Wikipedia defines web analytics as
“the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.”
What you cannot measure you cannot improve is a phrase that seems to have been lost to many companies advertising themselves online in Kenya.
Part of my work as a Social Media Strategist is to ensure that the Social Media Initiatives I set forth translate to increased traffic for these Businesses and better business leads. For me to do my work right, I usually work with benchmarks that will serve as Key Performance Indicators for the work that I do. These benchmarks include most of the parameters that you will find in a web analytics table such as average number of visitors per day, bounce rates, conversion rates, average time spent on the site, repeat visits etc. But it is always a pity to find that these businessmen have no idea what I am talking about because such terms are alien to them. Fundamentally, this means that there is no way they can know whether their websites are making any economic sense.
Having had the chance to look at a number of company websites and talking to many more company owners both with and without websites, it is clear that many take websites to have a static role as that of a brochure. Many company websites in Kenya were created and left to their own because the extent of comprehension by those putting up these websites for their companies ended at “the website is up, let’s release some balloons!” Most of these business leaders even today still figure that as long as their websites are online, they have done their part and should now wait for customers to swarm in. My work as Social Media Strategist therefore becomes harder because for people who have no idea what hits, page views, bounce rates, and conversion rates are, Social Media terms like engagement, Blogs and microblogs, social outposts, community and forum management, social profile creation becomes a tad too confusing and even pointless.
Importance of Analytics
Wikipedia goes on to say that
“Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring website traffic but can be used as a tool for business research and market research.”
The Business Implication of Web Analytics is the Raw Intelligence that it provides. As I have said earlier and many more before me, to simply believe that just because you have build a website people will visit is a MYTH. And this myth would have been crashed a long time ago if Businesses leaders had learned to measure and analyze web data. Frankly, most of businessmen and women will blissfully relish in the fact that the have a website until the analytics table shows that they have on average 2 hits on a good day. This means that the chances of someone walking down the street and seeing their offices are greater than seeing their website online. Web Analytics is a report card of how well websites are performing online. And in order to accomplish my work as a Social Media Strategist, I must use this current performance as the benchmark for the work I will do because what I cannot measure I cannot improve.
For too long now, businesses have operated in the dark because they could not measure their online performance. The reasons they never considered web analytics is quite simple, few know that something like this exists. And most consider websites as too technical and therefore complex and would rather leave it to the website designers. And that is where they have been taken advantage of. I remember a case where a MD of this big enterprise here told me that her their had SEO when I mentioned it during a meeting, let alone that she did not know the meaning of the acronym, the website designer had done nothing to optimize the site, NOTHING. But here was the MD with all the confidence in the world believing that her site had SEO credentials, whatever that was.
To prevent con artists like this from taking advantage of businessmen and women like this, I have mentioned a couple of tricks that these leaders to use to ensure that they are not being taken for a ride. The most basic tools I advise them to use are Website Graders such as Website Grader by Hubspot and WooRank, they newest Website Grader in the block. These outline the basic parameters of a website that should be optimized accordingly and the process of generating these reports is elementary, so is the comprehension.
So as a Business person, start using Web Analytics to see the numbers of visitors coming to the website, where they are coming from, which pages of your website they visited most, how much time they spent on the page, the ratio of returning visitors to the new visitors, and even how many are coming through a paid ad campaign etc. What these provide when examined is actionable intelligence for the marketing team to act upon. Depending on the objectives of a company, the website can be positioned in such a way that these objectives will be best met. This positioning might be through targeted marketing and that is where Social Media comes in. Social Media will enable you to listen where people are talking about you online and will involve you engaging them actively where they are.
Let’s hear your thoughts below. You can also visit the list of services that Socialight Media Kenya provides to understand the scope of Social Media.