaining a control version, test the impact of that change on conversions.
A/B testing on a live site will help you experiment without committing developer time by letting you test out an idea before committing to the change. Most A/B testing software takes a little bit of nous to get used to, but once you're up and running requires minimal developer input (if any).
A word of caution about what to test and how: you need to make sure your experiments are designed in a way that facilitates a conclusion, and you need to make a few decisions about how you'll run these experiments before you start. Considerations include how much traffic you're getting, what is a large enough sample size, what is a large enough deviation from the control that will eliminate the possibility of an anomalous result due to differences not related to the variable you are testing etc.
Look into: VWO, Optimizely, Google Optimizer, Crazy Egg, AB Tasty.
If you have these types of platforms running - that's an awesome start! You are well on your way to the front running the competition.
Make sure that the choices you make on which platforms to use take into account how they speak to one another (if at all). Differences in the platforms may mean that if you don't integrate you end up with disparate sources of truth, which is a difficult data problem to manage. Also consider live chat and email automation tools that, in terms of best practice, are becoming common from a communications perspective.
If you're in the process of considering how to either set yourself up to maximise data ROI or how to monetise the data you have already collected we'd be happy to help. Get in touch with us here.